On Chronological Snobbery

From Chronological Snobbery (And The Sin Of Pride) at Upland Gardener:

“My parents grew up here in rural Middle TN during the Depression. To some extent, the lyrics from Alabama’s song, “Song of the South,” applied: “Somebody told us Wall Street fell, but we were so poor, we couldn’t tell!” Since 1865, much of the South has known poverty, so that hadn’t changed much, but at least folks mostly still owned their own farms, had gardens, and livestock, and as a result, had enough to eat.

Now, I look at my family’s little hometown, and like much of rural America, it went from a bustling center of commerce, where the local farm economy supported the shops in town, and the shops and services in town, in turn, supported the local farm family. Sadly, especially since the takeover by government/Big Agra post-WWII of much of the farm economy, the little town now struggles.
Most folks choose to forget the past, and, as a variation on what C.S. Lewis termed “chronological snobbery,” every generation deep down considers itself a little more enlightened, a little smarter and progressive than the preceding ones.

However, just like the young man who, thinking of his ol’ man as a pretty dim bulb when he’s 18 or 19, grows to understand his dad gets a lot smarter as time goes on and life and Reality “happens” to him; this pattern does fortunately serve as a correcting influence. Sadly, though, starting with us Baby Boomers, successive generations seem increasingly self-satisfied in their arrogant folly, not understanding that the artificial prosperity we have enjoyed for a long time now, is not the norm, but is in fact a mere blip in history.

If we’re going to have Depression 2.0, there’s a part of me that would like to go ahead, hold my nose, and get it over with. Break this damnable crony-capitalist system along with the arrogance of the pampered elites. I then realize that when that occurs, it won’t be just the arrogant who suffer; it’ll be good people as well!

I pray we in the church especially will awaken to Reality, and not stay caught up in this corrupt system. We need to be there to be reflections of God’s mercy and wisdom in those times, and not mere victims, addicted to the goodies from the corrupt, collapsing system.”

 

On Depression 2.0 and crony capitalism: even if you are (unlike me) a believer in democracy (I am a monarchist),  you surely must be able to see at this point that both the Democrats and the Republicans serve the interests of the same people. There’s no difference.

I am pro-life and generally pretty socially conservative. You might think I would be a big supporter of Republicans, but I am not. Republicans serve the interest of crony capitalists as opposed to the well-being of communities;  just look at their support for free trade. Look at their support for switching over from pensions to 401(k)s. These kinds of things  impoverish the vast majority of people and enrich a very small elite. And despite what Bernie Sanders supporters may think, the Democrats support the same things. Recall that it was Bill Clinton who brought us NAFTA, allowing us to hemorrhage manufacturing jobs to Mexico. Who benefited from that? Wealthy elites at the expense of the working class.

It is the same with environmentalism. Republicans support the Ann Coulter-esque form of rape and pillage of the earth to benefit Big Business, whereas Democrats are controlled by a bunch of uber left-wing idiots who usually want to enact policies that do more harm than good (mercury vapor light bulbs, anyone?).

On chronological snobbery: I’ve been guilty of it, and probably you have too.  In reality, with industrialization and urbanization to fuel our wealth, we’ve given away something very precious in exchange for material well-being. We have given away community and family, and it has gotten worse with every generation. I think millennials have pretty much reached peak chronological snobbery with their all-consuming focus on persona and lifestyle striving.

Repenting of (turning away from) materialism, pride and liberalism (of both the left and right variety) is the solution.

 

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Live by the SJW sword, die by the SJW sword? Maybe, but democracy is still a lie.

Over my years as an employee at various places, I have on occasion heard one colleague or another (male AND female) make the odd inappropriate comment or off-color joke.  I even had (a long time ago) a supervisor make a very clumsy attempt at flirting which included a wildly inappropriate sexual innuendo, which I laughed off.  Because humans are sexual creatures, once in a while that subject is going to come up, perhaps as a joke, in the work place.  Of course, it’s better if you don’t joke about sex at work, but it happens and as long as it’s not too egregious or a regular habit, I think we can probably all just let it slide, don’t you?

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Liberalism and Social Justice Warriors have ruined children’s literature.

A while back, some guy said:

Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.

Liberals take this very seriously.  That is why children’s literature now sucks so bad.

Evolutiontheorist left a humorous and insightful comment on my post about the children’s book The Tooth:

“I’ve noticed that the children’s book world is full of sentimental/boring works that only adults would be interested in. Every time I go to the library, it seems like I come home with at least one book that looked good, but turns out to be about a kid who’s pet died or a bird whose best friend turned out to be a snowball and then melted. Or about how the author grew up in poverty but it’s okay because they liked eating paint. (I am not making that up.)

Kids like books about cheeky toy trains, hoppy bunnies, funny superheroes, or grand adventures. They like rainbows and unicorns and swashbuckling pirates. They do not want to hear about how if you eat too much candy, you might have to go to the dentist and get a tooth pulled, for goodness’s sakes.”

If you don’t think that there is any particular agenda behind this, listen to the following children’s story.

Moral of the story: It’s fun being married to a cross-dresser!

