Curtis Dahlgren
The "Losing your Virginia" ad (and some other serious stuff)
By Curtis Dahlgren
October 26, 2012

"The price of peace is to be a strong nation, not only physically but also morally and spiritually." — Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"Against stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain." — von Schiller

AS FOR THE LITERATURE OF WESTERN CIV, I CAME LATE TO THE TABLE. My appetite for it increased when I heard that Academia was trying to either de-emphasize or suppress it in the public schools. It was like Coca Cola banning their "Classic" Coke; I had hardly ever touched the stuff before, but when it was gone, I had a greatly increasing thirst for it. Since they brought it back, I hardly ever drink any other soda. Likewise, my thirst for Western Lit hit me suddenly in my sixties.

My school transcripts are an open book, but not all that impressive to some people. I passed on Latin and college-prep

English. I wasn't averse to the latter, but if I had had to bring homework home, the cows never would have gotten fetched and milked. I did have a year of English in college, but after taking a summer job climbing trees, this country boy couldn't believe his good fortune — they actually paid me to do that stuff (for over 40 years) and I just never got around to finishing "Higher" education. A lot of my education was obtained "higher" than 70 feet up, though.

Anyway, I retired a bit early and have been trying to make up for lost time in such aspects of life as Anglo-Saxon lit (if you watch any TV commercials, you don't have to be reminded that our Culture is following education standards on a down-hill slide). Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) once wrote, in 1841:

"If we think of it, all that a university, or final highest school can do for us, is still but what the first school began doing — teach us to read . . . It depends on what we read, after all manner of professors have done their best for us. The true university of these days is a collection of books."

Personally, my collection includes The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed., "Papers and Speeches of the Presidents, Washington to Wilson," "The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations," and "Magill's Quotations in Context." And the Internet, of course.

As we approach the November elections, I would like to put a few famous quotes in order for your viewing pleasure:

- "A vote on the tallysheet is worth two in the box." — Finley Dunne (1867-1936)

- "It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all." — Thos. Jefferson (1743-1826)

- "Protecting the rights of even the least individual among us is basically the only excuse the government has for even existing." — President Reagan

- "I have wondered at times what the ten commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress." — Reagan (1911-2004)

- "Souls are not saved in bundles." — author unknown

- "The true test of civilization is, not the census, nor the size of cities, nor the crops, — no, but the kind of man the country turns out . . " — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

- "'Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances, with any portion of the foreign world . . . Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectably defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies." — George Washington (1732-1799), Farewell address

- "Even in the day of their triumph, they see themselves in trouble, because still in war, which is troublesome even to the prevailing side: None therefore can delight in war, but those that love to fish in trouble waters . . " — Matthew Henry (1662-1714), An Exposition of the Old Testament

- "Give us help from trouble; for vain is the help of man." — King David (Psalm 60), at the height of his kingdom

P.S. I don't have to tell you how serious these two weeks are, or go over all the issues of the day again. You know what's all at stake, but a wise man once said:

"Pray as if it all depends on God, but work as if it all depends on YOU."

© Curtis Dahlgren


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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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