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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sarah Palin and the Christian Creationists Have My Deepest Respect


I am amazed at the pundits who said this move was "stupid" (see Financial Times) or Maureen Dowd's ugly hateful satire which has Mac dying on a pretzel day one of his presidency.

As you point out Mac is not immortal (who is?) but I think odds are his presidency will be longer than JFK's or William Henry Harrison's.

Sarah has smarts and is a proven campaigner and a proven vote getter. More importantly SHE HAS REAL CORE BELIEFS. As a teacher I know the federal government DOES NOT SET SCHOOL curriculum any more than Arnold sets the abortion law in California. I am not a "creationist" in the sense I think -but do not know- Mrs. Palin is. I am a Catholc. I have always loved fossils -have read Darwin and have believed in evolution.

But John Paul II also believed in evolution and so did Catholic priest Teilhard de Chardin author of the PHENOMENON of MAN. But I respect the ESSENCE of the creationst view that GOD IS AN ACTOR IN OUR LIVES AND IN THE CREATION OF HUMAN LIFE ON EARTH. If evolution be true it is because God's hand made it so. He is the Great Architect the Great Designer. But in this there is much mystery. We are just at the beginning of our knowledge. We are small mortal bounded beings; God's cosmos is great. We are limited to space and time; dust we are and to dust we will return.

The universe is endless and infinite. We can know a little and we can ask more but there are so many things we will never know nor fully underdstand. The stars are shinning cheerily above and obey laws we did not make, we cannot conrol and let's be honest here we only dimly understand. Thinking is vital to human life but it never can encompass all. "Myself when young did eagerly frequent, doctor and saint and heard great argument but EVERMORE BUT EVERMORE, I can in by the same door wherein I went...I came like water and like wind I go...."

God made humans rational and free with God-given powers to search and to choose and to behave in accordance to the principles of Right and Wrong (the Natural Law). As we search for knowledge we must have awe for the mystery of our existence of the cosmos abobe and about us and of day and of night and of bandit time and of the great MYSTERY OF CREATION. And of death and what comes after as well.

God demands a proper reverence for divine transcendence and an abundant hope for divine nearness.

But the Old Book tells ust there are many diverse dreams. Truly there are many roads to Rome. Darwin may have been right about many things -and so were the writers of the Genesis who -if you pay attention- outlined correctly (did they use the fossil record?) the origins of life in the sea and then to land and then to the air.

But Social Darwinism -"root, hog or die" has had bitter and evil fruit. Darwin did not create this path himself but he did clear the way for these many horrors. And getting back to the original point, intelligent design may be closer to the truth than Darwinism and so people like Sarah Palin for sticking to their guns about the ESSENTIAL TRUTH OF GOD'S CREATION OF THE EARTH, OF THE GAlAXY of the UNIVERSE may be proved to be right in the end about THIS PART OF THEIR ARGUMENT. Not that dinosaurs co-existed with man (it appears they did not) not that genetically apes are close to mankind, not that natural selection or something like it seems to have happened for reasons we cannot yet fully explain.

But perhaps Christians are right, philosophically about a great many things. The Bible teachers us to struggle for what is right while proclaiming ONLY GOD CAN ACCOMPLISH IT. "Except for the Lord...the watchman waketh in vain..." (Ps 127).

God is one. God is the King. God is the Good Shephed. God is the Father. God is the creator and it is He who has given us life and endowed us with unalienable rights, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." As John F. Kennedy put it: "The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God."

This is the theist point of view and this is the natural rights point of view. Men are not Gods and we are one nation, under God. I believe this, Sarah Palin believes this and 80-90% of Americans believe it too. That is what really matters; not arguments about dinosaur bones and homo habilis. I personally do not believe in the classical fundamentalist view of creationism. But as a Christian I deeply respect those who do and sense that they have something there something that is very true in its essence. Far be if for me to dismiss it or them.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Sat 8/30/2008 11:13 AM


I am not kidding when I say this is the greatest thing that has happened since Gov Roosevelt TR was appointed VP. By God’s grace and wisdom he has now set her on the course to the presidency. There is now doubt about that. That challenges will be great. Enemies will be at the gate. She may have to lay down her life for her country. Her son , serving in Iraq will be the target of assassins and killers. May God save him from all harm and ill and may he come home safe and sound with victory upon his spears.

