Tradition and Progress: How To Be Conservative All By Yourself

“One of the most interesting differences between progressives and traditionalists is their rival beliefs about personal responsibility. Progressive philosophy is chiefly concerned with changing society, which usually entails changing other people whether they like it or not. It is difficult to imagine a lone progressive individual living out a progressive worldview in a society otherwise occupied by traditionalists. Progress requires massive fortunes, massive projects, and extensive laws to oversee it all, which makes it hard to live progressively by yourself on a Friday night. On the other hand, a traditionalist is capable of living a traditional life in a society otherwise occupied by progressives. On a Friday night, he can read old books, listen to old music, and teach his children old truths whether anyone else in the neighborhood agrees or not.”

-my latest for CiRCE is a preview of the classes I am offering this fall through Gibbs Classical. If you enjoy my work, this is the ideal article to share with friends.

We Are Perplexed

The prodigal son realizes he must return home. The realization does nothing but begin a journey. The realization is not the journey. The realization is intellectual, abstract, spiritual. Then comes the physical agony of a potentially pointless journey home.

The potentially pointless nature of journey–this is what the Apostle means when he says, “We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.”

If You Are A Lousy Father, You Have To Figure It Out On Your Own

“In mulling Mr. Collins over for the last several days, I have come (once again) to a rather sobering thesis: I might be a lousy father. It is a thesis which follows inevitably from two rather simple facts, both easily proved by an honest, unsentimental assessment of the world. First, lousy fathers exist. Second, lousy fathers are unlikely to be told, “You’re a lousy father.”

If you are a lousy father, you have to figure it out on your own.”

-from Becoming A Good Father In A Sentimental Age, my latest for CiRCE

New Music From Dustin O’Halloran

Dustin O’Halloran isn’t as clever as Chilly Gonzales, but he is one of the most elegant living composers of solo piano pieces. O’Halloran’s Piano Solos 1 and Piano Solos 2 are among my favorite records of all time. Melancholic, contemplative, bookish: O’Halloran unapologetically borrows from the nocturnes of 18th century Irish composer John Field, though O’Halloran is far more lyrical.

For the last ten years, O’Halloran has spent much of his time doing work on motion picture scores, though a good deal of that work lacks the solemn, classical bent of his first several solo albums. I am happy to see he has a new record of solo piano work out this Friday. My hopes are quite high for this one.

How To Give A Lecture At A Summer Conference

“One of the greatest needs in classical Christian education today is a chorus of voices who are willing to boldly speak against the modern corporate values, ethics, aesthetics, iconography, and strategies that are constantly demanding entrance into our schools. Leadership isn’t a virtue. Community isn’t a virtue. Teamwork isn’t a virtue. Soft capitulation to such ideals is what slowly transforms a classical Christian school into any old private school. A conference is the right place for this chorus of voices to be heard.”

-from my latest for CiRCE

The Notion Club Podcast

Justin Hall recently interviewed me for The Notion Club Podcast. We spoke about autodidactism, adulthood, classical education, and beauty. I am not always happy with interviews, but I was quite pleased with Justin’s set of questions and his conversation.

As a tease: in this interview, I explain my friend Andrew’s excellent critique of the “life-long learner” as nothing more than a gutless new corporate virtue.