Here are my reasons:
- He’s Finnish (though his blog is written in English, and has those little glitches a non-native speaker has. I rather like them). We - the ‘sphere - need as broad a representation as possible. There’s not a glut on the market of Finland blogs that English speakers can read.
- He’s got good illustrations.
- He’s a traditionalist and a conservative. This might be a redundant statement. On the other hand, it remains to be seen if he can avoid the pits of reactionary thinking. Refusing to fall into those holes make it difficult to traverse the public square. Patrick Buchanan comes to mind as someone who didn’t make it. And Catholics who still demand the Tridentine Mass are another. Not to mention the Anglicans who will let go of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer only when it falls from their cold, dead hands.
Here’s a snip from a long quote of Tolkien’s, written in the 1890's, that he posted a few days ago:
The extraordinary achievements of modern times, the discoveries and inventions in every sphere, the maintenance of progress in the face of increasing competition — these things have only been gained, and can only be held, by great mental effort. The demands made on the efficiently of the individual in the struggle for existence have greatly increased and it is only putting out all his mental powers that he can meet them. At the same time, the individual’s needs and his demands for the enjoyment of life have increased in all classes; unprecedented luxury has spread to a strata of population who were formerly quite untouched by it; irreligion, discontent and covetousness have grown up in wide social spheres. The immense extension of communications which has been brought about by the networks of telegraphs and telephones that encircle the world has completely altered the conditions of trade and commerce. All is hurry and agitation; night is used for travel, day for business, even “holiday trips” have become a strain on the nervous system...
Ah, Tolkien… a writer who affirms all my pet peeves and Luddite tendencies. I loathe travel. And The Baron and I wait each other out to see who won’t answer the phone, while too much luxury makes me uneasy —
— And do you think Tolkien saying here that luxury increases covetousness? That’s what I think of when I see poor kids in two hundred dollar shoes. They may never have a decent job, the “educational” “system” has failed them, but by gosh, at least they have those big, muffin-like shoes which allow to them to strut with the best.
This thought occurs to me whenever I see pictures of looting during natural disasters. Katrina is seared into the general consciousness in that regard. Remember the guy loaded down with bottles of beer and floating a tub of them?
I interviewed a woman last week for a piece in the local paper. She lives what she calls an “intentional” life. One of the ways she does this is to purchase only used clothing (no, you can’t tell by looking at her. If there is one thing this country has, it’s a surfeit of clothing).
How many of us live intentionally — I mean besides those dedicated Jihadists and the folks at The Common Room? (Oh, dear: I’ll bet they’ll be nonplussed to find themselves in the same sentence with suicidal nihilists) What difference would it make in our public life if that kind of thinking - careful intentionality became a part of everyone’s life? What if they taught such ideas in school instead of p.c. history?
Here are a few projections about what could happen, some of them possible short-term problems:
- The housing market would change radically. No more cheesy McMansions. Rooms with reasonable proportions would return. Living in such an environment would lead to lowered expectations, which at this point can only help.
- Sound bites would die. This would happen because people would simply drift away from the surface “news” to more substantial fare.
- Lots of “must have” items would disappear or be greatly reduced. The cell phone companies would have to scramble to attract a shrunken market when people realized how much of their thinking time was taking up with chatter. And those biscuit shoes would disappear, too.
- “Irreligion” would not be such a bad thing. The more intentionally-lived one’s life is the less need we have to tell others what to do. For example, the eco-fundamentalists and the lemming liberals would simply find themselves content to live their own lives without insisting that the rest of us live it with them. The anti-globalists would study history instead of spouting theories which demonstrate their innumeracy.
- Not every problem would have an automatic solution. Someone who lives intentionally knows that life is one problem after another. Or rather, one mystery to be lived after another. “Solutions,” especially those dictated from the centers of power, would dissolve in the acid of their own hubris.
And that’s just for starters. Go see this Finn. I think he’s going to do well and you’ll be in on the ground floor.
And if you know of any South American blogs (writing in English and not calling for the overthrow of the evil Americans), please let me — and our readers — know. When I look at the feature of our sitemeter that permits you to see the world map of those who have clicked on to Gates of Vienna, South America is always in total darkness. We get more traffic from Thailand than from the southern continent of the Americas.