But facing firmly to the future , trusting in God, Sarah knows that here on earth God’s work is truly our own. There is a wicked spirit, hovering round us still and I see –with tears in my eyes- but darkly the trials and tribulations she is going to face.

But like here there are many more in the heartland of America and if we need to raise a thousand Gideons and 999 the unity of these United States our Great Republic and citadel of world freedom, will not fail.

Truth, and justice and freedom and mercy for the millions of innocents snuffed out by fanatics and abortion profiteers will not fail.

The Almighty has His own purposes: “woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come, but WOE TO THE MAN BY WHOM OFFENCE COMETH.” {Lincoln; 2nd Inaugural and the Old Book of course}

If may be that every drop of blood spilled by heartless women and greedy profiteer abortionists will be paid a million times more to add to the 40,000,000 already cruelly snuffed out in the silence of clear white rooms not unlike the clean tiled gas chambers of the Nazi murder machine.

As it was said on the Old Book over three thousand years ago “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.” The orgy of licentiousness and killing must stop or it will kill America –it’s called the Roe effect- as surely as if we had firing squads massacring elementary school students ON A DAILY BASIS NATION WIDE. The toll has already surpassed –SURPASSED the blood letting of the Great War and is on track to surpass the number of killed in the entire 2nd World War. This is not something small. This is not something insignificant. This is a spilling of blood and innocent lives on a monstrous scale made more sinister by its proponents comparing the right to choose to our most sacred civil rights. There is nothing sacred –NOTHING- about killing called lawful or not. It is a cause for shame. It is a cause for weeping. It is –or should be a cause for alarm. What kind of society have we become?

Such a society deserves to collapse and be wiped off the face of the earth.

Bin Laden is a grisly fascist beast but he knows ONE BIG THING: God is great and those who run their lives in complete disregard for His fundamental laws of love and mercy will not be spared in the end.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse hover near just as I write, DISEASE, WAR, FAMINE and GREEN DEATH……O ye of little faith…..who think of nothing but eating drinking and making merry…

If we do not change our ways SOCIALLY and ECONOMICALLY and educationally and morally the American people will face a terrible day of reckoning.



THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE case you don’t know your Bible….

ίππος λευκός (híppos leukós), [The] White Horse PESTILENCE and DISEASE

ίππος πυρρός (híppos purrós), [The] Fiery Red Horse WAR and its destruction and waste

ίππος μέλας (híppos mélas), [The] Black Horse FAMINE DROUGHT AND MASS STARVATION

ίππος χλωρός, θάνατος (híppos khlōrós, thánatos), [The] Pale Green Horse, [named] DEATH…

…I will never forget what my Auld Pop heard from the Bible scholar holding a rifle next to him at 2nd Ypres ( April 24, 1915) as witness to the demonic first German gas attack…
”HIPPOS KHLOROS THANATOS…HE SAID.”The Pale Green horse”…then a medical student from Glasgow University said “IT’S GAS, LADS, CHLORIINE GAS –it will burn out our eyes and lungs with HYDROCHORIC ACID! PISS IN YOUR HANKERCHIEFS MEN! Cover your mouths and keep your eyes closed and PRAY TO GOD…. The Highlanders all said “DIA (Gee-ah), have mercy on us! ”

Word went down the line quickly and the men did as they were told and held the line to the total surprise of the Germans lumbering forward in their protective gear.
Yes, all this stirs a remembrance of "the thin red line" of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders' unlikely routing of the Russian Cavalry at Balaklava and of the German strormtroopers in the Ypres Salient.

Aye, a Thin Red Line of heroes they were, men of strength, courage, loyalty and faith TO THE DEATH. I doubt if there are many if any Obama supporters who would follow HIM to the DEATH for any cause.

