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Against Shrillness

I want to commend the recent essay by John Goerke, “Fighting a Just (Culture) War,” published at The Imaginative Conservative.  It’s a lovely reflection and perhaps most reflects a hunger, especially among young conservatives, for an era of peace.  This is not to suggest that there will not always be battles to fight, but to remind us that if we never put down our outrage and our arms long enough to remember and renew the good things we fight to defend, we may soon reshape ourselves into nothing but angry and unprincipled fighters.

This calls to mind for me the discussion of C. S. Lewis of making men without chests: 

I think Gaius and Titius may have honestly 
misunderstood the pressing educational need of the moment. They see the world 
around them swayed by emotional propaganda — they have learned from tradition 
that youth is sentimental — and they conclude that the best thing they can do is to 
fortify the minds of young people against emotion. My own experience as a 
teacher tells an opposite tale. For every one pupil who needs to be guarded from a 
weak excess of sensibility there are three who need to be awakened from the slumber of cold vulgarity. The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts. The right defence against false sentiments is to inculcate just sentiments. By starving the sensibility of our pupils we only make them easier prey to the propagandist when he comes. For famished nature will be 
avenged and a hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head. 

 



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