Links for 06/28/17

by Michael Sean Winters

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At the American Spectator, George Neumyer writes about Pope Francis' "communist cardinals." (I always had my suspicions about +Sean O'Malley!) This commentary raises the age old question: to weep or to laugh? 

A friend on the left sent me this article from Vox that argues that while the Supreme Court decision to permit a Lutheran church to participate in a state-run program and receive money directly from MIssouri, it is the churches that should beware of state funding which, the author argues, is the first step towards secularization. Dear friends on the left: Do not be fooled. This argument is a bogus extension of the equally bogus argument that the welfare state is the first step towards secularization. The author mishandles history badly to make his point, for example noting that only a small percentage of colonial Americans were members of the Church. Of course, in colonial America, as opposed to today, to be a "member" meant more than just showing up on Sunday, let alone only on high holy days. 

In the Washington Post, a story to make you smile: a profile of the "future of U.S. swimming," Reece Whitley. Another barrier falling down.

My cousin brought me a copy of the 1895 New England Almanac and Farmer's Friend. Therein, I found this short essay that is so delightful I wanted to share it with the readership:


There are few words in the English language of such comprehensive appropriateness as he word “things.” We put on and take off “things.” We put down and take up “things.” We walk over “things” and pick “things” up and put “things” away. We love “things” and hate “things” and consider “things” and think about “things.” We look beyond the “things” seen to the “things” not seen. And these are “things” temporal and those are “things” eternal.

And each and every one of these “things” has a different significance, and belongs to a different class. There are material “things” and immaterial “things.” They are physical and mental; if heaven and earth; of time and of eternity. A word of no special definition, it designates everything in turn. For it may be anything. It may be nothing.

It is a facile snare to the slipshod writer. Dilating on the beauties of “everything,” this “lovely thing” or that “exquisite thing” tempts him to rest satisfied with the yielding expression which saves search for a more specific word. It is the ready recourse of the shallow clatter, who calls her friend a “sweet thing” as frequently as she speaks of her enemy as a “spiteful thing.” It is the refuge of the lazy, the negligent, the ignorant talker of any age, to whom the proper names of articles are superfluous so long as the word “things” exists in the dictionary.

So universally misused, abused and overworked is this general term, that the proper thing under the circumstances would be, so far as possible to ignore it in our own conversation and in the talk of other people, and to insist that ideas be conveyed by words, which mean exactly what is intended to be expressed, instead of by a word which means anything or nothing at all.


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