It must be remembered that such victories are achieved not only by extraordinary courage, but absolute trust in their leaders such as Sir Colin Campbell or Private Colin Campbell Mitchell (later Captain Mitchell of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and father of the late Col. Colin Campbell Mitchell ASH, AFRICA, ITALY, NORMANDY, GERMANY, KOREA, ADEN….) Ne obliviscaris…DO NOT FORGET.

Old Mac and Young Palin are worthy of the absolute trust of the American people.
I, for one, would follow them the gates of hell and yes I would drain my very veins for them because they represent real hope and real change and FREEDOM for my children and my children’s children and the countless millions of innocent children yet unborn. That’s a cause worthy to follow and yes, worthy to die for.



Sat 8/30/2008 6:56 AM

Her Christian faith--Palin grew up attending nondenominational Bible churches--was a minor issue in the race. She told me her faith affects her politics this way: "I believe everything happens for a purpose. In my own personal life, if I dedicated back to my Creator what I'm trying to create for the good . . . everything will turn out fine." That same concept applies to her political career, she suggested. FRED BARNES

MUNRO: Someone with core values like this will be no pushover. The Big Liberals think if you don’t have a law degree from Harvard or Yale you are a hick and a hayseed; but the people sense that the Big Liberal Elite –the Belt Way Elite- has become an entrenched almost Imperial Bureaucracy. They don’t like what they see and they fear and distrust Beltway parasites who ,by they way, they sense despise the common people and who do not hold heartland values. The rise of Palin, it seems to me, will be historic like the Phoenix like career of McCain himself-who is a true Man of the West-and TR . But in many ways Palin is MORE remarkable than Theodore Roosevelt –who was a very talented, brave and usual man. Why?

TR was wealthy from a prominent New York Dutch/Scotch family and inherited great financial security. And most people forget –I do not- that TR’s mother was a Southern Belle whose family overflowed with Southern Heroism not only in the Civil War but in the War of 1812, the Indian Wars and the American Revolution. So if you know this it is not so strange TR would be at home in the South and on the Frontier. His New Nationalism was born in his very heart.

Palin is the daughter of an elementary school teacher and the school secretary. She was on the school basketball team that won the state championship (she probably plays better than Obama) She grew up hunting Moose with her father (she is reported a crack shot and an expert fisherwoman). She did not have great wealth but she rose to prominence merely on the strength of personal courage, a strong and sincere faith, an abiding American patriotism, great personal integrity and a desire to do the right thing for the people she knows and loves and who she feels have been ignored and exploited by Big Liberal Elites of the Left and Old Boy (secular) Elites of the Right. She has trounced them both while promising the people a ‘Square Deal.” Yet she has great humility. We the people sense she knows and has drunk in the ancient wisdom of the Old Book: “Except for the Lord….the watchman waketh in vain.”

Palin’s story is a genuine American story. It is a story for our times. It has the potential to be –and I don’t think I am exaggerating- the most exciting political story since TR himself.

Things should be very interesting. I think it striking that Obama’s speech was so literarily flat. So lacking in any biblical or cultural allusions except the clichéd kind you pick up on TV. It was if I was listening to some unread kid with a sports scholarship from Grambling. That’s why I call him and not without reason, “Sportin’ Life” Obama. With him , it ‘ain’t necessarily so!! What does he believe anyway? What does he know? What has he done? No one seems to have that answer.

The Belt Way Elite will find out that there is a reserve of great talent and courage in the American heartland.

Old Abe came out of the wilderness; Sarah Baracuda, too. Her coming seems providential to millions of Americans.

Dennis Prager had tears of joy when he heard her speak. Tears of joy.

He was not alone -untold countless Americans also felt their hearts leap that finally their voices would be heard saying “LET US HOPE AND PRAY....MAC AND PALIN all the way!”

Richard K. Munro, American by choice, American teacher

Proud supporter of Mac in 2000 and in 1972 (yes we talked about him and wanted him free).

Unequivocal supporter of McCain-Palin not for me, not for my class but for the hope and strength and good of America.

Sat 8/30/2008 6:56 AM

Dear Friend: Today naysayers who know nothing about the career and character of Sarah Palin mock her. But McCain has studied her character and has obliviously been impressed. They both have similar philosophies. They both have the same favorite American presidents LINCOLN and TR. As a matter of fact Palin is a lot like TR in her courage and character.

