Sunday, May 29, 2016

Update for my Benefactors

I was just thinking of one of my previous benefactors, and offering a brief prayer for him and his family, when I thought I should say something about how my life has been going, how I have put people's generosity to good use (or not), and what my plans are.

First of all, I am very happy to say that I will be doing some teaching, but not until January. It will be a part-time gig and requires that I be quite far away from my family. It's not ideal, but it is a great step.

Secondly, I have not earned a dime since January. You can imagine what that means. Actually, I did work for one week about a month ago. So, in other words, we are not in a good position.

Thirdly, I have been writing like a son-of-a-gun. As you will probably remember, I sent a book off to a publisher around December, but haven't heard back yet. I am nearing completion of another one. I am very happy with it, but it will take some time to finish - how much time depends upon several factors. After that I will have a few more books coming out in the next year or two. The third won't be too long in coming, and might even be finished before 2017.

Fourthly, the Catholic Review of Books is progressing at a snail's pace, but it is moving forward. It's profile continues to grow, albeit very slowly. I am trying to get someone to work at promoting it on a commission basis. If you are interested, please let me know. I am getting quite good at the lay-out. I wish I had web-design skills too. Perhaps I will gain them in time. The Review is more or less breaking even. I wish I had a nest-egg to rely on for printing and advertising... if you think you can help with that, I would be so grateful. You can donate to its support via PayPal or by cheque very easily! The Review can be, and is on a small scale already, serving an important purpose. 


 “Faith must become culture... Faith that does not become culture is not wholly embraced, fully thought, or faithfully lived," said John Paul II. This is the idea behind my work with the Review and my books. He also said, "greater knowledge of truth" makes our lives "ever more human." (Fides et Ratio, 3)

Of course, it's easier when you have a cushy academic job to pay for your cultural ministry. I don't. I have not had much money coming in at all. I have tended to get down and lose hope, but it doesn't matter. I don't need security. I find desperation is a kind of inspiration. I am fascinated by a thought of Aristotle's that I had recently encountered: he suggests that luck is not luck at all, because it can actually lead us away from the hard work of becoming virtuous. So, it is with this kind of resignation that I reach out to you, my benefactors, to let you know what has been going on, what my plans are and my needs. 
  
Please, remember me, as I remember you, for, 

" I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers." (2 Tm 1:3)









Thursday, May 26, 2016

Summer and Modesty

I'm not a big clothes guy, other than for the fact I wear big clothes.

I don't care for clothes. I like to see people who are nicely attired, like I like to see yummy desserts and beautiful sunsets. But I'm not paying for any of them.

I hardly notice what women wear.

I did, however, notice what one woman was wearing today. I was in Ottawa and, in a business area, I noticed a woman wearing something like this:



That's not exactly right, but close enough to make my point. What is my point? This dress summarizes my views on beauty and modesty. How so?

1. Most men don't care what women wear. Yes, you can make an impression with alluring clothes, but these do not last and always have a negative side too. Men don't notice. They remember that you 'looked good' at a certain time, but they would not be able to say what you were wearing to make that so. If the good look included immodesty, that feeling the man has obviously has a blatant sexual component and will, thus, have something to do with how sexual a man happens to be feeling at any given moment. In other words, his view of your immodest clothing will depend on whether he is feeling lusty or not. If he is not, he will look down on your immodesty as in some way out of place. He will abstract desire out of the equation and draw more heavily on his more elevated moral sensibility, the one that tells him that there is a time and a place for sex and this is not it. So, your immodest dress which 'benefited' you at one point is at another time a liability. You can't depend on men's feelings to gauge effectiveness, in other words. I have a feeling women don't generally understand this.

2. Women care what women wear, and it's not how some think. Women are competition for women, just like men are for men. We don't like when a man with bigger muscles than us wears a tank top. We don't hate him for it, but we don't like it either. So there are two possibilities for a woman: either she looks better than her friend and her friend doesn't like her for it, or she does not and her friend feels comfortable with her. If she is being blatantly immodest her 'competitors' will be especially off-put by this, since it will be that much more obvious to them that they are in competition (and probably losing - or so they think!).

