Quote of the Day: The Wilderness of Untried Things

 

“We Americans are the peculiar chosen people—the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of the liberties of the world. God has predestined, mankind expects, great things from our race, and great things we feel in our souls. The rest of the world must soon be in our rear. We are the pioneers of the world; the advance-guard, sent on through the wilderness of untried things, to break a new path in this New World that is ours.” — Herman Melville, from White Jacket

Melville was clearly optimistic about America and how it would be a light unto the world, as he used biblical metaphors to describe our country. His awe and admiration for our mission was so inspiring. Today, however, I wonder how he would feel about the disdain so many direct toward America. He died in 1891 before the popularizing of Progressivism.

Like the Torah describes G-d in ancient times, Melville likens Americans to be the light of the world, leading the way as a testament to freedom and a new form of government. Whether or not other nations are capable of adopting our Western values and establishing a democratic republic, they can at least observe what a successful one looks like, in spite of the turbulence of our times.

Today, the Progressives see no relevance to those roots and those traditions. They have no appreciation for the joy that comes from living without tyranny, the profundity of our Bill of Rights, and the importance of saving our legacy.

We may be in a struggle for our survival as a free country. Whether we can turn the ship around, only time will tell.

Published in Politics
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 25 comments.

  1. JoelB Member

    This belief in “manifest destiny” had its up-sides and its down-sides. Progressives today point to its abuses if they recognize it at all. I have never read White Jacket, but the Wikipedia article says that it led to the abolition of flogging on US Naval vessels.

     

     

    • #1
    • August 23, 2019, at 6:53 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. SkipSul Moderator

    I don’t know if you’ve ever read the whole of the book White Jacket (and it has been a good 20 years since I last did so), but my recollection of the book was as an indictment of the US Navy, and I cannot help but wonder now if that particular passage was not meant with a fair bit of sarcasm to it, an unsubtle dig at the cruelty and egotism on display by the officers, and a dig at the way the US even then (this was before the Civil War) would try to throw its weight around. Melville was well familiar with the US thinking of itself as “The New Israel”, and I cannot help but think he considered that to be hubris, not to mention patronizing.

    In many respects the US still thinks of itself as “New New Israel” on both the Left and Right. You would be forgiven for disputing that the Left thinks this way, but this subconscious view of America explains a great deal of why the Left is always so keen of late to uproot the past, and atone for the past by way of all sorts of blood-letting and the casting down of idols. The Left still thinks of the US as somehow saving the world, and is quite patronizing about it. It’s just that it thinks America should redeem the world from patriarchy and inequality (as the Left defines inequality) while purifying itself of sin. The Right thinks it should police the world and bring freedom everywhere, while protecting the world from terrorism or autocratic superpowers.

    In any case, Melville was an interesting writer and person (and long time friend of Nathaniel Hawthorne), and I think he would still view both Left and Right today with some degree of cynicism.

    • #2
    • August 23, 2019, at 7:04 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    JoelB (View Comment):

    This belief in “manifest destiny” had its up-sides and its down-sides. Progressives today point to its abuses if they recognize it at all. I have never read White Jacket, but the Wikipedia article says that it led to the abolition of flogging on US Naval vessels.

     

     

    Thanks, @joelb. I thought of including the information on White Jacket. If nothing else, it points to Melville’s humanity, which is complements the quotation.

    I’m not sure he was talking about manifest destiny, though. He doesn’t talk about America expanding beyond our country; instead, he wants us to be a beacon, an example to the world. He speaks of our New World, but not extending beyond that. I think he was excited about pursuing the prospects we had right here.

    • #3
    • August 23, 2019, at 7:07 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    In any case, Melville was an interesting writer and person (and long time friend of Nathaniel Hawthorne), and I think he would still view both Left and Right today with some degree of cynicism.

    Thanks, @skipsul. I was so delighted with the quote that I didn’t read further about Melville. I know a little more now. He led a very difficult life, with professional losses, repeated disappointments and eventually depression. I believe we shouldn’t separate the quotation from the person who said it, but I guess I would ask the readers to consider the sentiment, even if it was said from a place of bitterness and disillusionment. I can certainly say the words speak to me, and I hope they speak to others.

