SubscribeStar Saturday: Labor Day Weekend 2019 – The Beauty of Social Peace

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

It’s Labor Day Weekend, which means a glorious three days of rusticating for yours portly.  The school year is back in full swing, but I’ve been slowly recovering from an extended cold that began as a sore throat, morphed into days of nose-blowing, and metastasized into a hacking cough.  The cough should—God willing—be the final phase, and it seems to be getting better with a combination of Mucinex, expired cough medicine, and rest.

The plan this weekend is—aside from some light grading—a lot of rest.  I’m also excited to watch the South Carolina Gamecocks play their season opener (kick-off is tantalizingly close as I write this post).  My girlfriend has come up to my little adopted hometown, and is feeding me all sorts of delicious things.  It’s a fairly idyllic weekend, minus the cough.

It’s these sorts of things—resting after a week of hard work, enjoying a good meal, reading interesting books, and watching college football (all with good company, of course)—that make social peace such a coveted prize, and so worth preserving.  There is so much hatred and insanity in the public square now, and I fear that the socket wrench of revolution is ratcheting up with ever-greater intensity.

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Friday Reading – Dystopian Short Story

It’s been a good, but long, week—I’m still recovering from a nasty cold that’s lingered for almost three weeks now—and the three-day Labor Day Weekend will be a welcome respite.  Classes are going well, and my Advanced Placement United States History students seem, in the whole, engaged and eager to learn about our nation’s history.  I’m just looking forward to some rest.

So, what better time to skip politics and do a little reading?  I occasionally read short stories from Terror House Magazine, an online literary magazine that will publish pretty much anything.  They run a monthly prize with a $10 purse for the best submission, but otherwise the submissions are (it seems) completely open.

Because anyone can submit pretty much anything, some of the work is basically smut—be forewarned.  But after weeding out the trash, they publish some truly excellent literature.

Such was the case with a chilling little tale, a vision of an America just a blink away:  “Das Woke Capital.”

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TBT: Lincoln on Education

This week’s TBT feature was also in last Sunday’s “Lazy Sunday XXIV – Education.”  With the school year in full swing, it’s always enjoyable to look back at the benefits of education—a reminder of why getting education right is so important.

Abraham Lincoln was largely self-educated, and he was motivated, it seems, by both a desire to improve his condition in life, and by a genuine love of learning.  As an avid reader myself, I can related to the anecdote (relayed below) of young Abe walking around with “a book in his hand or in his pocket.”

This little piece was an “Historical Moment,” a monthly feature for the Florence County (SC) GOP’s public events.  If I recall correctly, the FCGOP Chairman skipped over my segment in the program (presumably by mistake, but perhaps to save time), so while I wrote this brief talk for the September 2018 meeting, I did not deliver it publicly until the October meeting (it was published on this blog in September).

I hope you’ll find this adaptation of my talk enjoyable.  Here is “Lincoln on Education“:

We’re gathered here tonight to hear from members of and candidates for School Board; in that spirit, I’d like to speak briefly about education, particularly the education of the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln.

From what I’ve read, Lincoln’s entire formal education consisted of around a year of schooling.  He would have a week or two here and there throughout his childhood in Kentucky and Indiana, and then return to working on the family’s farm.

Despite little formal education, Lincoln taught himself throughout his life.  He loved to read, and would read deeply on a variety of subjects, obtaining books whenever and wherever he could.  One of his contemporaries commented that “I never saw Abe after he was twelve that he didn’t have a book in his hand or in his pocket. It didn’t seem natural to see a feller read like that.”  When he sat for the bar exam, he’d read law books on his own time to prepare.

Lincoln also believed in education as a source of patriotism, morality, and self-improvement—what we might call “upward mobility.”  He was not a man who wanted to stay on the farm, and his self-education was a means to escape poverty.

If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to quote Lincoln at length from his 1832 speech “To the People of Sangamo County”:

“Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in. That every man may receive at least, a moderate education, and thereby be enabled to read the histories of his own and other countries, by which he may duly appreciate the value of our free institutions, appears to be an object of vital importance, even on this account alone, to say nothing of the advantages and satisfaction to be derived from all being able to read the scriptures and other works, both of a religious and moral nature, for themselves. For my part, I desire to see the time when education, and by its means, morality, sobriety, enterprise and industry, shall become much more general than at present, and should be gratified to have it in my power to contribute something to the advancement of any measure which might have a tendency to accelerate the happy period.”

Here we can see Lincoln’s belief that education lays the foundation for patriotism—we understand our freedoms better when we understood what they cost, and that others lack them.  We see, too, the power of education to teach us the virtuous and the good.  From that morality flows, as Lincoln said, “sobriety, enterprise, and industry,” the tripartite tools to improve our material conditions.

