“The Death of Liberal Arts” lamented a headline in an April 5 Newsweek.com article that carried the subhead: “How the recession and unemployment are making schools and students rethink the value of an education in the humanities.”
Who was the “brilliant child of the wind and waves” who fired the inaugural volley at the Royal Navy’s pride by being the first to engage and capture an armed British warship, the Edward, during our War for Independence? Not sure? Here are a few hints: It was the same captain who fought the last naval skirmish of that long and bitter struggle for freedom, who held the record for the fastest American warship during the Revolution, and who was instrumental in the establishment of a permanent, separate American Navy.
After getting in my car the other night, this writer turned on a radio show hosted by a man renowned as a rare moderate in talk radio, although he’s most notable for only moderately deep thinking. He was talking about the Catholic Church sex scandal, and he fielded a caller proposing a unique solution: allow priests to have concubines. This prompted the host to chime in and opine that perhaps the discipline of celibacy should be revisited. After all, said he, it’s only the Catholic Church that has “these problems.” It’s the kind of shallow analysis that passes for social commentary today.
One of the 19th century’s most famous poets, Lord Byron, compressed into two lines of immortal verse an essential truth about how self-respecting men and women need to live: “Know yet not? / Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow.” José Rizal, hero of Filipino independence, made the same point still more graphically: “There are no tyrants where there are no slaves.” Similar sentiments can be found in the literature of other lands. A Romanian proverb runs: “Whether one dies young or old, death is always the same. But it is not at all the same whether one dies like a lion or dies like a dog.”
A father in Chicago may find himself in jail, if he exposes his young daughter to his Catholic faith. Joseph Reyes is estranged from his ex-wife and is in a bitter divorce battle with her. The couple had agreed to raise their daughter in the mother’s Jewish faith, but the family law court, at the request of the mother, ordered Reyes not to bring his three-year-old daughter to Easter services at his church. She told Fox News that she was not anti-Christian, but simply wanted the court’s orders to be obeyed.