But it isn’t (just) the liberal/SJW agenda that I’m objecting to.  If the story is well-crafted, I could talk through with my kids why I don’t agree with whatever political or “social justice” point the author was trying to make.  Kids’ books have always been a bit preachy in their own way, it’s just that back in the day the preachiness was aimed at getting kids to behave and be good and now it’s aimed at getting them to tear down Western civilization faster, faster, faster.  But the craft aspect to it is TERRIBLE now.  Thornton W. Burgess was a preachy conservationist, but my children loved hearing his stories about Reddy Fox and Lightfoot the Deer (you can listen to his stories being read by non-professional readers here).  He was a fine children’s literature writer despite his tendency to anthropomorphize deer and his inability to comprehend that slow death by starvation due to overpopulation is not kinder than a quick death by a hunter’s gun.

Several years ago on another blog I wrote a post entitled What is happening to children’s literature?  I think we understand now exactly what is happening to it, but I am going to repost that essay here since it seems relevant.

What is happening to children’s literature?  

Posted on 03/09/2014

Painting by Emil Rau | Public Domain image from Wikimedia Commons

If you have children, you probably already know that March is National Reading Month.

Because we don’t watch television, our family listens to a lot of audio books.  We try to choose ones that we all enjoy listening to and which will appeal to a range of ages.  A typical evening in our house finds us gathered in the living room, the children drawing or writing and me working on a blog post, while listening to stories on the CD player.  Because of this, I have listened to quite a number of both classic and modern children’s stories, and I have concluded that the modern ones are largely unimpressive.

Surely I am not the only parent who has noticed the startling decline in the quality of children’s literature?  I first began thinking about this about ten years ago, when my husband and I noticed that many of the picture story books that had the Caldecott Medal Winner sticker on them were so…weird.  The books were uninteresting to children and sometimes even frightened them, but I’m sure they were intriguing to the highly-educated, liberal parents of our generation who were raised to see things that are “alternative” as superior.  This is the basic ethos of progressivism; anything new and strange, no matter how objectively crappy, is better than what came before.  Weird, disturbing children’s books must be better than the simple, charming types of stories that came before, right?

We have continued to notice this trend as our children have gotten older.  One year awhile back, we joined a mother-daughter book club at the library.  One of the first books that was assigned to us was called The Higher Power of Lucky.  We were given a free copy of the book to read, and let me tell you, it was dreadful.  It was equal parts morbid and boring.  The ten-year-old main character is a girl named Lucky whose mother died from being electrocuted during a storm; her father is unaccounted for and she lives with her father’s first ex-wife in an old trailer in a depressing desert town.  She is obsessed with Charles Darwin for some reason and the primary adventure in the story seems to center around Lucky eavesdropping outside AA meetings and worrying that her guardian will abandon her.

Librarians are obsessed with this book.  It is everywhere; it is one of their most highly recommended books.  Just now we have returned from the library and there were five copies of the audio book on the shelf.  Five copies!  Audio books are expensive, and it always takes them ages to order the classic ones that I request, but somehow we have money for five copies of this book.  No one ever checks them out, but I’m sure it makes the librarians feel very cheerful and progressive to see them on the shelf.

There were several other books that we read for that book club, all equally strange and uninspiring.  Modern children’s books usually have main characters who are female, have an intense grrrll power message, and often involve scenes in which girls behave unethically to get what they want.  I allowed our girls to listen to a modern story called The Callahan Cousins on audio book last summer about three cousins (all girls) who stay with their grandmother for the summer.  The girls – all grrrl-powered up of course – lie, steal, gossip, sneak out, sneak around, and none of this is portrayed in the story as a negative thing.

I can’t imagine what kind of literature is out there for boys now.  I rarely see much of anything geared at boys on the shelves, other than stories based on movies, video games, and TV shows.  Classic literature isn’t used much anymore, but the new literature is mostly badly written, dull, upsetting, and uninteresting, mostly progressivist propaganda.  Virtually every book for girls in the age range of 7 to 12 seems to include some kind of self-conscious gender-bending or gender “stereotype” smashing theme.

I know that many of my readers are parents and would probably like to know of good books for children between the ages of 7 and 15.  I will start by recommending the following five books, none of which are Christian books.

All of these stories are available on audio book at our library, but even if you can’t get the audio version, I think your children would enjoy reading these stories:

The Miracles on Maple Hill  (1956) by Virginia Sorensen:

Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (1939) by Margaret Sydney:

Rascal (1963) by Sterling North:

Larklight (2006) by Philip Reeve:

 

The Mistmantle Chronicles – start with Urchin of the Riding Stars (2005) by M. I. McAllister:

And our family’s FAVORITE series of audiobooks ever, Hank the Cowdog.

These are perfect for young boys as well as girls.  You can buy the books, but I very strongly recommended springing for the extra few dollars to buy the audio books.  The author reads them himself and includes songs, and his delivery is just so entertaining.  I recommend Hank the Cowdog very highly.  We have almost the entire series on audio book now (we’ve been purchasing them slowly over the past decade); also, check your library’s children’s audio book collection because they very well may have some of these or may be willing to purchase them.

