“Wisdom of the Ages” – Anthony Esolen

Esolen-Anthony-at-Hillsdale-College-2012-1280x450

Here is a quick and generally reliable rule to follow. If people have always said it, it is probably true; it is the distilled wisdom of the ages. If people have not always said it, but everybody is saying it now, it is probably a lie; it is the concentrated madness of the moment.

~ Anthony Esolen, noted Dante scholar, professor of literature and Western civilization (currently at Thomas More College), and author of many books, including Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization.

 

Wisdom from Livy – the study of history

Titus Livius – Livy

” The study of history is the best medicine for a sick mind, for in history you have a record of the infinite variety of human experience plainly set out for all to see, and in that record you can find for yourself and your country both examples and warnings: fine things to take as models, base things, rotten through and through, to avoid.”

~ Titus Livius, better known as Livy: Roman historian, 59 BC-17 AD

The prescient wisdom of Robert E. Lee

General Lee - portrait photograph

“I yet believe that the maintenance of the rights and authority reserved to the states and to the people, is not only essential to the adjustment and balance of the general system, but the safeguard to the continuance of a free government. I consider it as the chief source of stability to our political system, whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it.”

~ Robert E. Lee in correspondence with Lord Acton

As “Marse Robert” accurately perceived, our Founders carefully set up a detailed and intricate system of “checks and balances” to preserve our Constitutional liberties, and our status as not a pure democracy, but a representative Republic.

And that included not only a balance of power between and among the three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial), but between the Federal government and the States. Indeed, it it worth noting that the Preamble to the Constitution speaks of the establishment of a Constitution “for these United States.” Note that: “for these” States, as distinct, sovereign entities, not “for the” single entity called “the United States.” That is not accidental, or an infelicitous choice of words!

Unfortunately, since our Founding, the corruption that comes with the desire for power has been leading the Federal government to constantly accrue powers to itself, against the clear directive of the Constitution: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people” (the Tenth Amendment).

President Lincoln’s determination to preserve the Union even at the cost of the Constitution – against which Lee, at the head of the Army of Northern Virginia, so ably but ultimately unsuccessfully contended – was a body-blow to the Founders’ intentions, and the pace of Federal usurpation has been accelerating ever since. For many of us, “aggressive abroad and despotic at home” is not too strong an expression of the unfortunate result.

Chesterton on Christianity and barbarism

Cathedral interior - Gothic arches

Wise words from the great G.K. Chesterton:

“If our faith had been a mere fad of the fading empire, fad would have followed fad in the twilight, and if the civilization ever re-emerged (and many such have never re-emerged) it would have been under some new barbaric flag. But the Christian Church was the last life of the old society and was also the first life of the new. She took the people who were forgetting how to make an arch and she taught them to invent the Gothic arch.

“In a word, the most absurd thing that could be said of the Church is the thing we have all heard said of it. How can we say that the Church wishes to bring us back into the Dark Ages? The Church was the only thing that ever brought us out of them.”

— G.K. Chesterton: “Orthodoxy,” Chap. IX – Authority and the Adventurer | http://bit.ly/2s1FelS

“Europe, rise from your knees…”

Europe, rise from your knees - Polish PM

Indeed.

Prime Minister of Poland Beata Maria Szydło makes a cogent comment in the wake of the Manchester bombing in England, where a Moslem suicide bomber, the British-born son of immigrants from Libya, killed 22 mostly teenage female (or pre-teen, in some cases) concert-goers and wounded 60 more. Most recent news is that two brothers and the father of the bomber have also been arrested, one in Britain and the others in Libya. Police are investigating ties to both ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Most official news reports seem to focus on Manchester remaining “united” and not letting this latest horrific incident “divide our community.” Sure, Britain, Europe, continue cuddling the vipers to your breast, and wondering why you’re getting bit…

QOTD: On ancestors and descendants

Major David French Boyd, CSA
Major David French Boyd, 9th Louisiana Infantry, Confederate States Army; First President of Louisiana State University

“He who feels no pride in his ancestors is unworthy to be remembered by his descendants.”

Maj. David French Boyd, CSA; 1st President of LSU

Particularly ironic, in light of current events in Louisiana (New Orleans, in particular)!