McDonald_02-1991
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On the Study of History

American society is in trouble, and not only because our traditional values and institutions are under siege. The nuclear family is crumbling as a result of government policies that are ruthless when they are not mindless. Our once great cities have reverted to a state of nature, in which the innocent are terrorized by hordes of savages who are not and cannot become civilized. Our public schools have lost the capacity to educate, and our colleges and universities are captives of thought police who hate themselves and hate the culture that nourishes them. The government in Washington has metastasized, weakening if not destroying everything it invades, and the federal system is moribund. The economy is sick; public and private morality in an advanced state of decay.

I could try to tell you how all this came about, but the narrative would be a dreary one; and besides, you probably already know. So, instead, I propose to address the question, how does one survive (and I mean survive as something) in a world that may not? How does one remain sane in a world that is insane; how does one live without fear in a world in which the only certainty is that nothing is certain; how does one remain civilized even as the Visigoths and the Vandals maraud the streets of the City?

I have four suggestions. Three of them lie within the province of a lifetime commitment to study of the liberal arts. I stress the word lifetime, for though education...

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