All posts by Richard K. Munro (Auld Munro)

Like Russell Kirk, I am a great admirer of the late Gilbert Highet. I am the president and founder of the Gilbert Highet Society (on Facebook) which includes many scholars and authors. I was intensely homeschooled as a boy learning English phonics, drama, and oratory as well as the history of the Raj and British Empire where my people prominently served as Empire builders in the Merchant Marine, Indian Civil Service or Highland Regiments. I learned to read and write at home before I went to school singing and listening to many languages. My people specialized in building ships, trains, bridges and were soldiers, interpreters or scouts for the British Army or Navy for generations. For many generations, it was the desire of each son of Munro, Keith, Fraser, MacFarlane or MacKenzie to go a-soldiering far "frae the hame" and to return to marry a woman of his faith "and race and line" and by that was meant to marry a woman of the Highlands and Islands (Gaidhealteachd). Two things changed this pattern forever. 1) the depopulation of the Highlands from 1790-1890 meaning there was no place to go home to and 2) the Catastrophe of what we called An Cogadh Mòr (the Big War)1914-1918 and An Cogadh Hitler (the Hitler War) 1914-1945 (WWII: An Dara Cogadh an t-Saoghail ) This led to the biggest catastrophe of all -the British Empire went smash and so we became "Orphans of Empire." Victory did not bring economic or political security and many Scots (particularly Highlanders) ; we scattered to the four winds most never to return to their native land. And the old Highland prophecy sang "Is gearr gach reachd ach riaghailt Dhe" (Each realm is short but the Kingdom of God.") We have seen many Empires rise and fall. We have as Auld Pop used to say, "served the Yoke." I am a teacher of English, Spanish.& history. I am principally a teacher of English and history to English learners though I taught AP Spanish for twelve years and was very successful. I Have taught Spanish for Native Speakers, AP US HISTORY, AP Spanish as well as English for Learners in the USA and Spain. I am the author of some short non-fiction articles and one-act plays. Author of Spying for the Other Side, KIM PHILBY &The Historic El CID. I have authored one-act plays such as "Euripides' Trojan Women (Calliope),"Romans on the Rhine", "Clad in Gold Our Young Mary" "Beneath Alexandria's Sapphire Sky" among others. I am a California Certified teacher in history, Spanish and English. MA Spanish Literature. BA with Honors (NYU '78) winner of Helen M. Jones Prize for History. ISI Fellow UVA 2004-2005. I am on the Board of PRO-ENGLISH. I have edited galleys of several books but especially CHURCHILL WALKING WITH DESTINY for my friend Andrew Roberts with whom it was my honor to serve. I consider this biography to be the greatest biography of our time both for history and as literature. To have been associated with it only in a minor capacity was a great honor. Recently I have helped research and edit his forthcoming book THE LAST KING OF AMERICA: GEORGE III coming out in October 2021 My specialty is English literacy for newcomers (emphasizing phonics, diction, and grammar) and sheltered English immersion Social Studies (history) for English learners. I believe in sheltered English immersion for newcomers (English language books, notes, tests and quizzes with some translation and bilingual glossaries available.) I believe in high-quality Dual Immersion instruction but I do not believe (generally speaking) that NENLI is a good idea, in most instances. NENLI is Non-English Native Langauge Instruction. Schools should be very honest about what they are doing. If they are NOT teaching the core curriculum in English they should say so. The temptation to retain students (i have seen it) and create alternative pathways without requiring students to study their core subjects in English is ultimately, in my opinion, harmful to students. Bilingual programs must have rigor. History, science, and math classes must have rigor. If students only accumulate hollow credits then ultimately they are cut off from the satisfaction of higher academic endeavors. But I do believe local communities should have some choice as to what kind of educational programs they want to provide and what languages they teach. However, I believe English should be the official language of the United States. I do not believe we can or ought to be an officially bilingual nation. I have a New Wine Credential. I am married with three children. Two of our children are teachers (Spanish and Dual Immersion k-6) and one is an engineer. I am proud to have served as a peacetime "Ice Cream" Marine (reserves) and to hold an honorable discharge from USMCR. My parents emigrated to the USA when young in 1923 and 1927. The war destroyed the fragile economic communities from which they came and essentially no one ever returned. They became US citizens and were Americans by choice. Both graduated from public high school in New York and were the first and only members of their families to graduate from high school and go on to college. My mother was an RN and came from a strict Free Church Calvinist family. My father had a BA in English and French Comparative Literature and was a Roman Catholic. They were married in two separate Catholic and Anglican ceremonies. In the 20th Century, my family emigrated to the Americas (Chile, Canada, and the USA) My uncle worked in Chile and Argentina circa 1914-1936 and my father was an American officer in Texas, Louisiana, and the Pacific Theater during WWII. My father was a notable amateur linguist ( reading ancient Greek, Latin, speaking Tagalog, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian). I grew up in a multilingual cosmopolitan household and cannot remember a time when I spoke, sang or heard only English. My mother played the piano and sang in five languages. I lived and studied in Spain and got my MA in Spanish Literature there via the University of Northern Iowa under the legendary Adolfo Franco Pino. I first visited Spain and Italy in 1964. My primary interest is in classical literature (chiefly English. Spanish, Latin and Gaelic), as well history, music, and poetry particularly the music and literature of the Scottish Highlands and Lowlands. In my old age, I have begun to study Ancient Greek. Cuimhnich air na daoine bhon tainig mise (I remember the people I came from...the Gaels of Cioch Mhor in Ferindonald- My people lived there for over one thousand years). Most of my family today is Spanish-speaking (Spain, Mexico, Chile, and the USA). Most of us follow the faith traditions of St. Maelrubha, St. Columba, St. Patrick, and St. Mungo. I was married in Spain on St. Columba's Day and my son was married in Mexico. It is a cognate fact that every marriage in our family for centuries has a direct or indirect connection to Spain either through marriage in Spain or marriage by priests educated in the Scots College in Spain or Rome. La fuerza del sino? (The Force of Destiny?) I believe in the policy of the Buen Vecino (the Good Neighbor) and in la conviviencia (peaceful coexistence) of different cultures, languages, and religions. I realize I am the very last of my race but I am glad to be the father of a new race of Americans whose blood comes from the peoples and races of four continents. Hyphenations can be good descriptors but they are usually a temporary condition like bilingualism. Monolingualism, cultural diffusion, and assimilation are the natural tendencies of the human race. From where I stand the melting pot bubbles on.

Yesterday’s Seven Thousand Years

My grandfather THOMAS MUNRO, SR ASH 1914-1919
Near the end of the Long, long road CONSTANTINOPLE January 1919 my grandfather is 5th from the right. He told me stories of the Turks (whom he hated with a passion) and visited Haggia Sophia and the ruins of city. He also had contact with Greek and Armenian refugees and he said the tales they told were heart-breaking and horrific.
Thomas Munro, Sr. in Salonika Greece APRIL 1917. He had written to my grandmother that now that the USA was in the war the Allies would surely win. He aid it was just a matter of time six months? a year? two years. He didn’t know for sure but all of the men felt hope they might now survive the war. He used to say he survived 2nd Ypres but would not have survived 5th or 6th Ypres.
The 1st Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders arrive to come to the rescue of France and Belgium.
This photo has the same sources

When people say “New York” they mean “New York City” when they want to talk about the state they say “New York State.” As an exile from New York, I don’t consider myself a New Yorker and never considered myself a New Yorker. I was never accepted as a New Yorker. My family just passed through New York via Montreal, Canada, and Ellis Island. They never really were New Yorkers or even “Yankees”.

