How’s That Fiat Culture Working for You?

“Culture no longer necessarily implies self-cultivation or learning; it is a value neutral term embracing everything and nothing.  Its practitioners are largely oblivious of the noble ambition to transcend time and place to discover eternal truths or to create works of enduring beauty.

They are instead transfixed by technologically driven ephemera, guilt-induced humanitarianism, and status-defined identity politics.  In such circumstances, culture may lose its autonomy and become instead the mere reflection of society that Marxist and utilitarians of many stripes have always taken it to be.”  The Dereliction of Duty by Daniel Johnson


“The study of the past is the main portal through which culture is acquired.”

“The acquisition of culture requires repose, sitting quietly in a room with a book, or alone with one’s thoughts even in any crowded concert or art museum.”

― Joseph Epstein, A Literary Education and Other Essays


“Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-13


“…the gold-standard, which had existed since the Lydian’s first coinage, disappeared forever in the two decades after World War I.

Freed from the obligation of having to exchange paper money for the yellow metal, governments began to print bills, sometimes with abandon…the result was the first great worldwide inflation.”  The Four Pillars of Investing by William J. Bernstein


Pictures at an Exhibition. Teaching students about contemplation…

“Opportunities to unlock the poetry and stories of their surroundings were no longer a given, and skill in doing so was waning.

[Harvard’s Jennifer] Roberts responded by placing one of her assignments, a three-hour “visual analysis” of an artwork, at the center of her teaching to show her charges that learning is not synonymous with access, that knowledge is not available at a glance

For Roberts, introducing her students to the practice of “naïve observation” as preparatory research has become something more than a simple homework assignment. Time, she seeks to show, is not the enemy but the vehicle of understanding.  Slowness is not an obstacle to progress but a key to the practice of knowledge-making.  And close looking is preface to the hard-won making of thought.  At heart, she is coaxing her students to question what’s beyond surface appearances—of a painting, a frown, a flower, or an idea.(emphasis added) Catching Our Eye by Maggie Jackson, The State of the American Mind

Beyond the data. Since the days of the Enlightenment there has been a conflict between two truth-seeking modes:  the scientific or rational and the intuitive or poetic. The latter is losing ground.  The packaging has become more important than the gift.  And so…

The little lambs of this generation are lost in self-discovery.  The wisdom of the ages, a shepherding influence, has been left far behind.  The sheep wander aimlessly, not realizing the danger they are in. Seeing this, the wolves salivate. Think political motivation. Think identity politics. Think liberal colleges. Think race and gender cards.

“Dereliction of Duty”. Christian churches have sought the lost sheep with the cultural gimmickry that deserves only a glance.  Worse. The church’s One Foundation has been replaced with a multilayered mosaic of cultural soapstones.

The return to the gold-standard for those of us in the kingdom of God:  see the side bar and the N.T. Wright quote.


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