Andrew Kern Sep 13, 2008
Or what do you make of assumptions? Are assumptions good or bad? We hear the cliche all too much about what assumptions make of you and me, but have you ever thought about how much that cliche assumes? Next time somebody says something like that to you, make a simple little request. Ask, "How can I avoid making assumptions in the future?" Whatever answer they give you will be both wrong and laden with assumptions. But the funny thing is, there really is a great way to find your assumptions. All you have to do is take a normal every day argument and complete it.
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Andrew Kern Sep 11, 2008
Since I care so much about writing, and since one of the greatest pleasures in life is a well-tempered sentence, I have been reflecting quite a bit lately on what makes for good style. I've been asking how to improve my own style as well as reviewing some writers whom I particularly love reading, among whom I'll mention Wendell Berry, C.S. Lewis, and Evelyn Waugh.
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Andrew Kern Sep 11, 2008
If you visit this blog often, you might be interested to know that I have recently updated the What Is Classical Education page. You can read the update by clicking on the tab above. You can also read more on the definition and principles of classical education if you visit our web site at www.circeinstitute.org.
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Andrew Kern Sep 10, 2008
Here's an example of a beautiful long sentence that couldn't have said what it said if it had said it shortly:
[A great author] writes passionately, because he feels keenly; forcibly, because he conceives vividly; he sees too clearly to be vague; he is too serious to be otiose; he can analyze his subject, and therefore he is rich; he embraces it as a whole and in its parts, and therefore he is consistent; he has a firm hold of it, and therefore he is luminous.
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Andrew Kern Sep 6, 2008

We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner (Mrs. Reed, when there was no company dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so somber, and a rain so penetrating, that further outdoor exercise was now out of the question.

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Andrew Kern Sep 6, 2008
Freedom, having been reduced to the right to do and say whatever you want - with the rapid and empty qualifier "as long as you don't hurt anybody else" - has gone the same way everything else goes when its nature is changed. It is somewhere between imperiled and nonexistent. If we reduce freedom to the vacuity of the foregoing common definition, the person who wants to be free needs to ask a question. "Why is the second clause, the qualification needed?" Perhaps the answer is too obvious to bother noting: It is because freedom so defined puts the individual in conflict with everybody else.
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Andrew Kern Sep 5, 2008
Some reviewers are suggesting the speech was boring and didn't deal with policy. Well, maybe. I suppose it depends what matters to the listener. Government is about trust. The fact is, we are going to know almost nothing the president or any member of congress does. We'll hear about half a dozen issues on which they vote. But they'll vote on hundreds of bills. Everything depends on whether the person is trustworthy AND competent.
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Andrew Kern Sep 5, 2008
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Andrew Kern Sep 5, 2008
Something happened to the format in what follows. Sorry.
"We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us,"
McCain just delivered an amazing speech, much more rousing than Obama's abstractions last week. Obama gave a soaring speech, but we live on the ground. It was full of abstractions like change. McCain spoke as one who lives in the ordinary world - so much so that he could rebuke his own party. Beautiful.
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Andrew Kern Sep 5, 2008
"I want schools to answer to students and parents." John McCain I am not a partisan political guy, but I liked that line. If he can deliver... After Sarah Palin's speech last night I felt a wind blow across American conservatism.  A lot of sleeping and uncertain people were aroused. If she doesn't stumble, I believe the choice of Sarah Palin won the election for John McCain. If only she is authentic. In fact, I had a feeling after her speech that I hadn't felt since I heard Bill Clinton's acceptance address in 1992. It felt like political victory. If they can only deliver...
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