Archive for December 16th, 2010

How about some good news? How about a little boy who survived after about 25 minutes under water? More than survived, actually. He’s back to keeping his family hopping. (He’s two. He hasn’t learned the fear thing yet.)

For two days, he didn’t show brain activity, but doctors didn’t give up. They used an experimental hypothermia treatment (lowering his body temp), and that likely helped get him through the early phases. But pretty much everyone agrees that it’s miraculous the boy recovered.

hat tip: Thomas Peters

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I’m not necessarily agreeing to the idea that we all need to blow our trumpets if we have them (I agree somewhat, but with qualifiers that my winter-bug-fogged mind can’t seem to work into intelligible sentences, much less a coherent argument), but I think the observations in this Bookworm Room post are worth noting:

This echoes what Natan Sharansky has written:  People who live under totalitarianism start doubting their sanity.  The reality of their lives is relentlessly challenged by government propaganda which, in turn, is enforced at the point of a gun.  You’re pretty sure that you have primitive living conditions, but your government keeps saying that it is offering you paradise on earth.  So you start asking yourself “Is this what paradise looks like?”

It’s only when brave souls such as Reagan, brave in that he ran counter to the entire political establishment of his time, state the truth, that the walls of tyranny start to fall.  It wasn’t Joshua’s weapons that broke down the walls of Jericho, it was the trumpets.  Those of us who have trumpets but refuse to blow them, preferring the security of a status quo that makes us hide from the truth, about ourselves or about the world as we see it, are simply allowing evil to continue.

Read the whole post

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From In Defense of the Liberal Arts by Victor Davis Hanson at National Review Online:

But the liberal arts train students to write, think, and argue inductively, while drawing upon evidence from a shared body of knowledge. Without that foundation, it is harder to make — or demand from others — logical, informed decisions about managing our supercharged society as it speeds on by.

Citizens — shocked and awed by technological change — become overwhelmed by the Internet chatter, cable news, talk radio, video games, and popular culture of the moment. Without links to our heritage, we in ignorance begin to think that our own modern challenges — the war in Afghanistan, gay marriage, cloning, or massive deficits — are unique and not comparable to those solved in the past.

And without citizens broadly informed by the humanities, we descend into a pyramidal society. A tiny technocratic elite on top crafts everything from cell phones and search engines to foreign policy and economic strategy. A growing mass below has neither understanding of the present complexity nor the basic skills to question what they are told.

Also, this (after discussing what damage has been done to the teaching of the humanities from activists on the left):

On the other hand, pragmatists argued that our 20-year-old future CEOs needed to learn spreadsheets rather than why Homer’s Achilles did not receive the honors he deserved, or how civilization was lost in fifth-century Rome and 1930s Germany. But Latin or a course in rhetoric might better teach a would-be captain of industry how to dazzle his audience than a class in Microsoft PowerPoint.

Read the whole article.

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