Loving Or Not Loving America

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Loving Or Not Loving America

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Editado: Mar 11, 2013, 8:25am

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Fev 5, 2013, 3:46pm

Thanks for the link to the article. I like Epstein, as you know, and just finished his Essays in Biography. The essay on TS Eliot and The Demise Of Literary Culture could be read as a preface to this Commentary article. He speaks of literary culture "shutting down" due to a myriad of reasons, including "the distractions of the Internet, poor rudimentary education, the vanquishing of seriousness in university literature departments owing to the intellectually shallow enticements of modish subjects, and the allure of the pervasive entertainments of popular culture."

Of course, I am in complete agreement. But instead of the qualifier "literary" I would use "American Culture" - social, political, artistic and I wouldn't use the present tense. Let's face it, American culture has shut down. I'm not sure it is even worth the attempt to revive it, but I imagine someone more sentimental and earnest than me might think so.

As I get older, and read more widely and deeply than ever, I realize that geographic-specific ties are tenuous, that notions of "homelands" are carefully constructed fictions. This realization isn't, in the least, a bitter or disillusioned one - but actually quite liberating and reaffirming of what I consider to be the real and lasting truths in life: faith, ideas, beauty.

Fev 5, 2013, 7:45pm

p.s.: Like Epstein my only real cause for optimism is in the immigrant and refugee populations America continues to attract and provide safe-haven for. I was one of a hundred Catholics from Maine (seriously, who even knew there were 100 Catholics in Maine?) who went down to DC for the annual March for Life. One of my bus mates was a soft-spoken man from Rwanda. In one of our conversations he explained that his country was 85% Catholic. Incredulous, I asked "Then why on earth are you so intent on killing each other?" He smiled and shook his head, and said very deliberately: : "In Rwanda we kill each other, yes. But in America you kill your unwanted babies."

And, I realized: it is all the same impulse. Sure, we dress it up as "health care" and enshrine it as a right - but it is still the same barbaric impulse to kill, the same base-line selfish covetousness that seems to mark all of humanity.

Editado: Mar 11, 2013, 8:25am

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Fev 11, 2013, 9:35am

Abortion is a human rights issue, thus it enters into all spheres of human life: religious, political, economic, moral, individual, collective, etc. The Catholic prolife movement is about much more than abortion, it is a full defense of the culture of life from natural conception to natural death. Hedonism predates the church, of course. It is easy enough (and quite nice) to live an authentic life away from the scrum of media and pop-culture by turning off the television, reading deeply (dig in a few centuries and you'll soon lose the simple taste for the new and the shiny) and engaging with the natural world.

Republicans don't have much left on the table - but, then, the American table is pretty unappealing these days.

The Amish, I believe, are not as dour as you think (I rather liked the recent beard cutting-bad boys, schisms always provide a chance for renewal).

Editado: Mar 11, 2013, 8:25am

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Fev 11, 2013, 11:36am

#6: They are moving into northern Maine, where land is still relatively cheap. They recently came down to dismantle an old wooden barn and silo, here in the southern part of the state, which now has more lawyers than livestock, and tote it away to rebuild up in the County. A very clever use of public transportation, BTW. Although they weren't averse to hitching a ride from time to time.

Fev 11, 2013, 11:59am

second half of #6: on leaving America: the beauty of living in (cultural) exile, is that you can do it anywhere.

(But, it is a great time to buy land in many parts of Europe. I know a few families that are doing so. A terrific reversal of fortune for those who had to leave under less than favorable conditions.)