Patriotism, morality, and industry—these were the three benefits of education Lincoln espoused.  Coming from the man who wrote the Gettysburg Address, I think we should take Lincoln’s views on education seriously.

Silence on the Epstein “Suicide”

Has anyone else noticed that, after the flurry of headlines and memes, talk of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged suicide has died down substantially?  The mainstream media’s uncritical acceptance of the autopsy results is not surprising, but the autopsy seems to have quieted down speculation considerably, even though homicides are often misidentified as suicides.

That’s unfortunate.  There’s a great deal about Epstein’s death that is unanswered.  So it was refreshing to read this excellent piece from Christopher Roach at American Greatness, “What Happened to the Epstein Story?

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The Boiling Potential of the Right

Blogger photog at Orion’s Cold Fire—the gift that keeps on giving—has yet another excellent post examining the state of the Right today.  In particular, photog poses the question:  “How Will the Deplorables Get Organized?

photog uses the analogy of a sword forged from various “metals”—parts of the coalition of the Right and the non-progressive side of politics.  His argument is that, during the Cold War, some metals were included in this grand alloy that didn’t blend well with the others, but they forged together well enough to make the sword that vanquished Communism.

However, those poorly-blended alloys—which he identifies as the GOP Establishment of Conservatism, Inc.—weakened the sword in a post-Cold War context, making the weapon ineffective.  A new metallurgist—photog doesn’t name who this is, but I suspect he means Trump, or perhaps the Trumpian Right—has discarded those unassimilable lumps, and has brought back in some of the metals that were rejected in the old days (the paleoconservatives, for example).

The new sword is still being forged; right now, it’s all boiling, kinetic potential, but it hasn’t hardened into cold, steely weapon capable of dealing a death blow to progressive lunacy.  The challenge, as photog sees it, is to bring together this energetic, chaotic new coalition into a disciplined, populist-nationalist (my words, not photog’s) movement with coherent aims.

Of course, photog notes it will not be easy.  Here’s a key passage from his post:

I’ve said that it needs to be done but I’m not trying to kid anyone into thinking it will be easy.  When I said that the New Right is like a boiling pot I wasn’t kidding.  Chaos and kinetic energy are the only rules and there is absolutely no consensus between the various groups that make it up.  They range from radical separatists who are busy storing ammo for the shooting war, to Tea Party civic nationalists who can’t figure out why John McCain didn’t get elected in 2008, to religious businessmen who want the government to stop persecuting them for their beliefs, to Rust Belt forgotten men who want to stop the globalists from putting the last nail into their economic coffins.  Herding cats would be a cakewalk in comparison.  But it will need to be done if we hope to avoid being back at the mercy of the Stupid Party.

In short, the task ahead is difficult, but necessary.  Otherwise, cucky GOPe figures will come back into control, and the Republican Party will continue to be controlled opposition.

That’s another key point that photog makes, and with which I strongly agree:  a third party is suicide.  The Trumpian Right has to take control of the Republican Party.  Trump’s brilliance as that he ran a third party campaign inside one of the two major parties.  He has been at least partially successful in turning the Republican Party into a vehicle for his policies, but GOP swells have also reined in the President.

Regardless, it’s crucial that Trump wins in 2020 if we want to see the hardening of this boiling new coalition.  If Trump loses, the clucking scolds of National Review, et. al., will waste no time in saying, “we told you so!”  It may be a generation again before a populist Republican has a shot again at the highest office in the land—we’ll be consigned to thirty years of cucky Bush-cons losing meekly to increasingly insane Democrats.

On the other hand, if Trump wins, we have a golden opportunity to cement the roiling new coalition into something enduring—an FDR-style grand realignment.

2020 is going to be an interesting year.

Belated SubscribeStar Saturday: A Little American History – And Some Reflections on Teaching It

This past weekend’s SubscribeStar Saturday post was delayed until Sunday evening.  The end of the first week of school, followed by a very late night/early morning drive, with that followed up by a long day of family events, meant that my perfect attendance record for Saturday posts had to suffer.

But you can read that post—which went up last night—with a subscription to my SubscribeStar page!

Here’s a sneak peek:

Robert Kennedy was a strong contender for the Democratic Party primary in 1968, especially among the progressive wing, before Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian terrorist, shot him. His death left Vice President Hubert Humphrey as the only viable candidate. Remember, LBJ declined to run for reelection in 1968 because the Vietnam War was so deeply unpopular among antiwar Democrats, many of whom were radicals who were exerting greater control over their party (sound familiar?).