And you know what they say: being born in a garage doesn’t make you a car. I wouldn’t mind visiting it again (I haven’t been there since 2005) but I have no burning desire to return and no family and few friends to greet me.

Cianalas is the Highland word for it -that place you are connected to by heritage where joy and sadness mingle.

But it is quite true. You can’t go home again. The greatest distance between two points is time. New York, Glasgow, Argyll, Inverness, Glenties, Ferindonald represent lost worlds to me. So is Seattle, Washington where we lived for seven years.

There is some warmth of memories in all of those places places where my family lived for over one thousand years but I know them well enough to know they all belong to the past and are not likely to have any place in my future and the future of my children.

They are now part of Yesterday’s Seven Thousand Years.

We may sing of them and memory remembers the ghost of a tune and the ghost of a kiss and the Silent Ones.

But the Silent Ones greet forever as they greet no more.

Gars ye tae greet,aye. “But the broken heart it kens no second spring again thought the waeful heart cease not from its greeting.” (grieving; lamenting -that’s Scots dialect)

But then I am speaking only to myself.

“The world is hard and cruel. We are here none knows why, and we go none knows whither. We must be very humble. We must see the beauty of quietness. We must go through life so inconspicuously that Fate does not notice us. And let us seek the love of simple, ignorant people. Their ignorance is better than all our knowledge. Let us be silent, content in our little corner, meek and gentle like them. That is the wisdom of life.” (The Moon and Sixpence, W. Somerset Maugham)

Of course, the 1890 Highlands is a vanished world and so is pre-1914 Glasgow and so is Brooklyn, USA 1927-1957.

I grew up hearing about Ebbets Field ( I was there in 1955 in utero) and my cousins and sisters went there. I used to be very happy to return to New York but that is because my grandmother and mother and father lived there (plus a few college friends). But since they have passed on -it has been over 20 years so there is no homestead, no property, no address and no welcoming face at any door. The phone numbers still remembered are disconnected.

It is sad when you know your mother’s email and phone number and you know no matter how long you wait there will never be a return message or call.

Phone numbers disconnected and ideas for conversations that would never take place. I used to call my mother long distance at least once a week and she would see “this is costing money” and I told her it was cheaper than a cocaine habit and in any case I know each day is a gift. I told her I would call her now for a modest amount. The time is coming, I said to her, that no matter how much I would spend the door would still be locked and the phone disconnected.

Life and love are just a brief moment in time. My mother used to say that. I half believed it. Now I have learned it.

I thought winter would never come but winter came and the snow is general.

Even on Labor Day. Especially on a holiday. Thank God for my beloved wife! Thank God for our children and the new generation to come!

GOLDEN HOURS ON ANGEL WINGS

It is September 2021 and hard to believe that I have no lesson plans to prepare and not classes to go to! (I retired from teaching June 9, 2021.

I wrote (true believe it or not) a 1200 page memoir for my children and grandchildren. I have a few recorded audo clips of my mother, father and grandfather but I wish I had many more! My father used to read poetry aloud to us in English, Scots, in Gaelic, in Latin, in French, In Russian, In Spanish, in Italian and ancient Greek. He was a notable language and literature enthusiast and he would modestly discribe himself as a dilettante or enthusiast though it would be unfair to say he never had any real commitment to scholarship and knowledge. In my entire life I never met a professor who was as well read as my father who could discuss and quote at length Homer, Vergil, Burns, Byron and Shakespeare, Whitman Garcia Lorca, Antonio Machado, Cervantes, Rodrigo Caro. He was well-read in history and biography but his true passions were opera, classical drama and the great authors of fiction.

So I have many of my fathers’s books with annotations and dates but I have few recordings. In my youth cameras and phones and recorders were not ubiquitous. So I met many famous people and artists but I have few photographs (though sometimes I have authorgraps of them such as E. G. Marshall, Bill Tabbbert, Kenneth McKellar, Rita Moreno, Pat Moynihan) . So my chief ambition is to make recordings of my favorite stories and poems to share with my children and grandchildren when I have left the land of the living. I have probably been intensely aware of man’s fate and man’s mortality for many years. I have been close to death at least on two occasions and I have seen the dead. Now as I pass 65 years I become aware of the shortness of my days. No man is master of the line of his life. So I have before me a dozen days (surely) or a hundred or a thousand but can I say ten thousand days of health and mental clarity? Perhaps if I am very lucky but the truth is somewhere between 100 and 10,000. I have term life insurance until I am 77 but I hope we never collect! But then again the insurance is not for me.

And so my YOUTUBE CHANNEL is really for others especially friends and family. I don’t expect many to show much interest in an old man’s poems and memories and stories but PERHAPS my children and grandchildren will find them of some intellectual -and sentimental interest.

GOLDEN HOURS ON ANGEL WINGS. I plan to do one or two 10-15 minute recordings a week. Here is the very first.

Whom shall we blame?

Are the Jews and Capitalists really to blame for all our troubles?

But it must be said. So what’s new? As Tom Leher noted ” everybody hates the Jews.”

Jews are hardworking, well-educated and successful (by and large) SO they must be stealing more than their share of the pie so say the anti-Semites.

I have always believed (unlike Marx) that inventors, innovators, producers of goods and services, financial and business managers WHO MAKE MONEY and WHO CREATE WEALTH deserve, in most cases) they money they make and the wealth they create benefits society.

In my own hum drum life I have achieved modest investments and a modest estate but by George I EARNED IT THROUGH SAVINGS, THROUGH SMART INVESTMENTS and HARD WORK.

I never had it easy. As a first generation American I had no great inherited wealth and most importantly no ins or connections to help me along.

But it never occurred to me to blame others. If I couldn’t get a decent job in NYC or Washington DC I decided to move and try other things which is what I did. I didn’t sleep on my mother’s couch and cry in my beer and hate and resent “all the Jews”.

I thought, instead, ” What decisions are friends and acquaintances making that I could emulate? What am I doing that is insufficient or wrong? ” 

Jonathan Tobin Great article.

AND KEEP SAYING IT. Maybe a few people will wake up and take charge of their OWN COUNTRIES and their OWN LIVES.

In praise of hard working youth and men.

by Richard K. Munro

The kind who do the dirty, dangerous jobs no one wants to do.

