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.

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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.

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Lindsey Brigham Knott Jun 23, 2018

Classicism fits comfortably in the city, with its suggestions of the polis, arts, architecture, academia, and culture; and it fits comfortably in the country, with its evocations of quietude, contemplation, tradition, and permanence. But in the suburbs—the place, increasingly, that most of us call home—isn’t classicism rather an ill fit? Can it be taught, practiced, and lived out, with integrity, in the landscape of strip malls and subdivisions? 

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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.

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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.”   

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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.

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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.   

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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.

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Lindsey Brigham Knott Jun 11, 2018

“Kids can smell morals. And they smell like Brussels sprouts.”

That line summarizes, more pithily than most, the general attitude towards “preachy children’s books” reflected in a cursory Google search. It comes from an article by a published author giving tips for writing children’s books, and most articles of that sort seem to include, fairly high on the list, the admonition to avoid preachiness at all cost. 

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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.

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