- Alvin Plantinga’s Templeton Prize
- A school for people like me
- Absurd grandiose fantasies
- Merkel’s précis
- Made for better than Tinder
- Anonymous “experts”
Congratulations to Philosopher Alvin Plantinga, from my former tradition, who finally got his Templeton Prize.
I hope the Templeton Foundation isn’t suffering buyer’s remorse on account of all those devastatingly brilliant comments on the RNS internet story.
A vignette of sorts:
Most people love their alma mater, I suppose, or at least feel some affection for it. The relationship between LSMSA and its alumni is more intense than most, because the Louisiana School is not just a school to the people who studied there. It surely has something to do with the fact that the school’s students — high school juniors and seniors, and some sophomores — live on campus in dorms. It’s a relatively small community, fewer than 300 kids, and they have unusually close relationships with their teachers. All of this tends to form tight bonds. But it doesn’t fully explain the passion Louisiana School alumni feel towards the place.
I suspect that most of them had some version of the experience I had there in the 1980s. I came from a public school in a small town. I had been bullied there. Besides which, it was not a school where a nerdy kid who liked to read was suited to thrive. I wasn’t getting along at all with my father, who was distressed over what he correctly saw as my depression. His way of dealing with it was to bark at me to “be normal.”
When I heard that the state was opening a new school for people like me, I applied with a certain desperation in mind, as if I were a hard-pressed political dissident seeking an exit visa to a country of exile. That analogy might seem emotionally overwrought to you, but even today, over three decades later, it accurately describes my state of mind.
One late spring day in 1983, I drove my old blue Chevy pickup by the post office to check the mail. There was in our box a letter from the school, addressed to me. Breathless, I hurried out to the truck to open it, and to see if I had been accepted.
I had. Sitting here this morning recalling that moment, all the details are crystal clear in my mind. It was an overwhelming feeling. I’m saved, I thought. I’m saved. My father didn’t want me to go, but my mother, God bless her, prevailed, and I moved to Natchitoches that fall to take my place in the first class of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts.
I noticed something interesting that first month. Some of my classmates came from big-city magnet schools. They seemed happy to be there, but only that. We kids who came from small town and rural schools were different. For us, the school was a haven. I can’t speak for all my classmates, but for me and for others like me, we were the walking wounded. This was the first time we had gone to school and been in a school community in which we didn’t have to keep our heads down, or suppress in some way our love of books and learning so as not to attract the attention of the cool kids and the bullies. At LSMSA, it was okay to be a nerd, a square peg, an outcast, a weirdo. People loved you anyway, in part because they too had been nerds, square pegs, outcasts, weirdos.
We had found our tribe. It is impossible to overstate how powerful an experience that is for a teenager who has had to deal with outsiderness and rejection as a normal condition of life in school, and sometimes outside of it ….
That’s Rod Dreher, giving his explanation for why he joins all or most other alums of this public boarding school for gifted and talented kids in opposing a name change (imposed by the Louisiana legislature) to the name of a politician who was instrumental in its founding.
I had it good. I never felt part of the “in crowd.” That was for jocks and cheerleaders. But I was never a goat, either — the butt of everyone else’s jokes, tormented for this or that immutable trait. In fact, there was little of that behavior toward others where I came of age.
Whether for “thinking you’re better than everyone else” (a/k/a “acting white” in some circles — i.e., actually studying and wanting to learn) or being ambiguous sexually, that’s got to be sheer torture.
Thanks to Rod for giving me a “Eureka!” moment of empathy with misfits who are misfits for whatever reason.
This is one of the things I find funny about the radical Left protests on campus…. You want to have it both ways. You want to be a fledgling member of the elite and a champion of the underprivileged. So, how narcissistic can you get? You want to have all the benefits of having all of the benefits, and you want to have all the benefits of having none of the benefits, because just having all the benefits isn’t enough for you.
(Jordon Peterson, University of Toronto Psychology Professor, quoted as epigram by James Howard Kunstler)
Kunstler also belittles How to Raise a Feminist Son in Friday’s New York Times, which I just didn’t even have the heart to read:
In case you’re wondering why pop culture is so saturated by and preoccupied with comic book superheroes it’s because American men are no longer permitted to enact the petty heroics of everyday life, including the ability to support a family by working for a living. (What a quaint idea, I know!) So there is nothing left for them but absurd grandiose fantasies of what it means to be a man. Destroying the boundaries between sexes, and denying that biology even enters into the matter, will only make it more difficult for this nation to navigate through the straights of extreme economic distress.
[T]he most significant words of the Trump era were uttered last week by a German chancellor: “The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over. I’ve experienced that in the last few days. We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.” And we have a French president equating Putin, Trump and Erdogan as threats to European unity and democracy: “My handshake with [Trump], it wasn’t innocent … Donald Trump, the Turkish president or the Russian president see relationships in terms of a balance of power.” Think of that for a moment. The American president appears to the Europeans as interchangeable with Erdogan and Putin. He’s one of the thugs.
Deep damage was done to the alliance in the Bush years with the invasion of Iraq, and, especially over the use of torture. But Bush still invaded that tragic country for the sake of what he misguidedly thought of as democracy, and at least attempted to euphemize the torture away. He sustained the appearance of distinctive Western principles, even if he undermined them. Trump, in contrast, has thrown even those façades away. I don’t quite know how the free world un-sees what it has just seen or un-hears what it has just heard.
(Andrew Sullivan, Can the West Survive Trump?)
[T]he sexual revolution makes promises that it can never keep. By separating sex from the marriage covenant, it hasn’t made people happier or freer but more lonely and alienated than they ever were before. Fidelity, covenant, an old man holding the hand of his wife on her deathbed after a lifetime of love and loss and faithfulness. These things don’t come from the fast fornication of dating apps. We were made for so much more than a degrading technology that greases the skids on human lust (1 Cor. 6:18-20). But so few in our culture seem able to see it—even when the pain caused by it is so evident.
8 more days to go before my subscription cancellation takes effect.
Muslims in Basking Ridge, NJ, have won the right to build a mosque. GetReligion.com comments on New York Times coverage:
Who fought to help these Muslims? The Times answer: Government lawyers and anonymous “legal experts.”
The key: This was not a story about religious liberty and its defenders.
But it was a story about religious liberty and its defenders, those anonymous “legal experts.” Those experts were a (temporary?) reconstitution of a left-right religious coalition of groups whose raison d’être is religious freedom. Maybe the Times got confused because it just didn’t feel like a story where religious freedom should go in scare quotes, it being Muslims versus hotheads.
If you haven’t seen it, take two minutes forRussell Moore’s unyielding response to a Muslim-detesting Southern Baptist pastor. Moore has lost some popularity within the SBC because of his actual principled principles:
But of course that’s impossible. It just doesn’t fit the NYT script that the Muslims of Basking Ridge should have been joined in legal combat by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention just because … religious freedom.
Did I mention that in 8 more days, my subscription cancellation takes effect?
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Men are men before they are lawyers or physicians or manufacturers; and if you make them capable and sensible men they will make themselves capable and sensible lawyers and physicians. (John Stuart Mill, Inaugural Address at St. Andrew’s, 1867)
“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)