The Testimony Of Language

The words and syntax of a speaker are as revelatory of identity as a fingerprint, a ballistics test, and a DNA sample are to a criminologist.  The critical inquiries of the scholar, or the practiced eye of the native speaker, will as readily deduce the origin of a written text from an examination of its lexicon and constructions, as might a forensics scientist derive a wealth of information from a study of a fragment of bone, a scrap of tissue, or a tuft of hair.  While this truth has not often been appreciated, it remains one that has been consistently demonstrated.  We will discuss three examples that illustrate our proposition.

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Michael Bonner’s “Defense Of Civilization”: Review And Commentary

It is an unhappy commentary on the state of societal affairs when a scholar is compelled to remind readers of civilization’s benefits.  Have things become so bad that we need to lay out arguments in favor of order, discipline, and our cultural patrimony?  Is what was believed to be self-evident for centuries, now not self-evident at all?  Are there really people who believe that a crass descent into barbarism and anarchy are preferable?  The unsettling answer to these three questions is, unfortunately, yes.  And this is the starting point of Michael R. J. Bonner’s stimulating and wonderfully researched new book, Defense of Civilization.  The book is not currently available, but will be released soon. 

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Revisitations (Podcast)

We should periodically “revisit” things that once meant something to us years earlier. Every 7 to 10 years or so, we grow significantly in outlook, perspective, and attitude. Things that once meant something to us, may mean something very different to us years later. This holds true of books, movies, individuals, and many other things. To measure how far you’ve progressed, revisit old things, and see how much you’ve changed. I discuss two movies, and how my view of them has changed in the intervening decades.

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The Four Pillars Of Self-Confidence

So much has been written on the subject of self-confidence that a few more observations are unlikely to draw an objection.  It seems to me that self-confidence rests on four pillars:  (1) one must accurately and honestly assess one’s value; (2) self-confidence should never veer into the territory of arrogance or insolence; (3) self-confidence must be buttressed by demonstrated experience; and (4) while all can improve in self-confidence, it is essentially a character trait that comes easier to some than to others.

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You Declare Yourself (Podcast)

Some guys think that they need to wait for some magical confluence of circumstances to exist before they can pursue their goals. The world doesn’t work like this. Sometimes you have to announce yourself, declare your purpose openly, and let your will shape the environment to your own purposes. You have to declare yourself. You’re never going to receive anyone’s permission to succeed. We use the example of Gen. Charles De Gaulle in 1940.

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