- Jan 21, 2018 at 8:02 pm #3513575
I find this rather interesting.
From the commentary: “When the founders of the United States created her, they wanted a republic, not an empire; a government, not a state; and a commonwealth not a democracy.”Jan 21, 2018 at 8:56 pm #3513580
Circumstances on the ground are “just a little” different now. The founders didn’t know the extent of the continent, nor what the population would soon be, nor how technology would develop (ak 47’s and jumbo jets etc.) nor how vicious Canadians would turn out to be@@. Oh and that there’d be a civil war over slavery. Etc.
I’m always surprised by how people who would never want modern science to be tied to the Bible do think that the Constitution is a fixed holy document.
Here’s a joke: 70 year old to a ten year old–“hey will you open this child proof bottle of aspirin for me?”Jan 21, 2018 at 9:13 pm #3513582
Your comment leads me to believe you didn’t even read the linked commentary.Jan 21, 2018 at 9:23 pm #3513583
I have a hard time understanding any of that, I must not be classically educated : )
republic not empire
republic means the leaders are chosen by the people, not ruled by someone that owns the country like a king
empire is where there are many other countries occupied, typically run by someone like a king. The occupied countries don’t get to vote.
“they wanted a republic, not an empire” must mean they wanted elected leaders, not a ruler like a king.
government not a state
“government” is like a system for running a country – legislature, courts, executive. “state” is a community living under a government.
“a government, not a state” must mean the constitution created a government but the community already existed?
commonwealth not a democracy.
A democracy is where everyone in the country votes. Commonwealth has something to do with the states should have more power and the federal government less? A problem with democracy is since the people vote, they can be easily fooled by populist ideas and make bad decisions, better to vote for representatives that then make the decisions???
I don’t get the opening salvo about the $21 trillion national debt. The interest payment is a small part of federal spending. We have a lot of bigger problems right now.
Before WWII federal spending was less than 5% of GDP. After, it’s gone up to about 25%, pretty stable the last 50 years. In the period around WWII the federal government got much bigger. We could argue about whether that was a good idea. Hard to do anything about though, because half of the spending is SS and Medicare. People have paid in while working for the promise of getting paid back after retirement. You can’t just undo this now because you’d be breaking the promise to the people that have paid into it.Jan 21, 2018 at 9:24 pm #3513584
I read the commentary : )
It was short so fit into my short attention span. I read it multiple times trying to make sense of it. And kept looking up definitions of terms they used…Jan 21, 2018 at 9:48 pm #3513586
“I don’t get the opening salvo about the $21 trillion national debt. The interest payment is a small part of federal spending. We have a lot of bigger problems right now.”
I would agree that he’s trying a bit too hard in tying the debt to the rest of his piece, but I disagree that the debt is not a big problem. You generally talk about federal spending related to GDP as to why things are generally okay. But the US debt-to-GDP ratio has been rising steadily, from about 70 percent in 2008 to 106 percent in 2016. I fail to see how that can be good.
And it’s going to keep going up, thanks to the recently passed tax bill. I think even most Republicans know that it’s simply a myth that the cuts will pay for themselves through increased growth. It ain’t gonna happen.
We need to get spending under control, IMO.Jan 21, 2018 at 10:11 pm #3513587
I totally agree, we need to get spending under control
The $12 trillion is about 110% of GDP. But 8% of federal spending is the interest on that. Interest rates will increase some day and this will be more of a problem, but I don’t think this is the most important problem right now. We should be watchful.
Annual deficit is something like 3.2% of GDP. This about how fast the GDP is growing, so we can afford debt as fast as we’re creating income to pay for it. Again, not a critical problem but we should watch carefully.
A government surplus can actually be bad for the economy, because if the government has a surplus, the rest of the economy will have a deficit. For example, before 2000 we had a federal surplus and then there was a sharp economic recession, although the federal surplus was only a small part of the cause.
Maybe we should reduce the deficit by 1% of GDP and see how the economy is. The stronger the economy is, the more we should reduce the deficit. Keynes. But the economy is not overly strong right now so we should be very careful about doing this.
