Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Roots of American Order Week 3

I've been reading The Roots of American Order by Russell Kirk along with Cindy's book club.  I had not realized when we began that it was going to be a sweep through Western Civilization.  What a happy surprise!  One of the nice things about reading on the Kindle is that it highlights all my underlining for me.  One of the bad things about reading on the Kindle is that it is entirely too easy to highlight and lose the train of thought.

We've already completed Weeks 1 and 2.  I've commented here and there on the other posts, but this week I was having a bit of a time synthesizing Greek history between the sources I'd been utilizing.

One thing I did find helpful was to take a slight detour in my reading to read Plutarch on Solon.  Obviously, it was not the most in depth reading I could have done, but it certainly helped me to see why the founding fathers admired him to such an extent.  He particularly reminded me of Cincinnatus who we read of in Fifty Famous Stories Retold last year ... which, in turn reminded me of George Washington.  I do not say, "of course" here because, although I was a history education major in college, I never heard of Cincinnatus, Plutarch, Solon, or the virtue of Washington until the last couple of years.  Shame.

The history of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle was particularly helpful to me and my understanding.  As regular blog readers should know, I've been listening ravenously and recommending widely these talks from the Society for Classical Education.  Brad Birzer's talks are directly related to this reading we're doing. His two discussions on Christian Humanism and its history are helpful in understanding how the gods of Olympus were perceived and the philosophy of the Ancient Greeks.  His Plenary session is a treatise on the Founding Fathers and George Washington and his character.  Do go listen! 

 My old internet friend Wyclif, linked (on Google+) to this blog post about Plato perhaps knowing Jewish literature.  Perhaps the Ancient world was smaller than we thought.  It's an interesting idea to contemplate.

My sister recorded most of the Dr. Seuss books for my children and we listened to them last Friday.  Bartholomew Cubbins and the Oobleck was one of them.  The King was asking for something new to come out of the sky (from under the sun) and all I could think about was how young Cubbins was standing up and saying STOP! And how Dr. Kirk keeps showing us that there's nothing new under the sun in politics either. 

As we're in the midst of our election cycle, where is the Solon, Cincinnatus, Washington we can trust who will set things back to order and virtuously give up his own power?  Who will follow the example of Christ, who:

though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant (Phil 2:6)


  1. So glad to read that this book is encouraging to you...

    here's my favorite quote from the chapter ~

    the wisdom and virtue necessary
    for contending successfully
    against a sea of troubles
    rarely are found united in one man,

  2. An apt reminder, but I'm happy to see that "rarely" in place of "never."


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