"I was puzzled by Charles Larmore's review of Charles Taylor's new book, A Secular Age, in the current New Republic. The book is sprawling and often maddening, but it is very important (I've tried to do it justice in my own review in the forthcoming issue of First Things), and I give Larmore high marks for his accurate (if prickly) summaries of the...
Keep LearningSubmitted by jim on Mon, 2010-11-15 13:46
How often do you hear conservatives being called a bunch of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals?
Here's the reality: Conservatism, classical liberalism, and libertarianism have a rich, intellectual heritage reaching back many millennia. Our ideas are not just some historical relics from bygone eras; they are the very foundation of Western Civilization in general, amd the United States in particular.
Sadly, modern, progressive schooling doesn't expose many Americans--conservative or liberal--to the great minds that have made light of those ideas. When it does, it's usually just cursory.
Troubling, too, many Americans now believe that learning is limited to schooling and proof of learning can only be had with a paper stamped "Diploma." That's not to say that organized schooling doesn't have value; it does. But most of us are run through a factory-system of education from kindergarten through college, and then thrust into the real world with our innate curiosity and desire to learn thoroughly pulverized. Rather than continue to learn, we rely on doctored experts to make critical decisions for us. On some subjects experts are necessary, but for many others they are not.
As free men and women trying to preserve a free society, we are responsible for our future. We have no king, autocrat, or committee to watch over us. We choose representatives from our own ranks to make decisions on matters both mundane and exigent. The importance of learning in a republic cannot be overstated.
At Intellectual Takeout we don't expect every American to drop everything and pick up Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics. Nonetheless, we do hope that our readers will be inspired to look at their time on this good earth as limited and therefore one of their most precious commodities. How will you spend your time? Watching TV, reading some third-rate talking head's book, or with great minds and great books?
Keep learning; your freedom depends upon it.