City Journal: The Knife Went In

City Journal recently reprinted an article from 1994 in their Spring 2019 issue, The Knife Went In by Theodore Dalrymple.

It is a mistake to suppose that all men, or at least all Englishmen, want to be free. On the contrary, if freedom entails responsibility, many of them want none of it. They would happily exchange their liberty for a modest (if illusory) security. Even those who claim to cherish their freedom are rather less enthusiastic about taking the consequences of their actions. The aim of untold millions is to be free to do exactly as they choose and for someone else to pay when things go wrong.

In the past few decades, a peculiar and distinctive psychology has emerged in England. Gone are the civility, sturdy independence, and admirable stoicism that carried the English through the war years. It has been replaced by a constant whine of excuses, complaint, and special pleading. The collapse of the British character has been as swift and complete as the collapse of British power.

Listening as I do every day to the accounts people give of their lives, I am struck by the very small part in them which they ascribe to their own efforts, choices, and actions. Implicitly, they disagree with Bacon’s famous dictum that “chiefly the mould of a man’s fortune is in his own hands.” Instead, they experience themselves as putty in the hands of fate.

It is instructive to listen to the language they use to describe their lives. The language of prisoners in particular teaches much about the dishonest fatalism with which people seek to explain themselves to others, especially when those others are in a position to help them in some way. As a doctor who sees patients in a prison once or twice a week, I am fascinated by prisoners’ use of the passive mood and other modes of speech that are supposed to indicate their helplessness. They describe themselves as the marionettes of happenstance…

Click here to read the entire article at City Journal.

Blanchard: Guide to Parenting

Kenn Blanchard of Black Man with a Gun has written a short essay on parenting responsibility. It’s worth your time to give it a read.

First I want to tip my hat to those successful baby boomers that are now the gray haired group in their seventies.

This generation that survived the Civil Rights era, bussing, political upheavals, World War II, the Nazi Holocaust, fear of the H-Bomb, Korea, Viet Nam, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Watergate, have raised children that have invented the internet, social media, drones, video games, remote control vehicles, cell phones and all the stuff we take for granted that the millennial can’t live without.

Somehow unfortunately my generation has forgotten that being a parent sis a full time job. We “collectively” hopefully not you my firmed, have not learned some important things from the old folks. Are you still with me?

The first lesson is that love is sacrificial. True love, real love, is not an emotion. It is not a passing feeling, or equal to I heart you!

Love is expressed more that it was said in my parent’s generation. Who remembers the Encyclopedia Britannica, the World Book and maybe even the Bible Stories series of books our parents “invested” in so we would have chance to go to college or get good grades so we could get a job and get out on our own? Those books were our Google. Remember the dictionary? My parents worked two jobs so that we had a house, clothes to wear and expensive breakfast cereal to eat on Saturday mornings. Named brand cereal too, like Capt Crunch, Sugar Pops, Rice Kris pies….

They made payments on the encyclopedia. When someone got a new car in the neighborhood or family it was a big deal Folks celebrated with you.

Oh and by the way, there where guns and live ammunition in the house. There were military arms brought home from the wars they served in or bought at pawn shops to protect the home. My maternal grandmother, mother of the church, deaconess, preparer of Holy Communion on second Sundays, kept a loaded single barrel Sears and Roebuck shotgun behind the kitchen woodstove, all my life. Nobody touched it. Nobody died from it being there, unsecured. My paternal grandmother was a little rough around the edges, she kept a loaded Belgium Browning A5 shotgun in her bedroom over the door and a concealed weapon, and an Italian handled switchblade knife in her bra…

Click here to read the entire article at Black Man with a Gun.