Consolations in a Dark Age

Don't look now, but the web is rescuing Western Civ. That being the college course that once was meant to teach kids about their inheritance -- about Socrates, the Bible, the Renaissance, Mozart, Shakespeare and all that. When the Boomer Left decided in its egomaniacal arrogance to abolish Western civilization it stopped teaching all those treasures of past and present in favor of All The Things We've Done Wrong -- anti-Western Civ, so to speak.

So kids (like B. H. Obama) come out of college convinced they have to Save the Planet from the Evil Western Civ White Guys. The biggest American history book taught in the colleges is now Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, taught in the vengeful spirit of smearing and degrading centuries of unprecedented sacrifice, courage and achievement. Americans once had a surfeit of "Seventy-Six Trombones" style of patriotism; today we are poisoning the minds of younger generations against our own country. Which is why President O is such an utterly superficial, ignorant and arrogant fellow.

But then there's the web. For 99 cents you can get a world-class performance of Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus. Or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Or a Shakespeare Sonnet beautifully recited by a great actor. Or Jan Peerce singing the Jewish cantorial liturgy. On YouTube you don't even need 99 pennies. You can get Borodin's elegiac String Quartet No. 2, the slow movement. Or Beethoven's 9th, the famous Choral Movement, performed by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. The Sistine Chapel on Wikipedia
; and with a few more finger strokes we can find out what the French Renaissance composer Josquin learned in the Sistine Chapel in 1494.    

Who says Western Civ is dead?

This is absolutely unprecedented. Today more of us can more easily access the best of 20 centuries of Western Civilization -- the real thing, not the college course -- than ever before. And people are doing it all over the world -- as well as the usual dreck that passes for pop music these days. (Which makes me wonder, why is pop music so ugly these days? We had gorgeous, exciting, thrilling popular music not so long ago. It's all on the web.) Just look at any Best of Western Civ work of art or thought since the Renaissance and see how many people are getting to it on the web.

Or if your inclination takes you to ancient civilizations, you can explore the treasures of China or Cambodia. If you enjoy Indian classical music, or Afro-Cuban rhythms, or the elegant Japanese tea ceremony, it's all at your finger tips.   If you always wanted to find out about Newton's calculus or String Theory, about astronomy or Aristarchus of Hippo, it's all there. And you don't have to sit in a stuffy lecture hall listening to the drone of a superannuated professor going over the same lecture for the 20th year in a row.

And it's only going to get better. Geography is a lot more fun with Google Earth, flying over tourist spots you'll never see otherwise. And if you are careful to avoid the lies of the Propaganda Media, you can even find out what's true in politics today -- if you have a strong stomach.

The Prop Media are celebrating the end of capitalism these days, even as they are going bankrupt. It would almost be worth it just to see those sleazos go down. But of course capitalism is alive and well -- ok, not so well under the worldwide assault of the political pirates, but still incredibly vigorous -- in everything we see on the web. Because of course the web is a pure product of capitalist vigor and inventiveness. Google may loom like a monopoly today, but ten years ago it was just a gleam in the eyes of a couple of Stanford kids. Today lots of people are shimmering with new ideas and ways of utilizing the unprecedented blessings of Moore's Law as it creates more and more productivity from less and less investment of time and wealth. That three hundred dollar netbook you're thinking about buying is the proof.

And yes, politics seems sleazier than ever. Politicians like the O look greedier, and the suckers seem to have grown and multiplied in the tens of millions, even as the sources of wisdom have become more readily available. Milton Friedman and the Founders of the American Republic can be found on the web in as many copies as you'll ever need. At some point, when the politicians start crashing into brick walls of their own devising, and begin to experience the first of many bloody noses, bouncing in and out of traps and mazes set for the feet of the ignorant, people will turn again to John Locke and Thomas Jefferson. These things come and go, mostly when people discover they need a little bit of wisdom in their lives.

