sententiarum collectio

Category: Learning (Page 1 of 2)

What can we be certain of from history?

What can we be certain of from history? That human beings have been wrong innumerable times, by vast amounts, and with catastrophic results. Yet today there are still people who think that anyone who disagrees with them must be either bad or not know what he is talking about.

– Thomas Sowell


There is a kind of work which any man can do, but from which many men shrink, generally because it is very hard work, sometimes because they fear it will lead them whither they do not wish to go. It is called thinking.

– Chesterton


Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.

– Chesterton

Mad in Herds

Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.

– Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

When the Culture War Comes for the Kids

“n politics, identity is an appeal to authority—the moral authority of the oppressed: I am what I am, which explains my view and makes it the truth. The politics of identity starts out with the universal principles of equality, dignity, and freedom, but in practice it becomes an end in itself—often a dead end, a trap from which there’s no easy escape and maybe no desire for escape. Instead of equality, it sets up a new hierarchy that inverts the old, discredited one—a new moral caste system that ranks people by the oppression of their group identity. It makes race, which is a dubious and sinister social construct, an essence that defines individuals regardless of agency or circumstance”

“At times the new progressivism, for all its up-to-the-minuteness, carries a whiff of the 17th century, with heresy hunts and denunciations of sin and displays of self-mortification. The atmosphere of mental constriction in progressive milieus, the self-censorship and fear of public shaming, the intolerance of dissent—these are qualities of an illiberal politics.”

Science Is Not a Teacher of Morals

“Science is a magnificent force, but it is not a teacher of morals. It can perfect machinery, but it adds no moral restraints to protect society from the misuse of the machine. It can also build gigantic intellectual ships, but it constructs no moral rudders for the control of storm-tossed human vessel. It not only fails to supply the spiritual element needed but some of its unproven hypotheses rob the ship of its compass and thus endanger its cargo.”

William Jennings Bryan’s summation of the Scopes trial (distributed to reporters but not read in court)

Education & Alienation

As the grandson of Iowa farmers, as a man with specialized academic degrees, as someone working to revive education, this article is relevant to my core.

“Does a liberal education so broaden the minds of its pupils that it turns them into learned cosmopolitans who cannot go home anymore? In other words, how can students go back to the farm after having read Homer, Dante, and Shakespeare?”

“The humanistic education I received over the course of too many degrees enabled me to escape my past, at least partly.”

 “By so broadening the mind, does it narrow the person? By liberating the educated person to see things whole, does it shackle that person to a blindness than cannot recognize the full scope of our humanity?”

“I am haunted by the potential narrowness of a liberal education, since it tempts us to look at students and ourselves as merely minds without bodies, that is, without reference to the families and communities in which we learned to talk, treat others politely, endure eccentric neighbors, root for football teams, and fall in love.”

“For without the real generation of children who learn about the West and its virtues from parents, neighbors, teachers and pastors, a liberal education may become little more than a game for cosseted academics, or a disembodied five-foot shelf of decorative books, cut off from real people whose lives and communities embody and situate the true, the good, and the beautiful.”

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