NEWS FROM AFGHANISTAN AUGUST 26, 2021

“The sacrifices Marines make on behalf of freedom must never go unnoticed or unappreciated.”
Commandant of the Marine Corps David H. Berger
NE OBLIVISCARIS…do not forget
SEMPER FIDELIS, PALS. SEE YOU AT SUNDOWN. Carry on
US MARINES arriving at KABUL AIRPORT AUGUST 2021
US soldiers stand guard as Afghan people wait at the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan’s 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city’s airport trying to flee the group’s feared hardline brand of Islamist rule. (Photo by Wakil Kohsar / AFP)

Right now one of the dirtiest and most dangerous jobs is security at Kabul Air Port. There are US Marines there, US Airborne, British, Turkish and Australian forces. 97% are probably men though in the support sevices, today on board ships and in rear echelons there are a smattering of young brave women too. Sometimes they too are in harm’s way. I know because a Hispanic woman Marine (MP) was killed in Iraq. I have lived and worked in Bakesfield (mostly rural Kern County) for over 30 years. I have personally known hundreds of young people (95% male) go into the military. Many came to see me after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Many were decorated. Some were critically wounded. Some whom I knew by name and had long conversations with made the supreme sacrifice.

One Marine I knew came back to attend his grandfather’s funeral. He had already completed two combat tours in Iraq. I met him as he marched down the rural highway to the 500-acre national cemetery near Bakersfield, California. It is located near Arvin, California about 25 miles east of SR 99. The young Marine returned to duty and was killed only a few weeks later. NE OBLIVISCARIS….do not forget.

THE YOUNG DEAD SOLDIERS DO NOT SPEAK

Archibald Macleish (1940)

Nevertheless they are heard in the still houses: who has not heard them?

They have a silence that speaks for them at night and when the clock counts.

They say, We were young. We have died. Remember us.

They say, We have done what we could but until it is finished it is not done.

They say, We have given our lives but until it is finished no one can know what our lives gave.

They say, Our deaths are not ours: they are yours: they will mean what you make them.

They say, Whether our lives and our deaths were for peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say: it is you who must say this.

They say, We leave you our deaths: give them their meaning: give them an end to the war and a true peace: give them a victory that ends the war and a peace afterwards: give them their meaning.

The young dead soldiers do not speak. [Washington, 194-]. | Library of Congress (loc.gov)

Yes, the Tommies and the Robertos and the Joes and Nato Turkish Askers or Mustaphas (may Allah protect them) are still out on the job stoically doing their duty to their Regiments, the Corps and the Colors of their nations. Some one always stays. Someone gets the job done. I thank God for them all. I pray for them and remember them with gratitude. NE OBLIVISCARIS…do not forget. It’s not just their lives they are risking but their young manhood and limbs and sight and health. Remember that. I remember the stories of the Princess Louise Scottish Hospital for Limbless Sailors and Soldiers (Erskin House). My Scottish grandmother, my father, my aunt and uncle visited many times 1917-1923. They visited friends and comrades of my grandfather. They visited blood relatives (my grandmother’s nephews among them). For many the Great War did not end in 1918 or 1919 but in 1920 (many died of the Spanish Flu) , 1923, 1927, 1931 and some into the 1940s. NE OBLIVISCARIS. These were the orignal “basket cases”. Those who could speak and see considered themselves the lucky ones. They could hear music. People could read to them. Some were from the Royal Navy but the majority were infantryman from the Scottish Regiments of old such as the HLI (Highland Light Infantry). Argylls, Black Watch, Cameron’s, Seaforths, The Gordons etc. Now most of these regiments are part of Yesterday’s Seven Thousand years and are fading in memory.

Erskine House in Glasgow circa 1917

NB The author is right to mention Latinos as a big part of our labor force in construction, agriculture, mining, restaurnts and the hospitality industry. He says ” This is not to slight the Latino contribution to hard and dangerous work, especially in the Southwest, but Latinos are not the ones whose demise is being celebrated.” When I worked in the construction industry (chiefly in Washington State) 99% of the workers were White Males from the ages of 17-45. I will never forget the 40 some workers who migrated from flooring, tile laying and carpeting because their knees were shot. For many the goal was to get Social Security disablity and then work at something less strenuous such as driver for Enterpirse Rent a Car. I thing I learned from those men was 1) make hay while the sun shines 2) quien joven no trabaja , viejo duerme sobre paja (if you don’t work when you are young you willl regret it when you are old i.e you could end up sleeping on straw.)

I still have reasonable strength and health but I don’t have 50% of the strength and stamina I had in my 20’s and 30’s. Heck I remember doing PT and the daily three mile run in twenty some minutes with OLYMPIC runners who did it in ? thirteen or fifteen minutes. Anyway I was always exhausted and had only about 5 minutes to rest before we marched off -they were not even winded. I never missed passing my PT and physical score but it was only by sheer determination I scored in the mid 70s. (69 was failing no ifs ands or buts). I never dropped out of any 20 mile or 30 mile hikes either. I still bear scars on my body from those early years.

I consider myself forunate that I never experienced a serious injury though once while digging a 90 foot trench under a public house project YESLER TERRACE in the semi-darkness of an underfloor with a 17 year old kid I had a somber moment or too. We had no phones of any kind. Only a worklight on an extention cord (over 100 feet) and I always carried matches and candles in my pocket just in case.

I was asked by the kid ( I was all of 26 years old) “What happens if there is an earthquake?” I thought for a monment and said, “Then we die and they will never find our bodies. Maybe hundreds or thousand of years from now they will find our skeletons like at Pompeii and Herculanueum.” “What’s that?” the high school drop-out said. “Ever hear of Mt. Vesuvius the volcano? ” “Yeah”, he said.

“What’s Mt. Ranier?” “A mountain of course!” “Yes, and also a volcano. If it blows and we are here we are goners” “So what do we do?”

I said “GET CRACKIN”, dig this trench, move the earth stock the Certainteed Insulation and install it as quick as possible. If we finish in two-three days the chances Mt. Rainer will blow are minumum.”

Sadly, that kid did not survive the summer. His pride and joy was his car. He used to go on joyrides with friends on Saturday nights. He would do wheelies in the Park N Rides. One night the cops caught him and chased him down in Kirkland. He knew if he were caught he would lose his licence and if he lost his licence he would lose his job and his car. I remember his name was Vic. He didn’t get caught. His car crashed and he, a friend and two young girls were killed. I will never forget it. And he was worried he might get buried by a volcano! When your number is up it is up, as Auld Pop used to say. He always said, “Save your luck for when it counts because sooner or later everyone rolls snake-eyes!”

Of course, I have always worked. I didn’t go to my college graduation. I had a job to do and places to go afterwards. I was in the military and worked five years in construction (insulation installation retro and new construction). I never saw a single female in my work experience outside of an office. Teaching was different; 90% of elementary teachers I met were female and about 60% of secondary teachers. I switched to working in a bank (for 1/2 the pay as I recall I was paid $7.23 an hour) because

1) for once I would have full medical benefits for my family

2) The bank offered flex time.

3) it was across the street (at that time) of Seattle University.

I knew if I were to advance my career I would need advanced degrees and expertise. At first I did not think of leaving the Bank but after five years and many outstanding performance reviews I began to realize there was no future for me at the bank either. I started studying accounting and computers for a possible MBA but realized the 5th Year Teacher Certification was a better fit for me. The first thing I did was take the CBEST (California Basic educational test in English and Math -in Washington State. I passed it the first time.

