Curtis Dahlgren
On old QBs and Minnesota ("Land of 9,999 lakes and 1 U.S. Senator")
By Curtis Dahlgren
May 10, 2009

"Nothing doth more hurt in a state than when the cunning men pass for wise . . . Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper." Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

IF MINNESOTA HAD TWO SENATORS, WISCONSIN WOULD PROBABLY WANT TWO TOO. I'm a bit disillusioned with Minnesota; not only did a comedian nearly win a seat in the U.S. Senate, but I found out that Lake We-be-gone is gone. Due to the dry weather, it got wiped off the map.

Bret Favre may be back this year, but Jack Kemp is gone. Except for the good-old-boys' club in the GOP, the 1996 ticket might have read Kemp-Dole instead of Dole-Kemp. How soon we forget though. Quick — name the guy who ran with Geraldine whatshername in 1988?

Enough rambling. Over here in the U.P. of Michigan, we've gone straight from snow shovelling to mushroom hunting. It's almost time to deal with last fall's leaves. Almost but not quite time to put away the longjohns. Tis the season in the U.P. where foreplay becomes checking your chick for wood ticks.

I've been so busy writing columns this year that I haven't shaved for a couple of weeks. It's almost time for summer re-runs (if you have a TV), so I thought I'd take a break this week and re-post one of my "best of" columns:

"College orientation week; part 4"

THE WORD-FOR-THE-DAY, boys and girls, is nihilism. Webster says, "1. total rejection of value statements or moral judgments. 2. absolute destructiveness toward the world at large and oneself."

It was in the fall of 1960 that I first came into "contact" with the Establishment Academia, and it was immediately apparent that one of the favorite "villains" of the professors was "value judgments." And this was in the College of Agriculture! I immediately sensed that there was something "Orwellian" about this war on traditionalism. Nearly half a century later, it is obvious to most of us taxpayers that academic nihilism hasn't worked out very well for America! Watching CNN for five minutes will make you say, "Isn't anarchy wonderful?" [I'm being sarcastic.]

The danger is, perhaps Generation XYZ will come to believe that we have always had violence in the streets (and always will). That's probably why the educrats have obliterated American history and Western Civ from the public schools.

By going to and reading a few Orwell quotes, I have belatedly come to realize that he was a greater writer than I even imagined. Today's colleges and universities either quote George Orwell out of context, or, ignore most classical writers (selectively). Orwell was briefly intrigued by British Socialism, but quickly came to see it for what it was — a "rebel without a cause" (sort of like James Dean or Elvis Presley, only more dangerous). As a result, Orwell isn't as "popular" as he once was. He was too much of a "prophet" to have any "honor" among his own people — the English-speaking peoples.

LET'S GO TO THE HORSE'S MOUTH (George Orwell) for a few quotations:

There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them.

We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.

What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.

He was an embittered atheist, the sort of atheist who does not so much disbelieve in God as personally dislike Him.

Enlightened people seldom or never possess a sense of responsibility.

So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don't even know that fire is hot.

All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

In a time of universal deceit — telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.

In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.

Liberal: a power worshipper without power.

No advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimeter nearer.

One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship.

Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going round the sun.

A family with the wrong members in control; that, perhaps, is as near as one can come to describing England in a phrase.

As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents.

Progress and reaction have both turned out to be swindles.


Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.

To survive it is often necessary to fight and to fight you have to dirty yourself.

I sometimes think that the price of liberty is not so much eternal vigilance as eternal dirt.

Language ought to be the joint creation of poets and manual workers.

Political chaos is connected with the decay of language... one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end.

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.

War is war . . . There is hardly such a thing as a war in which it makes no difference who wins.

Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals.

At fifty everyone has the face he deserves.

The aim of a joke is not to degrade the human being, but to remind him that he is already degraded.


It is most likely true that the biggest flaw of the Lefties who rule institutions of "Higher" learning is that they take themselves too seriously. Orwell wrote:

"Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent."

This is especially true of those tenured professors who strive for "sainthood" in the church Ann Coulter sees as the godless Church of Liberalism. These aging hippies see themselves as sort of the "witch doctors" around whom the captive audience of tribespeople must gather to hear "words of wisdom."

My best advice to the incoming freshman class would be: Do NOT assume that your professor is the smartest thing since sliced bread.

Orwell said, "A tragic situation exists precisely when virtue does not triumph but when it is still felt that man is nobler than the forces which destroy him."

Even though they believe that "Man" is an animal and may behave like an animal whenever he so desires (and it feels good), these Establishment eggheads' first mistake was to believe that man is basically good (and therefore doesn't need any religion — and certainly no "redemption").

Orwell said, "If you have embraced a creed which appears to be free from the ordinary dirtiness of politics — a creed from which you yourself cannot expect to draw any material advantage — surely that proves that you are in the right?"

The implication there is that this is ridiculous. Both the secular and the religious should take warning from those words. Orwell was a "prophet" in the sense that a prophet is not necessarily more righteous than his fellow beings, but that he has a heightened sense of observation — as in "What is wrong with this picture?"

The observation that, at fifty, we have the face we deserve is not a joke without some "punch." It reminds me of the saying that we also get the government we deserve.

Political polls are all the rage, of course, with professional pollsters asking the most ridiculous questions, such as:

"What is America's number one problem?"
The choices are:

A. The White House [this was 2007, you understand]
B. Apathy
C. Whatever

Actually, the #1 problem is that too many of us are beginning to accept the mantra that 2 + 2 = 5.

P.S. As the nation falls deeper and deeper into a prolonged drought, we ought to be hoping that we don't get the "government" we REALLY DESERVE.

Orwell said, "Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket," and the 2008 presidential election campaign is becoming a non-stop advertising marathon (a spin-machine of unprecedented proportions). The question remains, "Would a good man really want the job any longer?"

One more from Orwell: "Society has always seemed to demand a little more from human beings than it will get in practice."

In practice, therefore, a good man cannot rule an ungodly society. Period.

If you've read this far in this column, could you pick out a favorite line from the juicy words of George Orwell? If I had to choose just one, I think I'd still go back to the one I started out this column with:


© Curtis Dahlgren


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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