On Hospitality

In taking the measure of a man’s cultural refinement, we must examine the degree to which he is practiced in the art of hospitality.  And when I say art, I mean this in a literal sense.  Arts are not inborn; they must be studied and honed with constant use.  A culture that teaches its members how to treat guests is a confident one; it is a culture that has, to some degree at least, liberated itself from the oppressions of acquisitiveness and greed, and has embraced some aspects of the communitarian ethic.  It is also a culture that understands the value of reciprocity:  the idea that a good turn done for one today, may mean a good turn done for oneself tomorrow.

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Seeking One’s Fortune, And Meeting George Washington


François-René de Chateaubriand (1768-1848) was a French writer, diplomat and historian famous for his posthumous autobiography Memoirs from Beyond the Tomb.  The book is appealing for its admixture of blunt honesty and romantic reflection that capture the spirit of the times in a way that enables the reader to feel he is a participant himself.

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A French Writer’s Defense Of Religion As A Social Good


Before and during the French Revolution, the intellectual mood of Europe had favored the elevation of “reason” over faith and tradition.  Philosophers, scientists, and intellectuals in the salons were united in condemning what they saw as the excesses of Church power, along with its supposed promotion of obscurantist doctrines that prevented the “natural development” of the human condition.

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