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.
Submissions to Praesidium
At this point in The Center’s history, our main objective is to supply a quarterly journal fully in the spirit of the Western tradition: informative yet enjoyable, well written in terms both of sound argument and of fluidity, addressing issues of concern to an audience of humane and civilized readers. We seldom publish works whose content is highly specialized, and never works whose presentation requires a mastery of jargon to be understood. Some articles have been heavily footnoted: most are not. We prefer an immersion in primary texts to an ostentatious display of secondary ones.
Though our editorial stance is sometimes dictated by our conviction (a reluctant but necessary and adult conclusion) that human reason has limits and that human illusion is ineradicable, we have never refused to read any submission due to its arguing from a certain persuasion. On the contrary, authors have occasionally withdrawn submissions after deciding that public statements such as this one are too “conservative”. The fact is that our distrust of utopian visions applies every bit as much to self-styled conservative prophets of technological progress as it does to “liberals” more interested in the Pied Piper than in meaningful human freedom.
Articles, essays, short stories, and poems may be submitted via e-mail to The Center’s president at email@example.com, or else posted in hard-copy form to the address on the CONTACT page.
Topics and Issues Frequently Discussed in Praesidium
Below are several rubrics which help to define the focus of such publications as The Center’s journal Praesidium. What this page offers is neither an inclusive inventory nor and exclusive prescription. Our ken circles far beyond the matters sketched out below. We are particularly interested in creative works–poetry and short stories–of a subtle nature wherein mystery is allowed to trump didacticism.
|The decline of the system due to mandatory ideology. The “under-cover” service of ideology itself to career advancement (e.g., “principled” stands like the denigration of meticulous scholarship, the trimming of reading lists and narrowing of research projects, the promotion of subjective writing, the validation of anything new or trendy as a “discipline”). The self-annihilation of Humanities programs in their pompous theoretical rejection of the disinterested and the universal. The perversion of conventional methods of candidate interview, course evaluation, and promotion on the contemporary campus to bring faculty on board with certain narrow agendas.|
|The decline of student preparation for higher education. The decay of the broader culture’s respect for honest study. The acceptance of “fun” over rigor and of “relevance” over enduring truth. The politically motivated selection of texts. Various quotas pursued in texts and syllabi at the expense of coherence and depth.|
|The case for classical aesthetics–i.e., beauty as largely independent of conditioning and universally grounded, instead, in the human mind through ratiocinative structures of processing sensory data. The absurdity of recent literary theory which dismisses the possibility of aesthetics merely because some small degree of cultural conditioning affects the perception of some objects. The relationship between artistic cultivation and moral maturity or spiritual subtlety.|
|The confrontation between charismatic rapture and the sober pursuit of moral duty. The “right-wing” rejection of personal insight, inner revelation, and individual conscience as equivalent to rabid self-indulgence. The “left-wing” elevation of scientific (often pseudo-scientific) measures of truth to serve as the basis for analyzing moral and social issues.|
electronic media and technology
|The relationship of electronic habits to pre-literacy (orality)–likenesses and differences. Electronic media and technology as a delivery system for values (e.g., the superiority of speed and change, an ever-whetted appetite for more, a radical disjuncture of everything present with the past, a hostility to quiet and patient reflection). The effect of computers on writing, both in the classroom and for popular consumption. The effect of media-immersion on the perception of reality.The unwholesome ramifications of having our economy, national defense, and best-funded educational initiatives all heavily dependent upon computers.|