The recent tax bill increases deficit so that was the wrong thing to do. Republicans, when asked about this, said the deficit is more because of programs like SS and Medicare. If they could come up with a plan to reduce spending then they could lower taxes, but just lowering taxes is a bad idea.Jan 21, 2018 at 10:13 pm #3513588
$12 trillion, $21 trillion, whatever… it’s about 110% of GDPJan 21, 2018 at 10:21 pm #3513589
I don’t see how the ability to read classical Latin and Greek has an application today. Not that it’s not a good thing! It’s just, the texts that this skill makes available are available now in translation. Hannibal Lector could read Dante in the original but that didn’t make him a sterling citizen.
My point is that modelling contemporary education on what occurred at the time of the founders would be anacronistic. And in any case, I’m always suspicious of these fawning paeans to the glorious world of the past. I wonder if all those farm kids in the middle of nowhere were really spending their days translating the Odyssey into Latin.
But yeah I barely read the link. sorry, I’m recovering from surgery and really exhausted and bored. And no likes for my joke?Jan 21, 2018 at 11:16 pm #3513595
Yeah, reading Latin is probably not important. Learning Latin (imperfectly) and then trying to interpret Latin texts would be difficult. Better to look at translations and modern texts.
A lot of the lessons they learned back then are still useful today. Human nature largely unchanged.
It’s good for scholars to read the Latin and then write about it and how it fits today.Jan 21, 2018 at 11:31 pm #3513596
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
A classical liberal education doesn’t end with the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans, it continues with the great works of the great thinkers up through 1776 (to understand our forefathers’ education, which included the Greeks, Romans, intellectuals of the Dark Ages, and works of the Enlightenment). It should continue forward for us and would include the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, Hegel, Goethe, Nietzsche, Melville, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, William James, Herbert Spencer, and even Marx, Darwin, and Freud, among many others.
A classic liberal arts education is about the ideas of timeless importance and pertinence to mankind, less we self destruct. It is about an education that ensures the student understands all the great ideas of Western Civilization. These great ideas are not restricted to the problems of Athens or Rome, but for all ages. The classic liberal education focuses on the great works of philosophy, literature, art, science, and law.
If one reads the article Doug linked to, and grasps the breadth of subjects our forefathers were well-versed in, one will realize that to become well educated with the great works created since their time would require us to add an additional 4 years (or more) to a basic education, which is an excellent idea, IMO. Of course each us can obtain such an education on our own, there is no law against a lifetime of pursuing knowledge. But our educational system is no longer about obtaining knowledge, it is a checklist of tasks to get a high school diploma, and for some a checklist to get a college degree or even graduate degrees.
So what kind of education are we providing to our young people today? It is reconstruction education that focuses on social questions and a hope that that education will create a better society, a new world order, and global democracy; sprinkled with a bit of catering to the needs of the student instead of the content of a robust curriculum; and of course, what this “better society” should look like is the domain of educators with agendas — not the ideas of timeless importance and pertinence.Jan 22, 2018 at 1:25 am #3513604
Knowing at least some Latin is incredibly useful . From understanding what most plant names mean as well as biology, medical terms, the language of law and on and on. I highly recommend it.
The Divine Commedy is one of the most important pieces of work ever written in my opinion , as someone that had study it for several hours a week for three years. That plus it was the first written work in vulgar Italian, exactly so that the common man could read it and get an idea of the corruption that the country had been plagued with.Jan 22, 2018 at 1:52 am #3513612
Oh I love the Divine Comedy! why did you have to study it for so long? Not that I’d mind now! My favorite is the Hollanders’ translation that has the Italian en face; plus copious notes, which I need. And sure, it’s not the same thing as reading in the original Italian, but geeze I love Tolstoy too and many other writers who write in another tongue. You have to make choices; I went with French.Jan 22, 2018 at 2:15 am #3513615
Yeah I certainly missed out on more literature and classics than I will ever even know.