3. Because (1) and (2) are facts, dressing immodestly is not advantageous for a woman in any sense of the word. I am not talking about spirituality here. I don't need to.

4. So why then do they do it? Men don't generally dress immodestly, if for no other reason than that women don't want to see it. Basically ever. Women do it because they think it benefits them. As I have proven above, it does not. Would a woman who had characteristically dressed immodestly and yet who came to recognize that what I have said here is true change her ways? I don't know. I think her personal history would have more to say about it than my unassailable logic.

_________________________

I have the conceit that I have the market on perfect fashion, which is funny since I put so little stock in it in my own life. Perfection is the middle ground that I think is represented by the picture above. (And yes, it is culturally relative and all that.) It resides halfway between frump and skank, pardon my French. Based upon my 40-plus years, the fact that I have always been most drawn to women in this middle ground, I am able to assert this apodictically.

And I will now further my point while taking a parting shot at what I would say is a dress that all men hate and yet that so many women feel the need to wear upon occasion. No men like this - none, although they will definitely say they do to you, because you bought it for the summer and want to wear it when you go to the cottage or wherever and are so excited and for some reason really want to think you are a Polynesian girl for a period of time.


Yes, I know that all my women friends have them and that they will never forgive me for this. And, yes, they will ask their husbands if they agree with me and those cowards will snort, "No, Colin's wrong. Your dress looks great, honey!" But we all know that your husbands are lying. Ladies, you don't look good in drapes.

Now, since all the ladies featured in this post are thin, here is a 'curvier' girl who looks sweet in this outfit, that is a totally winning ensemble,though not very summery:



Now I can go another few years without talking about clothes again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Why Corporations Go Left

Because you do, and you are a wishful thinking idiot!

There is a very smart article explaining why corporations are siding with the tranny side in the bathroom controversy. Read it here. In a nutshell, the author says it is because corporations promote a globalizing ethic based on consumer choice, away from one with region-based values. You will have to read the article more carefully than I did to make sure I have interpreted it correctly.

I just want to offer a few thoughts on this phenomenon that interests me.

My take is this, and perhaps it operates as the broader umbrella in which that author's (Turley's) observations fit.

It is easier to say yes than no in the modern world.

No requires an objective claim to value.

Yes simply requires any argument to relativize a traditional claim.

It is far more difficult to say why a thing is objectively morally good or bad because one has to then lay out a coherent worldview, one that is strong enough to overcome any relativizing arguments.

Yes simply requires finding one case of a short-term unpleasant outcome.

For example, to argue that homosexuality is wrong one needs to define the purpose of sex, love, and marriage. To argue that it is good you need only point to one apparent case of love between homosexuals.

This is why we have gone from approving of aesthetically hygienic presentations of same-sex relationships by Hollywood, to where we are now with carefully manicured presentations of transgenderism (i.e. Bruce Jenner), to--soon--carefully manicured presentations of polygamy and pederasty.

But surely I exaggerate, say you.

Let me respond this way: we all know it was outlandish in 1980 to assume that in 2015 transgenderism would be treated as a normal expression of healthy sexuality. What argument was able to stem the tide over those 35 years? Answer: obviously none. So what argument will be offered to suggest that polygamy and pederasty are objectively wrong? None. All that is required are a few presentations of clinically hygienic polygamists and pederasts, couples that are wealthy, attractive, apparently happy and evidently in love. Picture a young boy like Justin Bieber when he was 12 and a thin, cool, twenty-five year old. You are now sold on pedophilia.

But why do we tend to find metaphysical arguments so vexing, rather than signs of wisdom, the Greeks, the Medievals and Early Moderns did?

Another way to ask this is why do we equate happiness with freedom of choice unbridled by custom rather than being a part of a culture or world view that has stood the test of time ('local customs,' in Turley's language)?

