The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (No. 4)

April 2, 2021

Because of last week’s long form essay “Obey the Grand Inquisitor,” it’s now been just over two weeks since I posted the last “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” As a result, this week’s issue is chock full of material. To be honest, I can barely keep up with it all.

Unfortunately, the news is mostly bad and ugly because, well, the forces of the bad and the ugly are racing through our society at breakneck speed. One can hardly keep up with the great transformation taking place around us.

I know it can be hard to deal with so much negativity all at once, but as I announced when I first launched this series it is important for men and women of good will to see and understand exactly what is happening in our society. Much of life is lived in what I call the “seams,” but we don’t typically see or think about life in the seams. It’s largely hidden from us. One purpose of this column is to bring to the light of day some of the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful that surrounds us but is sometimes not seen.

The Good

Chop down the tall poppies. Eviscerate them!  Emasculate them! Do it now. We will not tolerate talent, ability, or genius. No more Aristotle. No more William Shakespeare. No more Ludwig von Beethoven. No more Andrew Carnegie. No more Steve Jobs.

There is evil in the world and it most often comes from the sniveling mediocrities that inhabit American higher education.

This essay by Robert Tracinski is one of the best things I’ve read in a very long time. Tracinski exposes the evil of radical egalitarianism and defends the men and women of genius who have made our lives immeasurably better by virtue of their genius. Read and share it with your friends and students.

Here’s the best damn news I’ve heard in a long time. Homeschooling is taking off like a rocket.

Karl Marx should have been a proponent of laissez-faire capitalism—obviously.

I Love Capitalism—On Principle! And for many reasons, not the least of which is that it makes man the master of nature. Please watch this trailer from a former student (well, sort of). His name is Daniel Richards and he has just released this great new documentary. 

A little bit of good news goes a long way.  One man stands up and says “no” on principle. 

The Bad

Buckle up folks, this is going to take a while.

And then they came for babies and I did nothing.

And then they came for toddlers and I did nothing.

And then they came for kids in elementary school and I did nothing.

And then they came for young boys and I did nothing.

And then they came for really bright kids and I did nothing.

And then they came for teachers and I did nothing.

And then they came for college students and I did nothing.

And then they came for grammar and I did nothing.

And then they came for pronouns and I did nothing.

And then they came for arithmetic and I did nothing.

And then they came for music and I did nothing.

And then they came for working-class janitors and cafeteria workers on college campuses and I did nothing.

And then they came for journalists and I did nothing.

And then they came for parents and I did nothing.

And then they came for Jews and I did nothing.

And then they came for soldiers and I did nothing.

And then they came for professors of gender studies and I did nothing.

And then, of course, they came for me . . . and you . . .

In case you were wondering where all this is headed, you might watch this scene from the movie version of George Orwell’s 1984. Just sayin’.

The Ugly

From the “Ideas Have Consequences” file. When I was a graduate student at Brown University in the mid to late 1980s and then as a visiting fellow at Harvard in the early 1990s, Michel Foucault was all the rage. The Foucauldians I knew were smug, sanctimonious, insufferable poseurs (why were they always wearing black turtlenecks?), but even they knew there was something of the charlatan in their doyen. Little did they know just how “transgressive” their hero was. In the words of Guy Sorman, Foucault had a “morally ugly” soul.

That Foucault was a not-so-secret pedophile should not surprise us, though. It was there in his writings, just beneath the surface. I strongly recommend that you read Roger Kimball’s 1993 review essay of James Miller’s biography of Foucault. It’s a really quite brilliant take down of the evil that was Foucault, and it’s necessary reading in the light of the recent revelations about Foucault’s perverse proclivities. Philosophically speaking, Foucault’s “archeology of knowledge” led to little boys. 

. . . and The Beautiful

Obviously, if you read Robert Tracinski’s outstanding essay discussed above under “The Good,” then there can really only be two offerings for The Beautiful this week: Shakespeare and Beethoven.

William Shakespeare, Sonnet CXVI

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wand'ring bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me prov'd,

I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

I will confess to you that I have not listened to Beethoven’s symphonies in a very long time. What a treat to return to the music of my youth.

Here is Ludwig von Beethoven, Symphony No. 5: “duh-duh-duh-DUN”

As always, I’d like to thank all those people who sent me emails with some of their favorite music, paintings, and poetry.  Your recommendations were all beautiful, and I hope to share some of them going forward.

Don’t forget to submit your aesthetic recommendations to: redneckaesthetic@gmail.com. Please always use as your subject line: “The Beautiful.”

Have great week!