Links from the past week.
Matt Lee Anderson recently reminded me of this sobering quotation from T.S. Eliot on Liberalism:
That liberalism may be a tendency towards something very different from itself, is a possibility in its nature. For it is something which tends to release energy rather than accumulate it, to relax, rather than to fortify. It is a movement not so much defined by its end, as by its starting point; away from, rather than towards, something definite. Our point of departure is more real to us than our destination; and the destination is likely to present a very different picture when arrived at, from the vaguer image formed in imagination. By destroying traditional social habits of the people, by dissolving their natural collective consciousness into individual constituents, by licensing the opinions of the most foolish, by substituting instruction for education, by encouraging cleverness rather than wisdom, the upstart rather than the qualified, by fostering a notion of getting on to which the alternative is a hopeless apathy, Liberalism can prepare the way for that which is its own negation: the artificial, mechanized or brutalized control which is a desperate remedy for its chaos.
Older post on Amish principles for technological adoption. I was reminded of this piece by someone’s dismissive remark on Sousa’s concerns about recorded music. While some of Sousa’s concerns may seem ill-founded in retrospect, recorded sound has definitely changed our relationship to music as a society. The task of making music and song has largely been outsourced to professionals and electronic devices. Most families and communities no longer gather together to sing and make music. Our folk music traditions have been profoundly weakened. The recorded voice increasingly substitutes for that of our families, friends, and neighbours. We increasingly sing in imitation of recorded artists, rather than in our own voices. See also: Amish buggies are more high-tech than you think.
Students want universities to act like parents, but they won’t like the results. I don’t believe that this is quite accurate. Rather, the university is increasingly becoming more like a business and students, rather than submitting to institutional ends that transcend and challenge them, are expecting a more pleasant experience as entitled consumers.
Do you have a boy under ten whose interest in science you want to encourage? Scientists are building an animal fart database.
Freddie deBoer on the importance of criticizing people. When you take people seriously, you don’t pat them on the head.
The Radical Calm of Alex Honnold. On the famous free climber.
Derek Rishmawy reviews N.T. Wright’s latest on the atonement
Trying to imagine what a longsword duel should be like:
Salvaging a sunk ship and 1,400 cars:
Do you have any thoughts on any of the issues raised above?
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