Labelled for reuse: Wikimedia Commons

UVA’s New Slavery Monument: How to Remember the Founding and Slavery

Michael Lucchese

In the midst of great controversy about race relations and the status of Civil War monuments, the University of Virginia recently announced intent to build a memorial to the slaves who built and maintained the university before the Civil War.

According to the university’s website, the planned memorial will be called the “Freedom Ring” and is meant to resemble broken shackles. It is 80 feet in diameter — the same as the Rotunda Jefferson designed in the 19th century which dominates the campus. Continue reading “UVA’s New Slavery Monument: How to Remember the Founding and Slavery”

Please follow and like us:
0
Dog in yard

Recognizing the True, the Good, and the Beautiful

Luke Robson

Today, I had the pleasure of sitting in my backyard, smoking a cigar, and watching nature play out before me. Moments like these are what remind me of what is truly good in life. Seeing the local bumblebee flit from flower to flower, scavenging for pollen; watching my dog needlessly defend me from the deer which were loping through the trees. These are two examples of creation at its best, performing what it was created to do. In this moment, it was easy to glimpse the truth, goodness, and beauty inherent in my surroundings.

Unfortunately, it is not always quite so easy to see these transcendental qualities in everyday situations, but they are still there. Learning to color our lives with these transcendental qualities is key to human happiness and a life well-lived. Continue reading “Recognizing the True, the Good, and the Beautiful”

Please follow and like us:
0
The Middlebury Campus, Charles Murray Visit Provokes Uproar, Alex Newhouse and Ellie Reinhardt

Tearing Down Fences: The Need for College Reform

Luke Robson

Despite the fact that people are questioning the ROI of a degree and student debt is rising, Americans are still clamoring for a college education. Who can blame them? After all, college is more subsidized than ever. The relative cheapness of a college degree, along with a stagnant job market makes a degree seem more necessary than it is, as its real value is lagging.

But is a college education worth the cost?

Unfortunately, there is a larger problem with colleges today than an economic return. The modern college system has a hidden cost which often goes unnoticed by applicants and their parents. Continue reading “Tearing Down Fences: The Need for College Reform”

Please follow and like us:
0
Faulkner and Polarization: Image by Chris Medrano

Reading Great Books Can Help Stop Political Polarization

Michael Lucchese

Over the past few weeks, the American people reacted to news from Washington — from the firing of James Comey to the investigations into the Trump campaign’s alleged connections to Russia — in an utterly polarized way. Pundits on both the left and the right have spent ages hurling the worst insults and accusations at each other, and tensions in Washington are higher now than at any time since the Watergate scandal.

Meanwhile, many ordinary Americans across the country despair at the state of politics. The American people elected Donald Trump to “shake things up” in Washington, and all his administration has given them is constant scandal, controversy, and gaffes.

That’s not to say that Donald Trump is the root of Washington’s problems. Really, our country has become increasingly polarized since the end of the Cold War. In a 1985 speech, “The Courage to Affirm,” Russell Kirk, summarized the problem of polarization  by saying, “Those who immerse themselves in the mere process of [each] month’s events become the prisoners of time and circumstance.

Instead of looking to the ever-shifting currents of politicking in Washington, Americans should turn to the permanent, unchanging “self-evident truths” about human nature. These truths are best articulated in great novels, poems, and plays by authors through history, not in the nightly news or by bombastic radio hosts. Continue reading “Reading Great Books Can Help Stop Political Polarization”

Please follow and like us:
0

Reimaging Nationalism, Community, and Place

These days the phase, “America First” is unlikely to produce a purely neutral reaction in anyone polled about it. For some, it is a powerful affirmation of what ought to be our government’s first priorities. For others, it is an isolationist statement, a dangerous signal to our allies, and particularly so as globalization intensifies.

I see merit in the latter view, but given our political climate, productive conversation requires nuance. This isn’t to say populism is always without negative consequences; history is littered with examples of them. However, our cities and towns face nontrivial barriers. The migration of our best and brightest to cities hasn’t come without cost to the communities from which they’re drawn, and the divide between urban and rural areas is increasingly a proxy, among other things, for our political differences. Continue reading “Reimaging Nationalism, Community, and Place”

Please follow and like us:
0

The Death of Fantasy

As humans have increasingly become entrenched in the miasma of science and realism, we have forgotten how we may be whimsical, lighthearted, and explorative. Gone are the days of running around and letting your imagination take you away to somewhere unseen even by the person standing two feet from you. Today we are told we must have our two feet, as well as our heads, planted firmly in the real world — where else could they possibly go?

In his essay “On Fairy Stories,” J.R.R. Tolkien laments that we have removed fairy tales from adult life and adult criticism. Originally, these stories were enjoyed just as much if not more by adults as well as children. But, as Tolkien points out, we have left them in our nursery rooms and — like the furniture and toys which populate those rooms — they have become worn down, tattered, and covered in post-modern slobber. Continue reading “The Death of Fantasy”

Please follow and like us:
0

Chance the Rapper: A Virtuous Light on the Hill

On Sunday, Chancelor Johnathan Bennett, also known by his stage name, Chance the Rapper, made history by becoming the first artist to win a Grammy without selling any physical copies of his album, Coloring Book. His Grammy wins were allowed due to a recent change in the rule book. Previously, artists who released their work solely on streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music were ineligible for the awards.

Chance’s three Grammy wins are impressive not only for their historic timing. They are also impressive due to the way in which he went about winning them. Continue reading “Chance the Rapper: A Virtuous Light on the Hill”

Please follow and like us:
0

Nuance, RIP

Along with polar bears in the Arctic, I share the misfortune of watching the ground shrink beneath my feet. The difference, of course, is that mine is the dwindling territory of a political animal—specifically, one who doesn’t believe in simple answers.

Politics has been, and always will be, a messy business. We see this in the acrimony between the Obama Administration and a Republican Congress, the loud debates over healthcare policy, or, to put it charitably, the eyesore that was the 2016 presidential election. Some of this head butting is to be expected. But to most of us, I imagine it seems like things are getting worse. Continue reading “Nuance, RIP”

Please follow and like us:
0