Monuments

As an American I hate so much of what the Confederacy stood for: racism, division, greed, narcissism, reactionary politics, and the implicit belief that a good nation could rise on the flesh and bones of people in fetters.

Yet the misguided attempt to wipe from the face of the earth any memorial to the Americans who died in that conflict offends me as an historian.

We should never forget, nor allow our children to forget, that good, well-intentioned people die in the name of bad causes, and that it is not their cause that needs to be remembered, but the hubris that led them to the slaughter.

The problem lies not in statues or monuments, but in the way we use history and memories to teach.

Home, home on the (shooting) range


A good day is any day when you and your son can go to the shooting range with a good friend, and you’re all breaking in new weapons.

Aaron zeroes his Ruger 10/22 while Dan hones his skill with his Sig P226. Not shown: me taking my first shots with my Sig P229. 

They both did better than I did, but by the end of the hour my groups were getting tighter and we’re inching closer to the 10 ring.

The Return of the Canon

The library at Melk Abbey

I think elites abandoned the Western Canon in part because Mortimer Adler et. al. made it “middlebrow” during the mid-20th Century via the Great Books series.

That’s rather ironic, given that there is nothing middlebrow about Heroditus or Henry James.

I think now we’re coming full-circle, returning to the Canon, albeit with some interesting additions – more women, more “people of color.” I expect the Canon will grow, and that the intellectual fights going forward will be about what to add, not what to eliminate.

You know it’s bad…

…when I stop journaling. My rate of entries last month was about half of normal, not counting the fact that I didn’t do much “back-filling” (entries prior to May 2017.) Part of it is that the kid is out of school and we have my mother-in-law in town.

I am rapidly becoming my own tiger parent, over-programming myself in an effort to try and do everything. And, of course, I just can’t.

That’s the one balance I can’t seem to strike. But the first step toward solving a problem is admitting you have it, right?

Stepping back into the saddle…