In a libertarian society, everyone agrees to disagree, and to leave each other alone in their disagreements. It would not be important that people should leave each other pretty much alone, so that each might go his own way as he saw fit, unless they had no cult in common, that brought them naturally to agreement about how best to live life. The purely libertarian society is the zero of commensality, and of ecclesiality. There is in the purely libertarian society no gathering, no agora; for, even the disputations of the agora presupposed a basic patriotism under the bonds of extended familiarity.
Libertarianism then is identity politics reduced to its limit: the individual. In the purely libertarian society, every man is a faction. Libertarianism is a cease fire in a Hobbesian war of all against all.
But it is at best a cease fire; the war continues, and threatens ever to boil over.
My department pays me fairly handsomely to teach a particularly futile course – one among no few others – that styles itself as “Writing about Literature.” The course is futile at both ends: Public education produces nowadays only an uneducated public, many individuals of whom, including those who are invited to college or university to matriculate, write only at the level of functional illiteracy; and none of whom has ever read anything that might qualify as literature. I approach the course as a fully remedial one because that, in effect, is what it must be. Dedicating the first half of the semester to “writing about poetry,” I offer up as fare for mental nourishment short poems, mostly sonnets, by writers of the Romantic generations of the late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Centuries. I run the class-sessions as workshops in careful reading, or close reading, for which a sonnet by William Wordsworth or Samuel Taylor Coleridge or John Keats or Percy Bysshe Shelley is meet. I ask the students to begin by noticing the periods or full stops that divide the poem into its sentences and to notice, for example, that, in verse, lines and sentences do not necessarily correspond, so that their interaction must be carefully worked out. I ask them to notice the grammatical features of each poem. In what person is the poem couched? Whom does the speaker address? What setting is implied? What argument does the speaker make in his sequence of figures and images? I want students to see that language can function at a higher level than it does in a campus newspaper article or in the instructions for the latest cell phone. Readers of poems must slow down their thought processes so as to notice everything and they must let the poem provoke them into thinking word by word and line by line.
My wife was chatting with a friend the other night, this friend being, by day, a high school pedagogue. The pedagogue told her that, a few days earlier, she had dimmed the lights in her classroom to play an instructional video, and that under the cloak of darkness one young scholar near the back had taken the opportunity to give head to another young scholar. Owing to modesty or fear of detection, the recipient scholar had taken the added precaution of holding a binder open before him on his knees, while pretending to read. His pretense of reading was, of course, his fatal mistake, since the pedagogue was not a little curious when she saw the young man apparently reading in the dark. Continue reading →
A couple of the commenters to my last post told me that they subscribe to Noah Webster’s definitions of patriot, patriotic and patriotism. Turning to Webster’s Compendious Dictionary of the English Language (1806), we find that these definitions are: Continue reading →
I lost interest in football nearly forty years ago, in the fall of 1969, when it became clear that my beloved Packers would not be advancing to their third Super Bowl. Memory can play the harlot, but my memory is that my loss of interest happened very suddenly, while I was waiting in my father’s car, listening to the Packers lose the decisive game on my transistor radio with the Green Bay Packer helmet logo on its brushed metal face. I believe it was the game against Baltimore, just a couple of days after by twelfth birthday, because I still twitch when I think of Johnny Unitas (which isn’t very often). Continue reading →
I argued in a recent post that, because of its militant, totalitarian presumptions, Islam must sooner or later be destroyed if any other cult – including the cult of the Living God, YHWH our Lord Jesus – is to survive. Because God in Jesus assured us (Matthew 16:18) that his cult simply *cannot* be destroyed (which would only make sense, it being the cult of the Omnipotent One), we may be sure that, sooner or later, Islam certainly *will* be destroyed, or else by some mass apostasy of Muslims simply wither and vanish, as insane cults are wont eventually to do.
Insanity, after all, is autophagic. Like all error, it works its own destruction.
The post garnered more page views than any other we had published since our first few days of existence. Thanks, Western Rifle Shooters!
A nation is specified by a set of genetic similarities. A culture is specified by a set of practical, technical and moral similarities; of customary rules for living. The two coevolve, and are inextricably linked. They intersect at the cult of the nation. It is the cult that is first. Nation and culture depend upon cult.
No cult, no nation, howsoever similar the genes; for then, no matter how similar the men may be corporeally, they go each ideologically their own idiosyncratic way, unconstrained by each other.
Which never happens.
Likewise, no common cult, then no culture, howsoever similar the preponderant memes. When no memes are understood as holy, and so sacrosanct, no meme whatever may be evaluated by any reliable standard. Then anything goes, whatever. In that unconstrained libertinism is the death of true society.
Just to be perfectly clear, I do not think that sexual assault is a laughing matter. But I do think there is such thing as serious satire, by which I mean satire intended to correct and not amuse. Mordant humor is written to bite, and by biting to deter. As folks say, “once bitten, twice shy.” Continue reading →
You may not like those old movies and books, but you need them. Why? Because old movies and books were made before liberalism took over.
The old moviemakers and authors were free to show normal human beings doing normal things. They were free to show life as it should be. They didn’t have to worry about being punished by social justice warriors, and they were not brainwashed by liberalism. Yes, some old movies and books get things wrong, but overall they are the best place to see how things should be. Contemporary liberalism has distorted and perverted our way of life. If you want to see how life should be, the best place to look is old movies and books.
That’s why the liberals (if they have any brains) don’t want you to like old books and movies. Continue reading →