To answer this we need to say something about the every day life of modern people that cannot be said about the Greeks, Medieval and the Early Moderns. The answer is rather simple: to make money we do not need to be a part of a closely-knit culture, as they did. Imagine trying to run a business in the pre-industrialized world while publicly rejecting its accepted moral norms. Then you needed your neighbour to help you do everything. Today you do not. Take the example of the cake-baker. If a company does not want to bake a cake for a gay wedding, by market forces alone (baring activism) it would hurt perhaps 1% of their bottom-line. Imagine the same in a Medieval village. If you denied one of the central tenets of their world view you would simply not survive, literally. No one would help you take in your crops, sew the field, buy your product, inseminate your livestock with theirs, etc. I am reminded of a problem in Augustine's time when the dominant Donatist sect would not let Catholics use their ovens to bake their bread. Each village had one public oven for this.

What moral views stand up in a trans-global marketplace? The values of yes. The values that are easy to comprehend and that reflect a simple sense-based kind of pleasure.

See, black people are nice, not scary! And all gays are happy and clean!
Corporations want to sell things. They know people are not prepared to give their products too much thought. Why do people choose Apple over PC, Japanese cars over American, etc., because they have really looked into it? Of course not. I hardly do more than glance at the insurance policies connected with my cars and mortgage. I do not know what the best 32 inch TV is. I could not tell you the difference between a plasma and an HD TV. I do not know what kind of toothpaste I should be buying for my family. But, if the corporation tells me that I am capable of bringing about my own happiness and wealth, I like to hear that. I do not want to hear that eating Subway subs does nevertheless require strenuous exercise if I am to loose the 30 lbs I want to loose.

With their advertisements the Bank of Montreal or whomever tells me that happiness and wealth is possible to everyone: black people, Chinese people, gay people. If it is within their grasp, then surely it is within my grasp. Target tells me that transgendered people are good, happy and healthy, so I don't have to focus on negative ideas, so I will continue to believe that happiness is within my reach, and it includes buying the things that Target sells.

But if you start to bog me down with metaphysical concepts than I loose my conviction that happiness is possible to me by means of my simple choices. Take the problem with Mexican immigration. If you tell me that the government can solve their poverty than I don't have to think about what I have to do about it. Of course, this is false, because the American debt is becoming unmanageable, and therefore the government should be spending less not more. But is an unpleasant solution because it involves me admitting to myself that my material good is more important to me than that of Mexicans. Therefore I have to believe that the 1% have enough money to pay for anyone who comes across the border without it effecting me at all.  How logically sound is that when I don't know how much spare money the 1% have and how many immigrants we are talking about? But I been accustomed to thinking that all solutions are possible and easy, and so why wouldn't this one be more of the same? It couldn't actually be the transgendered people are actually psychologically troubled, because that would require a difficult solution.

There is an amusing clip of Ezra Levant attending a global warming protest. See it here. It becomes quickly evident that the people there think the solution to global warming involves no sacrifice on their own behalf.

Therefore, if Target has to choose between bogging their customers down with subtle philosophical musings about the meaning of sexuality or the idea that there are no bad (sick) kinds of people, they will choose the more pleasant-sounding and easier side.

Choice = happiness. You can choose the kind of clothes you want here at Target just like you can choose your gender. If we show you enough pictures of apparently happy people you will not get bummed out and so continue to live on the superficial level of the consumer.


Friday, May 6, 2016

Everything New Becomes Old and then New and then.

I was in Ottawa this week for a few days, doing some intense research and writing at St. Paul's University. It has, by the way, a wonderful theology collection.

I spent a bit of time thumbing through the 1960s theological collosus', Karl Rahner's, works, especially his multi-volume Theological Investigations. Rahner is very smart, but very boring and, in my humble opinion, not all that orthodox. I said that throughout my students days and continue to say it, to the dismay of most of my teachers.

But a few thoughts.

1. Mode. Rahner writes as a fundamental theologian. All his writings address topics from that perspective. You need to bear that in mind.

2. The new. Everything seemed revolutionary in the 60s, like they were inventing the answer to all of mankind's problems. This is a problem. Why? Because people tend to vest too much faith in 'experts.' That is what happens when you get rid of tradition. So it was with Rahner: everything he said was considered not only the truth, but final. And yet Rahner was as much a product and a victim of his own time. Like all lefties, he liked to pontificate about the future, and say stuff like "things can never go back to the way they were." How does he know that? But that maxim became axiomatic for liberals. We can't go back in time, to before multiculturalism, ecumenism, Darwinism, therefore, tradition is obsolete.

