In Other’s Words: An El’s Rabbit Trail Post

In which I wax political…

This may seem wholly irrelevant on a blog dedicated to education and literature, but it’s relevant to me because I teach history, and am currently immersed in studying the end results of one-party dominance combined with the inability of a people to educate themselves and self-govern.

If you had told me, even 5 years ago, that large swaths of the American populace would be literally begging for the state to govern them harder, I would have thought y’all crazy. In my naivete, I thought the rule of law would somehow assert itself because even the most partisan of partisans would surely see that laws selectively enfored are no laws at all. But here we are, and as I am taking my students through the Communist revolutions of the early 20th century, I am perturbed.

So, bear with me as I share this post from Sondjata at Garvey’s Ghost in its entirety:

Lawlessness in Virginia

Last year I practically begged Democrats, particularly black Democrats, who won’t vote for a Republican or Libertarian or anyone other than a Democrat, to at LEAST vote for sane Democrats.  Y’all voted for an early alzheimer’s patient anyway.

So at this point I don’t expect much. Well I actually don’t expect anything.

Two points for those who may still not have their mouths firmly attached to the Dem phallus:

First, the VP is releasing a tape to [black] churches in VA in which she openly endorses a candidate for governor. I don’t care WHO the candidate is, ’cause that’s not relevant. The fact is, that it is against the law for a church or any other 501c3 (tax exempt) organization to engage in partisan campaigning. Hence, by showing the video those churches are in violation of the law and *should* be subject to revocation of their tax exempt status (something I think they should be anyway for other reasons) and be subject to taxation.

But the fact that they would engage in this blatantly illegal behavior tells you what you need to know. You cannot be expecting the police to “treat us” (as in black people) fairly and to be held to account under the law, and then reward blatant law breaking by your church.

That would make you a hypocrite.

Secondly, A school board in your state actively covered up multiple sexual assaults by a student claiming to be “binary” or whatever the hell they want to call themselves. A parent of one of the victims of assault attempted to petition the school board (his absolute right) to address that situation (among others) and he was arrested and charged.

This is what these people are about. They have no regard for your children anymore. A candidate for state high office said that he doesn’t think YOU have a right to determine what your schools teach children.

Ya’ll voted these people in. I would think you all have enough sense to vote those people out. But I’m not holding my breath.

Y’all made a bad choice some 11 months ago and now you have to wonder if your supermarket is going to run out of stuff you need. Gasoline prices are through the roof and winter is coming. Oh, and some of you are being fired for asserting the right to decide your own medical care.

Let’s see how many of you wake up in time to say no to those responsible.

/End rant.

The Colors of Fall

We live in the tropics, which means we don’t experience the changes that those of you in northern climes associate with the onset of fall. It’s green here year round in Florida, which makes our beautiful winters. However, I’ve often wished we experienced the spectacular bursts of fall color that inspires post cards, calendars, and photography.

I do love where I live. It has taken me nearly all my life, but somehow I found the resolve to gratefully bloom where I’m planted, and see that God’s fingerprints exist here as much as anywhere else. Ironically, it was the pandemic that kicked our exploration of our home, The Sunshine State, into overdrive and caused us to explore places, some as little as an hour away, that we never even knew existed.

What follows is not a lament for greener grass. After all, there is nothing to be gained from that! However fall colors are stunning, and worth a trip to see in all of their glory, so that’s exactly what we did last week. For our fall break, we spent several days in the mountains of North Carolina. One of the best parts, in addition to all of the natural beauty, was having conversations with people from all over the United States who, like us, made the trip to see fall in of it’s east coast glory. Enjoy the show!

Fresh-picked apples!

I am always struck by my relative lack of fitness when we hike in the mountains. Jogging around on flat, paved streets and sidewalks does precious little to proeare one for elevated hikes.

Along the trails

The best part of fall is the stunning colors.

Look at it!

I suppose a picture of me on the mountains is in order as well:

One of my husband’s favorite parts of traveling to the mountains is the water, streams, and rocks:

I hope you’re enjoying the changing seasons; if the seasons are changing wherever you are.

Happy Fall y’all!