Civilization is not a luxury, but a desperate need in dark times. Civilization is the answer to barbarism even if the barbarians are now flourishing in their millions.  Human beings have always turned to "the classics" --- the sources of wisdom and consolation --- when the most arrogant ego trippers have had their day. Just sit back and watch it happen.
Don't look now, but the web is rescuing Western Civ. That being the college course that once was meant to teach kids about their inheritance -- about Socrates, the Bible, the Renaissance, Mozart, Shakespeare and all that. When the Boomer Left decided in its egomaniacal arrogance to abolish Western civilization it stopped teaching all those treasures of past and present in favor of All The Things We've Done Wrong -- anti-Western Civ, so to speak.

So kids (like B. H. Obama) come out of college convinced they have to Save the Planet from the Evil Western Civ White Guys. The biggest American history book taught in the colleges is now Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, taught in the vengeful spirit of smearing and degrading centuries of unprecedented sacrifice, courage and achievement. Americans once had a surfeit of "Seventy-Six Trombones" style of patriotism; today we are poisoning the minds of younger generations against our own country. Which is why President O is such an utterly superficial, ignorant and arrogant fellow.

But then there's the web. For 99 cents you can get a world-class performance of Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus. Or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Or a Shakespeare Sonnet beautifully recited by a great actor. Or Jan Peerce singing the Jewish cantorial liturgy. On YouTube you don't even need 99 pennies. You can get Borodin's elegiac String Quartet No. 2, the slow movement. Or Beethoven's 9th, the famous Choral Movement, performed by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. The Sistine Chapel on Wikipedia
; and with a few more finger strokes we can find out what the French Renaissance composer Josquin learned in the Sistine Chapel in 1494.    

Who says Western Civ is dead?

This is absolutely unprecedented. Today more of us can more easily access the best of 20 centuries of Western Civilization -- the real thing, not the college course -- than ever before. And people are doing it all over the world -- as well as the usual dreck that passes for pop music these days. (Which makes me wonder, why is pop music so ugly these days? We had gorgeous, exciting, thrilling popular music not so long ago. It's all on the web.) Just look at any Best of Western Civ work of art or thought since the Renaissance and see how many people are getting to it on the web.

Or if your inclination takes you to ancient civilizations, you can explore the treasures of China or Cambodia. If you enjoy Indian classical music, or Afro-Cuban rhythms, or the elegant Japanese tea ceremony, it's all at your finger tips.   If you always wanted to find out about Newton's calculus or String Theory, about astronomy or Aristarchus of Hippo, it's all there. And you don't have to sit in a stuffy lecture hall listening to the drone of a superannuated professor going over the same lecture for the 20th year in a row.

And it's only going to get better. Geography is a lot more fun with Google Earth, flying over tourist spots you'll never see otherwise. And if you are careful to avoid the lies of the Propaganda Media, you can even find out what's true in politics today -- if you have a strong stomach.

The Prop Media are celebrating the end of capitalism these days, even as they are going bankrupt. It would almost be worth it just to see those sleazos go down. But of course capitalism is alive and well -- ok, not so well under the worldwide assault of the political pirates, but still incredibly vigorous -- in everything we see on the web. Because of course the web is a pure product of capitalist vigor and inventiveness. Google may loom like a monopoly today, but ten years ago it was just a gleam in the eyes of a couple of Stanford kids. Today lots of people are shimmering with new ideas and ways of utilizing the unprecedented blessings of Moore's Law as it creates more and more productivity from less and less investment of time and wealth. That three hundred dollar netbook you're thinking about buying is the proof.

And yes, politics seems sleazier than ever. Politicians like the O look greedier, and the suckers seem to have grown and multiplied in the tens of millions, even as the sources of wisdom have become more readily available. Milton Friedman and the Founders of the American Republic can be found on the web in as many copies as you'll ever need. At some point, when the politicians start crashing into brick walls of their own devising, and begin to experience the first of many bloody noses, bouncing in and out of traps and mazes set for the feet of the ignorant, people will turn again to John Locke and Thomas Jefferson. These things come and go, mostly when people discover they need a little bit of wisdom in their lives.

Civilization is not a luxury, but a desperate need in dark times. Civilization is the answer to barbarism even if the barbarians are now flourishing in their millions.  Human beings have always turned to "the classics" --- the sources of wisdom and consolation --- when the most arrogant ego trippers have had their day. Just sit back and watch it happen.