Here is a YouTube clip of the author, John Erickson, giving a reading (he’s a much in-demand speaker and lecturer and is a salt-of-the earth Texan Christian sort.)

Loving your oppressor. With chalk.

It’s the liberal way:

image

Screenshot of sidebar articles from MLive this morning

The order in which those articles were published on MLive was:

#HonkForHappiness. #NoHate. “Have fun, pizza rules.”

On Friday, April 1, Ann Arbor Open students, chalk in hand, spread messages of love, peace and unity—and pizza—on the sidewalks outside of their school, 920 Miller Ave.

The words and peace signs are in response to a chalking on the University of Michigan Diag Wednesday, March 30. Someone had written #StopIslam and Trump 2016, causing a response from university officials and backlash on social media.

“This is an opportunity to spread love and peace, even with small actions like this,” said Open Principal Meg Fenech. “We can combat hate. Even a kindergartner speaking your thoughts of unity and togetherness, that’s important.”

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A liberal scold reads to children and makes them sad.

I am a big proponent of literature-based language intervention for children with language-learning disabilities.  I’ll often choose a text and have kids study it for several weeks, using the text for semantic development, syntax practice, and narrative retelling.

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There is no god but democracy and the Founding Fathers are its prophets.

Last week in Our Best Days Are Behind Us, Patrice Lewis (whom I generally admire) wrote:

Individual liberty corrected many of our nation’s wrongs over the subsequent century.

So here’s a question – what changed? Why should America’s best days be behind it?

…Today we’ve reversed our good-to-bad ratio. Many of the things that were very bad (slavery, etc.) have been corrected. Many of the things that were very good are being crushed.

Belief in, and reliance upon, God has dropped precipitously. Government interference in our personal lives is high. Morals and responsibility are low. Illegitimacy has skyrocketed. Men make babies and walk away. Women have turned to government handouts to support those babies, or have government-funded abortions to kill them. Thrift and self-sufficiency are distant memories. Handouts are now multi-generational legacies.

The trouble is that progressives have taken over. They’ve gone far beyond the notion of correcting legitimate grievances to the creation of a fake “utopia” based on goals that can only be achieved through coercive force […] Our nation will continue its decline unless its people recapture the qualities our Founding Fathers envisioned: minimal government, a balanced budget, maximum personal responsibility, thrift, strong families, hard work and an unshakeable faith in God.

I suppose this is all cyclical. After all, the famous quote attributed (probably incorrectly) to Alexander Fraser Tytler remains eerily prescient for America:

A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

 

I admire Mrs. Lewis’ homesteading skills and enjoy her social commentary, and she comes so close to getting it, understanding that liberalism is the crux of the problem, but then she just couldn’t connect the dots that the Founding Fathers were the original American liberals.   I think of this blind faith as Founding Father Worship.

The disconnect is so odd because it’s like saying, “Hey this democracy train is actually heading straight for Tyranny-ville and I’ve got the Tytler Train Schedule right here telling me that’s where this train is bound for, but if we can just somehow throw the democracy train in reverse for a spell, surely we will somehow get to some other destination instead,  as opposed to just taking longer to getting to Tyranny-ville!”

Trying to back up the democracy train, which is what the most conservativey conservatives want (as opposed to plain ole’ conservatives who just want to slow it down a little), is kind of like the Ferris Beuller kids trying to turn back the odometer on Dad’s Ferrari by setting its wheels up on blocks, throwing it into reverse, and putting a brick on the accelerator:

Which, as you know, worked oh so well:

Odometers by their nature go forward.  It’s what they do.

But people just can’t seem to let go of the idea that democracy itself would be an awesome form of government if only it didn’t keep doing what democracies by their very nature must always do – collapse into tyranny.

But point out that there are other forms of government – such as monarchy, for instance -and even the most conservative folks look at you with bafflement and even horror:

“B-but what if the king is a tyrant?!”

 

And so you see, Mom, that’s why I don’t vote.

I came out of the closet as a non-voter to my family-in-law this summer.  It was upsetting for all of us.  Especially difficult was when they asked why.  How to explain the evolution – no, rather, the clarifying – of my understanding about democracy in dinner table conversation?  See, Mom, it’s just that I have come to understand the Founding Fathers as the liberals they were.  Well, and what is wrong with liberalism, they would like to know.  The more one tries to talk and explain this kind of thing to a baffled audience, the more one realizes that other picnic-goers view you as perhaps being a sandwich or two short…

Well, they would like to know, if I don’t like liberals, why don’t I just vote Republican?  Because, you know, Republicans are conservatives, so even though you may embarrass your family by being a conservative, at least it is a thing which they can understand.  As opposed to just not voting at all which is frankly…suspicious.

My dilemma is really kind of solved now, though, for whenever my back is up against the wall and I am forced to confess my dogged refusal to vote even for conseratives, I shall simply say:

…the function of conservatism in society is to preserve and protect liberalism from its own excesses. Conservatives are the abused enablers of progressives and always will be, mopping up the vomit and excrement after the drunken binges to make sure that they can continue.

And I think that will nicely end any further dinner table queries about my political preferences.  Don’t you?