13-1 index

The Center for Literate Values ~ Defending the Western tradition of responsible individualism, disciplined freedom, tasteful creativity, common sense, and faith in a supreme moral being.



A Common-Sense Journal of Literary and Cultural Analysis

13.1 (Winter 2013)


The previous issue of Praesidium (Fall 2012) may be viewed by clicking here.



John R. Harris, Ph.D.


Thomas F. Bertonneau, Ph.D.


Helen R. Andretta, Ph.D.

York College-CUNY


Michael H. Lythgoe

Lt. Col. USAF (Retd.)



Contents of This Issue

   Literary Analysis

        The Kali Yuga: René Guenon’s Traditionalist Critique of Quantitative Modernity        Thomas F. Bertonneau

Among the early twentieth century’s apologists for traditionalism, René Guénon may be the least known.  His connecting Protestantism with the rise of relativism, materialism, and the uninformed mass-mentality always latent in democracy may explain why he has achieved less renown than T.S. Eliot or C.S. Lewis; yet his insights will intrigue any thoughtful analyst of the contemporary scene.  

        Poetry and Will: A Formula for Progressive Religion        John R. Harris 

Ernest Renan’s Vie de Jésus opens a wide window upon the progressive mind in attempting to condense and assess the life of Christ: yet another example of how plainly the art of narrative, whether fictional or historical, exposes the inadequacies of moral systems..

     Short Stories

        More Politically Forbidden Fables        Peter T. Singleton 

For time immemorial, the underclass has expressed its frustrations and concerns in animal fables lest the palace guard decapitate its bards.  Our own times are apparently eliciting the same strategy.


        Young Bird Takes Wing and The Last Christmas Lights       George Shirley

Two wistful poems–but one less sad than it appears at first, the other much sadder than we would at first have supposed.

     The Polis vs. Progress

        On the 20th Anniversary of the Bloc Quebeçois becoming the Official Opposition in the federal Parliament: Separatist tendencies in Canada–their origins, development, and future        Mark Wegierski

Canadian history, about which most Americans know alarmingly little, illustrated the complexity of the multicultural experiment long before that hybrid adjective was invented.  Quebec, in particular, has long chafed against the rest of the nation, often in a hopelessly contradictory fusion of conservatism and progressivism.

         Self-Sufficiency:  The One Hope for Political Freedom–and the Inevitable Response to Social Collapse      John R. Harris

Paternalistic despotism, viewed morally, is an expression of evil: it deliberately seeks to take from human beings the very possibility of choice in many of their daily actions.  In an evolving global war against this evil, the best weapon by far is learning how to live by one’s own resources.  

     Faith & Cultural Meltdown

        Omnipotent or Benevolent: The Christian Conundrum       Peter T. Singleton

Professor Singleton begs to explain the implications–as he intended them–of one of his fables in the “short story” section. 

     Home-School Corner

         From Democracy in America: “What Sort of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear”         Alexis de Toqueville

Toqueville’s classic should be required reading for every high school student, and indeed for every American citizen–though, of course, we do not require anything so “despotic” of our citizens.  In this chapter, one of the nineteenth century’s keenest political and cultural observers seems to prophesy events that are occurring almost two centuries later.

       Bright Ideas

         Save Our Children: Arm the Custodian and the Math Teacher         Pancratistes

We depart from the usual format in order to mourn the murders of twenty children in Newtown, Connecticut–and to give space to a series of ideas that some may not consider bright at all, but that we believe to have the acuity of realism rather than the dangerous gilt of irresponsible fantasy.