The American in Full

Exercising the democratic privilege of the sovereign franchise for his first time just a week after his eighteenth birthday, Aaron manages to make an American experience even more so by rushing straight from his baseball game to the polling place.

I could be neither more proud nor more grateful.

Grateful

It takes a village to form and run a Sea Scout Ship, and I have been privileged over the past two years to work with a village full of heroes. A team of yachtsmen, Coast Guard Auxiliarists, and Navy NCOs who all make me realize how little I know about the sea have made it all possible. It was great to see fellow scouters Marie Edson, Liz Conner, and Jon Conner also recognized for helping bring this program back to Ventura County.

Note the Eagle Scout photobomb…

Twelve Miles Uphill, Before and After

Sunny dropped us at the beach at Sycamore Canyon around 9am. It was a later start than we would normally like, but as it turns out it was a good thing we were rested.

The twelve mile uphill hike wasn’t particularly strenuous, except for a portion where we gained about 600 feet in a mile, and that was only a challenge because it was after 8 miles and 2:40 of steady walking up slope without rest. What is more, Aaron keeps up a steady 3mph pace with a full day pack, so it was a bit more than a leisurely stroll up Sycamore Canyon.

In theory the last four miles should have been an easy downhill stroll to the 101, but fatigue was starting to set in, and even the kid was audibly relieved when our stopping point hive into view as we crossed the freeway.

By the end we had taken a bit over 4 hours to walk the 12 miles, but we had crossed the Santa Monica Mountains, burned 2,000 extra calories, and started our training program for the big prize: the John Muir Trail.

Sabbatical Reading: Talking About a Revolution

Finishing Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France was a bit of a personal triumph for me, so bear with some short musings as catch my literary breath for a moment.

Despite a predilection for complex sentence structures and multi-page paragraphs, Burke is brilliant. At the very least, I walked away with an new appreciation of the French Revolution that contrasted with the neo-Jeffersonian interpretation of events.

Histories I had read emphasize the excesses of the Reign of Terror. Burke acknowledges and decries the atrocities but does not use them to weave a polemic. Instead he focuses on the fundamental shortcomings of the revolutionary government itself. He does not embark on the kind of ideological screed that fills political tracts today as much as he delivers a cogent practical critique of the revolution, and by extension all scorched-earth paroxysms of change. Progress is essential, Burke emphasizes, but change is not the same as progress. and while for true progress to take place there must be change, that change must be modest and incremental.

The phrase that hung above my head as I watched Burke dissect the National Assembly was “consequences unintended, unforeseen but not unforeseeable.” No doubt I will return to his work in the future, but other exponents of the matured values upon which Burke expounded, like Russell Kirk, Max Weber, Leo Strauss, and Irving Babbit, now call for my attention.

A final note: I find it fascinating that Burke, who stands at the center of the Anglo-American conservative pantheon, sounds less like a right-wing icon than he does a moderate conservative, and someone who might well be dubbed a RINO.