Thursday, July 13, 2023

gratitude and obligation................

 There is a line of obligation that connects us to those who gave us what we have; and our concern for the future is an extension of that line.  We take the future of our community into account not by fictitious cost-benefit calculations, but more concretely, by seeing ourselves as inheriting benefits and passing them on.  Concern for future generations is a non-specific outgrowth of gratitude.

-Roger Scruton, Conservatism: An Invitation to the Grand Tradition

Stringing words together........................ a fun sort of way:

“I’ll have to ask you to forgive me for sounding like I’m suffering from Sudden Onset Multiple Personality Disorder — that’s a thing, right? — because I’m only following a news cycle that spins and flips around like two fat kids riding a seesaw mounted to a trampoline inside a bouncy house.”

Can I get............................... Amen?

Sunday, July 9, 2023

An evening's stroll through the garden .........


proud property owners................

 The Peasantry:  Many of them in 1789, were still day laborers or sharecroppers, working other men's land; but by 1793 half the soil of France was owned by peasants, most of whom had bought their acres at bargain prices from the confiscated properties of the Church; and all but a few peasants had freed themselves from feudal dues.  The stimulus of ownership turned labor from drudgery into devotion, daily adding to the surplus that built homes and comforts, churches and schools—if only the taxgatherer could be propitiated or deceived.  And taxes could be paid with assignats—government paper money—at their face value, while products could be sold for assignats multiplied a hundred times to equal their nominal worth.  Never had the French earth been so zealously and fruitfully tilled.

     This liberation of the largest class in a now classless society was the most visible and lasting effect of the Revolution.  These sturdy providers became the strongest defenders of the Revolution, for it had given them the land, which a Bourbon restoration might take away.  For the same reason they supported Napoleon, and for fifteen years gave him half of their sons.  As proud property owners they allied themselves politically with the bourgeoisie, and served, throughout the nineteenth century, as conservative ballast amid the repeated paroxysms of the state.

-Will & Ariel Durant, The Age of Napoleon 

one man.........................

 But all made one error: they calculated without the human element.  Seldom in the history of Europe has the insignificance of one man had so profound an effect upon his period.  Frederick was no leader; indeed he was a man of so blank a personality as to defy all attempts to make him one.  In vain to say that the occasion mattered more than the man.  In the long run the enemies of the Hapsburg must be drawn into Frederick's quarrel or perish, but afraid to trust so mild a leader they hesitated until Frederick had fallen, until Bohemia and the Palatine were lost, and then spent a generation in trying to fill the breach which had been made.

-C. V. Wedgwood, The Thirty Years War

Passive patience vs active patience............

 The least effective form of patience is passive.

A person who is passively patient waits for the universe to give them what they think they deserve. Five years from now, they’ll still be waiting. Passive patience violates Newton’s third law, which states, ‘For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.’

No action. No result.

The world isn’t indebted to you, and no one is destined to come your way, tap your shoulder, and present you with the golden opportunity you’ve been waiting for. It doesn’t work that way.

The most effective form of patience is active patience.

-Farnum Street, full post is here


 Test for yourself your capacity for the good man's life; the life of one content with his allotted part in the universe, who seeks only to be just in his doings and charitable in his ways.

-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 4:25


Traveling one day—my brother the sieur de la Brousse and I—during our civil wars, we met a gentleman of good appearance. He was of the opposing party, but I knew nothing of it, for he pretended otherwise; and the worst of these wars is that the cards are so shuffled that your enemy is distinguished from yourself by no apparent mark either of language or of bearing, and has been brought up in the same laws and customs and the same atmosphere, so that it is hard to avoid confusion and disorder.

-Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Works, Book 2, Chapter 5

On friendly relations with some old friends....

      For let me tell you that since my arrival in Rome I have re-established friendly relations with some old friends - my books.  I had ceased associating with them, not because I found them annoying but because they made me slightly ashamed.  For having plunged into the middle of the most turbulent happenings in highly untrustworthy company, I felt I had not sufficiently followed the advice the books had given me.  But they forgive me . . .

-Marcus Tullius Cicero, from a letter written to Marcus Terentius Varro in 46 B.C.


 Universities can get away with obscurantism and enforced ideological conformism because of their enormous power over labor markets.  They are no longer primarily about learning, as Jane Jacobs noted, but about providing the credential needed for a high paying job.  One recent study of American college students found that more than one-third "did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning" in four years of college. Employers report that recent graduates are short on critical thinking skills.

     Equally worrying is that students in the West are not acquiring familiarity with their own cultural heritage.  Universities no longer take the care they once did to transmit the genius of the past—with its often inconvenient lessons—to the next generation.  We are in danger of "mass amnesia," being cut off from knowledge of our own cultural history, writes Jacobs.

-Joel Kotkin, The Coming of Neo Feudalism: A Warning To The Global Middle Class