I studied The Divine Comedy under one of the most renowned Dante scholars in the country. We could spend three hours on one verse alone. Not only the form ( alliterations like Selva Selvaggia right in the beginning) but the history behind every person he names and why they would end up in a particular circle of hell for example. It was definitively not reading but rather studying.
I also studied Latin throughout all of the five years of senior high school, about 6 hours a week. That included the language and the reading, translating and interpreting of the classics.
We did not have quarters nor semesters . Our classes were all mandatory, lasted all year and the entire class of 32 or so students stayed together for every class for 5 years, minus the 3 or four that had to repeat the year and so fell behind. It was very different than here. Nothing but academics, no clubs, proms, dances, year books, pictue day etc. . It was not fun, that is for sure, but we found ways to make it bearable.Jan 22, 2018 at 2:41 am #3513620
The dark wood? I’m just guessing. No,I checked Hollander–selva oscura is ‘dark wood’ and they have “the nature of that wood, savage…etc. for selva selvaggia
As an undergraduate I sat in on a Dante course just briefly with Robert Durling at UC Santa Cruz who I later learned has a fine reputation as a Dante scholar. He was great and would allow students without Italian to sit in. I really regret not actually taking and finishing this course! I read Derrida instead; stupid me!
The Hollanders’ notes really help with identifying each historical character, but you obviously went much deeper!
Jan 22, 2018 at 2:56 am #3513626
- This reply was modified 10 months, 3 weeks ago by jeffrey armbruster.
“Nothing but academics, no clubs, proms, dances, year books, picture day etc.”
You mean an education based on learning instead of socializing? Weird.Jan 22, 2018 at 3:01 am #3513627
Learning how to socialize is itself valuable and necessary. Do you remember being a pre-teen and a teenager? Brutal.Jan 22, 2018 at 3:01 am #3513628
Did I just stumble in to the BPL Classical Curmudgeon Club?Jan 22, 2018 at 3:06 am #3513629
I was never a pre-teen or teen. I was born 45 going on get off of my lawn…Jan 22, 2018 at 3:09 am #3513630
I was going to make some joke like “Nick, why are you posting articles pretending to be Doug?”Jan 22, 2018 at 4:03 am #3513639
When curmudgeons go feral…they come here. Or like me were never properly socialized to begin with.Jan 22, 2018 at 4:33 am #3513642
The timeless intergenerational struggle, with all actors questioning the relevance of the education and ways of the generation to either side of them. (And, of course, often insulting entire generations in the process.)
No progress without departing from tradition. No future without learning from the past.
Or to put the paradox in simpler terms: Growing up swearing you’ll never be like your parents…and then one day waking up and wondering: “What the hell is wrong with kids these days?”
It sort of reminds me of the George Carlin joke: “Have you ever noticed that anyone driving slower than you is an idiot and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”Jan 22, 2018 at 4:48 am #3513644
Oh we socialized for sure, just not in a format as organized by a school since that is not the business they were in. We studied with others at home in the afternoons often for hours. Socializing happened while doing other things not for the sake of it. I am not saying this was necessarily better but there is no comparison between the education I got and the one my daughter got. Not even in the same realm ( I am talking about senior high school which is not mandatory in Italy). Besides the education …the kids at my daughter’s school had a lot more time to be mean and do damage to one another. We were so busy (and stressed ) and helping one another make it that we did not really experience the mean clicky high school stuff, at least not as much. The bond of sharing a room for five years, six days a week, with the same 30 people grows pretty strong and we learned to care, which takes time.Jan 22, 2018 at 5:19 am #3513649
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
For civilization is not something inborn or imperishable; it must be acquired anew by every generation, and any serious interruption in its financing or its transmission may bring it to an end. Man differs from the beast only by education, which maybe defined as the technique of transmitting civilization.
The Story of Civilization: Volume I, by Will Durant (1935)Jan 22, 2018 at 5:34 am #3513651
That’s a good quote.
So are we in a crisis born of poor transmission or poor reception? Have those who were tasked with transmitting failed to live up to their duty? Or have those that should be receiving rejected the message?
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