3. Live by the sword... Read his essay on Humane Vitae. Now apply everything he said about that unpopular encyclical to everything Pope Francis writes. Not nice is it? Just as Humane Vitae did not qualify for Rahner as definitive teaching because of X, Y, and Z, by the same measure feel free to ignore everything Pope Francis writes.

I will still continue to read Rahner, because I read everything and he was a genius. But, oh what a spoonful of humility liberals need to take to offset their bad case of "the history of right now."

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Conform so as to Reform

I am still under the weather. A different bug now, I think. The former one was a cold; this one a flu. It's not terrible, but it has sapped me of strength. The strength, evidently, to change my clothes. I have been wearing the same shirt all weak.

Now, I was just talking to a friend about the tendency of young minds to think in polarities: good/bad, free/oppressive, etc., and how we have to bear that in mind when raising our children in the Faith.

But what I want to talk about is polarity in pedagogy, for I have been confronted in virutally the same moment by a  passage from Coleridge which I very much like,

There are indeed modes of teaching which have produced, and are producing, youths of a very different stamp; modes of teaching, in comparison with which we have been called on to despise our great public schools, and universities,
                     in whose halls are hung
    Armoury of the invincible knights of old—
modes, by which children are to be metamorphosed into prodigies. And prodigies with a vengeance have I known thus produced; prodigies of self-conceit, shallowness, arrogance, and infidelity! Instead of storing the memory, during the period when the memory is the predominant faculty, with facts for the after exercise of the judgment; and instead of awakening by the noblest models the fond and unmixed love and admiration, which is the natural and graceful temper of early youth; these nurslings of improved pedagogy are taught to dispute and decide; to suspect all but their own and their lecturer's wisdom; and to hold nothing sacred from their contempt, but their own contemptible arrogance; boy-graduates in all the technicals, and in all the dirty passions and impudence of anonymous criticism... (Biographia Literaria, 1)

and a passage from the indomitable Nietzsche which I very much like which contradicts it:

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.

There is truth in both of these, I maintain, but how can there be truth in both sides of a contradiction?

The subject of these quotes, I will say, sits right at the heart of the crisis in education we know today.

But the matter isn't one of either/or. Only young minds need to think in terms of polarities. 

Coleridge is speaking about the discipline of learning. We can only learn well by learning the things that have come before us, by disciplining the mind by means of the hard work of memorization, imitation, and analysis. Nietzsche is criticizing people who stop at that point. Coleridge's point is that 'kids today' try to build the roof before the supports are in place. Both of their points are relevant to us today.

Why do all (mostly all) university students believe in left-wingism? It is because they have not been taught how to think, but what to think. As such, they have not been taken through the hard work of understanding the other side. 

For as much as one can balk at the old pedagogy of learning Latin inside-out, memorizing poems and speeches ad nauseum, these are exercises for strengthening the brain, to get it used to seeing connections, etc. When you think of the new weird approach to teaching math our kids are being subjected to today, we see that it is meant well but terribly executed. The problem is they are aiming this kind of thinking at the wrong age of kid. Just teach them the times tables. In time lead them to see the 'truth' behind it. You can't teach math with estimations. Teach them the laws first and then they will become flexible enough in mind in order to estimate. Law school teaches the law. Judges are the result of years of working with that clay. Coleridge is saying the you can't judge until you know that rules inside out. Nietzsche is (or should be) saying that the whole point is to get the point where you can see the whole and then raise some fundamental questions about it, not just take it for what it is.

I have a deep passion for learning. It pains me sometimes. I dearly wish to learn everything. I don't know why. Plato would say because I am a human being inescapably drawn to the forms of truth, beauty, and goodness. Aristotle said that all people by nature desire to know. I want to be like God - that wasn't wrong of Adam and Eve. I want to learn math so passionately, and chemistry, ancient dead languages, and literature...

I don't mind doing the work. I just wish I had the means to do so.