Palin is an usual woman. She has the reputation to be as good a shot as Hemingway or TR himself.

Palin’s career of honesty and integrity is in fact Lincolnesque. Lincoln did not have great experience. He had NO executive experience and only TWO years in congress and few years as a state legislator. In fact, Obama –who has ZERO executive experience- has more experience than Lincoln.

But Palin has more experience than Obama. She has a solid record as a reformer and a populist and against the odds became the mayor of her home city, then ran for Lt. Governor with almost no money losing out only by 2000 votes. Then in 2006 she trumped the establishment Republican candidate in the primary and won overwhelmingly in the general election. She has the highest popularity rate of any sitting governor. And she has traveled and she has run small businesses.

But ultimately why did McCain pick her? Because he recognized a woman of strong character and values who believes as McCain does in the values of duty,honor, God and country. I wish her well and enthusiastically endorse her. Many young people and middle class people will support her because she is, like Lincoln was, a woman of the people. New York won’t care for her but I am certain the heartland will embrace Sarah Palin with great enthusiasm and affection. And why not?

She is one of us. God bless America! No one will runaway with THIS election. Obama-Biden will find McCain-Palin to be very competitive especially where it counts in battleground states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Nevada, and Michigan. There’s much more to American than New York and San Francisco

MAC and Palin are great….all the way in ’08!

Richard K. Munro

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Without Chaput the Democrats are Kaput Again:MCCAIN FOR PRESIDENT

There are years that are watershed years, intellectually and politically. 1968 was a watershed year; American politics and the Democratic party would never be the same. All my life I have loved the classics and writers of the Enlightenment and one of the reasons is THESE AUTHORS and THINKERS have not had their thought CONTAMINATED BY HEGALIAN OR MARXIAN THINKING. Marx, of course, was in is words “openly avowed himself the pupil of that mighty thinker” Hegel.

The Hegelian dialectic is very clean and logical. The process towards the ABSOLUTE IDEA is a series of UNCONTROLABLE CHANGES caused the dynamics of his dialectic.
Thesis is opposed by antithesis and this struggle forms a new synthesis which in turn becomes a thesis which is opposed by a new antithesis and so on indefinitely. Because every synthesis is the thesis of a new dialectic SOCIAL CHANGE is inevitable. This change of course will lead mankind to progress in history until we reach the “ABSOLUTE IDEA”, ultimate synthesis that will give rise to no antithesis. This is mostly if not all German philosophical humbug, in my humble opinion.

From this view of history Marx developed his “dialectical materialism” that is to say FEUDALISM gradually replaced by bourgeoisie elites who in synthesis create a new system (Capitalism) which create the oppressed and alienated proletarian class which will cause a REVOLUTION (synthesis) of a perfect world order in which human needs are put over mere individual profits. The ultimate synthesis is ‘that golden future time” in which Communism reigns and the ‘state will wither away.”

The later is certainly one of the most stupid and obviously false of many of Marx’s stupid intellectual “castles in the air”. Marx felt that the WHOLE of human history is a class struggle and the story of human labor. To him Capitalism is evil and prevents men from reaching their full potential as determining beings (quite ironic really when it is Socialism/Communism which DESTROYS TO THE ROOT the ability of individuals to develop their talents and reaching their full potential).

A major criticism of Marx must be his notion of INEVITABLITY that class differences INEVITABLY will lead to conflict resulting in a new world order. For one thing if this theory were true then we should have seen the rise of Communism is Britain and the USA for example not in backwaters like Cuba, Russia (and previously China). Marx spreads the unhappy lie that workers in a capitalistic society are “deceived” when they think they are free because in fact they embrace a false consciousness which hides the fact that the workers are “slaves” of the “Bosses” or “Owners”. Workers who believe in social mobility will find that this is all an illusion so eventually they will turn on the Bosses. This laboring class or proletariat will become ‘class conscious” and struggle for control with the Boss class or bourgeoisie. In their struggle of course the proletariat will overcome and confiscate (or abolish to use Marx’s euphemism) private property. .In order for Socialism to triumph of course all traces of bourgeois society must be exterminated and a ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ is of course just a temporary necessary inconvenience. What will be the duration of this dictatorship and its cleansing of society of its “exploiting class”? Marx does not say but he does say that once a classless society in achieved the state will wither away. There will be no need for an army or police and presumably the ‘beasts of England, beasts of Ireland, beasts of every land and clime …{will know} the Golden Future time.”

