Monthly Archive: July 2016

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Boethius Book Club, Episode 5: On the Consolation of Philosophy

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The book is the classic written by our inspiration and patron, Boethius: On the Consolation of Philosophy. For well over 1000 years, this book—the reflections of a condemned man on what makes life worth living—was required reading for anyone who pretended to the smallest degree of literacy. It was translated by two English monarchs (Alfred and Elizabeth I) and represented the introduction to philosophy that people in the Medieval period received. It is that rare gift of literature—a profound book addressed not to specialists and geniuses but to everyday men and women. As luck would have it, our discussion will...

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The Visions Forever Green

This is another review essay published in 1983, the year before I came to Rockford, Arnold Toynbee: The Greeks and Their Heritages; Oxford University Press; New York. Mary Renault: Funeral Games; Pantheon Books; New York. by Thomas Fleming Modern man seems haunted by the specter of Greece. Like memories of childhood, the visions of ancient Athens and Sparta hold a place in our minds, forever green.  It does not matter how we first formed the image—a translation of Homer, the illustrations in Bullfinch, the tales we had to translate in first-year Latin.  However we were struck, the Greeks inevitably become...

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Merkel Mania, Hillary Insania

The unangelic Angela Merkel is the worst German chancellor after Hitler. Neither believed in borders. He erased borders by sending his panzers across them and absorbing the lebensraum into a Großgermanisches Reich. She erased borders by welcoming millions of “rapefugees” into her dissolving country. It’s not surprising she’s a “former” communist youth leader from Honecker’s East Germany. Unlike Vladimir Putin, who started out performing his “internationalist duty” as a KGB agent, but has become a Russian patriot, Merkel remains stuck in the borderless Marxist rhetoric of the 1969 DDR. According to the Daily Mail, “Angela Merkel’s open door policy to...

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Writing and Reading Poetry, II: The Age of Lead

II Let’s start with the one piece submitted in response to my challenge.  This comes from my former managing editor, Kate Dalton Boyer, who is still harboring some dark feelings about her former boss’s sloppy office. Doggerel for TF I know a man named Thomas, his desk will give you pause. If one inquires the reason: “Tace!” he’ll say.  “Because.” Beneath a Mac his thesis (of Grecian poetry) is propping up his keyboard and in danger from his tea. The office door won’t open –review books in the way– it seems another forty-two have just arrived today. The lamp’s a...

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Aristotle’s Politics Book III.9-12

olitics III.9-12 [1284b-1288b] In this final section of Politics III, Aristotle comes to grips with the systems of government ruled by one man.  He begins [9] by surveying the various types of legitimate monarchy: the constitutional monarchy of the Spartans, where the power of the kings was determined by law and limited largely to military affairs, barbarian monarchies in which the kings act much as tyrants do but rule willing subjects and maintain inherited laws and traditions.  One sign of their lawfulness is their use of domestic rather than foreign bodyguards.  Aristotle is clear that while barbarians would tolerate such...

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Living in the Empire of Lies

Julian Assange did his best to spoil the Hillary-fest being held in the renamed City of Sisterly love.  No sooner had Wikileaks released the DNC emails confirming the active collaboration of party leaders with the Clinton campaign than the state media attempted to divert attention from the fact of what the hacked hacks had actually done to ruin the Sanders campaign.  This is all part of a Putin plot to elect Donald Trump.  Why, it’s an outrage when one country tries to rig political outcomes in another. I could not agree more, which is why American administrations have never involved...

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Wednesday’s Child: The Less You Know

This is my forty-eighth post in this space–a panoply variegated enough for a whole Well-Tempered Clavier of distempered musings – and some of my readers may have noted that not once did I review or commend a book.  This is because the industry that produces books, which were once significant events, each with a claim to absolute uniqueness or at the very least to qualified originality, now functions like the writer of Melania Trump’s address to the Republican convention.  Plagiarism long ago ceased to be an intellectual crime, yet it remained a niche product, like tales of the supernatural or...

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Boethius Book Club, Episode 4: Sophocles – Oedipus at Colonus

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Our November book is comparatively short: Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus. This is Sophocles last play that we know of: He wrote it as an old man, who—according to tradition—was being sued by his own sons, who wanted to prove the old man non compos mentis. It is something like Sophocles’ King Lear, but instead of concentrating on ingratitude. the Greek poet gives us an image of filial piety in his daughters and in the aged protagonist he depicts a man transformed by suffering and filled with gratitude toward the Athenians who gave him hospitality. This is a play about loyalty,...

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Properties of Blood I.5 Revenge, Part D

Christian Most Christians today are horrified by any thought of revenge.  Bring the subject up, and they are sure to quote, “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord,” as if that were a sufficient refutation.  Far from being a repudiation of vengeance as something evil, the statement is a strong affirmation of vengeance as an instrument of the divine will.  Moral understanding of crime and punishment has certainly moved on since the writing of the Pentateuch, but if Christ was serious that he came not to overturn but to fulfill the law, then we cannot begin anywhere else, if we wish...

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A Chump for Trump: A Court Party No More

In early 2015, well before Donald Trump was a blip on the radar screen, a friend asked me to contribute an article to a Constitution Party newsletter.   I happily obliged. The article was entitled “Needed: a Real Country Party,” but, because of the nature of the venue, it was never made available for wide public viewing. I am currently working on an update of that article because I believe it helps explain why Donald Trump and Trumpism have succeeded beyond the wildest dreams (or nightmares) of the political and pundit class. Because of the momentous nature of the Trump...