Which brings me back to the 'controversy' that has erupted on my SCCB site. Without getting into it, I just want to say that perspective is important. Ideologues have little perspective. They tend to see everything in black and white. Personality-wise, extreme left-wingers and extreme right-wingers are the same. This is why it didn't surprise me at all that Michael Voris had the kind of background he did. It doesn't matter. God forgives him. But it's the extremism that is so interesting. Remember Fr. Corapi? How do you go from drug addict, to hard line Catholic, to drug addict? That's called persistent instability, my friends. The great mystics always understood the spiritual life as a matter of attaining to a sort of peace, of stability, they called apatheia. You can't get there by never restraining yourself, including your anger towards evil.

Education is personal formation, no different from the life of prayer. All formation requires discipline, self-restraint, exercise. 

Working out with 20 lbs dumbbells is boring. But you can't get to the 40s or 50s without them. Everyone wants to be the rebel philosopher. But you have to learn your Venn Diagrams first. Plato said you had to learn math before you could go on to philosophy. Hearing that was a real downer to Justin Martyr. Justin learned discipline, just in another way. The point is, you can't escape it so you might as well just dive in. Whether it's math, chemistry, computers or theology. Most just want to assume the mantle without putting in the work.




* Incidentally, I had to re-title this post. I hated the one I gave it, but my sick, muddled brain could not think of a better one.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Post to McPike

Seeing that I am under the weather today, which immunizes me against the accusatory - "Why aren't you looking for a job?!" and the "Why aren't you cleaning the house?!" - I will take the opportunity to offer a few comments on an article posted by sage philosopher, Dr. David McPike.

McPike in his study.
The article can be found at the First Things site, and is entitled, "Scientific Regress," and was written by a William A. Wilson. I am not only including McPike's name in this post because he was the one who brought it to my attention. I am also doing so because he - much more than me - grasps all the implications of the article.

In a nutshell the article is about all the errors that creep into scientific publications. There is a bias towards 'false positives,' for instance, and the author blames both the self-interest of researchers (i.e., their interest in grant money) and the cult of science for this regress. And the problem is significant: in a few recent investigations, roughly 2/3 of the accepted studies could not be repeated. The article is extremely good, and my crude summary does it ill justice.

Here I want expand on William's observations, especially with respect to humanity in general and to the Church in particular.

The first things I thought of were the "Global warming consensus" and the homosexuality issue (now also transgenderism). Let me put it plainly: if people at their best (i.e., trained researchers in their labs) are producing more error than truth, which is what 2/3 is) usually get things wrong (or at least accept as true what they have not actually established as true (or at least not false, since science is more about dis-confirmation rather than confirmation)), how reliable, then, is science at the popular level?

Of course, not reliable at all. In fact, it stands to reason that whatever "science says" at the popular level is more likely to be false than true.

We should always ask about our personal stake in the matter: Why do we need global warming to be true? Why do we need gender theory to be true?

Black Lives people need an innocent black guy shot by police. Gay people need Matthew Shepard. Liberals need people fleeing from injustice. Conservatives need Muslim rampagers and Mexican drug lords. Who is right? To get a reliable answer,  I would not ask too many people in the media. (As for the media consider this. It is nice to see that some people are noticing the new infringements in places like Germany.)

The fact is - as Williams makes abundantly obvious - finding statistical links is rather difficult and involves very subtle reasoning and analysis. A matter as complex as human sexuality cannot be adequately addressed with slogans and political pressure.

Over the past few months I have enjoyed listening to an old show called "Love Line," which starred Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew Pinsky. Carroll is the comedian and Pinsky the psychologist who specializes in addiction medicine. Both have since appeared on many shows, and, I believe, the Adam Carolla Show is still active, although I could be wrong. Anyway, as regards Pinsky, I have found much of his analysis good to the point of being politically incorrect at certain times. And yet he would always let homosexuals off the hook, so to speak. If a girl phoned in who was sexually promiscuous they would instantly nail her as having been abused in some capacity - and I cannot think of a single instance when they were proven wrong. But they never really inquired into the past of the gay person. Why?