I know I have only a primitive ‘ape-brain’ and I don’t ever pretend to understand the loft philosophy of Hegel and the lofty political theory of Marx but I say is it possible to understand?

That is to say can their philosophies be reconciled with REALITY , HISTORY and MANKIND as I understand it?

There the answer has to be a resounding no.

There is such a thing as continuity and I will fight for the preservation of the essential things all my life. What are these essential things that know NO SYNTHESIS?

MARRIAGE, FAMILY, FAITH (religion), MORALITY (right and wrong), JUSTICE, COURAGE, INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS including PROPERTY. Show me a man without means, without property , without a job and you have a slave or serf. A man can only be free if he is able to pick himself up and go elsewhere TOMORROW and start all over again. You have to be able to vote with your feet. If you have nothing your choices are effectively foreclosed. This is why the people of Cuba are essential slaves and serfs and also the occupants of public housing in Glasgow (60%). The saddest thing about Scotland to me is that with each day that passes it is less of a free country. It matters not who is in charge if all the people are drunken oafs and serfs of the Bold State. Unemployment is high but they cannot even find enough fit volunteers to man a single Regiment. They have to enlist Welsh Muslims and Fiji Islanders. (over 10% of their force).

Acton recognized Hegel to be an enemy of freedom and I would add that Marx is too every bit and more so than Hitler. Hitler and Mussolini both were cancerous growths from the parasitic vine of Socialism; I think it clear that without Lenin and Stalin and the rise of totalitarian communism , fascism could not have come into existence . The doctrines of racial determinism and class determinism deny free will (which exists), deny individual responsibility (we all must take charge of our lives) and supplant morals and individual choice with COERCION, UNIFORMITY and PHYSICAL FORCE. Yes, the blood is strong; race (heredity) counts for something but the teaching is strong too. Ultimately determinism –either racial or socialistic- diminished the importance of individual choice and freedom and so is a denial of freedom itself. The most successful dictators (each succeedingly worse Sulla, Octavian, Nero, Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Mao, Castro, Saddam Hussein and now Chavez were the most criminal. Let us not deceive ourselves Castro is and always has been the enemy of liberty and the United States and Chavez is and always will be the enemy of liberty and the USA. (all the more reason we should liquefy coal and build nuclear plants like mad but that is another story).

The premises of both Hegel and Marx are false and flawed. Let’s just talk about Marx for instance.

I find his analysis of history bizarre. Marx pretends that democracy and freedom never existed previously. He dismisses Christianity as a positive force in history AGAINST SLAVERY, AGAINST SELFISHNESS, AGAINST EXCESSIVE MATERIALISM and FOR the common good and for the moral equality of women and the poor.

By embracing ‘determinism’ and inevitability the story of the struggle for freedom as embodied in the stories of Marathon, Thermopylae , Wallace, Washington etc. are meaningless.

One thing that strikes me is that according to Marx I , since I am descended from the working class of Britain, must be an ardent Socialist. or even perhaps an ardent Capitalist. Now I have no objection, really to calling myself a capitalist IN ECONOMICS but on a daily basis I do not think in those terms. Capitalism or free enterprise is only one part of my world view. If I lived on a desert island I could live –if I had the basic things of life- without Capitalism. When I pray I do not think of Capitalism. When I think of education I do not think of capitalism. When I sing I do not think of capitalism. Capitalism is not my chief delight and interest. Perhaps this is why I am poor and altruistic. But I believe my relative poverty has its virtues. It shields me from selfish superficial types and my own children are less likely to be spoiled. They have to work hard to get ahead and pass AP exams because I am too poor to pay for their higher education. This challenge will make them more self-sufficient and stronger.

