In Memoriam – Roger Scruton – Hillsdale College

I had not heard of Hillsdale College until I chanced upon a speech online given there by Kimberley Strassel. I sensed that its ethos was one in which it was still possible to seek truth through study without loss of faith in the inherent value of the knowable object, as had been the case when I had had the great privilege of studying French and German Literature at Christ Church under Alban Krailsheimer and David Luke. That knowledge was inherently valuable was also a truth understood plainly, concretely and resolutely by my father, who had worked as a coal-miner in Wales at the age of fourteen, yet whose numeracy and literacy survived until he died aged 89, and by my mother, whose love and knowledge of English literature were compendious, notwithstanding the modesty of her circumstances. I was therefore fortunate indeed to grow up in an home in which faith in the beauty and importance of music and literature was unassailed by the trickery and deceits of the world of intellectuals of the second rank (amongst whom I include the disingenuous proponents of deconstruction) and privileged to be allowed to speak to the young in these terms during my years as a teacher.

Visiting the website of Hillsdale College, Michigan, I find, coincidentally perhaps, a tribute to a very special human being, Roger Scruton, who died this week and whose importance I had only recently discovered. I also find that all is not lost.

His speech is of the greatest importance, as is, I believe from what has been admittedly little more than a cursory glance, the work that is undertaken at Hillsdale College. LJ

In Memoriam – Roger Scruton – Hillsdale College
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Amy Chua – Wikipedia

Amy Chua – Wikipedia
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In her discussion with Anne McElvoy on the podcast “The Economist Asks” Amy Chua offers some wise and unusually balanced insights into the problematic schism entailed by identity politics and the damage caused to the “connective tissue” holding heterogeneous societies such as the USA and the UK together.

The Economist asks: Have identity politics gone too far? | The Economist asks on acast

Tribalism has always existed, but is now playing a far more pivotal role in society: from the rise of gender and ethnic affiliation, to nationalist parties in Europe and even the appeal of Donald Trump. Amy Chua, author of “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” and “Political Tribes”, explains why the politics of sharp-edged identities have become so powerful.For information regarding your data privacy,
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Well said, Roger Scruton!

This point is very well made. I wish I had said it. Sadly, I didn’t, though it is consonant with what I have thought for years and said, without undue repetition, for years.

It also, though, goes to the heart of what we think communication is. You know, if you think of communication as an exercise in respect for the other, you don’t repeat yourself. Repeating yourself suggests that you’re either demented or that you just don’t care about the other person’s response; you’re prepared to override it and say the same thing again and again. There’s no way in which a chanted slogan invites an answer. I think there’s a whole politics of that kind which grows out of the mass movements on the left but also invades the language of the left.”


Conscience before consciousness – TheTLS

The letter referring to “cerebral Macron” and setting his average mind alongside the grandeur of that of De Gaulle is amusing. It stands no comparison, of course. That on Kant is also good, as is the principal letter on the rehabilitation of synderesis. A good start to the day here in St.Martin, as the neighbours turn on their swimming pool cleaner to drive away the serenity of the early morning. LJ

Conscience before consciousness – TheTLS
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From Satire III, by John Donne

Let him ask his; though truth and falsehood be
Near twins, yet truth a little elder is;
Be busy to seek her; believe me this,
He’s not of none, nor worst, that seeks the best.
To adore, or scorn an image, or protest,
May all be bad; doubt wisely; in strange way
To stand inquiring right, is not to stray;
To sleep, or run wrong, is. On a huge hill,
Cragged and steep, Truth stands, and he that will
Reach her, about must and about must go,
And what the hill’s suddenness resists, win so.
Yet strive so that before age, death’s twilight,
Thy soul rest, for none can work in that night.
To will implies delay, therefore now do;
Hard deeds, the body’s pains; hard knowledge too
The mind’s endeavours reach, and mysteries
Are like the sun, dazzling, yet plain to all eyes.