But I realized it would make it easier for me to get a job in California if I needed to go there. I never planned to leave Kirkland, Washington where we lived for seven years. But the taxes were too high (Bill Gates lived five miles a away). And my job opportunities in teaching were marginal.

Of course, I had been an honors student at NYU in history, political science, Spanish and English literature. So I rapidly passed National Teacher’s Exam in Social Studies, then English then Spanish. I was recruited at the Tacoma Dome by the Kern HS District. They express mailed me a contract April 26, 1989.

The next day I got a $10,000 bank loan (not a student loan) so I could start my MA in Spanish literature in Spain. (I didn’t work from late May and did not get another paycheck until September30 1989 but we saved and planned ahead). I paid my own way for graduate school kepting debt to an absolute minimum and paying cash whenever possible. When I moved to California in 1989 I took the test certification for the Bilingual Certificate of Competence (usually taken after an MA in Bilingual education). I passed the first time. Then I studied three summers in Spain (plus one-course independent study on Don Quixote) for 30 credits and a MA which gave me a big salary bump AND meant I could teach at Bakersfield College (which I did for summers and nights for four years) and also grade AP Spanish exams for ETS ( I did that for 14 summers).

By the way no one ever offered me a job or asked to see my resume ONCE from 1978-2017 until Rosalie Pedalino Porter asked me to submit my resume to be a candidate for the Board of ProEnglish (I was on the board of advisors for about 20 years). I was at that time almost 60 years old.

I never had a free lunch or any special privilege except what I earned (such as the title of US Marine by going through “The Quigley” and other ghastly and olorous adventures.)

Because I had savings and good credit I bought a condo in Kirkland in 1984 (which I sold in 1989 for a handsome profit) and then bought our first Bakersfield home in 1990. We moved to our present home (with central air conditioning, a library for me, shady trees, garden, patio, and pool) in 2003. We are on our way to paying it off and have the protection of Prop 13 As long as Prop 13 is the law we will stay in California. If it is ever rescinded we will put our house on the market immediately if not sooner. If I do not live to see this I have told my wife that is what she should do. I have no regrets.

The 20th century was tough for me but I survived by dint of hard work and working summers and nights(sometimes in dangerous neighborhoods). I sometimes had five or more preps in three subject areas but I never said no because it I filled a need. Others got promotions but I saved my overtime and put it into an annuity which I now have to give us some security.

I never had any preferences or “ins”; the only thing I had was a reputation for diligence and hard work and absolute reliability in over 34 years of education.

My first nine years in education I did not miss a single day. And of course I coached sports, substituted for Special Education, gym, ROTC and so forth. It is worth mentioning I also did numerous Adjunct Duties (evening concerts, basketball or soccer games) for teachers who were young mothers without asking them to take my adjunct duties and without any pay or recompense at all.

I also taught Sunday school for over 20 years (without pay or recompense). I also tutored college students and AP students on countless Saturdays without out any pay or recompense. Hundreds of these students passed AP tests in Spanish, Spanish literature, European History, AP US Government, and AP US history (including my own children I am proud to say who were all AP Scholars). I support testing and high standards. Challenge and response. Students who pass proficiency tests and AP test gain pride and self-confidence.

If you pass out diplomas like toilet paper you get Biden’s Phantom Afghan Army.

Auld Pop told me years ago “A soldier will die for the Colours but not an extra two bob a day.” I also learned that a lot of wisdom is to be found in dirty jobs and wet trenches.

Bill de Blasio and the Decline of New York city

https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2021/08/16/bill-de-blasio-and-the-decline-of-new-york-city/?fbclid=IwAR0ibEovBk72MdnUm8fZwgjyWTkPkEFmLKInapQ5WcysI6LMoZtZ3KolUrE#slide-1

I remember New York City in the late 50’s and early 60’s. I remember the decline in the 1970’s. This is perhaps the nadir though of course I know New York City could go the way of Ostia or Detroit.

PEERLESS EDUCATOR

Peerless Educator: The Life and Work of Isaac Leon Kandel with a Foreword by Diane Ravitch by J. Wesley Null

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


ALL HONOR AND KUDOS TO KANDEL, A SCHOLAR, A GENTLEMAN AND A GREAT AMERICAN
by Richard K. MUNRO, MA 2004 Renshaw Fellow,UVA

