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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.

 

P R A E S I D I U M

A Common-Sense Journal of Literary and Cultural Analysis

13.2 (Spring 2013)

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The previous issue of Praesidium (Winter 2013) may be viewed by clicking here.

 

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John R. Harris, Ph.D.

President

Thomas F. Bertonneau, Ph.D.

Secretary

Helen R. Andretta, Ph.D.

York College-CUNY

Director

Michael H. Lythgoe

Lt. Col. USAF (Retd.)

Director

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Contents of This Issue

        Literary Analysis

        The Beautiful Female Face a Second (and Final?) Time        Peter T. Singleton    litana2

In this sequel to a controversial piece penned two issues earlier, Professor Singleton seeks to correct some of his errors, to address the misapprehensions of certain readers, and to carry his thesis about the deficiencies of contemporary femininity a step further..  

        “If We Have the Book, We Haven’t the Reading: A Literate Author’s Resurrection of the Oral Tale        John R. Harris 

The delightful antiquarian of southwestern Ireland who styled himself The Hawk (An Seabhac) in his literary productions reminds us that a highly educated individual can resuscitate parts of his culture’s oral past that restore some of the mystery and wonder eroded by the literate revolution.

 litana23     Monsters of Duty: Cordwainer Smith’s Attack on Kantian Duty and the Suppression of Feeling in “Scanners Live in Vain”       Richard Cocks

The verb “to cranch” appears not to have caught on in the decades succeeding this short-story classic of science fiction, nor does duty seem to trump emotional overflow on the contemporary scene.  Yet the thougthtful reader may be surprised at how near our effusive age is to the robotic behavior portrayed by Smith.  Perhaps extremes are about to meet.

     Short Stories

        The Dogs Have Their Day        Ivor Davies 

This short story departs from Davies’ usual haunts within the Halls of Ivy… somewhat.  Yet a “trespass” into the political realm reveals that the same hubris, hypocrisy, mendacity, and moral cowardice are operative there as in the author’s more familiar academic settings.

     The Polis vs. Progress

        George Parkin Grant, 1918-1988: Complex Canadian Critic of Technology and America       Mark Wegierski

Grant does not readily fall into any facile political category of currency.  His deeply principled conservatism has sufficed, apparently, to draw a vote of intellectual exile from both of today’s insipid but reigning polarities.

        The Professor and the Philosopher: Thomas Hurka and George Grant       Mark Wegierski

That this comparative discussion of two original Canadian thinkers was rejected for publication in that country sounds an alarm against the encroaching narrow-mindedness of contemporary journalism.  Mr. Wegierski insists that the possibility of stable moral principles, as endorsed by both of these figures, be considered in ongoing political debates.

         Progressivism on Trial      John R. Harris

The rhetoric of the progressive is irresistible to the man or woman in the streets, though a shrewder analyst can readily tell that it is composed of false sentimentality, strained analogy, and other varieties of manipulation.  This essay began as a playful illustration of the demagogic style… but it ended up in a college classroom, where student responses confirmed that our voting-age youth don’t know how to handle the assault.  

     Faith & Cultural Meltdown

        Dreams, Déjà Vu, and Other “Numinous” Experiences       John R. Harris

Supernatural experiences do not befall all of us, and perhaps will never befall most of us: they should not therefore be deemed the only ground of faith.  Yet they are highly compelling when they occur, and elements of subjectivity within them do not necessarily deprive them of authority. 

     Home-School Corner

To “Be” or to “Do”: A Note on American Education         James Truslow Adams

One of our faithful readers excavated this piece, now almost a century old, from the archives of a respected journal of commentary.  It is worth knowing–as one does know after rereading Adams’s eloquent indictment–that the seeds of America’s deteriorating educational system were sown long, long ago.  

       Bright Ideas

         The Great Gun Debate: More Grandstanding, Heel-Dragging, and Outright Stupidity         Pancratistes

Pursuant to comments published in the last issue, this observer believes that technology could solve most of our concerns about firearms quickly and permanently if our political leadership would properly promote research and development.