Karl Marx (1818-1883), the founder of communism, said that religion is the opium of the masses. That is, its function was to sedate them. For Marx religion gave an illusory happiness (or comfort) that prohibited those thus sedated from achieving real happiness, that is, happiness here on Earth in this life.
Thus religion impeded his idea of human progress.
Since before the French Revolution (1789-1799) we have gone a long way towards removing the impediment to progress that is Christianity and thus getting the masses off the Christian dope. We have replaced the old hope in the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with a new hope in the trinity of freedom, equality, and individuality.
But I question the value of the trade.
Yes we have been liberated from the yoke of the Church, yet ever more circumscribed by large secular institutions. Yes we have been liberated by the oppression inherent in the demands of Christianity. Liberated to live for ourselves and do what we want.
Yes we have been liberated from marital bondage. And those women and children, thus freed from the oppression of husbands and fathers are free to root, hog, or die. You know, what doesn’t kill you…
Yes, we are more equal. That is, equally bad.
In our attempt to create equality we have created vast social welfare networks that take from the productive and give to the unproductive, sucking the vitality out of our economy and more importantly out of our very culture.
Liberated from the burden of tribe and family, we glory in our individuality. Alone and depressed. But at least we have movies, video games, and social media to distract us.
We also have drugs to ease the pain and give an illusion of happiness.
If the hope of succor in this life and peace in the next makes Christianity an opiate, then I’ll say that this Christian dope, with its call to self-discipline and self-sacrifice, is infinity to be preferred to actual opium.
This piece was previously published on Look Away on September 8, 2022.
Twenty-two years ago my wife and I were house shopping and I remember in one house an impressed realtor showing us a closet in which was a tall bank of electronic gizmos that reminded me of a mainframe. This house had been wired to do everything electronics could do back in 2000. A smart-house indeed! $20,000 worth of smart.
But I am now doing a mental inventory of how many electronic gizmos that I own that are now twenty-two years old and still functioning. Hrmmm. So far the list includes a 2001 Dodge 4×4. The thing still runs well enough but so does my eighty-three year old father.
While I am no techy, I am however, like everyone else, perfectly aware that since 2000 electronic gadgetry has improved considerably. I also know that when electronic gadgetry was invented long before 2000 that a new priestly class of techies had to be instituted who understood its mysteries and could explain it to the rest of us or, at least guide us in our observances.
My assumption is that everything I saw in that closet is today in a landfill and that many of the wires that were so painstakingly installed during the construction of the house have been pulled out in subsequent renovations, or more likely hang lifelessly gathering dust in the perpetual darkness between studs.
As I consider the trouble that maintaining and enjoying my smart phones (plural) have given me over the years, I wonder what troubles that $20,000 system gave the owner or owners of that house over the last twenty. What was the cost in time, dollars, and brain damage to keep it going?
What was the cost to upgrade and replace its components.
Was it all worth it?
To put this in a little perspective, had the owner invested that $20,000 and managed a modest 7% per annum increase it would today be worth $77,000.
Only the owner or owners can answer the question. I for one can answer the question that yes, my smart phones have been worth the trouble and money. Hard to imagine life now without one, double edge sword though they may be.
Likewise I love my riding lawn mower. I do not take the combustion engine or paved roads or rubber tires for granted. Likewise I very much appreciate how when you enter a room and flick up that little switch thingy on the wall that the whole room lights up as though it were high noon. I can in fact imagine the semi-darkness that our ancestors lived in for half of their lives. Likewise I can imagine life before modern medicine and nutrition. Or at least our vastly improve understanding of nutrition.
But all of these have come at a price, and for most of us we pay that price by what we earn in what we have longed called the ‘rat race.’ That frenetic pace of life that keeps us busy in order to enjoy a standard of living unimaginable to kings of old.
We can now cross the Atlantic Ocean in hours, instead of weeks, or not at all.
We use a chainsaw instead of the simple but near indestructible axe.
We ride elevators instead of ascend stairs or ladders.
We turn on the forklift, instead of harnessing the mule.
