Snippets (on Pentecost, coincidentally)

    1. Confirmation bias?
    2. Intentionality > Consumerism?
    3. Transcribing, regurgitating and learning
    4. Free Enterprise®
    5. The greatest legacy
    6. Chivalry, Barbarianism and Neurosis

Did it not always fall on Sunday, Pentecost would probably be as poorly attended as Ascension.


It seems that the mass Irish baby graves – a bit of local historical research that has somehow become world news – may tell us more about contemporary confirmation bias than about Irish Catholic sexual repression of some decades ago. (Tuam mother and baby home: the trouble with the septic tank story.)

And that goes double for those of you who just muttered something about “closing ranks” or “coverup.”


The ongoing, mostly friendly, rivalry between PoMoCons and Porchers (Postmodern Conservatives and Localist Conservatives), has been reignited by the PostModern Conservative blog selling out relocating to National Review.

PoMoCon Peter Augustine Lawler offers some (random?) obervations that (coincidentally?) show how difficult it is to be a totally “consistent” stereotyped Porcher. Rod Dreher, a Porcher, highlights Lawler on the ubiquity of computer screens, so I’ll highlight what I take to be his highest-level generalities:

We Pomocons haven’t so much “made our peace” with consumerist society as admitted that it’s not all bad living here. There’s a lot to consume, and the producers are pretty cagey when it comes to giving us what we want at low prices.

All these tricky relational considerations make it clear enough, of course, that we live in a lot more than a consumerist society.

Yeah, whether you call society “consumerist” or something else, you can, with sufficient intentionality, escape the worst dehumanizing effects.

And Dreher and Lawler have one clear agreement: “most American conservatives don’t give a rat’s ass about either team. But they should.”


Most people can type significantly faster than they can take notes by hand, and the natural tendency of most computer users is to take more notes — perhaps even to transcribe — at the expense of memory and comprehension.  If you don’t have to think about what you are hearing and what is or is not worth writing down, you are not lkely to listen as intently and actively.  Further, for many subjects, verbatim transcripts of class sessions are not particularly useful.  In law, computer class notes are too easily cut-and-pasted into an outline, obviating the need to comprehend (let alone seriously consider) what is being outlined.  The efficiency that laptops facilitate comes at the expense of thinking.

(Jonathan H. Adler, on new research showing how the use of laptops in the classroom results in less memory and comprehension of covered materials)


I drove past Lafayette’s iconic Arni’s restaurant, and there was a tour bus from this Hoosier company:


I always get a kick out of the juxtaposition of “Free Enterprise” with multiple mandatory government permits.


Let parents, then, bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence.

PLATO, Laws (Quoted by Richard Weaver) These, too, from the same final chapter:

I realize the risk one incurs in using language associated with forces popularly discredited, but I see no way to sum up the offense of modern man except to say that he is impious.

Piety is a discipline of the will through respect. It admits the right to exist of things larger than the ego, of things different from the ego.

We get increasing evidence under the regime of science that to meddle with small parts of a machine of whose total design and purpose we are ignorant produces evil consequences.

(Richard Weaver)


Knowledge disciplines egotism so that one credits the reality of other selves. The virtue of the splendid tradition of chivalry was that it took formal cognizance of the right to existence not only of inferiors but also of enemies. The modern formula of unconditional surrender— used first against nature and then against peoples— impiously puts man in the place of God by usurping unlimited right to dispose of the lives of others. Chivalry was a most practical expression of the basic brotherhood of man. But to have enough imagination to see into other lives and enough piety to realize that their existence is a part of beneficent creation is the very foundation of human community. There appear to be two types to whom this kind of charity is unthinkable: the barbarian, who would destroy what is different because it is different, and the neurotic, who always reaches out for control of others, probably because his own integration has been lost.

(Richard Weaver)

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.