March 2019 Reading Update

Having finally finished off Polanyi’s escrable The Great Transformation and a few smaller works (will wrap up reviews of William Torrey Harris’s 7-page long “book” of his lectures on the nature of education in the next day or two) I’m on to a couple other things, two general and one education-specific:

Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago. I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never read this. About 20% through. Echos of the Party’s turns of phrase and habits of thought are evident in the way the Bern and AOC and other adolescent Marxists (but I repeat myself) talk today. The imperviousness to information, the dismissal of all objections, the crusading zeal, the willingness to criminalize all dissent – yep, that’s what we find in Solzhenitsyn’s account of the people who murdered 25+ million people and tortured and imprisoned without trial many millions more. The bug-eyed smirking is perhaps reserved for our particular hell, maybe not.

Rousseau, Emile. There’d better be time off in Purgatory for reading this so you don’t have to. About 10% in, and, oh! my eyes! Emile is a profoundly influential work, mentioned and cited everywhere I look – Torrey Harris, for example – and, upon a few pages reading, a profoundly stupid book. And verbose and poorly written to boot. The post-revolution French are said to have set up their schools according to this book, but since the very idea of a school is denounced within a few pages, not sure what that could mean. Noble savage, civilization corrupts, blank slate – all that crap.

Billington, The Protestant Crusade. Another book that gets mentioned in older books – it was first published in 1936, seems to have enjoyed a few decades of relative prominence, then went down the memory hole. Billington chronicles the anti-Catholic fervor in America, and how it reached a sustained high level from 1800 to 1860. About the only thing that has united our Protestant brothers and sisters over the years has been their hatred of Rome; not clear if the general Protestant dissolution we’re seeing now is a cause or effect of a reduction in anti-Catholic fervor on the part of mainline Protestant sects? (I could quip that what’s for a Protestant to hate in the new Catholic Church we’ve been singing into being over the last 50 years – but that would be mean.)

Anyway, time to get on it.

Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

7 thoughts on “March 2019 Reading Update”

  1. Perhaps you would be interested –

    After leaving my teaching program in college several years ago for a variety of reasons I am currently slated to graduate with a degree in Religion this summer, get a Christian teaching certificate, and – most importantly – have just (I mean JUST, as in, yesterday) started the process of becoming a Salesian Cooperator of St. John Bosco.

    The long term goal is to start a school, where boys and girls are separated and meet only for Mass and after school activities. Only male altar servers and readers, Masses are all TLMs with maybe a Divine Liturgy once every couple of months, and all employees are Priests, Brothers, or fellow Co-operators, strictly – incredibly strictly – vetted.

    The philosophy of the school will be in line with St. John Bosco.

    This is the long term goal. These are the first steps. Huzzah!

    1. Wow, congratulations and prayers! I was just now – like literally 20 minutes ago – recounting the story of St. John Bosco to an young Evangelical woman who is visiting us. (we can all agree on tending to poor orphans, I should hope!) One of my favorite saints, and one to whom I should turn to more often, as I could learn both from his learning and how hesitant he was to be thought learned!

      Sounds like an excellent project. I will get the family to pray for you and it.

      1. I would be, I should note, a lay cooperator. I have consideres a religious calling many times but everything I have read indicates thatpeople who feel they are called to religious life should be totally convinced of it and passionate about it, and I am not. Layman it is.

        Hence why I am looking at being a Salesian Cooperrator, not a Salesian. Thanks for the prayers!

  2. I came to Solzhenitsyn relatively recently, too. (Then again, I only read War and Peace for the first time two or three years ago.) Gulag was, of course, horrifying. But I was (pleasantly) dumbstruck by the sheer power of the human spirit that went into A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. I keep reminding myself that I need to look up more of his works.

      1. The trick is to skip all of Leo’s side-bloviating about his theories of history and stick to the main story.

    1. A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich was truly staggering in its emotional and psychological weight. I haven’t read much else by Solzhenitsyn besides a few essays that wander the web, but truly it seems to me he was a man who lived up to his Christian call to be a prophet to the world.

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