And the list could on and on and on. I would not want to have to go back to the so-called good ol’ days, but I only tolerate the complexity of these good-new-days and at times question the value of its many luxuries, or time and back saving tools, if in the having I must run forever in a rat race.
There is something to be said for keeping things simple.
This piece was originally published at Look Away on August 17, 2022.
Man has educated his young since the beginning of time. It is simply what we humans do. We inherit our nature just like dogs and cats, but unlike dogs and cats, part of our nature is to pass on what we know or remember to our offspring that they might survive and prosper in a world of danger, want, and decay. For example, an infant may instinctively ‘latch on’ just as a dog may lick itself, but eventually the baby will also learn to speak from others, as well as how to make a fire or use the wheel.
The two questions for all men in all times are what to teach the young and how. In our age this means first and foremost that beginning at about five years old we subject our young to a thirteen-year regimen of study directed by professional teachers. The details will vary from state to state but the state will by and large dictate the terms, and to educate along this pattern is more or less compulsory.
It should be pointed out that this pattern of mass and compulsory education over the bulk of childhood and youth is only something like 150 years old here in America, a very short segment on the timeline of human history.
Now, prior to 1500 man had gathered and passed on a remarkable amount of information that we still enjoy today, relatively little having been lost. But since then our knowledge of all that is has been expanding like a mushroom cloud. And part of this information expansion is our ability to access it almost instantly via computers and the internet today.
My question is, after 150 years can we say that the thirteen-year K-12 regimen that we have put our young through for generations has been an effective transmitter of the accumulated knowledge of man?
For some it has been, but is it possible, just maybe, that what we take for granted today as the way to educate our young is not only a soul-crushing waste of time for many, but in regards to transmitting knowledge, has been next to useless for more than a few.
So, to gauge just how effective this extremely expensive, time-consuming, culture-shaping institution is at teaching, I offer the following test to all 17 and 18 year olds, whether or not they have graduated, but who have at least completed 8th grade.
Now, if you scored 100% do not pat yourself on the back because, as you now know, this test is extremely easy.
But, if you missed a single question above let’s assume you were momentarily distracted so we’ll pass you. No, we’ll let you miss two. Maybe you were thrown off by Hannibal. However if you missed three, you need to have an awakening, get a little angry, and then demand the state refund your childhood because your failure is no reflection of your IQ but rather entirely the fault of a one size fits all, assembly-line approach to mass education. If you failed, you have in fact been victimised. You were, after all just a few feet off the ground when you were put on the conveyor belt. You didn’t get up on it voluntarily and you can't be blamed for knowing so little after riding it for nine to thirteen years.
But if the system failed to transmit basic knowledge to you by the time you were 18, did it at least instill in you the awareness that the knowledge is available? Did it instill in you a curiosity about what is known? Did it equip you with the ability to seek it out in the course of your adult life?
But if it failed to instill intellectual curiosity and the ability to study, did it at least instill in you good values? Were your teachers by and large virtuous ladies and gentlemen who, via their instruction and examples, strove to instill in you virtue? Or in their defence, were they allowed to?
Do you even know what virtue is?
Note that I am not here criticising the idea of state-funded public education but rather the notion that this thirteen-year educational regimen that we established generations ago should be compulsory (at least past the eighth grade) or that it is the best option for educating all of our young. I am also challenging the idea that this system has in fact succeeded in its core mission of transmitting knowledge or has at least been instilling virtue in our young.
It didn’t instill virtue in the class of ’85, that is for dang sure!
Since long before I was born in 1966 public (and private) education was becoming what it is today — first and foremost an industrial babysitter. Something to occupy the children of an industrial age who are no longer needed on the farm and thus allow young women to remain in the work force during their childbearing and child-raising years. Secondly and most ominously, it has long since become a means for Progressive intellectual elites to indoctrinate America’s youth and thus radically transform our culture, or at least large segments of it.
Again, if you were able to pass this test do not pat yourself on the back. But if at 17 or 18 you failed, how will you be able to see yourself in the context of history or understand the broader currents that have shaped you and that are directing you now? You are a leaf floating on some stream. You are a cog in some wheel. You are a thing fit to clock in and clock out, and vote as you are told. You are that reed shaken by wind.
