I have a large number of interesting articles that I’ve run across over the last few weeks, so I’m trying to clear the backlog at the same time as I attempt to present them in a less-than-random order. Since it’s current news, here’s a selection of “Bruce Jenner” commentary. I wrote about this subject on Monday, but here’s everyone else’s thoughts. Matt Walsh (first link below) has a particularly good piece. Have a read and let me know what you think.
Do you remember Obi-Wan Kenobi in that first Star Wars flick where he’s trying to smuggle Luke Skywalker and his two robotic pals off of their home planet? The whole crew of them end up at a check-stop where Obi-Wan waves his magic hands and tells the Stormtrooper that “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for”. The shtick works and the poor guy mechanically repeats back: “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for”. In the film, it’s all very cool and the good guys get away. Big win all-round, right?
Scruton details the evolution of the modern university, and the de-volution of the university’s contemporary form. His description of the underground universities of Soviet-occupied Europe is fascinating.
Immediately after the Ottawa terror attack that killed Cpl Nathan Cirillo at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in October of last year, the Toronto Police Service released the following statement:
Although the news is still unclear as to who the perpetrator(s) is/are, some members of the community may link this attack to Islamic Extremists. We at Toronto Police Service have not made that link. I am asking you to relay to your mosques and their Imams, that we as a service, are aware that your mosques may be vulnerable to a backlash.
This statement was part of a broader trend throughout Canada to declare that this Islam-inspired violence, directed at the heart of the Canadian state, has ‘nothing to do with Islam’.
Some years ago I recall reading the (possibly apocryphal) story of a conversation had by the Soviet Politburo in the late 1980s where the subject of potato-farming came up. These were Gorbachev’s years of Glasnost and the leadership was discussing ways in which they could modernize Soviet agriculture and de-couple it from the state apparatus. One of the men suggested that potato farmers should be made responsible for the harvesting of their own potatoes, to which the reply went something along the lines of “This would be impossible! Even in the United States, the Army is mobilized every year to help with the potato harvest!”
Now these were not stupid men. To the contrary, they were extremely well-educated and had been conducting the affairs of a world superpower for decades. And yet their limited worldview led them to believe, in all honesty, that potatoes simply could not be harvested without the intervention of the state (by employing the manpower of the army no less). That this anecdote seems farcical today, as it would have even at the time, tells us something profound about how inbuilt intellectual bias and limited experience can narrow the bounds of thought without the thinkers even being aware of the limitation.