Reflections of the Unexamined Life

I think the woke moment has peaked. I really think it has reached the point where its enormity is obvious and more importantly, understood, expected, no longer puzzling or novel; I think it is palpably tarnishing. I conclude, therefore, that its appeal begins to diminish.

And so . . . what’s the next thing?

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Craig Carter fumbled his way into Twitter and soon mastered it. He’s not yet broken 1K followers, but he does the most interesting things. His book seeks to explain and to a certain extent popularize what you can get in an essay by Steinmetz from a while back. This last, has apparently been percolating through circles in which the procedure and method of the reformers exerts a gravitational pull.

He’s right on hermeneutics, you know. Premodern metaphysics calls for premodern approaches, and the issue of metaphysics is anterior to most other issues, as I was clearly taught at Central Seminary.

I’m, by the way, so glad I attended there. You come out with baggage anywhere you go, in the case of Central, curiously, dispensational. But I’d rather not be ignorant of issues anterior to others than otherwise. I’ve talked to people who can cross and recross Scripture and have mastered all the minutiae of Covenant Theology but are flaccid on their metaphysics and you can tell what is anterior. We either interpret with the tradition of the church through the ages, or we interpret with the tradition of our age.

You need to hammer out your epistemology.

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As anybody who pays attention knows, my attitude toward the USA is that it is grand in its enormities, and I find that grand. I’m not particularly pious when it comes to patriotism, perhaps because I grew up in another country. So I have enjoyed the Trump candidacy and presidency. A lot. And I look forward to more.

I will say, if Tulsi prevails in the Democratic field, I’m going to feel a conflict. Not because I think our president should be presidential. I think the president of the United States of America should be American, and there are few that do American the way el Trump does. The puzzling thing about the whole show is how few of the candidates have any strong appeal. I think it will be sane and interesting if she makes it, and the way these things go, you never know. But then, if she makes it, a lot of people are going to be feeling conflicted, won’t they?

You know what I don’t understand? People who get so worked up about it they can’t listen to the other side, or hear about things they don’t like in politics. Perhaps that is something that has always been the case, but it puzzles and intrigues me. Is there more of it these days?

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The whole thing with AI, space, China, the possibility of Interwebs . . . this decade is shaping up to be a good one. I enjoy Niall Ferguson on the present moment. All kinds of things are going to keep shaking out. Do we at last, for example, have a compelling reason to colonize the moon? That possibility grips me.

And just look at how the world has changed in past decades.

I got a smartphone for the first time last April, and then Google sent me an email showing me all the places I’d taken it to. I was actually told by someone that you can turn that off and if you do they won’t track you. Please! I’ve worked in a fraud department. The point of networking stuff is to have it available to you. The point of a cellphone is that it is always with you, with all its connections, both the ones you desire and the ones that are the price you pay for the things you desire. The way forward is not backward, it is not to treat cars like carriages or to ban the printing press.

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Things are also left behind. All are lamenting the death of Roger Scruton, who shall not be alive for this decade. He was a bit of an enigma, but a good enigma and a very helpful person. I went to events with him twice, thanks to living near Princeton and Villanova. Had him in my sights at Princeton, but couldn’t think of anything to say, so I didn’t approach him. As a result I also have my own gentle regrets.

He has become, like the England for which he wrote an elegy, another of our ideals. And in that sense he will outlast many others.