    Edit: I thought about taking down the post, given the questionable motivation for Melville’s writing it. I’ve decided to leave it up, since I still love his words (sincere or not).

    • #4
    • August 23, 2019, at 7:21 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  5. Stad Thatcher

    Susan Quinn: Herman Melville

    Another dead white male who should be ignored, according to the left . . .

    • #5
    • August 23, 2019, at 7:37 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. Vectorman Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I’m not sure he was talking about manifest destiny, though. He doesn’t talk about America expanding beyond our country; instead, he wants us to be a beacon, an example to the world. He speaks of our New World, but not extending beyond that. I think he was excited about pursuing the prospects we had right here.

    According to Wikipedia, the phrase Manifest Destiny was coined in 1845. Their take on the primary aspects of MD:

    • The special virtues of the American people and their institutions
    • The mission of the United States to redeem and remake the west in the image of agrarian America
    • An irresistible destiny to accomplish this essential duty

    In 1850, Melville was probably well aware of these thoughts. And bully for him!


    The Quote of the Day series is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. There are 3 days open on the August Signup Sheet next week, including Sunday and Monday. We even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    • #6
    • August 23, 2019, at 7:44 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. Old Bathos Member

    I think the view Americans had of themselves in that era was influenced by a conscious comparison to the Old World. Kings and unjustly entitled nobility, stagnant religious authorities and all that kind of social rot all only got even worse if you headed east into the Muslim world and beyond. Africa was seemingly hopeless. And Latin America had yet to fully awaken from colonialism.

    In America, it seemed, free men ruled themselves fairly and honorably and built and grew and developed and invented without any of the dead hand of Old World thinking and culture getting in the way.

    My generation was born into a general reverence for the nation and its leaders (how could you not respect Ike?) but as adolescents we saw the first movies that cynically trashed America. The dark side laid bare by the the civil rights movement, the bloody stalemate in Vietnam and an overt contempt for LBJ and Nixon colored everything. And we left a legacy of radical narcissism that spawned Howard Zinn’s anti-patriotic inoculation of the next generations.

    The weird thing is that the uniqueness, influence, moral worth and greatness of America is more true now than in Melville’s time. We liberate, feed and rescue entire peoples, sometimes at great cost. We make it possible to believe in the possibility of political and economic freedom. We defeated the most monstrous political orders ever conceived. We unleashed the full power of innovation and material progress that Europeans began a little more than a century before the birth of the USA.

    FDR said all we had to fear was giving into fear. If someone were giving that speech today he/she would probably be talking about the dangers of a spreading self-loathing that makes us despair of keeping much less growing our magnificent heritage.

    • #7
    • August 23, 2019, at 8:29 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. James Gawron Thatcher

    Susan Quinn:

    Today, the Progressives see no relevance to those roots and those traditions. They have no appreciation for the joy that comes from living without tyranny, the profundity of our Bill of Rights, and the importance of saving our legacy.

    We may be in a struggle for our survival as a free country. Whether we can turn the ship around, only time will tell.

    Suzy,

    Beautiful summation. The last time Liberty was put to the test in full it cost 65 million lives. If it should happen again one would suspect that it would cost 10 times as many or more. Hopefully, we won’t go that crazy.

    Give us more Melville Suzy. I think you’ve hit a gold mine.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #8
    • August 23, 2019, at 9:01 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Slow on the uptake Thatcher

    Susan Quinn: We Americans are the peculiar chosen people—the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of the liberties of the world. God has predestined…

    This idea is not just a thing of the past: There are still those that believe this. I can find no legitimate basis in the Word.

    But time and again through Scripture this people or that people decided they were “special”, and that was the beginning of the end for them. Nor is it necessary to restrict ones’ self to Scripture to find support for the observation.

    • #9
    • August 23, 2019, at 9:10 AM PDT
    • Like
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    The weird thing is that the uniqueness, influence, moral worth and greatness of America is more true now than in Melville’s time. We liberate, feed and rescue entire peoples, sometimes at great cost. We make it possible to believe in the possibility of political and economic freedom. We defeated the most monstrous political orders ever conceived. We unleashed the full power of innovation and material progress that Europeans began a little more than a century before the birth of the USA.