Quotable Literary Quote: Speechless by Michael Knowles

I am composing a review of the book I recently finished. Writing is slow going these days, but I plan to post it by Wednesday. In the meantime, I have already moved on to another book, and I wanted to share a quote from it because I love sharing tidbits of what I am reading. But y’all already know that about me.

My current read is Speechless: Controlling Words, Controlling Minds, by Michael Knowles. It’s a scholarly book with a conversational tone; in my estimation, the best kind of nonfiction. On page 73, he notes:

Leftist academics contrived the intellectual framework for political correctness in the 1920s and ’30s. Novelists around the world prophesied the political effects of PC in the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s. Student radicals, armed with the writings of Mao and Marcuse, took up the cause in the 1960s. And in the 1970s, feminists helped political correctness break into mainstream public discourse.

“A man cannot be politically correct and a chauvinist too,” averred the feminist activist Toni Cade in her 1970 anthology, The Black Woman.

Feminists sought to overthrow a culture they decried as patriarchal by making language fickle, which itself required a fundamental restructuring of the political order.

For the record, this is not a book about feminism. It’s a book about the trajectory of language -and the political result- in the 20th and 21st centuries using thorough research and rigorous scholarship. In lieu of a formal review, I expect to give this book the same treatment I gave to Thomas Sowell’s, A Man of Letters. Insightful quotes seem far more impactful than my personal opinions of the writing within certain books.

Hope you’re having a great Monday.

Friday Faves: Funny but True

I’m not even sure how I ran across this woman, but her satirical videos of the 21st century church offer food for thought. I am feel certain that the first one is an accurate portrayal of what most of us look like to believers from parts of the world where Christians suffer heavy persecution, and even the threat of death.

The second is different and more funny, but equally tinged with truth.

“We’re called to love, not judge. You’re not a ‘mature’ Christian!”

LOL. That’s a judgement. Lastly, but certainly not least, is the deconstruction of what passes for a women’s Bible study in so many churches and church groups:

Have a great weekend!

Word Nerd Wednesday: Panglossian

I had another word on tap for today. It was a strange one, but my mood has shifted from zaniness to something else. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s not zaniness.

In our house we’ve talked a lot about impending doom. Culturally, politically, and economically, our country cannot seem to make it to what I refer to as “peak absurdity”; namely, that moment when things cannot get any crazier and people begin to revolt against the madness and begin the work of bringing sanity back to our society.

It just isn’t happening, and more than that, no small percentage of Americans seem to be happily jumping on the train to Crazyville. We Americans, writ large I mean, seem to have a stunning lack of imagination, and combined with our historical ignorance, become panglossian.

Panglossian: marked by the view that all is for the best in this best of possible worlds : excessively optimistic. Merriam-Webster

For those unaware, the word panglossian is drawn from Dr. Pangloss, a character in Candide, the satirical book written by Voltaire, a French philosopher of the Enlightenment period.

Pangloss is Candide’s tutor, whose philosophical perspective, “all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds”, never wavers despite all evidence to the contrary. Evil, mayhem, chaos and disease encroach further and further into his own country, society, and personal life. No matter; Pangloss insists that it is all ultimately for the best in this best of all possible worlds.

I often feel as if our country, or at least large swaths of it, are trapped in a maze of Panglossian delusion. Faith in the institutions which are so obviously corrupt persists; at least enough that we are all at risk of living in a totalitarian state.

Our churches have neglected all sense of commitment and conviction to hard truths. Our schools operate as little more than basic training camps for the revolution, and we persist in believing that things can only go up from here.


More Commentary on the State of American Education

I wish I could take credit for this, but I ripped it from Instagram. It was on the account of @thekangminlee:

“Take your vaccine so mine works better”

This apparently makes sense to 50% of Americans. Leaving aside for the moment that this particular shot would be the first vaccine that ever only works if everyone takes it. Let’s follow this line of thought into other areas of life:

“Take your vitamins so mine work better.”

“You have to exercise to make sure I lose more weight.”

“Wear sunscreen so I’m protected against UV radiation.”

“Stop eating fast food so I won’t gain weight.”