There is a well-known case when the great (in my opinion) conservative, Ben Shapiro, appearing on the Dr. Drew Show, during which he was threatened with physical violence by a transvestite (is this the right term? I neither know nor care). Watch it here with Shapiro's commentary. Now, the only reason I bring this up is to point out Drew's handling of the issue of transgenderism. He never says it is 'normal,' 'good' or anything like that. But neither does he actually dispute many of Shapiro's assertions. Indeed, a psychologist does not primarily act as a 'truth-seeker,' as if he were in a laboratory; psychologists primarily act as 'life coaches.' Like a priest in a confessional, rather than like a priest in the pulpit - although this analogy is rather weak, admittedly. Dr. Drew is in a precarious position, unlike the majority of his lib-tard guests. He cannot actually say that a tranny has the sort of genetic structure they claim to have, because, after all, as a doctor, he is a man of science. But neither can he say that it is bad or unhealthy to be tranny. But as someone who has listened to Carolla and Drew for hundreds of hours, I know that Drew thinks it is a mental problem at its heart and that surgery is a bad course of action. Drew has changed his tune somewhat since the late 90s when the Love Line show premiered, and this is because of the new heat on the issue (witness the North Carolina bathroom crisis, which would have been unimaginable twenty years ago.) He changes his tune by never making any one feel bad. Of course, people interpret this as agreement with regnant gender theory.

BTW, Carolla has a little bit more integrity because he doesn't mind hurting people's feelings.

Okay, so we know the world is not that scientific or rational. That's hardly news.


In the Church

Yes, Catholics get confused about stuff too. If there is one type of Facebook friend I cannot bear it is the kind who gets all tripped-up over the gay stuff. De-friending - that's my favour to you. Unlike Dr. Drew Pinsky, I have a duty to cure you of your idiocy. And one way I can do that is to tell you that you are not fit for me to talk to.

But this is not how I want to apply "Scientific Regress" to the Church. I want to talk a bit about the errors the Church makes in evangelization/education.

Wait, wait! You will no doubt be saying at this point. What does one have to do with the other???

A few things. For one, results. Do we read the results such as they are or such as we would like them to be?

1. Let me give an example that has annoyed me a lot over the last few years: the idea that girls are more innocent than boys, are always the aggrieved party, whatever. This is pretty universal in Catholic educational circles. It is the white knight syndrome. It is based upon a few unsubstantiated premises, which can be summed up as the result of (a) feminism, (b) wish-fulfillment in Catholic men that there are "pure virgins" out there, whom I can save.

But how is this about evangelization? When you alienate boys in Catholic institutions because, in your mind, they are the enemy, you destroy the future of the Church.

What else?

That is but one example of how we superimpose our ideas onto our actual experience and end up warping our understanding of it.

2. Another bias to false positives. Careers. Like careers in science, careers in the Church are, first of all, sadly, self-serving, that is, about self-preservation. And, as in science, much of this is somewhere below the radar of the consciousness. But some of it is not. Whether you are talking about teaching in schools, working in parishes, in chanceries, universities, or charities, keeping the job is more important than following Christ (and one's conscience). Accordingly, you will analyze data according to the metric of what is accepted, political, and all that. You cannot imagine that Christ would actually require you to stick your neck out. And so you don't imagine it.

Church work is no place for thoughtful people. But again, neither is anywhere else.



All of human life is about conforming to the status quo so as to get your slice of the pie. Thoughtful people are too distracted by the clouds to bear that continually in mind.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Dumber or Smarter

One of the most interesting things that I have noticed about the cultural wars is a specific part of the disagreement between lefties and righties. Lefties believe that people are getting smarter, righties dumber. As to the first, consider this. As to the second position, consider this.

Both cannot be correct, obviously. But as with most things, the truth is not so simple. From what I have concluded, both are a little bit right, but the righties are more right.

IQs went up during WWI because governments started adding iodine to salt. Yes, that is evidently true. The problem is, progressives are still riding on that wave. This is why they always go back to 1914 or somewhere around then to talk about increasing IQ. But that was a one-shot deal. Since then, or I should actually say, since the invention of the TV, radio and internet, IQs have shot down as quickly as water down the Niagara, as viewed by a short 6-second clip on your iPhone.