    Excellent comments, @oldbathos, especially the point I pasted here.

    I don’t remember having a great love of America. My folks were too busy struggling to survive, and there was little discussion of ideas. But when Vietnam hit, and then all the questioning about America, I stopped to think about what in the world I believed. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I finally realized my conservative values and my love of this country about 15 years ago. We are so blessed, and we’ve worked darn hard to get where we are. We’ve contributed so much to the world–to culture, compassion, innovation, science–the list is endless where we take the lead. I only wish the Left could see it.

    • #10
    • August 23, 2019, at 9:12 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Jim McConnell Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    I don’t know if you’ve ever read the whole of the book White Jacket (and it has been a good 20 years since I last did so), but my recollection of the book was as an indictment of the US Navy, and I cannot help but wonder now if that particular passage was not meant with a fair bit of sarcasm to it, an unsubtle dig at the cruelty and egotism on display by the officers, and a dig at the way the US even then (this was before the Civil War) would try to throw its weight around. Melville was well familiar with the US thinking of itself as “The New Israel”, and I cannot help but think he considered that to be hubris, not to mention patronizing.

    In many respects the US still thinks of itself as “New New Israel” on both the Left and Right. You would be forgiven for disputing that the Left thinks this way, but this subconscious view of America explains a great deal of why the Left is always so keen of late to uproot the past, and atone for the past by way of all sorts of blood-letting and the casting down of idols. The Left still thinks of the US as somehow saving the world, and is quite patronizing about it. It’s just that it thinks America should redeem the world from patriarchy and inequality (as the Left defines inequality) while purifying itself of sin. The Right thinks it should police the world and bring freedom everywhere, while protecting the world from terrorism or autocratic superpowers.

    In any case, Melville was an interesting writer and person (and long time friend of Nathaniel Hawthorne), and I think he would still view both Left and Right today with some degree of cynicism.

    I don’t really think it is wise (or fair) to review a book that one hasn’t read.

    Is it?

    • #11
    • August 23, 2019, at 9:13 AM PDT
    • Like
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    Today, the Progressives see no relevance to those roots and those traditions. They have no appreciation for the joy that comes from living without tyranny, the profundity of our Bill of Rights, and the importance of saving our legacy.

    We may be in a struggle for our survival as a free country. Whether we can turn the ship around, only time will tell.

    Suzy,

    Beautiful summation. The last time Liberty was put to the test in full it cost 65 million lives. If it should happen again one would suspect that it would cost 10 times as many or more. Hopefully, we won’t go that crazy.

    Give us more Melville Suzy. I think you’ve hit a gold mine.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Thanks, @jamesgawron. The Left ignores the terrible price that the whole country paid to keep the country together. It’s a tough time right now, but I can’t let go of hope!

    • #12
    • August 23, 2019, at 9:14 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    I don’t really think it is wise (or fair) to review a book that one hasn’t read.

    Is it?

    I’m not sure whom you’re addressing, @jimmcconnell: @skipsul said he’d read the book a while ago, but he wasn’t giving a book review. I hadn’t read the book but wasn’t giving a review, but using a quote. Do you still have a concern?

    • #13
    • August 23, 2019, at 9:17 AM PDT
    • Like
  14. SkipSul Moderator

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    I don’t know if you’ve ever read the whole of the book White Jacket (and it has been a good 20 years since I last did so), but my recollection of the book was as an indictment of the US Navy, and I cannot help but wonder now if that particular passage was not meant with a fair bit of sarcasm to it, an unsubtle dig at the cruelty and egotism on display by the officers, and a dig at the way the US even then (this was before the Civil War) would try to throw its weight around. Melville was well familiar with the US thinking of itself as “The New Israel”, and I cannot help but think he considered that to be hubris, not to mention patronizing.