The Democratic National Convention devolved into riots and chaos, with Humphrey nearly succumbing to tear gas in his Chicago hotel room. Humphrey managed to close the gap with Nixon, but it was a three-way race (with segregationist George Wallace, Governor of Alabama, running as a third party candidate), and Nixon won on a law and order platform.

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Lazy Sunday XXIV: Education

The school year is back in full swing, and I am already beat.  It looks like it’s going to be a good year, and I have some very bright students, but my teaching load is substantially busier than last year, and my private lesson empire continues to grow.  Those are all blessings, but it means a lot more work for yours portly.

That’s all to say that I thought this Sunday’s edition of Lazy Sunday would be perfect for looking back at my education-related posts:

  • Lincoln on Education” – a little post consisting of remarks I made to the Florence County (SC) Republican Party back in September 2018 (actually, it may have been October—one of my “Historical Moments” was skipped in the program accidentally, so I reused it the following month).  I looked at the education—and the views thereon—of President Abraham Lincoln.  He was an avid learner, and saw education as the means by which he could improve himself.  Apparently, it worked!
  • Teachers Quitting in Record Numbers – Reflections on Education” – this lengthy post outlines my own observations about why teachers quit the profession—and some of its major problems.  My main idea was “flexibility”:  in pay, in lesson plans, and in certification.  Public education is a great deal for bad teachers—they coast along, cashing a paycheck no matter how well they do—but a poor one for good teachers.  Private education is great, but it can’t compete, at least in the rural South, with public education in terms of teacher pay and benefits.

    But the biggest concern is what I elegantly dubbed “administrative bullcrap.”  Teachers get loaded down with all of these duties that are only distantly related to their alleged jobs:  molding young minds.

  • The State of Education” – this post details the travails of a New York City French teacher, a good teacher whose experiences in multiple schools illustrate how public education is a bad gig for good teachers.  The stories are jaw-dropping, but hardly surprising now:  zero administrative support for discipline, a “talent show” that nearly devolves into a sweaty orgy, violent outbursts from animalistic students, etc.  Terrifying stuff.
  • Sailer and Spotted Toad on Education” – this post was a bit “meta”—it’s an overview of a review of a book.  That makes my post tertiary commentary at best.  The post looks at demographer Steve Sailer’s review of blogger Spotted Toad’s book 13 Ways of Going on a Field Trip: Stories about Teaching and Learning a narrative memoir detailing Toad’s decade teaching in public schools in the Bronx.  I’ve picked up the book but still haven’t read it (I’m working through Milo’s Middle Rages: Why the Battle for Medieval Studies Matters to America; review coming soon), but it looks to be an interesting read.
  • SubscribeStar Saturday:  The State of Education Update” – this post is an update of “The State of Education,” written nearly on the eve of my return to this present school year.  As SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive, you’ll have to subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more to read it.  Tantalizing, no?

So, there you have it.  Now to fulfill my obligation to my wonderful SubscribeStar subscribers and get their delayed post done.

Happy School Year!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday – Delayed

The first week of the new school year is in the books. It was exhausting, but fulfilling—a great reminder why I teach.

Last night our football team played its home opener. I run sound for the cheerleaders and announcer, so I attend until the end, bitter or otherwise (last night, unfortunately, was bitter, but the boys played well the entire game). Afterwards, I drove through some rain to get to my hometown around 12:30 AM, and have been spending time with the niece and nephews today.

I’m also attending an appreciation banquet for a missionary organization my aunt and uncle are involved with (they’re career missionaries in Honduras). There are some powerful stories of how Christ is changing lives in South and Central America.

So, the regular SubscribeStar Saturday post is delayed until tomorrow. Apologies to subscribers for the delay.

God bless,


Gelernter Gives up Darwinism

Yale Computer Science professor and—as I found out today—Trump supporter David Gelernter has given up on Darwinism, finding it to be a “beautiful” but flawed theory.  Gelernter acknowledges that species make small adjustments based on their environment, etc.—adaptation—and that Darwin was correct in that regard, but that the process of new species developing from existing ones is mathematically impossible, even if the universe is trillions of years old.

For conservative Christians, skepticism of Darwin’s theory of evolution is something you keep quietly to yourself, lest you’re mocked roundly, or that you militantly espouse, which tends to turn people away—they tune out.  Regardless, the world at large has bought into Darwinism completely, even with holes in the theory (like the lack of a plethora of pre-Crambrian fossils that should, according to Darwin’s theory that all life descended from a common ancestor, be present given the Cambrian Explosion).

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