And you should be angry.
This piece was published at LookAway.com on June 2, 2022.
Several years ago I heard a Northerner speak critically of how Southerners often say ‘uh-huh’ instead of ‘you’re welcome.’ To this Northerner it seemed a bit rude. But Southerners (cultural Southerners I mean) are well known for being friendly and polite, so this didn’t add up in my mind. I have heard this complaint since, but more importantly, now alerted to the infraction, I have heard ‘uh-huh’ used in place of ‘you’re welcome’ more times than could be counted.
It is most often said after a Southerner (usually a man) gets the door for someone.
Vocally the uh– falls, the -huh rises, and both syllables are short.
I also realised that when I was getting the door for someone and was thanked that I myself always said ‘uh-huh’ instead of your ‘you’re welcome.’ I know that in my mind I am being polite and I am positive that other Southerners are as well.
So why is it that we say ‘uh-huh’ instead of ‘you’re welcome?’
In the South, being both friendly to strangers or showing them respect, as Southerners judge friendliness and respect, is mandated by our culture if you wish to be accepted or not ostracised. Conduct that may be viewed with indifference in other cultures can cause offence, even deep offence in the American South.
That a man should get the door for others, especially women, is on that list of courtesies that may be considered a social requirement. To acknowledge someone that gets the door for you is also a requirement. But this paradigm and expectation of ‘thank you – you’re welcome’ is common in many other cultures, such as the American Midwest.
But why do we say ‘uh-huh’ instead of ‘you’re welcome?’
I think the root cause pertains to a cultural quality that may be considered something uniquely Southern. I am struggling to convert my theory into words here, but I think it has something to do with the Southerner’s inherited notion of humility as well as duty.
If I pull you out of a burning building, or your car out of a ditch, or just help you gather up the things that you have accidentally dropped, I have in fact done you a favour at some cost to myself. You’ll likely say ‘Thanks, Mark!’ And I will say ‘you’re welcome’ or maybe ‘my pleasure.’
But to merely get the door for you was at almost no cost to me. While good manners requires that I must accept and acknowledge your gratitude, I must not be puffed up or act as though I have done you a favour.
I might say ‘my pleasure’ but such a proper expression seems more appropriate for a doorman, waiter, deliveryman, or any serviceman to say in the execution of his vocation. And for them ‘uh-huh’ may not rise high enough, and in fact may be considered rude.
‘Here’s your food.’
‘Uh-huh.’ Or put another way ‘Whatever.’
But ‘uh-huh’ doesn’t sound rude to the Southern ear in the context of getting the door. So what I think the Southern man is saying when he gets the door for you is ‘It is my pleasure to do this little thing for you that is but my duty.’ Which he contracts to the humble, self-effacing…
This piece was previously published on MCAtkins.com on May 2, 2022.
Decide for yourself whether or not the follow two stories are true or at least ring true.
There was a young woman in a typical small-town, rural Southern county. She suffered from melancholy and eventually sought some professional help at a local clinic that could provide both counselling as well as prescribe medications if that would be thought helpful.
So she goes to the clinic and there sits down with a lady-therapist who over the course of the interview asked about her goals in life. What does she want to do? The young woman tells the lady-therapist that all she has ever really wanted to do was marry a nice man, stay at home, and raise a bunch of kids.
The lady-therapist suggested that she may also need to pursue some kind of income producing occupation (i.e. career) because ‘Wouldn’t it be kind of degrading to have to depend upon a man?’
The second story goes like this. Once upon a time there was an elderly lady in a typical rural Southern county who wished to occupy herself with some meaningful work as well as earn some additional income. So, being qualified and accepted, she began substitute teaching at a local public school.
One day she found herself directing a bunch of 1st graders in a game where they were to dress up and play pretend. One little boy decided that he wanted to dress up like a girl. The old woman being a Christian, having her head screwed on correctly, and thus being an old fuddy-duddy, calmly informed the boy that that wasn’t a good idea and directed him towards a costume more appropriate for his sex.
This was witnessed by a young female teacher, herself only recently graduated from seminary (i.e. teaching college), who curtly told the old fuddy-duddy that she couldn’t do that and promptly reported her infraction to the principal.
