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.

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.

A FAREWELL SONG

(these are the last notes of an Auld Sang)

By Richard K. Munro

I can’t remember a time that I did not know this song by heart.  This farewell song is from the point of view of the soldier who will be executed: When he sings, “ye’ll tak’ the high road and I’ll tak’ the low road” in effect he is saying that you will return alive, and I will return in spirit.  

Why was there a rebellion or Rising as it was called in 1745?

At the time in Scottish history when “Loch Lomond” was a new song, the United Kingdom (which united Scotland, England, and Wales) had already been formed.

But some Highland Scots (Gaels) wanted a Scottish Stewart, not an English King to rule.  Many called George II  a “wee German laddie” and felt the current government was illegal and unconstitutional.

But like the American Civil War the Scots themselves were divided.  Many remained loyal to the Crown (the Hanoverians) but others felt it was now or never so rose up in rebellion.   

 It was called the “Cause of True Honour” but of course it was doomed to failure.  

What chance could a handful of tribesmen have against an Empire and “Britannia’s sons with their long-range guns”?

As my Auld Pop used to day “we won all the songs but lost all the battles.”

Many’s the lad fought on that day
Well the claymore could wield,
When the night came silently lay
Dead on Culloden’s field.

Burned are our homes, exile and death
Scatter the loyal men…….

Led by their Bonnie Prince Charlie (Prince Charles Edward Stuart) the Highland army gained some early victories by dint of daring and sheer courage.

But his army of 7,000 Highlanders were utterly defeated on April 16, 1746 at the famous Battle of Culloden.  It was the last battle fought on British soil.

In the aftermath of the battleThe Duke of Cumberland (called “The Butcher”) led brutal reprisals and indiscriminately burned the homes and farms of  any Highlander whether or not they had participated in the rebellion.    
 
YOU CAN READ ABOUT THIS in ANDREW ROBERT’S NEW BOOK on  George III THE LAST KING OF AMERICA which comes out this fall.   It was my privilege and honor to have helped Professor Roberts with the research of the book and its editing.    So take it from me this is a wonderful and original book a real tour-de-force!
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/612529/the-last-king-of-america-by-andrew-roberts/
 
 « Drumossie moor, Drumossie day,

  A waefu’ day it was to me !

For there I lost my father dear,

  My father dear and brethren three.

Arnold Toynbee said this was the last day of the European Iron Age when the last tribes of White Barbarians (as he called them) were subdued.   

The aftermath led to the Highland Clearances ,mass emigration and the suppression of the Gaelic language and Highland dress.

It is this same battle that directly gives rise the LOCH LOMOND song.

After the battle, many Scottish soldiers were imprisoned within England’s Carlisle Castle, near the border of Scotland. “Loch Lomond” tells the story of two Scottish soldiers who were so imprisoned.

One of them was to be executed, while the other was to be pardoned.

According to Celtic legend if someone dies in a foreign land, his spirit will travel to his homeland by “the low road” – the route for the souls of the dead. In the song, the spirit of the dead soldier shall arrive first, while the living soldier will take the “high road” in the Land of the Living over the mountains, to arrive afterwards.  

But the pardoned soldier knows he will never meet his comrade again, in the land of the living,  and that their defeatedd cause  is finished and “will never know a second Spring.”

He remembers his happy past, “By yon bonnie banks … where me and my true love were ever wont to gae [accustomed to go]” and sadly accepts his death “the broken heart it ken nae [knows no] second Spring again.”

The lyrics intertwine the sadness of the Highland soldier’s plight his deep love for his country and his comrades with beautify imagery of Loch Lomond’s stunning natural beauty under Ben Lomond (a ben is a mountain).

My family emigrated from Scotland en masse 1923-1948 so I grew up in Kearny, NJ and Brooklyn, NY among many immigrants.

They passed on to me a love of the traditional and national music of Scotland but also the sad wisdom of these songs which are filled with that the Highlander calls CIANALAS  a word that could be translated as deep nostalgia but also a connectedness to the past and heritage and an awareness that the greatest distance between people and places is not the miles but TIME.     

One of the lessons you learn from the traditional songs is to persevere, to endure defeat, exile and disappointment and that you have to be prepared to say goodbye to the places and the people you love and that nothing endures forever.   

