All of this is understandable, of course, given that Barfield lived in London, not Oxford, and he joined his father’s law firm in 1929. Though he continued to write, often prolifically and always brilliantly, he had to earn his living as a solicitor, not as an amateur philosopher. At best, Barfield claimed, he attended fewer than ten percent of the total meetings, and even this seems an overly generous number, especially given that he could not name the beginning or the end of the group.
And, third, to be sure, any right-thinking individual, then or now, would want to have Owen Barfield as a vital and central member of the Inklings. The man was, simply put, genius and, equally important, generous and charitable. His insights into the Inklings, frankly, are beyond compare. In a 1969 lecture, Barfield claimed correctly that the Inklings had stood for and advanced four ideas: a longing for the Infinite and the western desires of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful; that every person is endowed with dignity, especially as he or she moves toward sanctification; “the idealization of love between the sexes”; and, finally, that the truest stories end in joy, not sorrow.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/07/was-owen-barfield-inkling-bradley-birzer.html
My new cartoon series with Michael Malice
— Read on mailchi.mp/tomwoods/malice
But conservatives recognize that it is possible to admire flawed human beings. We do not expect our heroes to be saints. We understand that though good and evil most definitely exist, men themselves are neither black nor white but rather some shade of gray. We have the sense to look up to men despite their sins. It would be churlish, for example, to condemn in toto the Washingtons of our past for the blinders society as a whole wore.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/07/hungry-souls-brave-hearts-heroism-history-myth-stephen-klugewicz-timeless.html
“It would be very interesting to speculate on what the human imagination is going to do with a frontierless world where it must seek its inspiration in uniformity rather than variety, in sameness rather than contrast, in safety rather than peril, in probing the harmless nuances of the known rather than the thundering uncertainties of unknown seas or continents. The dreamers, the poets, and the philosophers are after all but instruments which make vocal and articulate the hopes and aspirations and the fears of a people.
The people are going to miss the frontier more than words can express. For four centuries they heard its call, listened to its promises, and bet their lives and fortunes on its outcome. It calls no more” – Walter Prescott Webb, The Great Frontier
Webb’s prediction was correct, just as he feared.
We do miss the frontier more than words can express. We miss it so much that few can even contemplate its absence. But clearly, something is amiss. The political earthquakes presently rumbling across the planet are just symptoms of something bigger. Sure, we can validly attribute a multitude of causes to the present day state of the world. But undoubtedly, we miss the frontier. Man, do we ever.
Fifty years ago this July 20th, a five year old boy (yours truly) stood ossified in front of a black and white television in a living room in Lewiston, Idaho. While he didn’t fully appreciate the significance of what was happening, he knew it was a big deal. The cues from the adults in the room were ample evidence of that.
What the moment led to was a lifelong interest in space exploration, which included the devouring of one book after another on the topic, building plastic models of spacecraft, flying model rockets, and anything else that could satiate my appetite for all things space. More than that though, it created a hopeful anticipation for a certain future, a future of unlimited possibilities. Unfortunately, that future has yet to arrive. As Andy Tillison of the British progressive rock band The Tangent stated, the future was not as good as the book. Or, as venture capitalist Peter Thiel surmised, “we were promised flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” Queue the golf clap.
What happened to us since that glorious day 50 years ago?
Every vital question the Greek philosophers asked, St. Paul answered in his letter to the Christians of Colossae.
Indeed, Christ came not at any point, but in the “fullness of time,” when three distinct cultures intersected, again proving that history was vital to God’s plan. Christ, coming in the “fullness of time,” was born into a Hellenistic Jewish culture, controlled militarily and politically by the Roman Empire, and divided, theologically, among several Jewish schools of thought.
The Incarnation allows the church, the representative of the City of God on earth, as Cardinal John Henry Newman put it, “to gather His Saints.” Christian loyalty, then, can be to no nation primarily, but to the universal, Christian church, no matter how divided its body might be. Among those saints, there is neither male nor female, neither Greek nor Jew, neither black nor white, but all made one in His unity.
— Read on thefederalist.com/2019/07/11/preposterous-say-western-civilization-whiteness/
I have always wanted to get married. I have always wanted to have a family. I didn’t want to date women who weren’t serious about having a family or young enough to have them. And I remember what Father Fox told me at NYU over 40 years ago: “Marriage is serious. Marriage is a sacrament. Marriage means openness to children.” So sure I wanted to get married but I realized I need ed to have a job, some property (a free and clear car) and a few dollars in the bank. So I put off getting married for three years. It wasn’t easy. I only saw my wife for two weeks of each year as she lived and worked 8000 miles away from where I worked. At that time most of our relationship was via letters. I wrote at least once a week sometimes several times a week. It was too expensive, then, to call on the phone and there was no internet. We had, ultimate three kids, the last coming when my wife was 38. All blessings. All now out of college and working. Two grandchildren so far and two children of three married. I am approaching retirement. But I don’t feel fear or depression but real joy because i will be able to spend more time with my family and help raise and educate our grandchildren. I never doubted our children would have children because they believe as we do, that “marriage means openness to children.” Amen. What gifts our children were to us. We are very thankful.
Quite like Jeep owners, motorcyclists also wave at each other. It’s one of those unenforced etiquette of the road, creating and maintaining that sense of fellowship among riders. Such rules serve a purpose, so they also tend to have consequences, good and bad. For example, creating that sense of fellowship among motorcyclists leads to a relatively benign culture, consequence is on-road and off-road cooperation. This is quite the opposite of how motorcycle gangs operate. Actually you do not typically wave at these “outlaws”, because they have their own code and different purpose/consequences to them.
Like how merely waving at each other can create/reinforce a cooperative framework among unknown riders, other cultural norms/rules can also have its own consequences. Such norms and rules can also be more abstract and elementary. Sort of like building blocks of a social order. For example, preference for obedience over individual responsibility is such an abstract rule. This rule/norm will determine what is considered as just or acceptable within all formal and informal social spheres. It’s sort of like the underlying ethics of an order. Respect for seniority, class, gender etc over merit is another such rule; we can see that these rules do have consequences – in this case they tend to emphasize the collective over the individual. In short, these are the characteristics of static hierarchies. In that sense, they share traits with feudal or aristocratic organizations. The other end of the spectrum would be individual responsibility over obedience and emphasis of merit over everything else – these are the essential characteristics of dynamic hierarchies. So, seems like hierarchy itself is inevitable, only difference is the underlying rules.
Such norms/rules are also like the genetic code of a civilization, we sort of repeatedly apply them in different political, social and economic contexts to create higher level laws, Legislation, institutions etc. For example, paternalistic institutions will be perceived as just when obedience is considered as a higher virtue than responsibility. Reality is anyway more complex, because there are always conflicting norms and ethics. In short, no society is absolutely static or dynamic, it’s just a matter of degree.