Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

"We're trying to save Western civilization"

AFEW CENTURIES AGO a father across the pond might justly have relied on Yale or Harvard, or beloved Oxford, to form his son in the ways of God; to make a civilised man - that is, one not in bondage to the things of the world, or the whims of the fallen body and soul, but ordered, amiable, devout. As Thomas Sowell has astutely noted, we are only ever one generation from the barbarians conquering, for we bring the barbarians in every time we have children. Man remains fallen, even when a babe; “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps 51:5). There is little more melancholy, but important, than this! Break the chain, fail to graft them in, and the whole thing, as Burke has warned us in his ‘contract of the dead, living and unborn’, falls apart.

Yet now Yale turns out Queer Theorists, and Harvard produces Businessmen; Oxford, in this generation, has produced both a male prostitute and a murderer; that is, “the enemy is within”, and he’s got a piece of chalk in his hand, and tenure in his back pocket. And he is busily inducting men and women into the ranks of the damned (certainly the damned ignorant).

An American theologian named Douglas Wilson represents one of the best hopes of this not proving fatal, for he - despite his wild protuberant beard and doughty Anglophile nature - is no barbarian, but the equivalent of a Roman legionnaire standing forthrightly against them.

His (relatively) new University, New Saint Andrews, in Moscow, Idaho, teaches the lost youth of the world, adrift in oceans of grot and ignorance, how to get home, and not disgrace themselves before the cloud of witnesses about us in this life, nor disappoint the Creator in the life to come. That is, it teaches them the most important thing of all: how to, in the words of that most noble Westminster Catechism, “glorify God and enjoy him forever”.

It is an authentically Trinitarian education. God, Christ, the Holy Ghost - order, authority, creativity; majesty, judgement, renewal; mercy, redemption, comfort - Father, Messiah, Spirit direct every focus, govern every principle, inspire every element.

Christ, whom God pleased to fill all in all, is at the centre of their devotion; the students are at his feet; and graduates fluent in the ways of Latin, Greek, the Church Fathers, the Psaltery, Classic Apologetics, Reformed Theology, the Holy Scriptures and English Literature are regularly produced.

It is, as Wilson puts it, a campaign to save Western civilisation; and how! Students go about clad in the gowns Cambridge shamefully threw off in the 70’s. Fellows teach in the small tutorials New Universities scorn in favour of depersonalised lectures to audiences of 500+. Books can be bought from the campus pub.

But this is not the extent of his ambition. He has other spears, trained just as lethally over the hearts of those who have done Christendom damage. And to this end he writes. He has two books out this year: ‘A Primer on Worship’ and ‘Heaven Misplaced’. We have been lucky enough to get early copies, and in the coming weeks shall look at both in turn.

This week: the Primer. In the meantime, have a look at Wilson's excellent blog: Blog & Mablog


Tweedsmuir said...

Although I have a very high concept of Christian civilisation, I would be lying if I were to say I was a "believing Christian". It's more of a cultural thing for me, albeit a very important, even crucial, one.

Jason said...

I normally find the content posted on this blog interesting, thought-provoking, relevant to monarchy, &c..

Why an article on this kind of a "college" should be featured here is really beyond me. Did the poster read the entirety? It's a school that poses in the guise of medieval intellectualism without any of the rigor, the debate. If we decry what has become of the great universities of the US and the UK, surely it must also be pointed out that Oxbridge and Yale during their respective heydays would have decried this school as little more than a farce.

Certainly, at the very least, it is worth noting that this very same school would be virulently opposed to, say, the Church of England, which this blog champions (at least insofar as HBM is concerned).

A very curious thing to post indeed.

Anonymous said...

My dear boy, Oxford has produced far worse things than murderers and rentboys - and since the dawn of its history.

Is there any hope that the doughty souls produced by this august new institution will actually be able to earn a living?

IMHO, the spiritual cancer of the modern world (and of America especially) is the make-it-up-as-you-go-along mentality. Good luck to this fellow with his new university! But for me the words "new" and "good" are seldom to be found together deservingly.

Sir Walter Scott said...

I am sorry to have met disfavour with this post. But all the old things were new once; and we are in chaotic times, wherein zeal for the Permanent Things, in whatever is the most expedient form, should be welcomed. If it means small-scale beginnings like this, very well.

Surely you don't deny the cancer is at a very advanced stage, and even (to you) the most distasteful treatment is worth a shot.

If you really only want posts relevant to monarchy, you are going to have to ignore 10/11 of the topics listed under the header. Unless you can see, as I thought was obvious, that all such things are related, all such things have a consistency with each other, which is the glory of the British system (pre-vandalism at least).

Lord Best said...

While the sentiments are admirable I doubt anything will come of it. Having said that many of the great universities of today started in similar circumstances many hundreds of years ago.
I do think people seem to miss the point when it comes to universities. Yes there is always a large left wing intellectual element, but part of the whole structure is teaching people how to think and analyze for themselves. Attending a university has, if anything, made me more traditional and conservative than I was. Never was I censored or ridiculed by the left wing professors or lecturers.

Jason said...

I've never had to ignore anything from this blog before just because it wasn't directly related to monarchy and whatnot; my point was that this article, and what is being promoted re: the so-called college this man has started, seem, in fact, to be antithetical to the purpose of this blog and, indeed, to monarchy writ large.

