What would we do without government investigators or the media to uncover and report on the truth?

Answer: We’ll just do it ourselves.

The internet, even with all its downsides, has certainly done some interesting things for the way “normal” folks can do awesome things.  Are the authorities not doing their duty in investigating a (potential) murder case?  Covering things up are they?  Media not doing their jobs to honestly report facts and relevant current events?  No worries.  The centipedes and /pol/ are on top of things.

Just a couple examples from today.

On the Donald this morning, they were talking about Wikileaks’ twitter announcement: BREAKING: Sweden has dropped its case against Julian Assange and will revoke its arrest warrant

So now does Mr. Assange just need a pardon from Trump and he’ll actually get to leave the Embassy?  Some pedes seem to think leaving may be too dangerous for Assange even if that were possible, and that maybe it’s just a trap.  I almost wouldn’t put it past the pedes and/or /pol/ to somehow break Assange out of the Embassy and have him whisked away to some safe and undisclosed location.

Google, of course, failed me for any further information.  If you want truly breaking news, skip the news outlets, just go to the citizen investigators of the internet.

In other news, the centipedes and /pol/ are busy working to collect, archive and sift through every trace of Seth Rich on the internet (just one of many threads with them hard at work).  They’re analyzing his entire life and personality and picking out anything that would lead to confirmation that he was the source of the DNC leaks and was murdered for it.  As the circumstantial evidence amasses, it becomes increasingly easy to believe this “internet conspiracy theory.”

If it’s the so-called “unbiased media” and government officials — who we should supposedly be trusting over “weirdos” on the internet — who keep dishing out falsehoods and fake news, what are we supposed to think when the so-called “internet conspiracy theories” keep turning out to be true these days.  I’m not sure there is anything too weird and convoluted to believe, especially when it comes to politics.

Good Books for Civilizational Greatness

Coming from a family with a long history of loving books and valuing true education (not necessarily having anything to do with “school”), I found this essay by William Edmund Fahey interesting.  He writes about great and good books and the effect and importance they have on culture and education:

Our own disorders spring from so much neglect of the real soil of culture: the widely shared canon of good literature and the widely affirmed understanding that there must be goodness in literature, and that such literature should be read aloud within families and by each and every person who dares call himself civilized—before, during, and after their formal education.  Goodness is the soil of greatness.

I do not mean by goodness in literature and good literature that all characters should be plaster statues without depth or real complexity.  No, I mean literature which elicits a clear understanding of what is true, good, and beautiful, because what is light is seen nearby to what is dark.  Enchantment will not work in an imbalanced world of goody-goody mannequins.  The enchantment offered by good literature works because those reading or listening to a tale already know first-hand that life is complex.  We need go no further than Squirrel Nutkin to understand how this very real balance is achieved even in a children’s literature.  Nutkin is, at once, morally flawed and attractive.  No one who encounters Squirrel Nutkin—even one of five years—can fail to miss his conceit, fail to anticipate his demise, or fail to recognize his own fallenness in the impertinent will-to-power of Nutkin.

I will go so far as to say that a reader who has not had his experience nurtured and refined by the likes of Squirrel Nutkin is unlikely to comprehend Thucydides, St. Augustine, or Nietzsche.

Do the Great Books Sustain Wonder and Lead to Morality?

Over the last century, “great books” programs and colleges have fought a valiant battle to keep up the high standard of what it means to be human and civilized.  Sadly, most of the progenitors of these programs neglected or gave little time to thinking about the supporting culture—especially as it touched upon family life and social customs.  Worse still, some of the “great books” proponents thought that by rubbing up against Milton’s Areopagita, or joining in a seminar discussion of Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding, leaders would be born who would create, leaven, and sustain a good society.  Somehow the idea has held steady for decades that an almost sacred encounter with great literature between the ages of 17 and 22 could transcend a hollow and malnourished family life, where little song was heard and none sung.

Yet the great books demand a supporting culture—both before and after and throughout.

Would we place our trust in a man who was well-versed in Nichomachus’s Introduction to Arithmetic or Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, but who could not complete a line of nursery rhyme, who had never slept under the stars with Jim Hawkins, never wanted to rescue the likes of Princess Flavia, never shrunk in horror at the witches of Macbeth, never wept at the death of a bull dog named Jack or sorrowed over the sins of Kristen Lavransdatter?  The one thing a liberal arts or great books education will not do is create a moral imagination where there is none.  Yet somehow many educators believe that reading advanced works and chatting about them will lead to a good society.  It may lead to a well-read society, but that need not be a good one or a happy one.