    In many respects the US still thinks of itself as “New New Israel” on both the Left and Right. You would be forgiven for disputing that the Left thinks this way, but this subconscious view of America explains a great deal of why the Left is always so keen of late to uproot the past, and atone for the past by way of all sorts of blood-letting and the casting down of idols. The Left still thinks of the US as somehow saving the world, and is quite patronizing about it. It’s just that it thinks America should redeem the world from patriarchy and inequality (as the Left defines inequality) while purifying itself of sin. The Right thinks it should police the world and bring freedom everywhere, while protecting the world from terrorism or autocratic superpowers.

    In any case, Melville was an interesting writer and person (and long time friend of Nathaniel Hawthorne), and I think he would still view both Left and Right today with some degree of cynicism.

    I don’t really think it is wise (or fair) to review a book that one hasn’t read.

    Is it?

    I’ve read a lot of Melville, including White Jacket. Spent a semester reading his letters (what has survived, which is hit and miss) and poems too in college (the poems are a bit of a mixed bag). White Jacket is, like his first 2 successful novels Typee and Oomo, a mix of fiction and autobiography.

    • #14
    • August 23, 2019, at 9:28 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    I also thought of something else regarding the title–The Wilderness of Untried Things. How many of us have wandered into our own wilderness, wondering what would happen, whether we would succeed, whether we would be happy? I have a few stories, but I must go visit my hospice patients!

    • #15
    • August 23, 2019, at 10:11 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Samuel Block Member

    Today, however, I wonder how he would feel about the disdain so many direct toward America. 

    I think he anticipated an important aspect of it in Benito Cerano.

     Aboard a Spanish slave ship his naive, well-meaning protagonist,Captain Amasa Delano, looks at the living cargo with Rousseauian condescension. His comments about the superiority of these unfortunate souls are undermined by relating them to animals, viewing them solely as the hapless victims of Western civilization. 

    What’s noteworthy about this character’s confused observations are that he disregarded the slaves’ capacity for evil, something Melville seems to have identified as man’s defining attribute. A lioness preys on a gazelle and we call it nature. Man, however, can really do wrong in the universe. 

    I suppose it’s a little ironic that Melville’s serious fascination with evil that might have something to do with the optimism above. I suppose the founding of this country necessitated the recognition of this fact, allowing a kind of Jungian integration and subsequently the Providential reward for such daring faith. 

    My guess is that most of the disdain uttered about our country is just fashionable blather, but for those Americans who truly hate their country I suspect their is an unacknowledged darkness within – most commonly, the same kind of benign racism of Captain Delano.

     

    • #16
    • August 23, 2019, at 11:00 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  17. SkipSul Moderator

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Today, however, I wonder how he would feel about the disdain so many direct toward America.

    I think he anticipated an important aspect of it in Benito Cerano.

    Aboard a Spanish slave ship his naive, well-meaning protagonist,Captain Amasa Delano, looks at the living cargo with Rousseauian condescension. His comments about the superiority of these unfortunate souls are undermined by relating them to animals, viewing them solely as the hapless victims of Western civilization.

    What’s noteworthy about this character’s confused observations are that he disregarded the slaves’ capacity for evil, something Melville seems to have identified as man’s defining attribute. A lioness preys on a gazelle and we call it nature. Man, however, can really do wrong in the universe.

    I suppose it’s a little ironic that Melville’s serious fascination with evil that might have something to do with the optimism above. I suppose the founding of this country necessitated the recognition of this fact, allowing a kind of Jungian integration and subsequently the Providential reward for such daring faith.

    My guess is that most of the disdain uttered about our country is just fashionable blather, but for those Americans who truly hate their country I suspect their is an unacknowledged darkness within – most commonly, the same kind of benign racism of Captain Delano.

     

    Wow. I’d forgotten about that story. I’m going to have to dig it out.

    • #17
    • August 23, 2019, at 11:02 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Stina Member

    Vectorman (View Comment):
    The mission of the United States to redeem and remake the west in the image of agrarian America

    I was never a fan of Manifest Destiny. It fueled an imperial America, though many would be loathe to admit it.