I learned about Socialism first hand from my father and grandfather who were in a very real sense refugees from the Red Clyde. Why did my father and grandfather ultimately reject Socialism and why do I condemn it and fear it? They rejected it and I reject because they recognized the totalitarian temptation that is inevitable with Socialism. Socialism can only triumph through the tyranny of bureaucracy and the Bold State and in fact the truth is PERFIDIOUS Socialism is the worst enemy freedom has ever encountered. Far worse than “Longshanks” the tyrannical monarch of England, far worse than Nero the anti-Christ and far worse than Darius or Xerxes and far worse than the Pharaohs of Egypt.

The truth is Socialism can be achieved only by the bullying and the wearing down of individual distinction, identity and property via the DESPOTISM OF THE LAW and the BOLD STATE..

If Socialism fulfills what is promises –and of course it has never been able to deliver- we would have the individual crushed beneath the wheel. For ultimately Socialism (the Bold State) uses its power to coerce obedience.

To me freedom cannot be separated from my individual economic security. I have a right not to be robbed by my neighbor but I also have a right NOT TO BE ROBBED BY MONSTER called the BOLD STATE. In my lifetime the State has done me much more harm than any individual. Big Liberals (the Democrats of today ) are Bold State Persons and they forget if they ever knew that “POWER TENDS TO CORRUPT and ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY.”

I have come to hate Democrats (but I remain skeptical about Republicans as well) primarily because Big Liberals have no reverence for God, for the roots of American order, for our ancient heritage. I hate them because they teach an insane moral relativism and Affirmative Action Quota mentality which teaches that Toni Morrison and Amy Tan are equal in interest and importance as Shakespeare , Dante, Homer or Cervantes.

There was an article by a prominent Democrat in the WSJ today, “How the Election of 1968 Reshaped the Democratic Party” by Ted Van Dyk. Of course, Van Dyk is correct that the 1960 (JFK) "Kennedy coalition" as he calls it –really the 1932 FDR coalition- “is still what it takes to win.” Dyk is right that something went wrong in 1968-1972 when middle-American democrats began abandoning the Democratic party or feeling instead that the Democratic party had been hijacked by Quota Mongers and Special Interests. This is not a small point but a big point. Allowing 10% of Democrats to brink a minority plank to the general convention floor ABJURED minority groups and factions from having to make coalitions and compromises to get SOME of their agenda across.

Van Dyk of course is wrong when he says there are two Democratic parties. There WERE two parties. One was middle class, socially conservative, patriotic, nationalist (heavily Catholic, pragmatic ‘bread and butter Democrats and then there is the other Democratic party the Big Liberal Eggheads (University Academics), better educated, higher income socially liberal –I would say anarchic and far left- Democratic party. The first party –people still speak of it as “Henry Jackson Democrats’ –I considered myself a Henry Jackson Democrat- but that is like calling oneself a Jacobite or a follower of the Clan of the Cave Bear because the Henry Jackson Democratic party they party of Joe Lieberman and Moynihan is dead.

Jackson is dead, Moynihan is dead (and Bella Abzug won in the end in the person of Hillary Clinton) and Joe Lieberman was kicked out of the Democratic party by the same forces which denied Hillary the nomination that is to say by a rigged UNDEMOCRATIC SYSTEM of quotas and bizarre percentages which exaggerates the importance of heavily Democratic districts and heavily Black districts. If the Democratic primaries had been winner take all then Hillary would have won and won easily. She lost because Obama gamed the system. He didn’t HAVE TO WIN ANY BIG STATES. He just had to split the big ones and get 40% or 45% of the delegates and sweep small caucus and primary states where Hillary the Dinosaur didn’t run an effective campaign. Even in Texas, where Hillary WON THE POPULAR VOTE, Obama got, incredibly more than 50% of the delegates.

