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July 29, 2004

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Lenore Ealy

Blushingly, she says, "Thank You." And even owns the remark about lopsidedness in another post! I'm doing some weightlifting on that weak side as we speak, it seems. But I might have simply said that I'm early modern by education and temperment, trying to live productively and intelligently in a post-modern world!

Phil Cubeta

Well, around here that is OK. Tutor is proud to be an Ancient. (c.f, Swift's "Battle of the Books" between Ancients and Moderns.)

Lenore Ealy

Joseph Levine, writing on the Battle of the Books that prompted Swift's satire of that name, observes:

"Paradoxically, it was Christian orthodoxy that seemed to require the idea of progress, while the radical deists, so apparently modern in other respects--for example, in their disparagement of all authority--seemed to prefer an essentially timeless past."

Gosh, I used to be so much more up-to-date with the scholarship of all these debates!

You are Jeffersonian, too, correct?!

Phil

Lenore, my background is more literary than it is in politics or history. Berkeley, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, and Mill, that was the political reading list I was set. Haven't advanced beyond it. I grew up in a small VT town, arranged around a town green, that still had town meetings as a form of governance. A college town, surrouded by farms, with a steeple on several corners. Still, is, I guess, my frame of reference. You see that life overtaken by both centralized government and also by chain stores, big box retailers, international financial corps, etc. The only thing big enough to restrain the evil of corporate gigantism may be another giant, with regulatory and enforcement powers. I have always thought that the liberal arts were mean to prepare people to be good citizens and public servants, if called to that role. (That seems to be a view that comes down from Rome to Augustan England to our Ivy Schools of an earlier era.) I am sickened by the corruption of government and its collusion with corporate money and media. The giants have learned to serve one another at the expense of democracy. "The hungry sheep look up and are not fed." (Lycidas.)

My moral landscape then is a liberal arts college on the hill, family farms all around, more cows than people, a town green, and self-reliant citizens hashing out their differences in public debate. Cornuelle's moral landscape, I'll bet is not much different. But downsizing government and taxes will not bring it back. The farms will be bought out, the little shops swallowed up, the air and water polluted, the trees harvested. The college either getting with the program or becoming politically correct in reaction against it, until the voices there address only one another, in little cliques and clusters.

So what does that make me? A homesick kid from Middlebury, VT.

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