Sunday, March 23, 2014

Western Arrogance and Decline (by Bruce Thorton from Frontpage Mag)

Two thousand years ago the Roman historian Livy, surveying the wreckage of the Roman Republic, invited his reader to contemplate the “life and manners” of his ancestors that led to their dominance, and “then, as discipline gradually declined, let him follow in his thoughts their morals, at first as slightly giving way, next how they sunk more and more, then began to fall headlong, until he reaches the present times, when we can neither endure our vices, nor their remedies.” Livy specifically linked this decline to the vast increase of wealth that followed the success of Rome, and that “introduced avarice, and a longing for excessive pleasures, amidst luxury and a passion for ruining ourselves and destroying every thing else.”
Clich├ęs, one might say, but no less true for that. The astonishing wealth of the West, more widely distributed than in any other civilization, the abandonment of religion as the foundation of morals and virtues, the transformation of political freedom into self-centered license, and the commodification of hedonism that makes available to everyman luxuries and behaviors once reserved for a tiny elite, have made self-indulgence and the present more important than self-sacrifice and the future. Declining birthrates, a preference for spending on social welfare transfers rather than on defense, and a willingness to beggar our children and grandchildren with debt in order to finance these entitlements– all bespeak a people whose wealth deludes them into thinking that they can imprudently ignore the future and indefinitely afford these luxuries that in fact insidiously weaken the foundations of our social and political order. This process is more advanced in Europe than in the U.S., but we in America have been steadily moving towards the same mentality.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Journalist.... What Should They Be and Do?

From the 1389 Blog and McGraw Hill.

In their book The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect, Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel list the basic guiding concepts for journalists:
  • Journalism’s first obligation is to tell the truth.
  • Journalism’s first loyalty is to its citizens.
  • The essence of journalism is a discipline of verification.
  • Journalists must maintain an independence from those they cover.
  • Journalists must serve as an independent monitor of power.
  • Journalism must provide a forum for public criticism and comment.
  • Journalists must make the significant interesting and relevant.
  • Journalists should keep the news in proportion and make it comprehensive.
  • Journalists have an obligation to personal conscience.

I can't think of very many journalists who meet those goals, and sadly, most Americans do not seem to expect it.  They look for agreement with their own views, not facts.  When presented with facts, the public calls journalists meanspirited and  heartless.  I am reminded of Paul's letter to the Corinthians....

"1And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. 2I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, 3for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?…"

Are we all helpless infants then, tolerating only milk, and not yet ready for meat?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Return of the King: The Sacrifice of Faramir - Billy Boyd - The Edge of ...

It isn't so easy to tell the good guys from the bad in real life.  Or maybe it is, after all. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Progressive Education

When I was in grad school, I proofread a fellow candidate's thesis proposal, and in two pages, I found 64 grammar and spelling errors.  She was the product of a progressive high school and college whose goals included giving people a chance to progress even if "educationally challenged". That was the late 1970's.

Now we have a program in New York in which failing students can get full credit without attending class.They would instead watch video lessons and take tests online.  This program was exposed by the Times on the 9th in a scathing article.  Administrators for the program were not happy, and encouraged students to write in defending the program.  The results are between sad and laughable.  This is one of the many reasons our country has fallen so low in the world's standings for literacy.  The less we demand of our students, the less we reward them, the less we get from them.  How surprising.  Progressive education is at all. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Politicians...Scum of the Earth


I am inordinately fed up with politicians. Lawyers pretty much disgust me, but when they go into politics, they hit a new low.