    It also seems blasphemous (see Skip’s comment, which perfectly encapsulates my thought on it). Manifest Destiny and the New Israel also seem to have a connection to the Mormon church.

    I have no compunction with believing in the exceptionalism of our constitution and that we have offered a model of governance to political history, but to take upon ourselves the role of saving the world from their inferior ways, it’s just a bit conceited in the extreme. If it’s the best, let it stand or fall on it’s own merits. Nations have the right to choose for themselves how they should be governed, be it foolish or wise, good or bad.

    • #18
    • August 23, 2019, at 12:03 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    My guess is that most of the disdain uttered about our country is just fashionable blather, but for those Americans who truly hate their country I suspect their is an unacknowledged darkness within – most commonly, the same kind of benign racism of Captain Delano.

    Fascinating, @samuelblock. We forget at times how our dark side will manifest in our lives. And how destructive it can be. Thanks.

    • #19
    • August 23, 2019, at 12:24 PM PDT
    • Like
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Stina (View Comment):
    I have no compunction with believing in the exceptionalism of our constitution and that we have offered a model of governance to political history, but to take upon ourselves the role of saving the world from their inferior ways, it’s just a bit conceited in the extreme. If it’s the best, let it stand or fall on it’s own merits. Nations have the right to choose for themselves how they should be governed, be it foolish or wise, good or bad.

    Thanks, Stina. As I said earlier, I like the idea of being the example to others, rather than forcing it upon others, too.

    • #20
    • August 23, 2019, at 12:26 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. Rodin Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    In any case, Melville was an interesting writer and person (and long time friend of Nathaniel Hawthorne), and I think he would still view both Left and Right today with some degree of cynicism.

    Thanks, @skipsul. I was so delighted with the quote that I didn’t read further about Melville. I know a little more now. He led a very difficult life, with professional losses, repeated disappointments and eventually depression. I believe we shouldn’t separate the quotation from the person who said it, but I guess I would ask the readers to consider the sentiment, even if it was said from a place of bitterness and disillusionment. I can certainly say the words speak to me, and I hope they speak to others.

    Edit: I thought about taking down the post, given the questionable motivation for Melville’s writing it. I’ve decided to leave it up, since I still love his words (sincere or not).

    The quote still holds, if snark, about the ambitions of Progressivism.

    • #21
    • August 24, 2019, at 10:45 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. iWe Reagan
    iWe

    Moses’ foresight was little less than stunning. The pages of history are littered with the relics of nations that seemed impregnable in their day, but which eventually declined and fell and lapsed into oblivion – and always for the reason Moses prophetically foresaw. They forgot.[1] Memories fade. People lose sight of the values they once fought for – justice, equality, independence, freedom. The nation, its early battles over, becomes strong. Some of its members grow rich. They become lax, self-indulgent, over-sophisticated, decadent. They lose their sense of social solidarity. They no longer feel it their duty to care for the poor, the weak, the marginal, the losers. They begin to feel that such wealth and position as they have is theirs by right. The bonds of fraternity and collective responsibility begin to fray. The less well-off feel an acute sense of injustice. The scene is set for either revolution or conquest. Societies succumb to external pressures when they have long been weakened by internal decay. That was the danger Moses foresaw and about which he warned.

    His analysis has proved true time and again, and it has been restated by several great analysts of the human condition. In the fourteenth century, the Islamic scholar Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406) argued that when a civilisation becomes great, its elites get used to luxury and comfort, and the people as a whole lose what he called their asabiyyah, their social solidarity. The people then become prey to a conquering enemy, less civilised than they are but more cohesive and driven.

    The Italian political philosopher Giambattista Vico (1668–1744) described a similar cycle: People, he said, “first sense what is necessary, then consider what is useful, next attend to comfort, later delight in pleasures, soon grow dissolute in luxury, and finally go mad squandering their estates.”[2] Affluence begets decadence.