PEERLESS EDUCATOR, the life and works of educator and author, Isaac l. Kandel helps clarify the mystery of our often ineffective, biased and aimless Teacher’s Education programs in America. Kandel is certainly not a household word and his writings are not likely to be in any high school anthologies -but they are so magnificent they should be they are that good. Kandel was in his time an inspired classroom teacher but Null’s PEERLESS EDUCATOR makes clear that Kandel also was an original educational theorist of what Null calls the democratic traditionalist' school. Wesley Null is right when says only by studying authors like Kandel can we understand the need to provide an alternative to the dominance of liberal progressivism in our schools and teacher colleges. I find Kandel's argument convincing that we must have a common American culture (I call in an American Paideia) grounded in our English-speaking democratic heritage of limited government as well as our Judeo-Christian Greco-Roman ethical traditions. Null calls Kandel a "Democratic Traditionalist" because Kandel believed strongly in American ideals such as public schools for all, universal citizenship and equality before the law. America, Kandel recognized, was strong and a land of opportunity and freedom but it was not perfect and certainly was but not invulnerable. I think Kandel recognized America's tendencies towards anti-intellectualism, excess and crass materialism but he loved her all the same and recognized that America was basically a kind, tolerant and forgiving place capable of reform and improvement. He lived through the challenges of Nazism and Communism and he knew so we had to do everything possible to strengthen our free society, nurture it, to preserve it and to protect it. If we undermine the family and deny a quality education for all, Kandel believed, we undermine and weaken education. Therefore we must nurture, protect and preserve the most vital traditions of our civilization -what John F. Kennedy called "our ancient heritage"- through our schools, our houses of God, our families, our military, our jury boxes and all our multitudinous, autonomous private quasi-educational institutions as well as through the freedom of the individual citizen. Kandel understood, I think, like Acton, Kirk and Hayek, the link between our free institutions, our basic rights of life, liberty and property and education. Ultimately, the collapse of the private life, of the family and public schools could prefigure the collapse of our republic and free Constitution. Kandel was controversial in his time and often treated in a petty fashion by the Progressive elites of his time. Nonetheless, he clearly understood one of the great dangers of the modern age: the power of the Bold State (the Totalitarian State) to corrupt education and destroy freedom. This threat, this totalitarian temptation, of course, could come as easily from the Left as from the Right. It can come with crashing speed or gradually like a slow poison. As early as 1934 Kandel wrote the MAKING OF NAZIS, though it is sad to relate it made little impression at the time. But in writing such a book Kandel proved his brilliance and prescient wisdom. Kandel was also right on the mark when he clearly identified the danger of Dewey's educational philosophy which he characterized as a "direct attack on all past educational traditions" and their authentic standards. Isaac Kandel was, in his time ( fl. 1930-1960), a respected international educator and an author of numerous articles, book reviews and books on education, culture and political theory, not merely in English but also in French and Spanish. Kandel was also one of the founders of the field of comparative education. Yet today, almost mysteriously, his books have vanished from curricula and are not likely to be mentioned in current bibliographies. How did this happen? Basically, Kandel like many others (Gilbert Highet, for example) was "purged" after his retirement and replaced by PC progressives. In the 1960's and 1970's Americans were caught completely unaware of the radical changes in the liberal arts and teacher education programs. Classics like A CULTURAL HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION by R. Freeman Butts, LIBERAL EDUCATION by Mark Van Doren, PAIDEIA by Werner Jaeger, THE ART OF TEACHING and the CLASSICAL TRADITION by Gilbert Highet were, essentially discarded as "Western Civilization" and the "Great Books" were downgraded to occasional electives in an age dominated by deconstructivists, multiculturalists and Secular "Progressive" Liberal-Socialists who have a wild and credulous belief in behavioral psychology, Marxism, Radical Feminism and the Bold State and who have a la Dewey -who was a devoted Socialist- rejected traditional values, and traditional thought and wisdom as irrelevant even harmful and oppressive. I daresay most Americans and even most Teacher- Ed students have never heard of these master authors of the 20th century let alone read any of their books not to mention classics such as Cicero's ON MORAL DUTIES, Augustine's CONFESSIONS or Boethius' THE CONSOLATION OF PHILOSOPHY let alone Hayek's ROAD TO SERFDOM, Barzun's AMERICAN TEACHER or Russell Kirk's masterpiece THE ROOTS OF AMERICAN ORDER. Gradually, in the 70's and 80's Americans of the right and center grew to distrust and challenge the liberal intellectual establishment hence the success Bloom's CLOSING OF THE AMERICAN MIND, the rapid expansion of home schooling, the establishment of competing alternative schools as well as works by E.D. Hirsch, Ravitch and now Wesley Null. Similarly they have never read Kandel's worthy antidote to Dewey THE CULT OF UNCERTAINTY nor his virtually lost gem "Address at St. Paul's Chapel, Columbia University" (1940). Only by recurring to fundamental principles, Kandel believed, could we hope to preserve our free society. Kandel wrote "The basic principles of democracy are rooted in the religious traditions of Jew and Christian alike." "Man ....cannot live on negation...he needs values that have stood the test of time." "Education, true education, should liberate it should cultivate the genuinely free man, the man of moral judgment, of intellectual integrity.....intolerance and hatred are the foundations of the new [totalitarian] ideologies...Love thy neighbor as thyself is the injunction of the Hebrew prophets and of the Golden Rule." Kandel was not a fundamentalist Christian, but in fact was an observant Jew, but he understood that the greatness of American society was based on its ethical and moral traditions which were based as much or more on the Bible than the Enlightenment. And, of course, it is a calumny, lie and a falsehood that persons of a sincere Christian faith cannot be democratic and moderate in their political views even though it is true they embrace moral absolutes and reject the moral confusion and nihilism of secular progressives. But embracing a moral absolute does not mean embracing intolerance and rejecting pluralism. Most Americans have, like Kandel, alive and let live attitude’ as far as people’s private lives and private beliefs. Kandel, obviously, was not an intolerant man of the “Far Right”; in fact , ironically, he saw the threat from the TRUE FAR RIGHT (the fascist/totalitarian right , the Nazis) as early as Churchill. How telling that many people of the Left (like Dewey) were completely blind to the crimes of Stalin and the growing menace of Hitler and Japanese Militarism.
Everyone who knows anything knows about Hitler, the Gestapo and the Luftwaffe but who knows about Ernst Krieck and his role in strengthening Nazism via the control of public education? I did not. I knew in general terms what totalitarian education is about and about the subversion of the legal system in Nazi Germany but I did not know the specifics of the Nazi educational program. So once again kudos to Kandel (and Null).
Kandel is right of course that education can become a murder machine “to mold the rising generation to this {Nazi} law and will.” Kandel is also right that the democracies must meet the challenge thrown out by the Revolutionary ideologies' which to Kandel was clearly Communism as well as Nazism (Fascism) . This is very applicable to the Islamo-fascist challenge of today. It is sad to realize that KANDEL's THE MAKING OF NAZIS was essentially ignored (selling only 300 copies!) although I think see the influence of Kandel's work on Disney's classic anti-Nazi cartoon EDUCATION FOR DEATH. But MAKING OF NAZIS was against the zeitgeist of the time. It took the catastrophe of the Nazi Blitzkrieg, its Air War over Britain, its U-Boat campaign AND Pearl Harbor to wake the American people up to the reality of the extreme danger. But things haven't changed in that regard. Most Americans have no real sense of the great danger we are in at present (2007)/ which threatens our freedom, our economy and our whole way of life.But we cannot be a Festung America either; Kandel knew America must operate and communicate in the World Court of Opinion. Kandel's work in the UN I think had great educational, political and moral value. Too many conservatives want to throw out the UN and dismiss EVERYTHING it has done. That is clearly, foolish and a mistake; the UN is flawed -and in my view should never be seen as a precursor to a "World Government" but it can be tool for peace and important forum for educational, diplomatic and medical exchanges. I am glad to relate that Kandel seemed genuinely a nice person and a devoted husband and father though in the home he might be considered very old-fashioned by today's equalitarian standards. There is no question he was a very talented and successful classroom teacher. I should have like to have taken "Historical and Comparative Foundations" with Kandel. Null shows some of the great questions -and still relevant questions- posed by Kandel! Kandel was absolutely right that one of the primaries aims of public education MUST BE TO TEACH STUDENTS HOW TO CONNECT AMERICAN EDUCATION (and the American experiment) to what I call our splendid ancient heritage’. All of the books mentioned in Kandel’s curriculum are indispensable for any broadly educated person. We may not be experts in Aquinas or Hegel BUT everyone should have read at least some of the Federalist Papers and Aristotle’s Ethics and writings of Plato (I would add Cicero as well). Education, Kandel taught, cannot be separated from culture or politics because the political life itself is a very important form of life-long community education. Kandel was a strong supporter as were his contemporaries, Mortimer Adler, Hutchins and Gilbert Highet of a broad but liberal education for all.


And I might add Kandel knew the obvious: teachers who are not broadly educated lose MORAL AUTHORITY not only to their students but to the educated public as well upon whom the fate of public education ultimately depends. Teachers gain respect and authority by demonstrating competence as well as caring.

If Teacher Ed becomes (and it seems to me it has become already) cut off from its cultural roots and spiritual roots it will just become a self-perpetuating pseudo-scientific cult, a Null writes, with “no purpose beyond itself”. So much of multiculturalism and postmodernism is hypocritical and false, especially when it is taught by persons who pretend to be “Native Americans” (but who are not) and who cannot speak let alone read one word of a foreign language. Many Ivory Tower intellectuals, particularly in the liberal arts are so insular and over-specialized that they are unreadable. Their concepts choke in obscure jargon which they themselves cannot make clear. The Satraps of Teacher-Ed may sneer, as they often do, at rural schoolmasters and the public and men like E.D. Hirsch (who like Hutchins, Highet and Bloom came from OUTSIDE the Teacher’s Ed World) but in large measure they are responsible for their own repudiation.


