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Chuck Bearden
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Chuck Bearden

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“Why read at all if you are not going to accept the work on its own terms? Criticism becomes nothing more than an imposition of the self upon the poet and his art. The poet does not teach us; we teach the poet, in the same way that a schoolyard bully proposes to teach the skinny kid who can’t defend himself. We ply our ‘theory’ upon a poet who cannot answer back. We dress it with pseudo-scientific language to impress the sophomores while remaining impervious to his thought and his humanity. This is called ‘critical thinking,’ quite uncritical about itself and predictable in its results, as if a living being were pressed through a grinder.”
“We participate in being without remainder,” says the aging Reverend John Ames, the narrator in Marilynne Robinson's wise and theologically meditative novel Gilead. The mystery of being is inexhaustible. Ames looks out his window at his small son and his wife, blowing bubbles and laughing as ...
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While I agree with you that departments and centers for gender, race, and class studies would be almost impossible to reform, I am not inclined to fight them by shutting them down. One thing thing that makes Esolen’s article so effective is that it begins and ends with positive alternatives to the reductionism of “theory”, namely with images from Gilead. I say that we should boldy, consistently, and humanely show up how incomplete and defective are the views of human nature implicit in gender/race/class theory, chiefly by contrasting them with sounder, more holistic, more lived and livable views of humanity, like Robinson’s.
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“The more we hear about what was going on in the era of sexual liberation, the more the Catholic  scandals look like a symptom of the times rather than a special pathology of the Church.”
-- Walter Russell Mead
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“As recently as the 1950s, the dominant culture—as expressed in movies, TV shows, music, theater, and news media—was by and for adults. By the 1960s, that had changed, and our culture became a youth culture, one in which the dominant trends are determined by what appeals to teenagers. The youth culture takes its direction from the preferences of young people who are isolated from the responsibilities of the adult world, get status and recognition from one another, and thus are highly manipulable.”
Glenn Reynolds writes about the growing popularity of alternatives to traditional public education. He makes an important sociological observation: This Industrial Era approach (public schools were......
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Belated Poem on Thanksgiving Day, from Dr. Boli’s Celebrated Magazine (November 22, 2012) (http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/drboli/2012/11/22/dr-bolis-calendar-for-2012-10/):

We set aside one day for being grateful,
Which leaves 364 or 5
For being spiteful, selfish, mean, and hateful,
And letting all our baser instincts thrive.
So, if you hate Thanksgiving, have no fear:
Be thankful that it’s only once a year.
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Chuck Bearden

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“Progressivism began as, and remains, ‘an alliance of experts and victims,’ according to Harvey Mansfield, a professor of government at Harvard. It gains strength as the experts assert their expertise more confidently and the victims accept their helplessness more compliantly. The kind of robust mediating structures Tocqueville thought essential to the success of democracy in America will not prevail against that alliance. If the experts determine that employer-provided health insurance must include contraception, the objections of religious organizations opposed to some or all forms of contraception are immaterial. The possibility that the republic’s free citizens could initiate financial or employment arrangements to secure contraceptives, rather than relying completely on government directives to their employers, is also ruled out of order.”
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“This very paltriness is the real secret of Kurzweil’s theory, which promises to create a mind without really having to describe what it is like to have one. Perhaps the most important feature of human thought missing from Kurzweil’s theory is language. Describing it as but a useful ‘invention,’ he gives no account of language’s distinctive role in human cognition—not simply in communicating our experiences and perceptions but in fundamentally shaping them, even constituting them.”
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My notes on Arnold Kling's recent column proposing that libertarianism be defined in terms of logical method rather than particular beliefs.
Arnold Kling: “ What I am suggesting is that libertarians, rather than defining ourselves in terms of what we believe is right, could instead define ourselves in terms of how one should arrive at...
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Such is the schizophrenic dysfunction of our politics: We constantly demand “conviction” politicians who will “do what’s right” and then condemn them, often in the same breath, for being unwilling to put aside their conviction and their sense of what’s right.

But such condemnation does not fall equally on conservatives and progressives alike. For the progressive’s principle is, at its core, more. Do more. Spend more. Spend more doing more. Any compromise of progressive principle in this regard is seen as “pragmatic.” Hence, the progressive’s heart is always in the right place.

The conservative, however, who says the federal government is not the right tool to fix the problem at hand, or that it is not Washington’s job to fix said problem, or that such a problem is itself not fixable and taking money from taxpayers to try is despotic folly: This conservative’s heart is never in the right place.
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Excellent article.
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Have him in circles
48 people
Walker Hale IV's profile photo
Daniel Williamson's profile photo
Julie Carter's profile photo
Ross Reedstrom's profile photo
Timothy Carlson Sr.'s profile photo
Christopher Loverich's profile photo
Tiifannii Condė's profile photo
Roché Compaan's profile photo
Jorge Herskovic's profile photo
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