    In the twentieth century few said it better than Bertrand Russell in his History of Western Philosophy. He believed that the two great peaks of civilisation were reached in ancient Greece and Renaissance Italy, but he was honest enough to see that the very features that made them great contained the seeds of their own demise:

    What had happened in the great age of Greece happened again in Renaissance Italy: traditional moral restraints disappeared, because they were seen to be associated with superstition; the liberation from fetters made individuals energetic and creative, producing a rare fluorescence of genius; but the anarchy and treachery which inevitably resulted from the decay of morals made Italians collectively impotent, and they fell, like the Greeks, under the domination of nations less civilised than themselves but not so destitute of social cohesion.[3]

    Moses, however, did more than prophesy and warn. He also taught how the danger could be avoided, and here too his insight is as relevant now as it was then. He spoke of the vital significance of memory for the moral health of a society.

    Throughout history there have been many attempts to ground ethics in universal attributes of humanity. Some, like Immanuel Kant, based it on reason. Others based it on duty. Bentham rooted it in consequences (“the greatest happiness for the greatest number”[4]). David Hume attributed it to certain basic emotions: sympathy, empathy, compassion. Adam Smith predicated it on the capacity to stand back from situations and judge them with detachment (“the impartial spectator”). Each of these has its virtues, but none has proved fail-safe.

    Judaism took, and takes, a different view. The guardian of conscience is memory. Time and again the verb zachor, “remember,” resonates through Moses’ speeches in Deuteronomy:

    • Remember that you were slaves in Egypt…therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Shabbat day. (Deut. 5:15)
    • Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years…(Deut. 8:2)
    • Remember this and never forget how you provoked the Lord your God to anger in the desert…(Deut. 9:7)
    • Remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam along the way after you came out of Egypt. (Deut. 24:9)
    • Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. (Deut. 25:17)
    • Remember the days of old, consider the years of ages past. (Deut. 32:7)

    As Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi notes in his great treatise, Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory, “Only in Israel and nowhere else is the injunction to remember felt as a religious imperative to an entire people.”[5]Civilisations begin to die when they forget. Israel was commanded never to forget.

    In an eloquent passage, the American scholar Jacob Neusner once wrote:

    Civilisation hangs suspended, from generation to generation, by the gossamer strand of memory. If only one cohort of mothers and fathers fails to convey to its children what it has learned from its parents, then the great chain of learning and wisdom snaps. If the guardians of human knowledge stumble only one time, in their fall collapses the whole edifice of knowledge and understanding.[6]

    The politics of free societies depends on the handing on of memory. That was Moses’ insight, and it speaks to us with undiminished power today.

     

    Rabbi Sacks.

    • #22
    • August 25, 2019, at 6:58 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    iWe (View Comment):

    In an eloquent passage, the American scholar Jacob Neusner once wrote:

    Civilisation hangs suspended, from generation to generation, by the gossamer strand of memory. If only one cohort of mothers and fathers fails to convey to its children what it has learned from its parents, then the great chain of learning and wisdom snaps. If the guardians of human knowledge stumble only one time, in their fall collapses the whole edifice of knowledge and understanding.[6]

    I was going to use this quote for a Quote of the Day! For those who may not be aware, Rabbi Sacks sends out a mailing each week on the Torah reading. I have his book series on the Torah, and in the book of Deuteronomy, he writes even more about the parshah. But the posted series is free! If you’re interested in subscribing to his mailing list: http://rabbisacks.org/subscribe/.

     

    • #23
    • August 25, 2019, at 8:00 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. SParker Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Edit: I thought about taking down the post, given the questionable motivation for Melville’s writing it. I’ve decided to leave it up, since I still love his words (sincere or not).

    Thanx for not taking it down. It’s worth it for the title alone.

    If anyone’s interested in the historical context, The 2nd Great Awakening in particular, I highly recommend What Hath God Wrought. The previous book in the series (Oxford History of the United States), Empire of Liberty, has a really good examination of the religious explosion immediately after the Revolution as well.

    • #24
    • August 25, 2019, at 10:42 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. The Reticulator Member

    iWe (View Comment):
    The politics of free societies depends on the handing on of memory. That was Moses’ insight, and it speaks to us with undiminished power today.

    That’s an interesting insight, but memories are not tamper-proof.

    • #25
    • August 25, 2019, at 8:26 PM PDT
    • 1 like