The veneer of Anglophilia that has been cast over this new "academic" institution is nothing more than a masquerade; the founder of the college himself affirms that he wants a radical re-ordering of society to move into an era where adulterers and homosexuals are executed.

Why this kind of attitude should, in any way, be seen as complementary to the mission of a great and venerable monarchy is quite beyond me. I've always seen monarchs as protectors of the people, not their executioners (I mean ideally, of course, as obviously the position can be and has been abused in the past).

Furthermore, th great universities of Oxbridge have, at their heart, an idea of honest intellectual inquiry and the pursuit of truth, whereas this establishment is clearly little more than a mouthpiece for a radical Evangelical organization. The two are not parallel and, whatever you might think about civilization needing "saving", there is no doubt in my mind that these kinds of institutions are not the solution, nor will they ever be.

Sir Walter Scott said...

You are of course entitled to your opinion, misguided and ungenerous as I think it is.

I must say I don't think he actually wants to execute anyone, by the way, least of all homosexuals or adulterers; I think we would have heard.

Jason said...

Err, on the fourth page of the article, you can find this:

"Wilson emphasizes his flexibility when it comes to Old Testament law. “You can’t apply Scripture woodenly,” he says; instead of executing them, “you might exile some homosexuals, depending on the circumstances and the age of the victim.” He adds: “There are circumstances in which I’d be in favor of execution for adultery. . . . I’m not proposing legislation."

So his idea of being flexible re: executing homosexuals is to merely *exile* certain among them, depending on how old they are and how old the "victim" is. And then he goes on to explicitly state he supports the execution of adulterers.

So, at the very minimum, we can say he supports executing some adulterers and exiling homosexuals. I'm unclear as to how I am being ungenerous in my assessment of him in this light...

Sir Walter Scott said...

I thought that bit involved his tongue planted utterly in his cheek. I seriously doubt anyone could say that seriously to the NYT and still receive a good write-up.

Neil Welton said...

When it comes to matters of God you should always set a higher spiritual threshold than "being in the media". You should do as I do. Get in touch with the Creator on a regular basis and ask Him to make it all clear to you.

The great media. All that be wholesome, spiritual and enlightening in society. One does wonder whether the media, and its tendency to elevate and celebrate "the mediocre", are actually part of the West's problems.

"The founder of the college himself affirms that he wants a radical re-ordering of society to move into an era where adulterers and homosexuals are executed."

Lots of people I know happen to be "adulterers" and even "homosexuals". Some people I know even watch television after nine o'clock at night. I find them to be the most delightful company, especially over dinner. Indeed, it would be rather boring and also go rather quiet if they were all to be executed. Just the other weekend I entertained a homosexual over drinks. His insights were the most thoughtful, intelligent and witty that I had heard for a long while. Indeed, more so than those who "cheekily" advocate all these executions.

As our quite inspiring and reassuring Jason points out, universities exist, not to tell us what to think, but to encourage us all to think. Long may this wonderful and quite civilising tradition continue. For it matters little whether universities are old, young or middle-aged. It also matters little whether you know all of the answers or you do not know all of the answers. Indeed, is it not the case, the greatest wonder, mystery and devotion (faith) lies in not knowing all of the answers? Surely that is why The Church of England exists. To remind humanity of the humility that can be found - in humbly admitting (before God) that you do not have all the answers and (in the case of executions) the solutions.

Sir Walter Scott said...

Dear, dear, dear. Only someone typically prejudiced against Americans - especially religious Americans - will fail to note the sarcasm, and truly believe a man these days in any Western country can advocate the execution of homosexuals with anything other than complete and deliberate irony. Because he'd be arrested otherwise.

Further, yes, University is about learning how to think. And you learn how to think far more readily and deeply when you have studied the great thinkers, great writers and great texts of Western and Christian civilisation, than when you have studied the latest Salman Rushdie novel or the History of Pornography or merely been taught to 'question everything'.

Lastly, wonder, mystery, etc, and true happiness lies not in ambiguity, or drifting, mystical unknowingness. It lies, as civilised man has always known, when truly civilised, in "the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"

That is, not in vague things generally, but in the vast generosity, power, justice and grace of God as expressed *definitely* in the gospel, and the providential redemption of human history. It is not about facts, but reasons; not about doctrine or creeds, or such certain things, certainly revealed in Holy Scripture, but about the very idea of them, the reasons for them, the spirit behind them - which passes knowledge.

We aren't to think of Christ or Christianity as vague and mystical and unknowable. We are to reach that point of faith, totally comprehending and accepting the gospel, where suddenly the character of God - boundless, unflinching love, total, pure majesty, the only subject with which absolute positives can be attached without disappointment or compromise, righteous day and night, steadfast and everlasting - opens up to us, and we see and know it is beyond our human understanding in the scale and glory of it all, and fall to our knees in adoration and humility and thankfulness.

Sir Walter Scott said...

The quote is Romans 11:33.

Neil Welton said...

Unsearchable are His Judgments. His ways past finding out. Funnily enough, it appears we agree on this one.

Sir Walter Scott said...

Yes: the reasons, the explanations, the logic of his grace and will defies our brains and overwhelms our hearts.

But never let that cause you or allow you to compromise on clear, revealed, scriptural, traditional doctrine.

Neil Welton said...

Don't worry - it hasn't to date.