Shortly after arriving as an exile in the United States in 1974, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn offended his American guests by bemoaning the weakness and spiritual torpor of the West. Although he had previously admired the West and looked to it for salvation from Communism, upon arriving here he immediately knew the West could offer no cultural guidance. He was disappointed by its moral relativism, lack of self-restraint, hastiness, superficiality, and unbridled capitalism that had worked its way from the pocketbook to the heart. He was dismayed by the grabbing materialism of the consumer, widespread television stupor, and love for intolerable music. In 1978, he told the Harvard graduating class: “But should someone ask me whether I would indicate the West such as it is today as a model to my country, frankly I would have to answer negatively. No, I could not recommend your society in its present state as an ideal for the transformation of ours. Through intense suffering our country has now achieved a spiritual development of such intensity that the western system in its present state of spiritual exhaustion does not look attractive.” Not surprisingly, Solzhenitsyn found the source of western stultification in the Enlightenment. He hates the Enlightenment; it is “his great enemy.” Solzhenitsyn realized that, as the Enlightenment took hold, “limitations were eroded everywhere in the West” and “a total emancipation occurred from the moral heritage of Christian centuries. . .” See Edward Ericson, Solzhenitsyn and the Modern World (Regnery Gateway, 1993), 132-138. See also the text of the Harvard Commencement Address. Re-printed in Imprimis, August 1978.
I hope my sardonic humor was evident Saturday. I don’t really think my UP Michigan brethren are borderline retards. That was a joke. I was serious, however, when I said it’s gorgeous, often unexplored, country, a land relatively untouched by human hands . . . or intelligence (chuckle).
Another worthy excerpt from that Zmirak piece: “The lovely, brave, devout Marie Antoinette – who as a girl had flirted with the boy Mozart while he played the piano – was caged like an animal for months, watching her maltreated boy, Louis, die slowly of disease. Then she was dragged off to be beheaded. Why? Mainly for being foreign, and having had more wit than her husband, enough to try to resist the collapse of her adopted country into subhuman chaos.”
As long as I’m linking to Taki Mag, I might as well link to the current Week That Perished. It’s one of the better ones (which is a high compliment, since they’re almost all good). I’m not even going to paste an excerpt. Just click over and read it.
The picture accompanying this story is pretty wild: huge iceberg threatens small Greenland village. The concern is that, if it calves, it could cause a tsunami. A pretty freaking cold one, at that. No word on whether Trump is to blame.
Michigan’s is “yooper,” meaning “Someone from the upper peninsula. Urbane lower peninusulaphiles like me and people from The Thumb enjoying mocking the yoopers, often making fun of their dialect and obvious borderline retardation. Sample:
A yooper goes into a job interview, and presents himself well.
The employer says, you seem to be missing 5 years on this part of your resume. What happened there?”
The man replied “Oh that’s when I went to Yale.”
The employer is impressed. “That’s great, you’re hired!”
The yooper is super happy and says “Yay I got a yob!”
The UP in Michigan, incidentally, is beautiful . . . and sparsely populated. If you’re looking for a great wilderness frontier, I highly recommend it. I believe it would compare favorably to other relatively unexplored haunts, like northern California and rural Maine. The two problems with the UP, however: the cold and the black flies. The cold ruins the winter (which runs from, like, September to June) and the flies ruin summer (July 4th to 8th).
Two funnies for the bar tonight: (1) “My girlfriend says I’m a stalker. Well, she’s not exactly my girlfriend yet.” (2) “#me too” traditionally translates to “pound me too.”
Always something new under the entrepreneurial sun: “Beer ice cream: Now officially legal in New York state and available this summer.” Link. Chalk one up against the neo-Prohibitionists. Or not: You have to be 21 to eat it.
It’s not too often you see TDE and Amnesty International join hands: “The public flogging on Tuesday in Iran of a young man convicted of consuming alcohol when he was just 14 or 15 years old over a decade ago highlights the inhumanity of a justice system that legalizes brutality, said Amnesty International today.” Link. TDE thinks prohibiting 14 or 15 year olds from consuming alcohol is inhumane.
Natural Law Analysis of Underage Drinking: It’s fine for underage people to drink. The rationale: It’s unjust to treat similarly-situated persons differently. In this country, an 18-year-old has to register for the draft and is expected to be ready to serve in the military, but he’s deemed insufficiently mature to drink a beer. That’s unjust (and absurd). If a law is unjust, it doesn’t bind the conscience. If it doesn’t bind the conscience, a person doesn’t have to follow it, unless the harm to society outweighs the harm done to the individual by following it. In this case, zero harm follows to society by an eighteen-year-old drinking a few beers, so the law need not be followed. * * * * * * * Good luck explaining that to the police officer or judge, but for purposes of determining whether you need to take it to confession, there you go. (Aside: If a youth’s parents prohibit drinking, the Fourth Commandment comes into play . . . but that transcends this blurb.)