Kandel knew that it was vital that American teachers and American schools must not lose their faith in America’s deepest ideals' (Null's words) and their Great Aim. This Great Aim in my view is the American Experiment or the American Promise that is to say the preserving, protecting and defending our civilization and culture by providing educational opportunity to all young people and all citizens and potential citizens who are in turn committed to the survival and success of the commonwealth. Every student and citizen must be aware of how American society works economically, politically and socially this Kandel knew. I think too he would agree they must be taught to appreciate WITH UNDYING GRATITUDE the magnitude of the struggles and sacrifices to make our country secure, prosperous and free. That is the meaning of Yorktown, Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Guadalcanal, Belleau Wood, Omaha Beach and Bastogne. I think it worth noting that old Kandel -though he was beyond military age- tried to enlist to serve his adopted country and it is noted Kandel's son DID enlist and fulfill his civic duty honorably in a time of war and great national crisis. Kandel, I am sure was proud of him. But I have to ask just who was the peerless educator’ of Columbia University of the 1930’s 40’s and 50’s.? Wesley Null says it is Isaac Kandel; he will forgive me, I know, if I say it might have been in fact Kandel’s contemporary Gilbert Highet, a man whom I am sure Kandel read and respected (see for example […] ) This is like the old baseball argument of the 50’s who was greater Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle or Duke Snider? They were all magnificent all-around players but the answer in fact was none of the above! It had to be Babe Ruth -he was also a great pitcher- or Hank Aaron who came by his achievements honestly ! (it will never be that ersatz Frankenstein of our time Barry Bonds). That having been said, Kandel WAS one of the great educators of his time and certainly he was peerless and almost unique as far as Columbia’s Teacher’s College is concerned.

My one criticism of Null’s book is that he does not show the relationship of Kandel vis-à-vis other great educators of his time such as Hutchins, Mortimer Adler or Highet but that is perhaps the theme of another book. I should have liked to know more of what Kandel thought of them and THEIR defense of traditional liberal education and THEIR critiques of Progressive Education. Null does a good job, however, of outlining Kandel’s friendship with his mentor Paul Monroe and William Bagley two distinguished educators of their time who are still worthy of mention and study themselves. That having been said, there is no question that Null’s PEERLESS EDUCATOR is a valuable, useful and highly accessible introduction to the thought and life of a man too little known. PEERLESS EDUCATOR makes for an excellent companion book to Null and Ravitch’s FORGOTTEN HEROES OF AMERICAN EDUCATION (2006) and is an excellent introduction to the life and thought of I.L. Kandel. This book tells Kandel’s life story fairly and in an interesting manner as well as giving the background to his educational and political philosophies. For those who are interested in learning more Null provides a very complete bibliography of Kandel’s principal works.
Every American teacher, concerned citizen and educator should become acquainted with Kandel. Kandel clearly identified the danger of Dewey’s educational philosophy -which now dominates Teacher’s Colleges- as a “direct attack on all past educational traditions” and their authentic standards. Kandel was and is a `man for all seasons.” Diane Ravitch is right when she said whenever Dewey is read, Kandel should be read as well. Wesley Null is right the study of Kandel and other writers and educators who appeal to the traditional -yet clearly democratic- foundations of education is vital. They may provide a balance and an antidote to American teacher’s colleges which all too often are cut off from their historical and intellectual roots as well as alienated from the discipline which they were created to nourish. After reading Null’s PEERLESS EDUCATOR I must admit at times I was almost wistful so great was my desire to have experienced Kandel the man an immigrant who never forgot his heritage nor the past but who made good in America by dint of hard work despite, I think, much discouragement and opposition by (liberal-left) “Progressive” educators. Kandel’s story is not just the story of a erudite teacher but also a very American story of the immigrant (he was of English and Romanian-Jewish extraction) who made good after much travail.
PEERLESS EDUCATOR is a great introduction to a great man, a great American and a citizen of the world: Isaac L. Kandel.




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FOUR GREAT GIFTS OF THE ROMANS

Rome Wasn’t Murdered in a Day – Joseph Epstein, Commentary Magazine

June 15, 2021

“Re: Rome Wasn’t Murdered in a Day” By Joseph Epstein

As usual I found a Commentary piece by Joseph Epstein to be stimulating and very interesting.

When he quoted Mary Beard to say “I no longer think, as I once naively did, that have much to learn directly from the Roman or for that matter from the ancient Greeks…” my first response is only a contemporary Englishwoman could have written that.   I cannot imagine Edith Hamilton, Gilbert Highet, Moses Hades, or Thomas Cahill would have said anything remotely like it.

Epstein certainly recognizes that much of the greatness of the Roman world (or I would say Greco-Roman world) was their very great literature of prose and poetry rich in imagination and subtle in expression in almost every conceivable genre.    

But literature and art were not the supreme gifts of the Romans. 

Among these were:

  1. The Romans preserved the best of Greek civilization and literature (virtually every Greek book we have is derived from a Roman copy)
  2. The Romans were great organizers and administrators, builders of public buildings, ports, aqueducts and roads unequaled until the mid-19th century. The Pax Romana is an incredible achievement.
  3. Much of our thinking about the rights and duties of citizens derives directly from Greco-Roman thought and law.   We think of Rome as an Empire but for centuries the Romans preferred a free republican government over a monarchy.

Epstein says “I am glad not to have been a Roman” but one of the remarkable things about Roman society is that he COULD HAVE BECOME a ROMAN with all the rights of a Roman citizen just like the Jews Josephus  or St. Paul and countless Illyrians, Gauls, Spaniards, Germans, Africans, Syrians, Egyptians and Britons.

However, as a Christian and a Gael I am deeply aware the greatest of the gifts of the Romans was their translation of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin and hence their inestimable gift of ethical monotheism. Rome to me is Cicero, Vergil, Horace, Pliny, Seneca, Epictetus and Aurelius but also St. Patrick, St. Augustine, St. Gregory and is inseparable from the 12 Apostles of Ireland (including St. Columba of Iona).

The Greeks studied no literature but their own but the Romans were great interpreters, international merchants, missionaries and translators.  The Odyssey was translated into Latin and the Aeneid was translated into Gaelic. 

The Romans began a tradition of bilingualism and multilingualism where monks, priests and scholars understood not only Old German or Anglo-Saxon or Old Irish but Latin also (and sometimes Greek).  St. Patrick, a Roman, was probably fluent in three languages (Old Welsh, Old Irish and Latin). His tremendous success at spreading Christianity as well as literacy among the Gaels was a great feat of education and organization that only a cosmopolitan Christian Roman could have achieved. 

