sábado, 4 de marzo de 2017

The idea of freedom that so united us in the past now divides us

Essays of the Week

A Solution for a Fragmented America

by John Horvat

If there is one thing that has always united, and can even still unite Americans, it is our love for freedom. Indeed, the mere mention of freedom has always served as an inebriating rallying cry that opens up seemingly infinite possibilities of realizing dreams. This concept is found in our myths and is intertwined in our national narratives. Soldiers fight and die for freedom. However, the idea of freedom that so united us in the past now divides us. Freedom used to be the means by which we celebrated our diversity. Today, it splinters us up and set us in radical discord with each other. It has become the point of contention that is tearing the country apart. The problem is not freedom itself. It is what freedom has come to mean...


Homo Sapiens: The Unfinished Animal

by George Stanciu

I don’t know about you, but I wish I had been born with the user’s manual for the human being, or at least received basic instruction in school about the fundamental equipment every human being possesses. In my youth, I was incredibly ignorant about my senses, emotions, memory, imagination, intellect, and will. For me, it was like waking up alone and finding myself on board the space shuttle, and, then, through trial and error trying to figure out how to fly the machine, without much success. After a series of personal disasters that are irrelevant to report here, I was forced to write a user manual to help guide me through life. I began with a cursory glance at animals other than Homo sapiens; my once-over convinced me that they have a complete life given to them by nature. No animal except Homo sapiens has any choice in what life to live...


Lent, Laughter, and the Joyful Soul

by Dwight Longenecker

As we enter the solemn season of Lent it is worth stopping to remember that the saints also say that we should keep a “joyful Lent.” There is nothing wrong with jousting and jesting at the same time—especially if the one we are jousting with and jesting about is ourself. While we should take the state of our souls seriously, we needn’t take ourselves so seriously. In this world darkened by the gloom of the seriously self-righteous, what is needed more than ever is the rumbustious, rollicking good humor of men and women who have seen the eternal perspective and have therefore put this world in its proper place. When we have seen that the whole great drama is in fact a comedy (because it has a happy ending), we are able to be confident and enjoy all that the good world and the good Lord have to offer...


Awakening the Moral Imagination

by Vigen Guroian

The great fairy tales and children’s fantasy stories attractively depict character and virtue. In these stories, the virtues glimmer as if in a looking glass, and wickedness and deception are unmasked of their pretensions to goodness and truth. These stories make us face the unvarnished truth about ourselves while compelling us to consider what kind of people we want to be. Much of what passes for moral education fails to nurture the moral imagination. Yet, only a pedagogy that awakens and enlivens the moral imagination will persuade the child or the student that courage is the ultimate test of good character, that honesty is essential for trust and harmony among persons, and that humility and a magnanimous spirit are goods greater than the prizes won by selfishness, pride, or the unscrupulous exercise of position and power...


The Virtue of Irrelevance

by Roger Scruton

The immediate effect of the relevance revolution was to introduce into the classroom topics relevant to the interests of their teachers—topics like social justice, gender equality, nuclear disarmament, third-world poverty, gay rights. It is a sad day for education when the loss of knowledge is described, instead, as a gain—when the old curriculum, based on subjects that had proved their worth over many decades, is replaced by a curriculum based purely on the causes and effects of the day. To think that relevance, so understood, shows a respect for children that was absent from the old knowledge-based curriculum is to suffer from a singular deficiency in sympathy. Respect for children means respect for the adults that they will one day become; it means helping them to the knowledge, skills, and social graces that they will need if they are to be respected in that wider world where they will be on their own and no longer protected...


Rhetoric and Danger

by Glenn Arbery

Being able to speak well and move people can also be dangerous. As important as it is to use language well, it is more important to use it to move people with the truth, as Socrates argued long ago. When we think of what happened in Europe in the early decades of the past century, we recognize again how important it is to be able to listen with understanding and to speak in such a way that the oldest and highest truths move us to see the present moment rightly. How else did Churchill help England turn the European darkness into its “finest hour”? We’re grateful once again to think how healthy our curriculum is—not to mention our policy of banning cell phones. In the age of Twitter, we will continue to cultivate rhetors and writers as we prepare our students for their own heroic future...

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