Fahey goes on to quote John Senior’s article, “The Thousand Good Books:”

The “Great Books” movement of the last generation has not failed so much as fizzled, not because of any defect in the books—“the best that has been thought and said,” in Matthew Arnold’s phrase—but like good champagne in plastic bottles they went flat.  To change the figure, the seeds are good but the cultural soil has been depleted; the seminal ideas of Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Thomas, only properly grow in an imaginative ground saturated with fables, fairy tales, stories, rhymes, adventures, which have developed into the thousand books of Grimm, Andersen, Stevenson, Dickens, Scott, Dumas and the rest. Western tradition, taking all that was best of the Greco-Roman world into herself has given us the thousand good books as a preparation for the great ones and for all the studies in the arts and sciences, without which such studies are inhumane.

Read the rest here, including a list of recommended good books for different ages to read.

(The list looks interesting and makes me feel not nearly well-read enough!)

Why Mother’s Matter… or do they?

 

After reading Vox’s Why Mother’s Matter and the ensuing comments, I’m left feeling not particularly hopeful about the state of affairs between the sexes.  It was the comments not Vox’s post that I found troubling.  A few women dared to post and were pretty much told to shut up, accused of “bitching” and trying to “shame” men (though there were some positive responses).  I thought the women’s responses, mostly agreeing with Vox but just adding their perspective, were reasonable.  In a nutshell: if you expect women to change, to return to more traditional ways and submit to men, you men had better change too.

Vox affirms the importance of mothers, especially full-time mothers, in raising the next generation and being instrumental in fighting the culture war,  but many of the responses were apparently from angry, bitter men who hate women.  Men claim to be the rational, unemotional ones, but often come across as big crybabies and respond quite irrationally (and even emotionally, though it looks different from women’s emotion — newsflash: anger is an emotion too). They claim women are the needy ones, but whine about their needs and how they can’t get what they want out of life.  They feel justified in outlining what women are doing wrong and should change, but get all bent of of shape if a (gasp!) woman notes some ways men should change.  If you want to offer constructive criticism to the opposite sex, fine, but you better be able to take it too.

Our current cultural state, feminism, etc. has ruined things for BOTH sexes.  If you want to restore Western Civilization, stop making the opposite sex your enemy — that’s just playing into the feminist tactic to divide and conquer. Stop crying victim and refusing to recognize that women too are victims in this.  And if you’re a man who says this isn’t true and that men have been the worse victims and that a woman can’t possibly understand what’s it like to be a man in this world today, well, maybe, but what makes you think you have a clue about what it’s like to be a woman now?  There’s a reason men are sterotypically seen as clueless about women.

I’ve recently been thinking about humility and how lack of it contributes to many of the problems in our society and specifically, how it affects women.  Lack of humility leads to women resisting being put in a “lower” position to men and the idea of submitting to or serving a man in any way.  Hierarchy is seen as evil.  Part of this is feminist indoctrination of course, that even the most conservatively raised woman has picked up from the surrounding culture to some extent.  But it also stems from the desire to be special or important (and who doesn’t want to feel this way at least sometimes?).  Everyone seems to want to be a leader, an achiever, to accomplish great things.  No one wants to serve or admit that they’re not as good as someone else.  No one just wants to wash the dishes and change diapers — things that on the surface accomplish nothing of lasting value and have to be done over and over again — and never hear a word of affirmation.

Being told that one is only fit for lowly things isn’t exactly a charming proposition.  Men who reject feminist women and want a meek, little wife, but complain about women as stupid bitches who must be put in their place are idiots.  Who would want to sign up for a life full of drudgery, be considered unimportant, and get to be, not a life-partner or equal companion, but little more than a dumb slave?  You want women to return to traditional ways?  You better make it sound more attractive than the fantasy of power and success held out by feminists.

