The Napoleonic University

Napoleon seduced much of Europe to his Empire by speaking of liberty, equality, and fraternity. He was a grand leader capable of making artists, academics, and artisans forgive his faults for his vision. Napoleon would bring freedom through the force of his personality, his star, and his will to power. He made many men feel [Read More…]

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Don’t Be Bored: 9/11 Continues even on 9/12

I got up to teach the morning the Twin Towers fell. The buildings were burning when I had to walk to work stunned. Who did it? How many were dead? Were we at war? As I got to my office, two college students sat at a fountain and I heard them speaking: “Twin Towers. Twin [Read More…]

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On the Misuse of Informal Logic

Formal logic is a fierce guide to validity. Move an argument from prose and analyze it and you will often discover better rhetoric than logic. Most students (though not here!) are only taught “informal” or baby logic. The day an informal fallacy is taught to a student in junior high is the day they gain [Read More…]

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Trek to the Stars: Thank you Gene Roddenberry, fellow humanist

I know: he was a secular humanist, taking the Christian humanism of Erasmus and stripping it of Jesus. A good guess is that he confused secularism with short skirts on women and a rejection of sex rules. Gene Roddenberry was no saint of the Church. Still: thank you Gene Roddenberry, because you were a humanist: better secular [Read More…]

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Books for Baby with Substance? Help is on the Way!

I love the story of David and Goliath. I promise I do, but there is only so many times you can tell the story before wishing for something (anything!) different. My family is full of story tellers and there are few things more illuminating than a good tale, but to tell a story well requires [Read More…]

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A Green and Pleasant Land (An Idea from Homer’s Odyssey)

Our school is building a fence, though we are paying for it. The fence is defining where the school is and where it is not. The Bible has hero wall builders like Nehemiah and Homer writes a lot about walls and what they mean to civilization. Civilized people are wall builders, while barbarians drift. Being [Read More…]

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Picking a Canon: Rules for School

Want a hot argument? Pick a school canon! Whatever the reading list your school selects, the school will have left out hundreds more worthy books than it can pick. This is true, even if you have kindergarten through college!  There is simply not enough time to read all the good books that have been written or [Read More…]

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Speak Real!

Long ago I had a student in Spanish who asked me: “Why can’t they just speak Real?” I wondered what she meant and then I realized that she meant . . .English. At her age this was harmless enough. She had known few people who did not speak English as a first language in her [Read More…]

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On the Edge: How We Must Live

The most dangerous thing  my wife ever placed in our house was a headboard with a shelf. Every night my near sighted self is tempted to place objects on this shelf and if you have never been hit in the head by an early iPad, then you do not know how Steve Jobs lied about [Read More…]

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Saying the Man into Being: A Spiritual Reflection on the Odyssey

We need to see the man, say what incantation is necessary to be the man. Homer’s Odyssey begins: ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, Of the man to me speak, Muse, “many ways” Notice that the Muse comes between the man and his chief characteristic in the order of the words of the line. The man is a [Read More…]

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