Friday, December 01, 2006


I rarely read a book that changes my opinion of anything. I learn new facts every day but those facts usually confirm conclusions I have come to long ago. The book The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature by Elizabeth Kantor has however changed my mind about something that I thought I had long ago decided.

I am a very literary person. I am known for reciting on some social occasions large slabs of the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer -- in the original Middle English, of course. And I even know by heart a bit of "Beowulf" in the original Anglo-Saxon. And every year I celebrate with some ceremony the birth of the world's greatest lyric poet -- Robert Burns.

So I have always been secure in my belief that literature is NOT important. The great poems of the past and classical literature generally have always seemed to me to be something that are simply to be enjoyed. If you don't happen to enjoy that sort of thing, go and read "The Phantom" and good luck to you.

So when I discovered that my son had learnt almost nothing about the great literature of the past during his High School years, I started to read him some of the wonderful poems of the past, not because I thought it would be good for him but because I thought he had been deprived of a great enjoyment. And, fortunately, he does enjoy hearing bits from our vast literary heritage that modern Leftist education had hidden from him.

Dr Kantor in her book has however made clear something that I had not taken much account of: The literature of the past introduces us to different worlds from the one we live in now. I had always known that but had taken it for granted that everyone would somehow have visited different mental worlds in some way. Dr. Kantor, however, has pointed out what really goes on in so-called "Literature" courses these days -- an attack on literature rather than an introduction to it and an appreciation of it. So the many different environments and value-sets we encounter in literature are NOT any more available to most of the young. Young people these days have been deprived of the perspective on human values and human arrangements generally that the literature of the past can give.

And that deprivation is vital to the Left. There is nothing more destructive of Leftist nonsense than a knowledge of history -- which is why they regularly distort history if they have to mention it at all. They even tell us that the socialist Hitler was a Rightist! But the Left cannot well distort something that was in fact written in the past. The Medieval England that Chaucer describes was not written ABOUT the past but rather IN the past. It is eyewitness testimony to what people were like then and what arrangements they had between themselves and what values moved them. And it is certainly clear from Chaucer that people have remained basically the same under the skin over the last 600 years. What differs is their values and social arrangements.

So the past is a natural experiment that tells us how various policies and arrangements work out long-term and, given the evils of the French revolution and Communist Russia, one can understand why Leftists hate people to know about the past. Those who know the past should readily be able to see the follies and shallowness of Leftist ideas and there is nothing like the imaginative literature of the past to bring the past alive in our minds.

The book does what all literature courses once did: Introduces you to the main works of the past and explains words and allusions that are not familiar today so that you can understand them readily. Parents should buy this book for their kids at least. Anybody who reads it and absorbs it will end up knowing more about the great literature of English than most professors of English these days do. And they will certainly have a very different perspective on what is important.

There is a slogan on the cover of the book that I rather like: "Dead white males rock!"



A Leftist "intellectual" above -- courtesy of Zombietime

People deserting Taxachusetts: "Massachusetts single-family home sales dropped 14.9 percent on a volume basis in October, and the October median sale price of a single-family home in the Bay State fell 6.9 percent, to $312,000 from $335,000, when compared to the same month last year, a real-estate data firm said today. The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman, said the October home price decrease was the sixth straight monthly drop when compared to the same months last year. The number of single-family home sales in October fell to 4,313 from 5,068, the Warren Group said".

Salvation Army banned at Target but welcome at Wal-Mart again: "Associates at more than 3,900 Wal-Mart stores, Sam's Clubs and Neighborhood Markets across the country today staffed the Red Kettles to celebrate the company's 20-plus year tradition of rolling out the red carpet for The Salvation Army's bell ringers. Wal-Mart Stores chief executive officer Lee Scott led the kick-off of the "Bells Ringing Across America" celebration with a $1 million donation from the Wal-Mart and Sam's Club Foundation."

A Democrat with a brain: "Sen. Joe Biden, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's incoming chairman, wants to get tough with Mexico, calling it an 'erstwhile democracy' with a 'corrupt system' responsible for illegal immigration and drug problems in the U.S. Biden, D-Del., was in Columbia on Monday in his first postelection trip to this first-in-the-South presidential primary state as he continues to line up support for his presidential bid."

Tax issue presents dilemma for Dems: "After six years of railing against Republican tax cuts for the rich and fiscal irresponsibility, Democrats will find themselves come January under enormous pressure to pass a hugely expensive tax cut -- without any way to make up the revenue. The alternative minimum tax, which slaps an extra income tax on many higher-income people, has become a political monster for Democrats, threatening to clobber prosperous professionals in such Democratic strongholds as California and New York."

Repeal the Internet Poker Ban: "Recently, Congress took a radical step to protect our nation. Under the guise of protecting our country from terrorists trying to attack our harbors, it passed a ban on Internet poker games. Of course, it may be the case that someplace, somewhere, someone actually believes that Internet poker players are third-world terrorists out to destroy our way of life. Unfortunately, one of these people is a United States Senator."



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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