There has to be a benefit for women to giving up their freedom and independence, and let’s be honest, a woman today is taking as big risk on today’s men as a man is taking on today’s women (statistics aside about women initiating more divorces – they might be the instigator but they’ve just ruined their own lives too).  Pretty much everyone is damaged goods in some way and no one wants to get hurt.  If today’s women have been trained to be over-critical of men and have too-high, unrealistic expectations of men and marriage, today’s men aren’t exactly the most attractive, paragons of virtue either, not exactly the kind of strong men who would inspire life-long devotion and submission.

If you men want to be served and submitted to, you have to offer something in return, and yes that includes fidelity, security, and at least a little affection.  Sensible women will settle for less than perfection (a lot less); they’ll give up ideas of romance or having a soul mate or even a good friend in their spouse — and considering the lies woman have been led to believe, think what a hard pill that is to swallow.  Even for women who aren’t so sensible, is it really all their fault that they’ve been fed a pack of lies all their lives?  There are plenty of women who “wake up” and realize this.  I’d say a little humility on all sides could help, starting with not demonizing the other.

Having the sexes at each other’s throats isn’t the way to ensure the survival of Western Civilization.  Vox is on the right track to recognize the importance of mothers and give them a little credit for the hard work they do.  Some of his commenters however have got it all wrong.  The relationship between the sexes is so messed up I don’t know how to fix it —  but I’m only woman after all, what would I know?

Offense Taking is Immature

I’m not sure I understand exactly what our obligation to “not give offense” is when everyone is hair-trigger offended all the time.  But the rest is interesting.

“Being offended is a sign of immaturity because it’s an unwillingness to acknowledge and live in the truth”

“To choose to be offended is to choose to be a victim”

The Collapse of Parenting

If you start to think your own kids are terribly bratty and poorly behaved (which all kids are at times) and that you’re doing a terrible job as a parent (which all good parents sometimes think), just look at examples of how much of society at large is doing things and you’ll feel much better (unless, of course, this IS how you’re parenting and then, well, you’re in trouble).

An example from an interview with Dr. Leonard Sax :

The Associated Press: What exactly do you mean by a collapse of parenting?

Sax: I wrote about an office visit with a 10-year-old boy who is sitting and playing a game on his mobile phone, ignoring me and his mom as I’m talking with his mom about his stomachache. And his mom is describing his stomachache and the boy says, ‘Shut up, mom, you don’t know what you’re talking about.’ And he laughs.

That would have been very unusual in 1990 or 2000. It is now common: children, girls and boys, being disrespectful to parents, being disrespectful to one another, being disrespectful to themselves, verbally and otherwise. The mother did nothing, just looked a little embarrassed. The culture has changed in a profound way in a short period of time in ways that have really harmed kids.

It’s much worse today of course, but I’d say that this sort of thing was getting under way even in the 90s.  I certainly saw examples of this kind of disrespect even back then.

Dr. Sax isn’t the first to conclude that today’s parenting styles/techniques are really harming kids and not helping them grow up to be happy or successful (by any measure). Here’s some of what he thinks parent’s should be doing instead:

AP: What types of things can parents do to help a child or teen become a fulfilled adult?

Sax: The first thing is to teach humility, which is now the most un-American of virtues. When I meet with kids I ask them what they think it is and they literally have no idea. I’ve done that from third grade through 12th grade. The high school kids are more clueless than the third-graders.

They have been indoctrinated in their own awesomeness with no understanding of how this culture of bloated self-esteem leads to resentment. I see it. I see the girl who was told how amazing she was who is now resentful at age 25 because she’s working in a cubicle for a low wage and she’s written two novels and she can’t get an agent.

The second thing is to enjoy the time with your child. Don’t multitask. Get outdoors with your child.

The last thing: Teach the meaning of life. It cannot be just about getting a good job. It’s not just about achievement. It’s about who you are as a human being. You must have an answer.

That first line about humility is spot on.  And it really could be said to be true of virtue in general.  No one cares to teach virtues.  It’s all about me, me, me instead.  It’s not new knowledge that leading a fully self-centered life isn’t going to lead to true or lasting happiness or fulfillment.  How sad that everyone seems to have forgotten that.

Dr. Sax’s recent book looks interesting:

This book cover image released by Basic Books shows, "The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups," by Leonard Sax. Sax, a family physician and psychologist, argues that American families are facing a crisis of authority, where the kids are in charge, out of shape emotionally and physically and suffering because of it. He calls for a reordering of family life in response.