Now for me the issue is not that irrational ideas exist and are embraced as true with evangelical zeal. They always have. The issue is that we are producing homegrown Progressive evangelists that believe and then teach young girls that becoming a homemaker, or boys that dressing like a man is problematic.
For generations now a growing number of Southern kiddies have been growing up wholly un-churched, or rather they are getting their churching from poplar culture and the liberal educational establishment. Thus they are not rooted in the great tenets of Christianity that require self-discipline and self-sacrifice, but more to my point, neither are they rooted in the Christian faith’s support of a common sense understanding of basic human nature.
As a result some of these Southern kiddies grow up to be homegrown Progressive evangelists pushing doctrines that are at first and second glance, and then careful study, irrational and inhumane.
My question is where are these people going off to college? Who becomes their Gamaliel? My next question is who is paying for their indoctrination? Then who is paying for them to indoctrinate other un-churched Southern kiddies in their turn?
Lastly, who sits on the committees and school boards that are allowing this to happen?
This piece was originally published on Look Away on April 1, 2022.
By all accounts the government and economy of Ukraine are corrupt. That they were still so ill-prepared for this onslaught after 30 years of independence and being spanked by the Russians in 2014 supports the claim.
But it is the nature of human war that strength seeks weakness and that if the weak is to survive, it must become strong.
It should not be noteworthy that women and children are fleeing the war zone in Ukraine and that men 18-60 are being required to stay and defend their country in this desperate hour. This paradigm is as old as time and may be encapsulated in the image of the wife standing behind her husband in the face of a mugger. Both men and women get it.
Likewise since the beginning of time any given people survive or conquer by the strength of one particular demographic group; strong and martial men in their 20’s and 30’s. This holds true even in this age of so called push-button warfare as we are seeing on the battlefields of Ukraine. War always degenerates into rage, suffering, and chaos (at least for the one losing) and it is this demographic that far and away can best serve up and take the pain. It is the nature of things. Exceptions are just that.
But it is one thing for a people to be ill-prepared for war and be forced to react in desperation. It is altogether a different thing for a people to with forethought plan to be ill-prepared. Which is what we are doing in our country.
The ongoing feminisation of the US military via the woke-driven institutionalisation of women in combat is fundamentally weakening our combat effectiveness but far more ominously our fighting culture.
We can rest assured that we will not forever possess military supremacy and just like Ukrainians today, it will one day hit the fan and we will find ourselves on our heels, and pushing buttons just wont do the trick.
We humans are creatures of habits and traditions. This is as unavoidable as the repetition that produces them and this repetition is essential to general productivity. After all, we do not forever reinvent how to snap green beans or what we do daily but rather rely on habit to direct our steps, which frees our mind to focus upon that thing that occupies us at any given moment.
Good habits and traditions not only guide us quietly throughout the day, they can also answer many long term questions or provide solutions to life’s most significant issues. For example, in your ponderings you may wonder how you are going to provide for yourself in your old age and may decide that you will commit to the same routine for twenty years in exchange for a pension. Box checked!
These habits of mind and action are a ground spring of comfort and security for we humans.
But we can also be short term thinkers and inclined to keep our head in the sand if it’s comfortable there or maybe we cover our ears, squeeze our eyes closed, and cry aloud ‘nah-nah-nah-nah-nah’ if to hear and see may break the reverie of our comfort.
The great problem with this inclination is that the circumstances in which we are living may be changing or have changed considerably and our commitment to our comfortable routine and expectations might be contributing to great future troubles and maybe even our own downfall. If you choose to drift happily on the river lounging on a raft, no problem. That is, until awakened by a roar and looking up you see that the river disappearing over the horizon.
The Common Man’s inclination towards routine and disinclination to be challenged is a primary source of power for what we can call the Power Seeker, be he a noble statesmen, a captain of industry, or a self-serving demagogue.
Now, here after 2020 it should be apparent to any thoughtful Christian over thirty years of age that we are in a cultural war between what we often refer to as the Left and the Right and that the differences are irreconcilable. If you consider yourself the Common Man you need not understand how this conflict has been raging for generations or even for hundreds of years, but you must see that it is raging now and that you are somewhere in its growing vortex.
