Joshua Gibbs Jul 6, 2018

What follows is a loose paraphrase of a conversation I lately had with my daughters about some fine new horse toys they received as gifts. I believe that Marjorie Williams, who wrote The Velveteen Rabbit, and whose work I reference to my children, was both a metaphysician and a proverbialist. So far as her proverbs are concerned, a few notable counterexamples are allowable, but are not sufficient to debunk her wisdom. 

Gibbs: I would like to talk to you about your new horse toys.

Girls: Okay.

Category:
Joshua Gibbs Jul 5, 2018

Your problem, said my priest, is that you do not know God. Several months ago, after I made confession, my priest delivered this diagnosis, which I found a shock and a relief. During the confession which I had just delivered, I admitted that my mind constantly wandered during the liturgy, that I did not pray as often as I should, that I did not regularly set before myself the life of Christ and the saints. I also confessed that God was little more than my foul-weather friend, a Thing I turned to in times of fear and sickness.

Category:
Joshua Gibbs Jun 21, 2018

Around ten years ago, I spent a little time claiming to be a pacifist, and then one day I took a look at myself and said, “In what sense are you a pacifist? Be honest. You’re not a pacifist.” Aside from a few dozen comments I had made on social media, and a few arguments I could summarize, there was simply no evidence that I was a pacifist. At best, I simply no longer enjoyed violent movies as much as I had as a teenager.

Category:
Joshua Gibbs Jun 19, 2018

The other night I listened to yet another discussion on NPR about fake news, and someone commented that Americans really need to train high school students “how to think” so they have the tools necessary to identify fake news. Another panelist countered with the suggestion that high school students are already learning “analytical thinking skills,” given that their chemistry and biology classes cover the scientific method. Alas, I am not sure we know how to think about “how to think.”   

Category:
Joshua Gibbs Jun 19, 2018

I have written a book.

After sitting on that first sentence for two days now, I still can’t help thinking it sounds like a threat.

Category:
Joshua Gibbs Jun 13, 2018

I have read precious little which explains the 2016 election (or the two elections before that, say) better than this passage from The Meaning of Conservatism, originally published in 1980. Most of the explanations of the 2016 election come down to fear and hatred, but Scruton intuits something quite human about how we vote for heads of state which makes 2016 seem much less tawdry, at least so far as voters are concerned.   

Category:
Joshua Gibbs Jun 12, 2018

Around ten years ago, I was caught between the basically Republican ideals with which I had been raised, and the ambivalent approach to tradition which has been popular for around two hundred years now in the West. For several years, I was quite sympathetic to pacifism and anarchy, and a leftist anthropology seemed more compelling, more humane, and more true to reality than my old loves.

Category:
Joshua Gibbs Jun 6, 2018

As an essayist and a classical educator, I have severe reservations about the value of research papers, not the least of which is that there are no canonized research papers— but this is a matter to be discussed out by the pool, after hours, at conferences this summer. Over the next several years, the school where I teach will move from one section to three sections of seniors, and some changes to our senior thesis program will become necessary.

Category:
Joshua Gibbs Jun 2, 2018

Who is the worst teacher you have ever known? If you are involved in education, you should know the answer to this question, even if you don’t say the answer out loud. You should put some time and thought into considering what makes a bad teacher bad. An image of a bad teacher should be easy to conjure up in your imagination, and you should live in a little fear of becoming like this bad teacher.

Category:
Joshua Gibbs May 26, 2018

True or false: You are regularly outraged by news stories of terrible criminals walking the streets after receiving little or no punishment for their crimes.

True or false: You are baffled by judges who hear ludicrous excuses for criminal behavior and allow the guilty to go free.

Category:

Pages