Tag: Dignity

ACF PoMoCon #15: Chris Arnade, ‘Dignity’


I interviewed writer/photographer Chris Arnade about his book Dignity, an all-American journey of 400,ooo miles around America for the best part of a decade, trying to fulfill the promise of Christianity and democracy, that everyone should count in some way as a human being. We talk about front-row and back-row America, the new education-based elites and the people they have forsaken while claiming to champion, about the resilience of faith in America and the desire for community taking root at McDonald’s in places that have nothing else, and about the hope and despair of the people our public discourse and media ignore. You can get his wonderful book on Amazon.

J.L. Gerome, A Roman Slave Market


Gerome was one of the famous Academic painters in nineteenth century France. He painted slave markets, ancient and modern, more than a few times, but this is the only one that, by its unusual choices, captures something insightful and morally inquisitive. This painting is an education on the meaning of love of beauty, psychologically, artistically, and politically.

Let’s start thinking through the painting with what’s obvious. The title tells us, this is a Roman slave market. There are two slaves on a platform, whom the slave trader is trying to sell to the crowd. In all, some two dozen people make up the scene. This is utterly ordinary for Rome, just as it would have been shocking in turn of the century France, or nowadays. The painter’s choices, his use of perspective and detail, try to put together what’s shocking and what’s ordinary to educate us about important things for human beings.

The terrible predicament of love of beauty

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I’m aware this post is not as timely as it would have been last November, but I’m eager to hear the Ricochet community’s thoughts. Last November, a few campus rabble rousers across the country delivered a wakeup call: institutions of higher learning are not doing enough to atone for the largely racial sins of the […]

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I’m a Victim and That Makes Me Better Than You


CampusLast year, George Will got into a heap of trouble for a column in which he wrote that colleges and universities are learning that “when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous … and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate.”

It wasn’t a particularly great column by the author’s standards: It was a little unfocused and too easily allowed for ungenerous readings that implied Will was downplaying sexual assault. (It would almost certainly have fared better had it been published after the exposure of the Rolling Stone/University of Virginia hoax). The resulting outrage was enough to get Will disinvited from a speaking gig at Scripps College, a women’s college in Claremont, California. Will’s position gets some support, however, from a new paper by sociologists Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning, summarized at length by Jonathan Haidt at his The Righteous Mind blog.

The study posits that the West is in the process of a third major cultural shift. In brief, it argues that we began as an honor-based society characterized by a low tolerance for slights and a strong preference for seeking personal redress (think of the characters of the Iliad or duelists in the early American Republic). Over the past few centuries, we’ve shifted to a culture based more on personal dignity, which encouraged people to shrug off all but the worst slights as being beneath their notice and to appeal to third-party authorities for redress of the most intolerable wrongs.

Respect for the Office?


Unknown-2As a kid from a rural agricultural community, I entered UC Berkeley slightly to the right of Barry Goldwater. But I was to leave in 1970 just to the left of Eldridge Cleaver.

Those were the days.

As I knew just about everything there was to know, I challenged my grandfather, just a few days before he died in 1974, regarding his publicly cordial relations with then President Richard Nixon.

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Do you take pride in your work? I mean not only your occupation but all of your labors, around the home and beyond it.  From what does that pride stem? Is it the effort or a successful result? Do you give yourself “an A for effort” even if the endeavor fails? Perhaps your answer depends […]

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