This includes Christian public school teachers.
Like all of us, they can view life through the lens of their occupation or that which they are investing a sizeable portion of their adult energies which in their case is the institution of American public education in the 21st Century.
It should be apparent to all Christian public school teachers that they operate within a realm whose roots in this country are wholly secular and that is led top-down by theorists and senior administrators that are now openly hostile to Christianity. Am I right about the later assertion? Could you professing teachers who operate from within, show me, who am without, the proofs of my assertion? I imagine that you could easily.
It should also be apparent to Christian teachers the damage that this secularisation has done to our public schools, as well as the damage that our secularised schools have done to the traditional Christian character of the country, especially since the 1960’s.
Now, and especially in the aftermath of 2020, regular Americans, be they Christians or love-it-or-leave-patriots are effectively challenging the radical American Left. Likewise the states are at last reasserting some of their original sovereignty lost in 1865. It is high time that Christian public school teachers join the fray as well.
But will they? The fact is the idea that God (much less Jesus Christ) has no place within the borders of public education has been firmly established for decades, and any Christian public school teacher that would challenge that by taking his light from beneath his bushel would be David facing off with Goliath, but without a sling.
It is easy for me to say, So what! After all, are you a Christian or not? If your King Jesus is actually king, you have to say so, lest you deny him, at which point you are striking at the very core of what you profess to believe.
I imagine that there are many public school teachers who if tied to a stake before a howling mob, doused with gasoline, and ordered to publicly deny Christ or burn, would say ‘Light it!’
But it may be easier to be burned to death then to be fifteen years in, take a stand, and then die alone on that hill and lose your pension.
But need they martyr themselves alone? I think not. Times are changing fast as are attitudes. Reason has failed to disprove God, and for 300 years Progressivism has failed to deliver its utopia. But it has produced misery, both of the flesh and more importantly the soul.
It is time for Christian public school teachers in the cultural South to take a stand. Together. At the same time. Here in God’s Country I am confident the people will support them, as well as school boards generally and elected state officials.
The public school establishment at the state and federal levels is not a house of cards. They are dug in like a big fat tick and ain't gonna let go without a fight. But they are breakable. And if we wish to save public education, then it is Christian public school teachers that need to lead the fight.
Here in Dixie they’ll be supported, just like the Canadians are supporting their truckers.
This piece was previously published on Look Away on February 18, 2022.
Let’s pick one of your forefathers who lived sometime between 50,000BC and 1,700AD. At random we’ll pick Throck, who lived between that river over there and this mountain over here sometime around 13,650BC. Great[x625]-Granddaddy Throck had a daughter, your Great[x624]-Grandmother Maralay, whom he knew was his daughter because she was born to his woman Mara whom he had guarded jealously ever since he had carried her to his hut more winters ago than he can remember.
Throck loved his daughter dearly as fathers usually do, and he was loved by her in return as good fathers usually are. In time Maralay began to fill out as girls will, and being that she was the spitting image of Mara, she began to attract the attention of men generally. Before long those men, both suitable and not-so-suitable, began sniffing around Throck’s hut.
Is it true that men will want to lay with Maralay? Generally speaking, yes. Is it true that Maralay likes the attention of men and might be seduced into laying with one of them? Again, yes. Wisdom and youth are not often companions. Will wicked men take Maralay by force if they can? Sadly, yes. If Maralay should unite with a man, might she become pregnant? The possibility certainly exist.
Should Maralay have a child, will Throck love the child? In all probability, yes. Granddaddies usually love their grandbabies.
If Maralay cannot provide for the child, will Throck and Mara? Again, grandparents usually will, as many a grandparent today can testify.
All of this is human nature 101.
Could Maralay becoming pregnant be a problem for Throck? Yes, because then he would have another mouth to feed and another helpless being to protect. The fact is that however many generations it’s been since Adam and Eve sat around their first dung fire outside the garden of Eden, or since man-thing first climbed out of the trees, our ancestors have made a precarious living on this planet. Want and insecurity has been the rule, not the exception.
