In December 2010, on a bright but cold afternoon, I took a serious blow to the ego, and what’s left of my cultural pride. It probably did me good, but I’m still rubbing the sore spot: it’s like a bruise that just won’t heal. It started out fine, when I got off a bus not far from Waterford, Ireland, just in time for an interview.
Ah, January. It’s the season of snow and ice and other annoyances.
But there’s an UP-side: in the supermarkets I can find tubs of fat, dark, juicy blueberries.
I love ‘em. Call me an old anti-oxidant junkie. (In fact, some of you might have noticed that my Gmail address is supposed to be “wild blueberries” in French. I say “supposed to be” because I misspelled it; oh well, Comment puis-je être maladroit?)
My musical hero Beethoven (born around this date in 1770; baptized on December 17; died 1827) wrote only one opera, Fidelio.
In it, instead of rhapsodizing about Teutonic gods, or killing off ill-fated sopranos, his story dealt with a group of political prisoners who win their freedom from an oppressive system, mainly through the heroism of a woman.
I really didn’t want to spend much time on this blog talking about current affairs.
But it’s becoming inescapable. And one topic that requires mention is an ongoing story that only fitfully pops up on the radar screen, but which is a BIG ongoing deal. And the Big Deal is the answer to this question:
Even from a conservative point of view, the welfare state is not all bad. G. K. Chesterton observed that you should never take a fence down until you understand why it had been put up. We should remember why the immediate post-Depression generations created so many social-welfare programs. They were not motivated only — or even primarily — by “compassion.” They were motivated as well by the desire for stability.
I make it a rule not to write reviews of books I haven’t read. I also do my best to avoid pontificating about them.
But I’m also a Quaker, who follows this rule about rules by the Elders of Balby, which they appended to a long list of rules for Quakers in 1656:
Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by; but that all, with a measure of the light, which is pure and holy, may be guided: and so in the light walking and abiding, these things may be fulfilled in the Spirit, not in the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.
“Sedition Watch.” This feature brings up “dots” of data that come onto my radar screen, which I’m working to connect.
The implications of the potential connections are unsettling, and I hope the authorities are watching. The elements here are straightforward: there are a lot of upset people, mostly guys, with guns out there, and with a high level of training in how to use them. And they are being fed a diet of sedition — talk of violent insurrection, or perhaps mounting a coup d’etat.