Another voice of hope in the darkness
Dear Mr. Auster,
Your reader Jane S. is correct to lament the state of modern “culture.” I agree with her indictment of Yahoo as a particularly insidious phenomenon, but it’s of course just one snapshot in an endless roll of cultural film.
But I find her despair even more disheartening than the things she despairs of, as awful as those things may be. When you point to the comment of Brandon at The Thinking Housewife, Jane says, “It’s just one person.” Ah, I see. But wait, was she not just complaining a moment before about the fact that her nieces and nephews only value things in the aggregate? That only numbers mean anything to them? At the risk of making a slightly facile point, I suggest to Jane that she may have caught a little bit of their “mass-thinking” disease.
Later in the comments regarding Brandon at TTH, Alan Roebuck says, “If somebody will present the good news that they need not participate in the evil system of liberalism, that there is a better way, many will respond.” The basic premise underlying a statement like this is that the Good, the True, and the Beautiful exist, no matter how obscured they may be by the bad, the false, and the vulgar. One candle burning in the darkness does much more work than just give off “one candlepower” or x number of joules. It lights up the space that had been dark, and everything is transformed.
I miss Jane’s despairing cut-off point for “young people” by a couple of years (I’m 32), but I hope no one will accuse me of yearning after my lost youth if I venture to wedge myself into the “younger generations” category. I certainly grew up with most of their unthinking liberalism. Your blog, and others like Laura Wood’s, have been absolutely indispensable for me. No, your blogs are not Shakespeare. For that there is … well, Shakespeare! But, to give one representative example: my desire to learn about my own Western traditions, sparked largely by this site, turned me to pick up a series on the history of civilization, and the passage therein on the ancient Egyptians actually made me cry it was so beautiful, and a passage on the ancient Hebrews led me to pick up the Bible and read Genesis, Job, Psalms, the Book of my namesake Daniel, etc. And I could give other examples of where my search has led me.
So no, Mr. Auster, you don’t have the reach of Yahoo. But to the person whose world it illuminates, a single, steady candle is brighter than the gaudiest flashing neon “Y!” logo.
Bless you for that wonderful and encouraging throught.
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I had to respond to Daniel H.’s comments. I’m about 30, fairly recently married, and with very young children. I share stuff from VFR, Laura Wood and other sites with my wife. Daniel’s “candle” analogy is dead-on. If there are a million liberal sites and a few oases in the darkness—well? For the young men seeking a traditional path, the “light” from those few conservative sites indeed dispels the darkness of a thousand contrary opinions. It’s not a game of simple attrition, where the party that has more sites on their side wins.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 20, 2010 07:31 PM | Send
So, well said, Daniel, and I agree completely. At this juncture, we need to remember that quality in young people may be as important as quantity.