This is the reality for Throck, as it was for his ancestors and would be for his descendants right on up to the modern era, our unprecedented prosperity today notwithstanding.
So what is he to do to avoid this problem? Well, first of all, Maralay’s desire for a man and men’s desire for her, as well as Throck’s desire for a posterity, are all perfectly natural imperatives. But Throck’s self-interest is also perfectly natural, and if he doesn’t see to it, he will be left holding the bag. So what does Throck do? He does what fathers have always done.
With threats, and a club if necessary, he keeps the wolves at bay. With exhortations, threats, and a switch if necessary, he keeps Maralay’s primordial instincts in check. He then waits for the key reality to play to his advantage, namely, that men still want Maralay and will pull a freight train to have her. Or fight a woolly mammoth rather. And if blocked by Throck’s club and Maralay’s sense of propriety (we’ll give her the benefit of the doubt), they will seek terms.
So here comes your future Great[x624]-Granddaddy Crot to pay a visit to Throck, who sits outside his hut with his club laid across his lap. Crot and Maralay have been exchanging looks and crossing paths an awful lot lately. Mara is onto them though and has alerted Throck.
Crot lays a nice pelt at Throck’s feet as a sign of his respect and request to parlay. ‘Mr. Throck,’ he says, ‘I’ve got to have her. What’s it gonna take?’ Now Throck knows Crot and that he comes from a good family where the women are sweet and the men brave, and he would not object to having him as a son-in-law.
‘Crot,’ says Throck, ‘you’re a good boy and Maralay fancies you. If you will vow before your family and mine and the whole tribe that you will lie dead before permitting harm to come to her or y’all’s young’uns, and that you will provide what they need, and that you and your kinsmen will come to the aid of me and mine, and make our fight your fight, then I’ll give you Maralay and you can carry her to your hut.’
Crot, who was prepared to give the last twenty years of his life, runs off to give his kinsmen the terms, who accept them readily, all agreeing that Maralay is a good girl and well worth having in the family.
This is natural marriage. Not just a hook-up between a man and a woman, but a solemn union of families to the benefit of all. And where this paradigm does not prevail, family disintegrates. And when family disintegrates, society disintegrates. As we see here in America today. And dating is at the root of the problem.
Dating is a modern institution without historic precedent that, like its parent feminism, has been a disaster for our culture and should be rejected root and branch. It inevitably leads to promiscuity that debases women, leaving them jaded and scarred, for despite what feminists would have us believe, a woman is indeed an emotional being whose natural inclination is to form a powerful bond with the man with whom she lays. Promiscuity stretches and erodes this ability.
Secondly, the inevitable promiscuity of dating has resulted in extraordinarily high rates of illegitimacy (to say nothing of abortion) with its attendant social dysfunctions and costs.
Thirdly, dating is play-marriage. All the fun but none of the responsibility. The problem is that the habit of going together and breaking up doesn’t end at marriage. ‘Breaking up’ has become, in effect, divorce practice.
We should return to the timeless and natural paradigm of courtship, parental consent, and arranged marriages and to the Christian precept that marriage is sanctified before God and not to be broken by man.
This piece was previously posted on Look Away.
If the lifespan of man is upwards of eighty years, then my question is, has there been an eighty-year-old man anywhere on the planet during the last 500 years who did not live through momentous changes or a momentous event? Eighty-year-olds today certainly have.
Every morning across the country, 80-year-olds and their young 60-year-old friends sit around drinking their coffee, telling stories, ruminating, and reminiscing. Any of them can easily recall the great changes that they have seen in their lifetimes. They can also remember when they stood four feet off the ground watching their grandfathers do the very same thing.
And their grandfathers, our great-greats, certainly would have heard our great-great-great-great-grandfathers saying the same things that old men today say about young people today. This paradigm of the old and grizzled criticising the young and naive is as old as time, and timeless too because, like getting old, it is just part of our human nature.
There have always been and will always be old fuddy-duddies who talk nonsense and don't understand, and young whippersnappers who know-it-all or who are dumber than boxes of rocks.