So my parent’s home and my grandfather’s home and his Auld Regiment are now part of “Yesterday’s Seven Thousand Years”.   I know  there is no home to go back to.   But while never forgetting the past I face firmly towards the future and I am very grateful for the safe harbor that America has been to my immigrant family, my children and my grandchildren.

My mother used to say, “Life and love are brief moments in time so let us tell the people we love NOW and appreciate them WHILE they ARE here with us.” 

Ah, yes, how sweet was then my mother’s voice in the Martyr’s Psalm.       

Tomorrow is my last day of instruction.  

My last full day at West High and in the Kern High School district.

So  I bid adios and goodbye  and farewell. 

SLAN LIEBH GU BRATH.  SEMPER FI.

We will see you at sundown.

Richard Keith Munro

(Ricardo Munro)

GREAT ROMANTIC MOMENT

Odysseus embraces Penelope as the Soldier Returns and his Odyssey is over

“Now from his breast into the eyes the ache

of longing mounted, and he wept at last,

his dear wife, clear and faithful, in his arms,

longed for as the sunwarmed earth is longed for by a swimmer

spent in rough water where his ship went down

under Poseidon’s blows, gale winds and tons of sea.

Few men can keep alive through a big serf

to crawl, clotted with brine, on kindly beaches

in joy, in joy, knowing the abyss behind:

and so she too rejoiced, her gaze upon her husband

,her white arms round him pressed as though forever.”

― Homer, The Odyssey

POEM: LOCH NA GARR

Lord Byron (1788–1824).  Poetry of Byron.  1881.
 
I. Personal, Lyric, and Elegiac
Loch Na Garr essentially about childhood, what the Gael calls ancestry (dualchas), heritage (dualchas) sense of place (duthchas).
Byron contrasts the green landscaped civilized fields of southern England, with the wild, windswept craggy East Highlands
Byron himself wrote:
“I allude here to my maternal ancestors, “the Gordons,” many of whom fought for the unfortunate Prince Charles, better known by the name of the Pretender. This branch was nearly allied by blood, as well as attachment, to the Stuarts. George, the second Earl of Huntley, married the Princess Annabella Stuart, daughter of James I. of Scotland. By her he left four sons: the third, Sir William Gordon, I have the honour to claim as one of my progenitors.”
Byron also referred to  Lochnagar in The Island:

The infant rapture still survivied the boy,
And Loch-na-gar with Ida looked o’er Troy.[7]
— The Island: Canto II, stanza XII, lines 290-291

As the Penguin Book of Scottish Verse says:
“There are few major English poets who can be heard sung in peasant bothies among the more native fare, but Byron’s Lachin A Gair is a popular favourite, and those sophisticated critics who sneer at the poem but don’t know the tune should hear it sung by a farm-labourer’s ‘tenore robusto. “

Or I daresay David Solley or Kenneth McKellar
 AWAY, ye gay landscapes, ye gardens of roses!  
In you let the minions of luxury rove;
Restore me the rocks, where the snow-flake reposes,  
Though still they are sacred to freedom and love:
Yet, Caledonia, beloved are thy mountains,       
 5  Round their white summits though elements war;
Though cataracts foam ’stead of smooth-flowing fountains, 
 I sigh for the valley of dark Loch na Garr. 

Ah! there my young footsteps in infancy wander’d;  
My cap was the bonnet, my cloak was the plaid;       
 10On chieftains long perish’d my memory ponder’d, 
 As daily I strode through the pine-cover’d glade:I
sought not my home till the day’s dying glory 
 Gave place to the rays of the bright polar star
;For fancy was cheer’d by traditional story,        
15  Disclosed by the natives of dark Loch na Garr.

 “Shades of the dead! have I not heard your voices  
Rise on the night-rolling breath of the gale?”
Surely the soul of the hero rejoices,  
And rides on the wind o’er his own Highland vale.        
20Round Loch na Garr while the stormy mist gathers, 
 Winter presides in his cold icy car:
Clouds there encircle the forms of my fathers;  
They dwell in the tempests of dark Loch na Garr. 

