Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

A Thought on Patriotism and Nationalism

Everyone should be a patriot, by all means. Patriotism is natural to humanity, and loving your patria is as natural and virtuous as loving your pater. But don't make the mistake of confusing your patria with the political nation-state under whose power you happen to find yourself. That is called nationalism and nationalism has run roughshod over patriotism for the last 200 years. It was nationalism that told Occitanians that they had to become Frenchmen, Tuscans that they had to become Italians, Bavarians that they had to become Germans, Navarrans that they had to become Spaniards, and Virginians that they had to become Americans. Nationalism always and everywhere attempts to subsume a healthy patriotism under a love for a vast political state, and in the process turns what is primarily a peaceful appreciation of one's culture and people into a militant hunger for dominance and control on the world stage.