We remember Patrick as one of the great educators of history and a towering figure in the history of human rights as his was one of the first unequivocal denunciations of slavery (in his Letter to Coroticus).    

We remember Rome, not for her darker side of violence, ruthlessness and cruelty but for her gentle scholars and saints who taught a love of art and learning with a gospel of love and universal brotherhood.

Richard K. Munro

Rmunro3@bak.rr.com

On ThE POWER OF IDEAS and the REVOLUTIONARY MIND OF THE FOUNDERS

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/bradley-thompson-birzer-america-revolutionary-mind-founders/

Where Bailyn and Wood gave too much credence to the power of ideas (again, as somewhat determinisms and deterministic), Thompson wrestles with the much more difficult problem of individual free will. After all, imagine a world in which every single person—past, present, and future—is a moral agent. The world gets very, very complicated, very, very quickly.” Very well, done , Brad. I read this book recently. Ideas are of course very important. But some people believe it is one idea or new ideas that transform everything. But the world is very very complicated. Individuals are complicated. Communities are complicated. Economic environments are complicated. Political and military necessity are complicated. Of course, individual persons and peoples are changed by their interaction with new ideas. But as free individuals they decide to accept the idea or reject the idea or adapt the idea as they see fit. And something always remains of the old ideas and old cultural patterns. Some old ideas and old cultural patterns are very enduring. I was never raised to think emancipation of slaves or anti- slavery views or ideas began with English Quakers. One of the earliest anti-slavery voices is St. Patrick in his letter to Coroticus and the Bible itself has the seed of universal equality that long predates the Declaration or the Enlightenment. And the idea of individual dignity, the right to the self determination of small nations (or clans) and religious pluralism peacefully coexisting all existed outside of America and before the Enlightenment as well. One of the oldest Jewish communities in the British Isles is in Glasgow. Jews were expelled from England but never from Scotland and Scotland had in effect, curiously TWO established churches the Episcopal Church (Anglican Communion) and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland (Calvinist). But the result of this incomplete hegemony meant that religious minorities continued to exist in the shadowlands between the Episcopal Church and the Church of Scotland from which fractured many denominations the Free Churches of the 19th century.
People learned to have a Protestant Trail (Edmund Burke’s father and paternal grandfather were of the Anglican Communion -Church of Ireland but his mother and sisters and cousins were all raised Roman Catholics. It was the kind of compromise people made to survive. My parents were married in the Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church. It allowed them to be switch hitters. That sounds like nothing now but then one had to be prepared to serve the yoke and to take part in Anglican ceremonies on board ship or while on military service. My son appeased the bold state by having a civil marriage in Arizona but he celebrates his later marriage date, in Mexico, in the Catholic Church as his true wedding anniversary. Similarly my parents had two wedding dates but only one wedding anniversary. We often look at European History as one of religious monoliths of Protestant Kingdoms and Catholic Kingdoms but the reality on the ground was more complex. Some of that complexity and religious pluralism was imported into America. The Eisenhower family (Swiss German in origin) descended from a splinter Protestant group persecuted both by Lutherans and Catholics. I cannot but help thing that his family history helped make Ike the perfect man for a great Allied coalition. Something always remains of the past. The past is never merely a tabula rasa. Education (ideas) are strong but as the old saying goes “the blood is strong” as well.

My family, I think, always respected education but we had little of it generally speaking because were were among the lower orders of society. Before my father graduated from Manual Training HS in 1933 no one in my family had ever gone past the sixth grade except for the odd cousin who became a priest. My father only knew one close family relative who was a a high school and college graduate and this was his mother’s sister’s son John (“Uncle Johnny”) Dorian who was in fact his fourth grade teacher and later schoolmaster of St. Anthony’s in Govan and much later the Superintendent of Catholic Schools in Glasgow. But even if my family was not formally educated they showed some talent as multilingual scouts in the British Army in India and North America. We excelled as soldiers (we were a fierce people) and colonial administrators. We tended to be the assistant mechanic, first mates and NCO’s if we were not fishing or shipbuilding in the old country. Being of the lower orders we were more likely to intermarry with local peoples than the English ruling class.

As an example of the clash of ideas, my entire life I have tried to understand how the Reformation could have happened and its tragedy (the sectarian hatreds and jealousies the persecutions and counter persecutions, the Thirty Years War etc etc.) After many years I think I understand the outrages and disappointments and injustices that may have caused some people to become disillusioned with the Catholic Church. I have experienced distrust and disillusionment myself. Yet my very devout wife being my anchor I never drifted far and today we listened to and repeated the Rosary as my ancestors had also for over 1000 years. So as much as I have changed here is something that my grandparents and great-grandparents would have recognized immediately. Some ideas and values endure. Something of the old always remains.

I also believe that Christianity is permanently fractured and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not put the wee frees (independent churches) together again. But there are good aspects to this fracture. The independent churches vary enormously in practice, belief and theology. It could be that in some environment (Communist China or Soviet Russia) hierarchical churches cannot function properly or freely and in such repression “Bible Christians” or “Evangelical Christians” might thrive better. Christianity does not put all its eggs in one basket. I know different church traditions by personal experience as I was the product of a mixed marriage. Part of my family was Roman Catholic (my father’s side) and the other half were not Lutherans or Russian Orthodox and some people might believe but “Free Church” in the North of Scotland and Scandinavia among seafaring peoples the “Free Church” persuasion was very common.

As a small boy talking about religious differences was something no one ever did and I senses there were some wounds there.

But I as grew up I realized both sides of the family had something in common. They both were from communities that belonged non-established Churches and so were both religious and linguistic minorities. They also were unified by a deep skepticism for modern secular ideas especially Marxism and Communism. And they both came to America, in a large part because, as religious minorities their legal and economic opportunities were limited in the old country. America was the land of the free with work and bread for all. I can’t speak for other people and other people’s family but I have noticed one key factor in the descendants of my grandparents. Those who believe and practice a religion have families and those who do not tend to be childless.
Brad Bizer writes:
“For probably every reader of The American Conservative, Thompson’s points—however beautifully and expertly articulated—might seem obvious. After all, these are points that Socrates, Cicero, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas More, and Friedrich Hayek all could have made. Yet, in the modern academy, so enamored with horrific ideas of determinism, Thompson is nothing if not revolutionary in his insistence on these things. Not only is Thompson gloriously correct, but again, it is worth noting, he has just complicated history, recognizing that history turns not on some predestined pivot, but on the moment-to-moment moral decisions every human being makes in every aspect of his life. Life is messy.”

