“Imagine a world that is clean…” – on traditional courtship and dating, by Professor Anthony Esolen

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and outdoor
The Sailing Signal Gun, 1880-1881 – by Arthur Hughes

Source: Is Traditional Courtship Really “Unrealistic” Today? | Crisis Magazine

From the inimitable Tony Esolen:

“Imagine a world that is clean, insofar as a world of fallen human beings is ever going to be so. Imagine then that a boy’s heart would beat a hundred times a minute just at the thought that he might hold the hand of the beautiful girl whom he admires so much – because she is kind and good and merry.

“Imagine that they have walked aside from a feast at their parish church, to watch the herons wading in the river to catch their fish, and the sun is deepening to orange in the west, and the sounds of children playing come to their ears from far away. Imagine that she too can hardly think of anything else but his presence, and that she is hoping that he will take her hand, though she is a little shy of it.

“Imagine that that they sit on a bench, and when they run out of things to say, he places his hand upon hers. And they sit like that for a long while…

“That boy and girl I have described will remember that moment for the rest of their lives, whether or not they end up marrying one another. It will be a memory filled with the sweetness and the innocence and the promise of youth.

“It will be a moment without guilt, or shame, or, God forbid, the remembered fear that they might have made a child, one that they were not in the slightest bit ready to care for, and one whose life would be at grave danger as soon as he were conceived. They could stand before God and man without anything for which to apologize.”

Just gonna leave this here…

P.S. Read the whole essay. It’s worth it.

Why Don’t Schools Teach Children Morality and Empathy? | The Atlantic

The pressures of national academic standards have pushed character education out of the classroom.

Source: Why Don’t Schools Teach Children Morality and Empathy? – The Atlantic

“By omission, are U.S. schools teaching their students that character, morality, and ethics aren’t important in becoming productive, successful citizens?”

Most of my reader would at once answer some variation on “sadly, yes” – and we can see many of the bitter fruits of this in our society – but the fact that the question is even being asked is significant. You know the situation is bad when a mainstream, Left-leaning journal like The Atlantic is wondering whether we’re doing a poor job of teaching character, ethics, and morality to our students!

Granted, that is a job that is best done by parents and church, not schools. But like many other once-common life skills (I’m thinking of things like gardening, the use of simple tools, and home economics), ethics, morality, and character are things that many contemporary parents are ill-equipped to teach their sons and daughters, because they’re not too well-versed in them, themselves.

Despite the old tongue-in-cheek adage that “those who can’t do, teach,” you can’t teach what you don’t know, yourself.

What is interesting (though not surprising) to me is that students are hungry for such instruction, or at least discussion and guided exploration:

“‘Do you think you should discuss morality and ethics more often in school?’ I asked the class. The vast majority of heads nodded in agreement. Engaging in this type of discourse, it seemed, was a mostly foreign concept for the kids… As my students seemed to crave more meaningful discussions and instruction relating to character, morality, and ethics, it struck me how invisible these issues have become in many schools.”

This is indicative of an abject failure in our educational system. In an earlier and wiser age, the formation of students into not only good citizens, but good persons, was a primary – perhaps the primary – function of schooling. There may not have been a formal class called “ethics,” but moral lesson permeated the academic ones.

Duty to God and country, respect for duly-constituted authority, and compassion towards others were part of the curriculum: from the Pledge of Allegiance and Lord’s Prayer in the morning, through “reading and ‘riting and ‘rithmatic, taught to the tune of a hickory stick,” throughout the day. Stories (and poems, which tend to be especially memorable) selected for reading, reciting, and expostulating upon in various forms invariably carried a moral message.

That was already starting to go away by the time I got into school, in the early 1970s, and the trend has only accelerated.

Unfortunately, some of what it has been replaced by has been of questionable merit – the starkly utilitarian teaching-to-the-test of “No Child Left Behind,” and its successor, “Common Core” (as the linked essay describes) – or even frankly morally vicious, as in the moral relativism and intentional sidelining of traditional morality that has become the dominant ethos in the contemporary educational establishment over the last four or five decades.

We didn’t get where we are now overnight, and we won’t get back to a place of greater sanity overnight, either; but if reflections like the linked essay can be published in “mainstream” media outlets like The Atlantic, that at least gives some grounds for hope that pendulum may be starting, however slowly, to swing back. God grant it! It needs to.

QOTD: Turley on tradition, moral obligation, and harmony

While traditional societies believe that every person born into the world is born into a world of divine obligation, where we’re morally obliged to conform our lives into a harmonious relationship with the divine meaning and purpose of the world around us, globalistic secular societies reduce the human person to a sovereign individual who has no moral obligations apart from that which he or she chooses for his or herself.”

– Dr. Steve Turley

Secular, globalist, and Left-wing partisans would not see that as a reduction, of course; they see it as an elevation: the individual human being enjoys god-like sovereignty, and the ability to re-make the world around him or her (or “they,” or “xe,” or whatever…) in his/her/its own image. But they are wrong. The world is as it is, not as any of us would have it be, be we traditional or “progressive.”