Extreme embalming. I can’t even begin to get my head around this enough to form an opinion. “[T]he body of taxi driver Victor Perez Cardona, a former cancer patient, was positioned in his cab — with his hands on the steering wheel — a request his daughter says was characteristic of her father, who loved jokes. According to the Daily Mail, some mourners even sat beside Perez Cardona for one last ride.”
Random Blurb from the Notebooks: People talk about Nock’s intense privacy with amusement, an anecdotal aside of a great writer’s life. But it’s not just an anecdote. He, in a very real sense, snuffed himself out, which was consistent with the larger point he was making: self-assertion through activism is wrong.
It’s Kavanaugh. I told my son Jack when I first heard his name last week as the possible nominee, “I know nothing about him, but I can virtually guarantee you that he’s a liberal Catholic, based merely on his last name.” We’ll see if I’m right. Catholic Vote says I’m dead wrong.
Marie helped me stake tomato plants at the produce site last night. She was bummin’ about it. I’ll have to remind her that she loved these books as a kid:
More than the quaint bildungsroman of a pioneer lass, the “Little House” series is a tribute to the frontier. From the print edition:https://t.co/CDYPlYCuRm
The 19th century prairie frontier, no matter how hard, was far more promising that the frontier Europe has chosen to explore: “Polling data provide massive evidence of Muslim anti-Semitism in France. Fifty-six percent of believing and practicing Muslims in France believe that there is “a Zionist conspiracy on a global scale,” according to a 2014 Fondapol study. French soldiers guard synagogues and Jewish schools. French Jews are advised by their community leaders not to show themselves on the street with visible signs of Jewish identity, such as a kippah.” Link.
Random Blurb from the Notebooks: John Vianney was able to pass along truths in words that the simplest person can understand—strong evidence of deep understanding. He did not, for instance, need a lengthy exegesis to explain the philosophy of death and justice (embodied in the Greek word Thanatos). He merely told listeners, “To die well we must live well.” He did not need to understand psychology to note that the “way to destroy bad habits is by watchfulness and by doing often those things which are the opposite to one’s besetting sins.” He did not need to study and read the Stoics, Plato and Aristotle to understand the oneness of virtue: “It is only the first step which is hard in the way of abnegation. When we are once fairly entered upon it, all goes smoothly; and when we have this virtue, we have every other.” He understood the principal of connaturality (which says that sin muddles thinking) so well that he could summarize it for his rowdy parishioners as “It is just those who have the least fear of God and his judgments in their hearts that have nothing but pleasure in their heads.” The examples of his simple wisdom could go on and on.
Whew, the hot weather finally broke. My dehydration immediately improved, even though I started logging a lot more time at the produce site. We got our first crop of kohlrabi yesterday. We aren’t sure how it’ll sell, but it really did well in inclimate conditions.
Another college physician has been accused of molesting players. This time, it’s at OSU. The problem is, the doctor has been dead for a dozen years. As a Michigan alum, I’ve always known OSU students are slow, but that’s ridiculous.
But oh my, the dedication of the D1 athlete: “Nick Nutter, an All-American wrestler in the 1990s, said he constantly did a calculation before deciding whether to see Strauss: ‘Is this injury bad enough that I’m going to get molested for it?'” The answer for me would’ve been, “Nope, nada, no, frick no, etcno” every time, but hey, I didn’t go to Ohio State.
The problem with idiocy is, there’s no bottom. You just going deeper and deeper into moronic waters. “Episcopal Church considers adding gender-neutral language regarding God to its book of prayers.” Link.
Random Blurb from the Notebooks: “Schall does have a soft spot for at least one “frivolous” aspect of college life today: sports. He’s a sports fan and dedicates an entire essay to the goodness of spectator sports. Citing athletic references from Plato and St. Paul through the Rose Bowl and World Series, he points out that, since athletics have held mankind’s attention so rapturously for so long, they must speak volumes about human nature, about us.”
My apologies for not posting this morning. The farmer’s market called. Max and Tess did well, bringing in well over $100. Popular: lettuce mix and sunflowers; pretty popular: cherry tomatoes and individual zinnias and cosmos.
"garrulousness, that unhealthy tendency to externalize all the treasures of the soul by displaying them in seas… https://t.co/1McGlRCEhw
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