“Illstarr’d, though brave, did no visions foreboding        
25  Tell you that fate had forsaken your cause?”
Ah! were you destined to die at Culloden,  
Victory crown’d not your fall with applause:
Still were you happy in death’s earthy slumber,  
You rest with your clan in the caves of Braemar;      
  30The pibroch resounds, to the piper’s loud number, 
 Your deeds on the echoes of dark Loch na Garr. 

Years have roll’d on, Loch na Garr, since I left you,  Years must elapse ere I tread you again:
Nature of verdure and flow’rs has bereft you,       
 35  Yet still are you dearer than Albion’s plain.
England! thy beauties are tame and domestic  
To one who has roved on the mountains afar:
Oh for the crags that are wild and majestic!  
The steep frowning glories of dark Loch na Garr!        40 

ZOOM STUDENTS GO ZOOM, ZOOM ZOOM….

by Richard K. Munro

Until last year I had never heard of “Zoom” as teaching tool or “Canvas.” I had done some online training classes and some correspondence classes via email and via snail mail with the occasional phone call. I remember writing an illustrated poem in elementary school that went like this “THE PLANE WENT ZOOM, ZOOM, ZOOM then crashed and went BOOM, BOOM, BOOM! ” I thought it was exciting and realistic but I remember it did not that the approval of the classroom teacher.

I am a classroom teacher in the trenches. Now of course I am teaching students as if they were on a distant moon or Mars or in the Space Lab. I have done virtual teaching since March 18 2020. All I will say is that it is better than in March 2020 and it is better than nothing.

But it should go without saying that online technology creates a barrier or affective filter that discourages and impedes comprehension and learning. No one would think to try to teach a foreign language by phone or merely via emails. Students who do not hear well, comprehend aural English and who do not type or word process quickly and accurately are at severe disadvantage.

All that side we are doing VIRTUAL testing of the English Proficiency Tests this year (via ETS) https://www.elpac.org/ We teachers have to learn a test interface for distant testing.
Students have to use a special ten digit student # for the ELPAC they cannot past this number nor can it be sent via email. Students must have the APP for the secure test browser on their Chromebook or computer
If they don’t they are out of luck. Even so even with a school

Chromebook technical difficulties are not unusual especially due to the quality of the internet connection. The Secure Test Browser requires a fast and continuous Internet speed.


Then students have to use their first name (first letter capitalized)
type in there unique student ID # for the ELPAC
then type in a unique session # for their grade level or the reading, writing and listening test they are doing. Believe me this is complicated If one thing goes wrong or the internet is slow everything crashes.
So far 40 % of students in my class have not been able to log on even to begin a test.
Of those who have tested only about 30% have finished all the required tests. Some are incomplete because the test froze while they were testing. Some are incomplete because despite numerous attempts day after day during class and after school they could not log on via their Chromebooks.

I am a good soldier. I try to do my best. I monitor for HOURS (often after my regular school day) WITHOUT ANY PAY to make sure the students can finish tests. Sometimes I have to spend 3, 4, 5, 6 hours monitoring ELPAC my camera and their camera MUST BE ON and IS RECORDED so that students can finish the test. I have taken to having my ,lunch and coffee during testing because it is too much trouble to log off or pause the test.

And of course the students have to sign a form that they can’t use any materials or phones or aides during the test. But let’s be honest I can see the person who is front of the camera and I recognize that person. I montior what they are doing and how long they do it. But such a test is NOT SECURE. Really it should be considered INVALID.

It is HORRIBLE how much school time is spent merely on test prop for EL PAC all readings all assignments mimic the ELPAC and that is all we do. But don’t forget we have to give other tests like the STAR READING test (fortunately a snap to take and administer just a link no layers of “security”)

But the word is the State of California has paid millions for these tests and ETS is desperate that they tests be given because they want them to be renewed for next year and the year after that.

It would be logical to suspend this testing in this plague year. We could have easily done practice tests to familiarize students for a future year and left it at that.

But soon my journey of the cross will be over and so will the Calvary of the students. We will begin to meet in person April 6-April 12th. But with a difference. Some students will still be at home since attendance in person is voluntary. So teachers have to do distance learning and in person learning simultaneous. We will be equipped with additional cameras, speakers and a Plexiglas protector on our desks. We will have to wear a mask at all times while teaching. In April and May we will dedicate ourselves to literature (Homer) and poetry (including Shakespeare). I have Audible books on tape and electronic versions of all the books and poems. Students will listen and recite proverbs and poems to improve their diction and they will write short responses to literature and keep vocabulary notebooks.