The thing is, though, reality favors the traditional. It’s pesky, that way! If you jump off a roof, gravity kicks in, and you’ll likely break your leg (or worse). Men are better at some things and worse at others; and vice versa for women: traditional gender roles are not, contra the progressives, entirely cultural constructs; and the cultural norms that do exist are rooted in biological reality. Birds of a feather really do flock together. And no matter how badly you want to be a different “gender,” you are what your genes make you: you can fight them, but you can’t change them.

And you know all those dratted moral standards that so interfere with our freedom, from the Ten Commandments, to the fable of the ant and the grasshopper (and its analogs in other cultures), to the universal human norm that one should be very cautious about trusting those who aren’t part of one’s “tribe,” and especially those who have a known history of causing trouble?

Yeah, those: they’re there to keep you safe and secure, doing what needs to be done to in order (emphasis on “order,” since lack of order leads to chaos and destruction) to survive and thrive within a relatively close-knit and homogeneous community… which is the only kind you can be sure has your best interests at heart. In other words, moral standards don’t exist to make your life difficult; quite the contrary: they exist for your own good. Continue reading “QOTD: Turley on tradition, moral obligation, and harmony”

George Washington’s wisdom

Just created this a little bit ago. It seemed apt, in light of the Las Vegas massacre, among many other things…

George Washington - Believe me now?

The words are from then-President George Washington’s “Farewell Address” (1796). By “religion and morality” is meant Christian religion and morality, or at any rate the Judeo-Christian religious and moral tradition which has formed one of the major underpinnings of Western civilization for the last 1500+ years.

We have, as a culture (if one can use the term, currently…) and society, been abandoning this “great pillar of human happiness” – along with other pillars of our civilization, such as the Greco-Roman political and philosophical tradition, and the courage, passion, and physical prowess of our Celtic and Germanic forebears – at an alarming rate over the last 50 to 75 years, and I think it is not coincidental that we have also seen our civilization in steep and accelerating decline over the same period.

A tree cut off from its roots does not grow, blossom, and bear fruit: it withers. The same is also true of a culture.

Prayer is not wishful nonsense. It helps us to shut up and think | Giles Fraser – Loose canon | Opinion | The Guardian

Under that flag of convenience called free speech, people tear up their decency in the search for “likes”. Oh, how cheaply we trade the things that matter most. Have social media and the stamping foot of the 24-hour news cycle killed off the quiet dignity of grief, both religious and non-religious?

Source: Prayer is not wishful nonsense. It helps us to shut up and think | Giles Fraser Loose canon | Opinion | The Guardian

Some thoughtful reflections from Giles Fraser, a parish priest in south London, who blogs under the name of “The Loose Canon”:

Prayer is not a way of telling God the things he already knows. Nor is it some act of collective lobbying, whereby the almighty is encouraged to see the world from your perspective if you screw up your face really hard and wish it so. Forget Christopher Robin at the end of the bed. Prayer is mostly about emptying your head waiting for stuff to become clear. There is no secret formula. And holding people in your prayers is not wishful thinking. It’s a sort of compassionate concentration, where someone is deliberately thought about in the presence of the widest imaginable perspective – like giving them a mental cradling.

But above all, prayer is often just a jolly good excuse to shut up for a while and think.

He seems, from what I can determine, to be toward the left end of the political spectrum. But he is square on about this!

And of course, this is leaving out of the equation the question of whether or not prayer really is efficacious. As Christians, we believe that God knows our needs before we ask them, and often responds before we can ask. But he still wants to hear us ask – that demonstrates that we know precisely what we want and need, and hopefully have reflected on why.

Does praying increase the chance that God will respond? Maybe, maybe not. I’m inclined to doubt it, for the reasons I’ve already delineated. But I’m not going to stop praying, for that reason! It’s been said that prayer is not really for God, but for us, and I agree with that. It gives us the chance to thoughtfully ponder – and to lay before that most awesome and transcendent divine reality, God Himself – our concerns, and the concerns of others: to hold them lovingly in our hearts, and minds. That is no bad thing, regardless of any practical effects it may or may not have.

Prayer should not, it is true, distract us from taking what practical steps we are able to take, to effect the changes we want to see. As St. James the Apostle wrote,

If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. (James 2:15-16)

Yet that does not invalidate prayer, as an act of mercy, of kindness, of compassion – and of faith in a God who is also merciful, kind, and compassionate. Sometimes prayer can, and often should, accompany action. Sometimes a situation is so overwhelming, or so out of our control, that all we can do is pray. And if that’s all we can do, then we should certainly do all that we can do.

Inspiration and hope for the future!

The following was posted by a young gentleman(18-21 age bracket) on a social network where I have a presence:

I believe men are protectors.
As men we are given strength to stand for what we believe. We are given a physical nature that can be used to protect and love or destroy.
I want to leave a legacy of people who I helped, of people I guarded from harm.
I want to be a man who loves deeply and truly. Who is not afraid to display weakness, but knows he is strong.
I want to be a man that proves my masculinity by being gentle and respectful to women. Who proves my heritage by making her feel safe in my arms and comforted by my touch. I want to make her quiver and tingle in the most innocent and wonderful ways.
I will demonstrate my strength by standing up for the weak. By speaking kindly when I don’t want to. By listening to both sides of the story.