I have always said that I am a genius only because no one else reads. I decided to know more than anyone else at about 15-years-of-age and have never looked back. I have read as many books as an eighty-year-old has and I am only forty-one. A century ago I would be worthy of little more than shoveling coal or delivering big blocks of ice to housewives to stick in their ice boxes, because, a century ago everyone could write in Alexandrines, read Greek, Latin and French, could tell you all about the history of England, France, Persia and the Etruscans, and pin-point lower-upper-eastern New Guinea on a map.

But progressives are obviously interested in proving that progress has progressed. And they point to things like math. "We might not know Latin, but we know calculus," they say, "and that's way more important!"

First of all, we don't know calculus. Second of all, it is not more important.

How is it more important that a bunch of bank tellers, shoe salesmen, secretaries and elementary school teachers know calculus than that they know Latin?

Objectively speaking, math is more important, they say, picking up on Francis Bacon's materialistic reasoning.

And yet I continue, no it's not, picking up on John Henry Newman's liberal reasoning.

I am not a Latin-aholic. I would say exactly what I am arguing but slip in Greek, Hebrew, French, Mandarin. I would also slip in philosophy and poetry.

What disciplines develop the mind better than others? Math taught to pass a test but that is not really understood would be low on the list.

I am not against math. I find it extremely interesting. In fact, more of my mental muscle has been exercised on math this year than on just about anything else (other than on In Design, perhaps). I enjoy math. One of my wishes is to do a math degree. I doubt I will ever get the chance, alas. But if I win the lottery...

Math is the logic of quantities. I have studied logic and it has put me in a position where I was not before I had studied logic/philosophy. I could never have progressed in math before I did my degree in philosophy. Now everything seems, well, if not exactly easy, then possible and matter-of-fact. Let me put it this way: studying a new language involves much more work than studying math. There is much more to learn in the former. Technique and logic have much less to do with learning a language than learning math. Languages, after all, admit of myriad exceptions to rules, math not a one.

Now utility. Math, they say, is useful. Indeed, it is. I use basic math not only every day, but every hour. Basic math. Calculus. Let me see, other than not being qualified to teach advanced math, my ignorance of calculus seems not to have effected my life all that much. Not being bilingual has effected me, but Brazilian Colin would not need to know French, nor even American Colin. Spanish would be far more valuable in the US for a typical person than knowledge of calculus; French more valuable in Canada than calculus.

All subjects - even feminist theory and queer studies - develop the mind. It all depends on how they are studied. Math is a definite mind-expander, but I cannot see how it is so more than history, comparative religion, etc. Even morally beneficial. I believe all disciplines are morally beneficial too. My problem with 'queer studies' is not the subject, but the approach; feminism too. Women and homosexuality are fascinating topics, but I do not study to learn to adhere to an orthodoxy, but to learn the academic lay of the land: the theories, the stats., etc. There is nothing immoral about psychology, or about the chemistry of explosives, about nuclear physics or cancer research. You can't get cancer by studying it.

I will offer this: anyone who posits that we should study math must by the same logic posit the studying of poetry.

But as for progress or regress, what are the politics here? Why would one maintain either one? Because they are advancing an ideology. Star Trek: if you want a future with no disease or poverty, you must give up religion and adopt a doctrine of complete authoritarianism aimed at social engineering, i.e., what the United Nations, the European Union and other lefties are all up to.

Lefties tell us that the past was bad so that we will do the opposite. The past was Christian therefore let's not have any of that. They point to slavery and implicate Christianity in that; they epitomize the Church's relationship with science in terms of the Galileo affair. This would be the equivalent of saying all gays are evil because Rohm was gay (head of the Nazi SA, like the SS). Such insinuations are slanderous, of course, except when they are used against Christians.

Righties are pro-family and pro-Christianity, are therefore tend to idealize the past: they idealize the American Founders, etc., beyond their dessert; lefties villainize American history beyond its dessert.

But it doesn't take much looking to realize that the West is in trouble, if our subject is IQ, that is. People don't read. Kids don't read. People always have their stupid phones in their faces. This is a generation of idiots. Therefore, in this regard, the left is wrong. What a surprise!