“You shower, so my hair won’t be greasy.”

This is clearly ridiculous and most people would think the person uttering such nonsense is pretty dumb. Apparently, “Take the vaccine so mine works better” does not reveal ignorance, but compassion.

It does, however, speak to the sorry state of American education, and not just recently. This reveals something about the way education has been sliding down hill for at least the past 50 years, if not longer.

Short Story: How Much Land Does a Man Need?

How Much Land Does a Man Need, a short story by Leo Tolstoy, written in1886. You can read it here, for free.

All of our children read this recently, and being somewhat out of the loop, I took a half hour today to read it. I do not regret it. First of all, it’s Tolstoy, which doesn’t necessarily guarantee satisfaction, but it definitely guarantees food for thought. The story is less than 20 pages long, which costs very little of your time. Consequently, I will offer a teaser, but no quotes, leaving you to decide for yourself if you wish to invest the half hour of your life.

Pakhom is peasant man, enjoying a happy and healthy life. One day, he overhears his wife debating with her wealthy sister the advantages and disadvantages of country life versus urbane life. He says to himself, “If only I had more land, I wouldn’t fear the Devil himself.” He has no idea that the Devil is sitting behind the stove, eavesdropping on him as he muses to himself aloud, and things begin to get quite interesting.

We read a hard copy pamphlet of this story which was prefaced by an 8-page foreword by Os Guinness. I decided to read the story before reading the foreward, so as not to be “tainted” by someone else’s analysis of this beloved morality tale. I will however, share a snippet from Guinness’ foreword:

Throughout history, the most universally acknowledged problem with money is that its pursuit is insatiable. As we seek money and possessions, observers note, the pursuit grows into a never-satisfied desire that fuels avarice- described by the Bible as a vain “chasing after the wind,” by Buddhists as “craving,” and by moderns as an “addiction.” The very Hebrew word for money (kesef) comes from a verb meaning “to desire” or “languish after something.” This emphasis is important because avarice is often confused with an Ebeneezer Scrooge- like hoarding. Traditionally, however, it has been better described as a form of spiritual dropsy or an incurable thirst that can never be slaked. The insatiability touches two areas: getting what we do not have and clutching on to what we do.

If you have a spare 30 minutes of reading time and you haven’t read this one (or haven’t read it in a very long time), give it a read. It’ll make you think.

Word Nerd Wednesday: Progressivism

This post is slightly different from my regular Word Nerd Wednesday installments. Rather than offer up a dictionary definition of the world progressivism, I’m going to tell you a story.

Yesterday, one of my history students asked me to explain the meaning of progressivism. Because we had a lot of ground to cover and not a lot of time to cover it, I decided to tell her the hypothetical story that I am about to tell you.

Imagine, Katie”, I told her, “that your great grandmother bequeathes you a two-story 1920s era home with French country decor. Inside the home you found a wide variety of beautiful things. There is gorgeous wood molding, elegant poster beds, and Tiffany lamps. The house is lovely. However in the den is a strange nod to a 1970s style decor that you hate. Overall, you’re really not a fan of the house. Even with all of its acknowledged charm, you have a strong preference for modern architecture and decor. You’ve decided that you’ll probably nevrer live in the house.”

“Having mostly found it useless to you at this stage of your life, you decide to get rid of it. To accomplish this as soon as possible, you go and grab a can of gas, and pour gas on as much of the walls and furniture as you can manage, and toss a match on the whole shabang as you walk out the front door. In your haste to unload the old house and find a new one, you fail to consider the valuable treasures from your grandmother you are leaving behind. Gone is the ugly 70s den and the drafty attic, but also gone are the beautiful Tiffany lamps, highly artistic wood moldings, and pretty poster beds. It’s all reduced to ash, despite the fact that you’re not quite sure exactly what it is you’re looking forward to in your next house. Your entire focus is directed towards leaving the known behind coupled with the unquestioned belief that the next house you find will necessarily be better, simply because it is newer.

That, Katie, is progressivism in a nutshell.

I really wish you could have seen the look on the faces of these teenagers. Some were shocked, and others were clearly processing what I said.

Here;s to hoping they never forget it.