Thursday, June 15, 2006

Why home schooling > state or even independent schools
And self-education better still

The price of madness
On 9/11, one of my colleagues and I were watching videotape of the planes hitting the World Trade Center earlier that day. He asked my response to this surreal atrocity.... Americans were now going to have to do some very deep soul-searching to discover why so many people in the world have such an intense hatred for America that they could do this...
Which on 9/11 I knew should happen but wouldn’t:
To this day, most Americans – be they for or against the invasion of Iraq; be they Democrat or Republican, “conservative” or “liberal” – show no disposition to confront the deeper implications of all this.

How did an America of H.L. Mencken, Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, James J. Hill, Henry David Thoreau, and Anne Hutchinson manage to become a nation of Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Halliburton, and Condoleezza Rice? How did the spiritual voice of a Ralph Waldo Emerson get replaced by Pat Robertson? What epidemic of pests has eaten away at the timbers of the White House since the days of Thomas Jefferson, producing an infestation of such anti-social insects as the Clintons and the Bushes? How was Tom Paine toppled as the all-time best-selling author by the likes of such scrawlers as Al Franken and Ann Coulter?
Of course Robertson and Emerson are really in the same spectrum of Protestant private judgement as Calvinism inevitably shatters into Unitarianism (as Archbishop Robert Morse said).

Saw Coulter on the box last night — obviously an affluent Connecticut WASP slumming and revelling in all the attention. (Even sounds a bit like Katharine Hepburn.) Somewhat pretty but with little really to say. An entertainer in the same genre as rude comedians. Rush Limbaugh in a little black dress.
The war in Iraq provides a microcosmic, time-lapse record of the moral collapse of a once decent society.
And don’t blame the gays, Hollywood or the devil’s music.
No, to make any fundamental challenge to such wholesale political wrongdoing requires a resource that most Americans gladly abandoned long ago: a set of clear and focused transcendent principles.
Which of course true religion offers.
In an age in which a collective mindset is expected to drown out the voice of the individual, philosophic principles have been replaced by public opinion polls.

Herman Hesse criticized a journalist who stated, in the years surrounding World War I, that a concern for the inner-focused life was “introverted rubbish.” Such a viewpoint would doubtless be shared by most modern Americans, including the war-whooping evangelicals* who make a pretense of being religious as they cheer on a war that the founder of their religion would have condemned.
The world’s schoolyard bully

From LRC.

*And other Christians.

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