Now I am not saying that my personal opinion matters a hill of beans to the Democrats or anyone else but I am sure of one thing. I was raised in a strongly pro-Democratic (but strongly anti-Socialist and anti-Communist ) family but now I have come to view the Democratic party as the enemy and I mean the enemy of most of what I love and cherish. Even Mr. Van Dyk says “Will Obama , at the upcoming Democratic convention in Denver, be able to bring the Reagan Democrats home? I am not counting on it “ (he says). I think Van Dyk is right. The Democrats , the party of factions will self-destruct on a national level. They are simply not united enough or nationalist enough to appeal to the entire nation. They think they are unbeatable in New York and San Francisco and they are but that is really a disadvantage. Red State America distrusts San Francisco and New York Democrats. I know because even though I live in a Blue State I live in the Western most edge of the Bible belt. Bakersfield has strong ties to Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Texas, Arkansas , Oklahoma and Tennessee. So the Democrats think opposing prop 8 will have no regional or national effect BUT THEY ARE DEAD WRONG. It is possible that the judges and the Attorney General (by changing the wording of the proposition in an immoral and I believe undemocratic way) may swindle the California electoral but it will be at the price of losing a dozen or more Red States who are mobilizing as I speak to oppose Gay Marriage to the end. The consensus FOR marriage is much stronger than the consensus for birth control and abortion (reproductive rights). Many American women (even cafeteria Catholics) embrace artificial birth control and the right to have an abortion but these same women think that wiping out traditional marriage IS BAD VERY BAD FOR WOMEN. And they are right. Marriage, monogamous marriage has ALWAYS PROTECTED WOMEN and CHILDREN and given married women a special honored status and greater security. If you destroy traditional marriage you destroy that. And also, in my view once you embrace so-called Gay Marriage- you have opened a Pandora’s box. I don’t see how you can –in the long term- block polygamy and incest. Daughters will marry their fathers if for nothing else to get his health insurance and the lifetime benefit of his pension. Why not? If my father could have married my sister she would be set for life now with a lifetime benefit of his pension. If you allow any sort of marriage the protection of children , the solvency of pension plans and the transfer of property will be in a state of chaos. Already Gay marriage promises flurries of law suits. All wasted effort , time and money only so a selfish faction can play act at marriage. Others are afraid to say what they think I am not.

Van Dyk says the ‘Democratic party is still filled with single-issue single interest and social issue “ factions (a word I use not him). He seems afraid to say WHO these groups are. He mentions abortion once but multiculturalism, militant Sangerite feminism, not at all. He does not even mention that the Democrats are not inviting the HIGHEST RANKING CATHOLIC LEADER IN THE STATE OF COLORADO. Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. This would have been unheard of at Democratic conventions in 1876-through 1964. Of course the Democrats remember Los Angeles in 2000 when the Democratic delegates almost en masse BOOED Bishop Mahoney. Chaput is anathema to liberal Democrats and radical Feminists (Sangerites) because he is pro-family and pro-life. Sure the Democrats will find a few cafeteria Catholics –some very old ones like Biden- and some Episcopalians and maybe even a few liberal Orthodox Bishops so they can pretend all is well. They will even scrape the bottom of the barrel and find a Marine Corps color guard and maybe some Boy Scouts (the Boy Scouts ALSO were booed at the 2000 Democratic convention. But most Scout leaders will be at the Republican convention and –something unheard of in 1964 or 1968- Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics will be very prominent as well at the Republican convention. So let me say it : without Chaput the Democrats are KAPUT. The Democrats deceived themselves that a pro-Choice adulterous Catholic married to a non-Catholic like Kerry would win them Catholic votes; now they deceive themselves that an Old Guard Big Liberal Cafeteria Catholic will win them votes WHILE THEY INSULT one of America’s most distinguished Catholic leaders and the HIGHEST RANKING (Indian/Native American ) leader. Chaput is no reactionary. He is a Franciscan monk who had taken seriously his vows of poverty and he has very serious social justice credentials. He is no libertarian Republican who says “pay the soldiers and forget the rest.”