I want to be a sheepdog, and the very best version of myself. I want to continually grow and learn. I desire knowledge and a level head. I want to be the person who remains calm and collected when the world around me is tangled in flames and in chaos.

As I told him, it is a joy to see these words, especially coming from a member of the rising generation. It gives me hope for the future!

What is cultural Marxism?

As a blog devoted to the defense and promotion of the traditional, the classical, and the enduring – or to put it another way, “the good, the true, and the beautiful” – The Anglophilic Anglican is obviously on the polar-opposite end of the spectrum from that pervasive and pernicious metapolitical phenomenon often known as “cultural Marxism.” But what is cultural Marxism, anyway?

The precise definition can vary with the individual or entity doing the defining, but it is fair to say that cultural Marxism includes at least these elements:

  1. Globalist and internationalist in scope and ethos, cultural Marxism opposes national or regional loyalty, pride, and patriotism, supporting instead transnational structures like the UN and EU.
  2. Cultural Marxism typically supports “open borders” and “liberal” (e.g., lax or nonexistence) immigration policies, employing euphemisms (such as “undocumented” instead of the factual illegal, and “refugees” rather than the more accurate “migrants”) to mask or justify its intentions.
  3. Deeply anti-traditional, cultural Marxism sees (rightly!) traditional cultural, spiritual / religious, and even political norms and values as antithetical, indeed hostile, to its goal of transforming society in its own image.
  4. Highly secular, even atheistic, cultural Marxism is opposed to traditional religious and moral values, particularly those rooted in the Christian faith, although it is willing to use quasi-religious rhetoric and the idea of interfaith “coexistence” to advance its agenda.
  5. Aggressively “multi-cultural,” cultural Marxism claims to champion “diversity,” but appears to fail to realize that making every place demographically identical is not in fact diversity, but homogeneity. Or perhaps it does realize this, and that’s part of the agenda…
  6. While claiming “individual rights” as the justification for much of its raison d’être, cultural Marxism paradoxically adopts strong-arm, authoritarian tactics – from shaming campaigns (accusing opponents of “racism,” “sexism,” “xenophobia,” etc.) to violent protests / riots – for squashing dissent and imposing its view of the world, in the process trampling the individual rights of those who do not agree with its ideology.
  7. Despite its antipathy to traditional moral standards, cultural Marxism is quite willing to use traditional terminology and concepts, such as “compassion” and “fairness,” to justify its attempts to overthrow traditional social and political structures and moral values.
  8. Cultural Marxism is methodical and gradual in its methods, and takes the long view of history, knowing that every moral or social innovation accepted makes it that much more difficult to justify opposition to the next step; it counts on its opponents becoming fatigued, and giving up the fight.

“The Revolution won’t happen with guns, rather it will happen incrementally, year by year, generation by generation. We will gradually infiltrate their educational institutions and their political offices, transforming them slowly into Marxist entities as we move towards universal egalitarianism.” – Max Horkheimer, leader of the “Frankfurt School”

Not coincidentally, the importation and juxtaposition in close proximity of people with widely (even wildly) varied cultural, political, social, and religious backgrounds (*), coupled with the deconstruction of traditional mediating institutions such as traditional families and churches, and traditional social, moral, and political norms and understandings, provides fertile ground for the imposition of radically innovative ideas and ideologies – such as cultural Marxism itself. This is a truth which is not lost on cultural Marxists.

(* On this subject, I wish I could find the account I read, several years ago, about a cruise company which proudly advertised the multicultural nature of its crews. The dark secret that “selling point” hid, as recounted by the author of the article, is that having a crew made up of people of  a wide range of ethnicities, cultures, national origins, languages, etc., meant that it was almost impossible for them to come together and organize for collective bargaining. As a result, the company was able to exploit them more-or-less with impunity! This is a lesson which should be recalled, when considering the ostensible “benefits” of aggressive multiculturalism and immigration.)

Nota Bene: Franklin Einspruch, at The Federalist, makes a good case that what are most commonly known, these days, as cultural Marxists are actually what he refers to as “pomofascists,” short for “postmodern fascists.” As Einspruch notes,

“The main impulse at work here is not Marxism, but megalomania. The pomofascist sees himself as the embodiment of good and worthy causes. The less everyone else supports those causes, the less human they are, and therefore deserving fewer rights and less entitlement to their own views. Lying to them or about them is of no consequence. Beyond a not-so-far-off point of disagreement, it is acceptable to attack them, rhetorically or bodily. In this context, Marxism is merely an exculpatory device.”

While I don’t disagree with the point, I think we can’t totally discredit or ignore the Leftist / Marxist attitudes and ideology espoused by most of these people, either (see Horkheimer quote, above). Also, I think he’s fighting an uphill battle if he seriously wants to change the designation: “cultural Marxism” has acquired a certain currency, despite repeated (and somewhat hysterical) attempts by its proponents to discredit both the term and those who use it.

But then, I have always argued that the political spectrum is less a straight line than a horseshoe: go far enough to either the Left or the Right, and you end in totalitarianism.