Here both Thompson and Birzer hit home runs. Social determinism, economic determinism, racial determinism, sexual determinism are , in fact, false and evil ideas. One thing life has taught me is that religion and cultural values are not enforced by coercion or even taught but they are caught by the atmosphere of the home and taught not by (la mano dura) mere authority alone but by love. I sing songs my grandfather and great grandfather loved; songs my parents loved. I say prayers and repeat proverbs that have been among the people of my race and line for time immemorial. I love music and poetry because we all loved music and poetry. The music and poetry is deeply imbued with a love of nature, a love of natural love between men and women in families, of the great virtues, politeness, fidelity, prudence, justice, generosity, compassion, gratitude, purity, humor, a deep desire for freedom, courage and a deep faith. I would hope to think my forefolk would recognize in my and my family some of the same virtues they extolled and lived. I did not learn these virtues, primarily in American public schools or universities but in spite of them. I was prepared for college life and military life by my intense home-schooling. Every American should be intensely home-schooled ESPECIALLY those who attend public schools and universities. Even after so many years I remember the intense shock to learn that most schools and universities were like in the days of the Penal Years virtually enemy institutions. And I think it is much worse today. People with conservative or traditionalist views need to keep their heads down. But I survived the 20th century. It was not easy but I survived as a soldier and laborer like my father and grandfather and great grandfather before me. I did not feel at home in the universities nor in the Anglophone world of New York or Boston. So like my father, like my grandfather, like my great grandfather I remembered we were a cosmopolitan people an amphibious people. So I took a wife who had not a single word of English and zero feminist or Marxist influence. Her aunt was a charming singing nun; she had two uncles who were missionary priests. Everyone one in her family was against our marriage. After all I was a foreigner and a heretic a soldier not to be trusted. But I knew her ways and their ways and checkmated their doubts. I spoke to them in their language. When I came to ask for my wife’s hand in marriage Father Cirilio, a Jesuit priest who was a close friend of mine came with me. He vouched for my character and my faith background. And we were married on June 9, 1982 on the feast of St. Columba, patron saint of the Gaels. They questioned my faith but I told the Bishop of the Burgo de Osma that we were Catholics when most Spaniards were Moors. And that we fought the Moors and Scottish Knights with the heart of Robert the Bruce (long buried in Spain). I told them I was their friend and their Ally. We both had a memory of Christendom and I told them no one in my family every looked towards London but always to Rome. And that were very grateful for Spain. For you see the priest that baptized my father (Father Collins) and the priest that baptized my father’s mother both spoke Spanish and had been educated at the Scots College (then at Valladolid). No objection was made and we lived happily ever after. Mrs. Munro, of course, now speaks English is a naturalized US citizen and is an honorary but only honorary member of the Anglosphere. She remains deeply attached to her tradition faith -which we share-and the language and cultural traditions of the Hispanophere or la Hispanidad. In a long journey some things have to be left behind but the most essential things are faith, a certain economic security and freedom.

I don’t look at Colonial America as being a Little England in America. I don’t look at the Founding Fathers as Englishmen although of course George Washington and Franklin were very English in origin and so were some others. But Jefferson and Monroe were deeply Celtic (Monroe was mostly of Scottish Highland and Welsh origin; and Jefferson himself was of Welsh and Scottish Origin -one of his ancestors signed the Declaration of Arbroath in Scotland). Then there is Witherspoon (Scots) Paterson (Irish) and so on. Only about 49% of the population were of English origin in 1775. People of non-English origin signed the Declaration (Paca and Carroll) all were nominally subjects of the King and but Anglicans were a distinct minority even of those of English origin. Those who came to America were the religions minorities of Europe and the British Isles, French Huguenots, English Quakers, Irish Presbyterians (so-called Scots-Irish), Gaelic speaking Highlanders (both Catholic and Protestant -Catholics tended to settle in Canada and Protestants in North Carolina) German Moravians, Dutch Jews, Swiss Mennonites. Jorge Ferragut (later known as George Farragut father of Spanish-speaking Admiral Farragut) was a hero of the Revolution. He spoke English of course but taught Spanish to his children (his wife was of southern Irish origin). General Winfield Scott’s people fought against the British; his people of course had been doing that for generations. He was descended from Scottish Jacobites who oddly enough believed the Hanoverians to be illegitimate. They stubbornly refused to give consent to the German Laddies as they called them. It is said -this has not been entirely proven- that a piper who fought at Culloden played Jacobite pibrochs at Yorktown.

We like to think there was a uniform belief or fealty towards the British Monarchy but in fact many American colonists were indifferent or even hostile to the Anglican Church and the Protestant Hanoverian Ascendency of England. One of the results of the American Revolutionary period was the Quebec Act which led to the tolerance of the Catholic Church in Canada. And the American Revolution and the French Revolution had the effect ironically of strengthening the Catholic Church in America, England and Canada because of the many exiled French Catholics (life Father Dubois) , Father Hassett, the Duponts. This would eventually lead to Catholic Emancipation in England in the early 19th century and later by 1859 Jewish Emancipation.

Ideas are important in history but so are customs. and traditions. And something always remains. Even of a culture, language, religion or race considered to have been extirpated and wiped out. Stubbornly there are always those lone survivors those lone rebels with a a long memory. Stevenson, not an Englishman as Arthur Conan Doyle was not an Englishman -he came from a Scottish Catholic family- said, “For that is the mark of the Scot of all classes: that he stands in an attitude towards the past unthinkable to most Englishmen, and remembers and cherishes the memory of his forbears {his race and line} good or bad; and there burns alive in him a sense of identity with the dead even to the twentieth generation.” (From the Weir of Hermiston). Once I was provoked to a fight in school. My mother said I should do nothing and ignore the bully. That I should turn the other check. By my father said, “Remember the people you came from. Remember the courage of your ancestors. Teach that laddie a lesson that he will never forget. Let him learn not to touch the cat but with a glove. Remember you have with you the Mire-catha (the ancient blood lust/battle frenzy). Take care not to kill you opponent. Don’t lose your self-control. Do only what is necessary for your honor. ” And like a medieval Scottish Knight I was sent into singular combate. And so I suffered my first and only school suspension. But I bloodied and defeated the foe and was never bothered again. The Men of Munro began their historic life as warriors, Christian Crusaders fighting Pagan Vikings and Moors. And something of that deep faith and something of that ferocity still remains. I have a strong identity. I am an American by choice, I was a US Marine by choice (a volunteer), I am a Christian in the Roman Catholic tradition by choice but I still retain a more ancient identity. For over a thousand years we were men of the north of Ferindonald and when we saw the ancient beacon light ablaze to gather to fight the foe “Caisteal Folais Na Theine” we gathered and followed our chief to the field where our laurels were gathered before. It is hard for many Americans or Europeans to believe but Toynbee recognized it. We were for over thousand years an independent nation and clan the very last Iron Age Peoples of Europe. The last White Barbarians. The memory of that clan loyalty, that Regimental loyalty, the memory of deep oaths and sacred oaths, of battles lost and won is very, very deep. To us the Gairm (the Call to arms) has long been a sacred thing. I might change my nationality. I might change my religion (though very doubtful) but am and always will be of the Seventh Son of Hugh, of the Men of the Halo River for that is my true race and line the race and line not of Briton or Vass (Viking) or Saxon or Frank but of the Gaels and my clan (though I am descended from many famous clans) is the clan of my father. I will always be a Gael and a Munro. I will always be above all that “leal ‘n true mon. ” And if my children have not this identity I care not because I know something will remain because the teaching is strong and the blood is strong. Both will call to them. Being born in a garage does not make one an automobile. One is as one is bred and raised.