Curtis Dahlgren
The Annual Classic, part 2: "College Orientation Week"
By Curtis Dahlgren
August 31, 2012

"We OWN this country; not you [lawyer-politicians]." — Clint Eastwood

"Send me men to match my mountains." — capitol complex, Sacramento

THOSE KINDS OF MEN SEEM TO BE MISSING IN AMERICA. As a "laboratory experiment," the bankrupt state of California is the end-result of a system of Higher Education that has been out of control ever since S.I. Hayakawa left it. The protesters who used to sit in the gutters of the street now seem to be sitting on the benches of courts and legislatures. Even the U.S. Supreme Court could soon be run by people whose only real qualification is knowing the politically-correct definition of "empathy" (go along to get along).

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist . . . What I
must do is all that concerns me, not what people think."

Years ago, a college professor in Chicago used to tell his students on the first day of class that their goal should be to become
really educated and that they could not consider themselves really educated unless they could answer "yes" to the following questions:

- "Can you look an honest man or a pure woman straight in the eye?"

- "Will a lonely dog follow you down the street?"

- "Do you think washing dishes or hoeing corn is as compatible with high thinking as piano playing or golf?"

- "Could you be happy alone?"

- "Can you look into the sky at night and see beyond the stars?" **

[excerpted from "Leaves of Gold," 11th edition (subtitled "An Anthology of Prayers, Memorable Phrases, Inspirational Verse and Prose from the Best Authors of the World, Both Ancient and Modern")]

MAYBE if we had more good "Prose" in our lives, we wouldn't need so much Prozac or so many sleeping pills. Many tears have been shed since we stopped looking "beyond the stars." If tears were "telescopes," September 11, 2001 should have brought God into very sharp focus, but instead, our "popular culture" and the media have moved us totally in the opposite direction.

Higher education considers itself the very avant-garde, or vanguard, of "societal evolution," but radio host Michael Savage says that society has "sunk to a point lower than Rome or the Wiemar Republic in Germany." I agree, and so would the writers in "Leaves of Gold":

    "Educate men without religion and you make them but clever devils." — Duke of Wellington

    "True religion is the foundation of society. When that is once shaken by contempt the whole fabric cannot be stable or lasting." — Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

    "Learning is not wisdom: knowledge is not necessarily vital energy. The student who has to cram through a school or college course, who has made himself merely a receptacle for the teacher's thoughts and ideas, is not educated; he has not gained much. He is a reservoir, not a fountain. One retains, the other gives forth." — J.E. Dinger
An anonymous author in "Leaves of Gold" gets down to the "nitty-gritty":

"Few things could be culturally more deplorable than that today the average college graduate, who fancies himself educated, should never have read the book of Job, should be unfamiliar with Isaiah, and should be hardly able to identify those mighty men of valor, Joshua, Gideon, [etc.] . . . For this is nothing less than a loss of racial memory, a forgetfulness of our cultural heritage that is as serious in the life of nations as is for the individual the loss of personality attendant upon neurotic disease". . . .

P.S. For the rest of the column, you can go to

** The other day I was telling a young man that at 4:30 that morning the sky was so clear, at first glance through the trees, one of the planets was so bright that I thought it was a new moon. He said, "I don't like to look at the sky!"

Talk about culture shock, eh? I once had a personalized license plate that said "LOOK UP." Some of the young are into the "eat, drink, be merry" stuff. If you feel a little guilty, just hope that there IS no God. Hope that you will never see a life after death (I guess). Is that not weird or what? But that just about says it all about modern "education" and the media.

PPS: I cut the column above short so as to leave some time to comment on the GOP convention. It was the most interesting one I've ever followed. For one thing, my brother was once a local campaign chairman for George Romney in 1968 (I still have a '68 poster I'd love to have Mitt sign). Secondly, I used to work in Janesville and a friend of mine knows Paul Ryan. I remember the very first ad he made in his first campaign for congress. He filmed it in a cemetery at a Ryan family plot (we cheeseheads haven't forgotten our roots!). The first time he won an election — in a swing district — I thought he reminded me of Reagan (his high school graduation photo looked like a cross between Reagan and Ricky Nelson). And the media think that they can "im-Palin" him and "Rush" Clint Eastwood?

Baseball caps off to Dirty Harry! Right on! Inspired! Perhaps divinely. In lieu of non-existent mud on Mitt Romney, critics fell back on calling Clint strange (liberals never could understand humor, could they?). As Joe Biden might say, as surely as the sun rises in the west, the media would find something about the convention which they could portray as "very un-cool (or, 360 degrees off from reality)."

At Yahoo.News a Virginia Hefferman says that Eastwood was "weird, but fantastic." EXACTLY!


Don't ride around the country in a big bus. Find a mint old Rambler American or something and drive that! And when you get to a small town, your first stop must be the local barber shop, not the diner or truck stop. The barber, you see, has a captive audience 8 hours a day, five days a week. If you make the barbers your best friends, you could win all 50 states! My local barber is a silver-tongued conservative who makes the most of his profession. When working on a Democrat, he may even take a little longer cutting the hair to get in a few extra words.

Speaking of silver, people like Ma Richards think the Romneys were born with silver spoons in the mouth, not silver tongues. Maybe Ann Romney has two Cadillacs now, but when Mitt was in prep school and his dad was governor of Michigan, his friends were riding around in Lincolns while Mitt had to ride around in a Rambler Ambassador!! How un-cool was that, eh?

more to come. Next week I'd like to say more about the history of American Motors — the best friend the MIDDLE CLASS ever had!

© Curtis Dahlgren


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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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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