We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
A reader pointed out that VDH emitted an excellent rant on education which, while more articulate and detailed than mine of last week, led in the same direction. Plus he was a prof for a long time, and I never was. All that I did was to pay the bills.
I bought Hanson’s Who Killed Homer: The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom when it came out in ’98 or ’99. My copy is stashed at another house and so can’t cite it directly, but Hanson says in this related article:
"This ignorance of Greek wisdom should be of crucial interest to every American -- not because the West is being supplanted by some global multiculturalism (as so many academics proclaim), but quite the opposite: because its institutions and material culture are now overwhelming the world. The Greeks -- and the Greeks alone -- bequeathed us constitutional government, individual rights, freedom of expression, an open economy, civilian control of the military, separation of religious and political authority, private property, free scientific inquiry and open dissent. And for better or worse, these are the things most on this earth now desire.
"But it is foolish -- and dangerous -- to embrace these conventions of the West without understanding that the Greeks also insisted that such energy was to be monitored and restrained by a host of cultural protocols that have nearly disappeared: civic responsibility, philanthropy, a world view that is rather absolute, a belief that life is not nice, but tragic and ephemeral (Greek words both), a chauvinism of the middle class and an insistence on self-criticism. The death of the Greeks means an erasure of an entire way of looking at the world, a way diametrically opposite to the new gods that now drive America: therapeutics, moral relativism, blind allegiance to progress and the glorification of material culture.
"… Departments of Greek and Latin were reinvented as places of reduced teaching loads, extended leaves, think-tank hopping, conferences, endowed chairs, grants and petty power politics -- often decorated with a patina of trendy leftist ideology or neoconservative scorn, depending on how the volatile winds of budgets and funding sources blew…
"All of this would be depressing enough if the new multiculturalist classicists actually believed what they wrote. But not one of them (despite the fashionable rhetoric) really wishes to adulterate our core values from the Greeks, to live under indigenous pre-Columbian ideas of government, Arabic protocols for female behavior, Chinese canons of medical ethics, Islamic traditions of church and state, Japanese ideals of race or Native-American notions of private property. The very tools that today's critics in the university use to attack Western culture and to deny the Greeks their progeny are themselves inevitably Western. No multiculturalist thinks his academic freedom is oppressive, her notion of a university separate from the church and government burdensome, or her presentation of research and opinion in journals free from state censorship "hegemonic," "patriarchal" or "racist." All make their arguments in the comfort (material, psychological and legal) of Western institutions that guarantee their rights -- rights that descend directly from the Greek vision of the world, rights that now incidentally include guaranteed employment for life. Intellectually naive at best, this form of academic multiculturalism is hypocritical to the core and entirely alien to Greek wisdom."
It’s as if pomos use the hammer and nails given them to maintain the lovely house they’ve inherited to, instead, indulge in interior demolition and funky, unlivable re-dos. Pretty soon they’re gonna hit load-bearing walls a little too hard…
I left school 25 years ago, asking the question, "How do you think?” I’m discovering the answer still today. I’ve also wondered how it’s possible to have gone to school and not have learned such a foundational skill. Imagine my chagrin, I’m just discovering the answer to that question. I’ll be reading more of VDH.