But just as today’s fuddy-duddies grew and matured, so will today’s whippersnappers. That too is the nature of things.
It may be tempting to be critical of young people but we need to remember how we were. It is simply impossible to fully grasp the depth and breadth of the human experience at age 20.
I posit that today’s young people are no dumber or smarter than we were, but I will suggest that today’s young people are going to contribute a great deal more than we contributed to our collective struggle against the madness of this age. I believe this because they have two things that we did not, i.e. hindsight and us.
By ‘hindsight’ I mean that those born in 2000 that are now coming of age can begin to see the damage caused to their culture by the Cultural Revolution of the 1960’s. For them the danger is not hypothetical – what may happen. No, for today’s young, the history that my generation lived through is the proof in the pudding that Progressivism has in fact been a cultural catastrophe.
By ‘us’ I mean that right-thinking young people today can be and are being made to understand what has happened to their country since 1970, and contrary to what our post-WWII youth culture would suggest, young people do, and always have listened to what their elders have to say.
The war against the Cultural Revolution of the 1960’s has been heating up the entirety of my lifetime (b.1966), though my generation, and the Boomers before us, have barely managed to hold the line. But we are still in the fight, and being the optimist that I am, I believe that with our help the Conservatives of the Millennials and Gen Z will be able to begin pushing back hard. And maybe it will be the children of the Z’s who will at last raise our flag atop the ruins of Liberal ideology.
Today’s right-thinking young people are smarter and tougher than we may think, and I for one feel good about them.
This post was previously published on Look Away on Oct. 26, 2021.
We have inherited several assumptions about how to educate our children that are just not true, including that educating requires 6-8 hours per day, nine months a year, for 13 years, and must be done by professionals. None of this is true. These are not requirements.
What is true is that we humans educate our young. Unlike the dog licking his tail, certain things such as the knowledge of the wheel, how to forge metal, or how to type or drive are not written on our DNA.
Via observation and imitation, the child will, in his early years, learn the great bulk of what he will use over the course of his life. However, a significant portion of direct instruction must come into play, and parents must consider exactly what to teach their young. They will teach what they believe their child will need to know in order to survive in the times that they imagine the child will live when an adult. The father may teach the son to string the bow to hunt, as well as to deter and ward off the enemy. The mother may teach the daughter to tan the hide and roast rabbit over a dung fire.
In the modern era we have come to worship education, and why not? The ocean of knowledge that we have accumulated over the last 500 years in particular certainly has extended our lives and made them vastly more comfortable than our pre-modern ancestors could have imagined. Whether it has made us better is another matter.
Spoiler: it hasn’t. It hasn’t because that which can make us better is in fact written on our DNA and thus has always been known, or knowable, and may be summed up as prudence, justice, temperance, courage, faith, hope, and charity, the exercise of which will serve all men, in all times, in all circumstances.
The wise parents with conscious intent should strive to cultivate these virtues within their children, first and foremost by their example, but also via direct instruction and when necessary, discipline. But it doesn’t take thirteen years. Neither does it take thirteen years to teach them to read, write, add, and subtract, or to inspire them by lessons of the past wisdom and deeds of man. It does not take thirteen years to prepare them for the vast majority of modern occupations which are learned in the doing. Neither need it consume the bulk of their childhood to prepare them to embark upon strenuous advanced studies at any age, whether fourteen, eighteen, twenty-five, or fifty years old.
We as parents (and We the People) need to do a re-think of what our educational objectives for our children are and what is actually required to achieve them. Just as importantly we need to consider the damage that we have done to generations of Americans and thus our culture by grinding all of us through a one-size-fits-all K-12 regime.
This article was previously published at MCAtkins.com on Nov. 26, 2021.
Mark Atkins has six wee bairns who are all seventh-generation Henry County, Tennessee, and all from the same doe. It is the people of Henry County that he most wants to reach but writes to Southerners generally. He is without credentials but rather dares to speak by the same authority as the little boy who cried 'The king has no clothes!' His core belief and starting point is that like everything, we humans have a nature, it is not so hard to understand, and to pretend that it is other than it is, is to jump off a cliff. Which is what we Americans have in fact done.