Friday, February 1, 2013

Conservative lessons from the classics

Why have we lost so many of our rights? Because we have willingly given them away. currently reading Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol. In part two we find the story of Tentetnikov, a landowner (with serfs, before emancipation) who is counseled by his uncle to abandon his own property to be professionally managed by an agent so that he can ("with great difficulty") obtain a government job as a menial clerk. when government servitude makes Tentetnikov unhappy and unfulfilled, his government apologist uncle "gaped at him in astonishment". His uncle's contempt for the countryside and slavishness to government would be comic if it weren't so tragic -- and appallingly common: "But, all the same, er- er- how can you? I mean, how can you bury yourself in the country? What kind of society will you find among illiterate peasants? Here at least you can run across a general or a prince in the street. You can go for a walk and pass some - er - I mean there's gas lighting here, industrial Europe, but what will you find there? The only people you will run across will be a peasant or a peasant woman. Why, I ask you, why condemn yourself to spend the rest of your life among ignorant rustics?" returning to manage his property, Tentetnikov has an epiphany: "Well, haven't I been a fool? Fate has decreed that I should be the owner of this earthly paradise and I have sold myself into slavery as a scribbler of dead papers. After being educated and enlightened, and having acquired a store of knowledge needed for doing good among the people who have been put in my power, for the improvement of a whole district, for performing the duties of a landowner who is at one and the same time a judge, a manager, and a guardian of law and order, to entrust this task to an ignorant agent, and to prefer the work of settling by correspondence the affairs of people I have never seen before, people whose characteristics and qualities I knew nothing about, to prefer this fantastic government by red tape of whole provinces a thousand miles apart from each other, in which I had never set foot and in which I could only commit a whole lot of stupidities and errors, to the real task of managing my own estate." how much of our life, liberty, property, and pursuit of happiness have we forfeited by government "service" and government management? ... starting with the care and education of our own children. survivors of communism reveal how the government took their children and sent them to indoctrination centers... and marvel that we actually PAY "professionals" (unionized Marxist ideologues) to brainwash our children. "To my great-grandfather I owed the advice to dispense with the education of the schools and have good masters AT HOME instead - and to realize that no expense should be grudged for this purpose." (Marcus Aurelius) Homeschooling: if it's good enough for a Roman emperor, it's good enough for our children. something to keep in mind for School Choice Week