But it appears they will remain on a distant moon and I on my distant spaceship. Some students will report to classrooms (computer labs) with teacher aides but many will continue distance learning from home.

As I said , it is better than nothing but the truth is the Matthew effect is quite evident. The Rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Without constant supervision and close encouragement, many students are distracted and demoralized. For many the entire year has been a loss. Poles and Jews in forced labor camps during WWII have learned more. And I am sure that you are away how disastrous it was for youth to lose out on education from 1940-1945.

Covid 19 has been as bad as war and worse than the Great Depression.

I only hope schools will return to normal by Fall. There is a future for distance learning, of course. But it works best with fluent, motivated mature and highly motivated students.

It is a poor choice for k-6, for English Learners, for neophyte foreign language learners, immature, easily distracted and marginally motivated students. If a student has a poor home environment then that student does not even have the advantage of a bright, clean, secure environment

YES, BY ALL MEANS STANDARDIZED TESTING SHOULD BE SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER
NOTICE.

But no one pays any attention to me. So I carry on as in the Ypres Salient and do my duty.

But I mourn the massive casualties all about me.

Some students are being destroyed have been discouraged and have dropped out. Many are working in the field, in packing sheds in kitchens etc. The Plague Year has been a sad year. A year of suffering, loss and tragedy.

On Brad Birzer’s 9/11 Talk

https://spiritofcecilia.com/2020/09/13/19-years-after-9-11/?replytocom=138#respond

Wonderful, Brad. Thanks for sharing your talk with us. Of course, I knew of 9/11 and flight 93 -93 is a mystical number symbolizing courage as it was the Regimental number of the Thin Red Line of Heroes at Balaklava the 93rd Highlanders. Let’s Roll indeed. I like to think in the deep heartland of America there are still brave souls who will say Let’s Roll when big things are at stake. And of course, I know of Gettysburg (I have visited three times in my life the first time in 1961) but never thought or even knew about the connection of Hillsdale to Gettysburg -that is a great particular fact to know and one that shines credit on the heritage of Hillsdale. 9/11 remains strongly in my memory. I used to live in New York City (when I was at NYU) and I had been to the WTC numerous times. In 1993 I bought a Library of America book on the Debates on the Constitution there. It is strange and frightening that all those strong, powerful places were obliterated. Our bodies are fragile vessels but we forget civilization itself is also vulnerable and fragile. Nothing is permanent. Except perhaps the fame of our forefathers so I say NE OBLIVISCARIS….DO NOT FORGET the men who were SAN PEUR (without fear) who fought not for conquest or domination but for liberty.

Some years ago Andrew Roberts was going on a series of talks to promote his book WALKING WITH DESTINY. I asked him how many in total and he said 93. I told him that was a lucky number. He asked why then I said ask Kipling the 93rd were the Thin Red Line of Heroes. He laughed. He understood immediately (he knew my grandfather won the Military Medal at 2nd Ypres while serving with the Argylls and that my grandfather knew Willie Gallacher -the Scottish Communist and Major Ricketts (the man who composed the River Kwai March- Col.Bogey).

So old Highlanders have old memories. 42nd Highlanders (Black Watch) 91st Highlanders (Spain) 93rd Highlanders (India/Russia/South Africa). By the way, Scottish veterans of Balaklava fought at Bull Run, Antietam and Gettysburg also The 79th Highlanders was a Union Regiment. Of course, the Auld Regiments are part of family and clan history. To some historians, a regimental number is just a number on a map. To those of us who remember it is a story of the Teuchters (the Tough Ones) fighting it out with mire cath (the ancient battle frenzy). When Wallace and Bruce fought we were there. We were there at Guadalcanal, El Alamein, Dunkirk, D-Day, Korea.

“Heroes’ blood and tears bid us hold our ancient glory of free lands and of bold lands HIGHLANDS and LOWLAND ye ancient and ye free lands. Faith that dare not lie but would die for home and kithland….”.. Our splendid ancient heritage is something we shall never forget. We are not ashamed to have pride of name and descent. We face firmly towards the future and never forget the past. We contribute our measure of courage and character to the American melting pot.