FROM THE AUSTALIAN (August 23, 2008; see “OBAMA’S FETAL MISTAKE” in the Australian,25197,24225530-5013948,00.html

**Democratic convention in Denver next week, he must be wondering how best to deal with a book that Charles Chaput, Denver's high-profile Catholic archbishop, has just published: Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life.
Chaput is a Native American of the Potawatomi tribe and a Franciscan monk with serious social justice credentials. He is not partisan in a political sense. Nonetheless he's long been one of the most uncompromising members of the hierarchy in insisting that politicians who call themselves Catholics and trade on it to get themselves elected need to be mindful of the church's teaching when framing public policy. In 2004 he argued that Kerry, as an avowedly pro-abortion candidate for the presidency, should have been denied communion. No doubt he will be saying the same thing about Obama's running mate if he describes himself as a pro-choice Catholic. Three mooted contenders this week, Governor Tim Kaine and senators Joe Biden and Jack Reed, all fall in that category.
As the book's title suggests, Chaput covers the whole field, from life politics to wage justice in the US, environmental issues and aid to the Third World. Considering America's political class, he says that more than 150 members of Congress call themselves Catholics and wonders, "What difference do they make?" His conclusion is just the kind of rallying call the Obama campaign team has been dreading in recent weeks. "We need to take a much tougher and more self-critical look at ourselves as believers; at the issues underlying today's erosion of Catholic identity and at the wholesale assimilation - absorption might be a better word - of Catholics by American culture."***

See also I talk to Democrats all the time. To them Catholic culture does not exist.

I hate Bold State Liberalism (what the Democrats are today –Social Democrats) because it is murder machine of the individual and the family and of religion. So it defines itself, so it proclaims itself so it is organized (not by individual merit but by special interest and aggrieved special interest groups). To the Big Liberal social-Democrats of today, tradition, custom, religion are not important at all. Liberalism in the USA today is a misnomer because it is not liberal at all but only a bundle of cruel ideologies of victimhood and revenge and prejudices. The essence of PC thought idol worship and ideology which frees individuals FROM THE DUTY OF INDEPENDENT THOUGHT. Marx said there was no God, so did Nietzsche, so did the anonymous Fool of the Bible, Darwinists, social and otherwise believe science has proved there is no God which is as foolish as saying calculus can prove what is love, what is faith, what is courage and chemistry can prove the purity of a man’s word or the truth of his loyalty or love.

But I would say that history is against them. What has survived is not FORCE but FAITH and FREEDOM. There are permanent things.

In my view limitation is essential to both liberty and authority. Government must be limited and only a limited government can be legitimate.

Liberty is not and cannot be achieved by coercion. No, liberty consists of the division of power and free choice.

Education at its best is ultimately about free choice. I tell my student they choose how much they will learn or how much they will study. THEY HAVE TO CHOOSE because it IS FOR THEM. And I emphasize that only if they BELIEVE in the POWER OF EDUCATION to transform their lives will they become enthusiastic. I can keep tabs on them during class but ultimately what they do in their little heads IS THEIR CHOICE. I invite my students to learn. It is my job to teach them to WISH FOR EDUCATION AND WISH FOR LIBERTY TO UNDERSTAND THEM AND BE CAPABLE OF BOTH. Liberty and love of learning are in fact very contagious. To fall in love with literature, etymology, language, history, political science. To respect religion (in my private life I am a Sunday school catechist).

Words, books and religion are not dead things but are wriggling with life! They are the exciting and mysterious TOKENS OF HUMAN THOUGHT TODAY AND THROUGHOUT THE AGES. Like human beings they are born, they grow to maturity, grow old and die but sometimes they are re-born because knowledge and faith can be passed down from generation to generation.

There is no synthesis. That is just Hegelian hogwash and humbug. Never forget the Hun gave us Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Prussian Militarism and Nazism.

Essential truths carry on from generation to generation. As the Gael sang to his beloved from whom he would be separated for years and perhaps forever –“castles are sacked in war , chieftains are scattered far, BUT TRUTH IS A FIX-ed STAR…”!

I do not trust German philosophers and I mean GERMAN philosophers who tell me that LIBERTY and FREEDOM do not exist and never did exist and that LOVE does not exist and never did exist and that FAITH and DEVOTION do not exist and never did exist and that the individual counts for nothing and is just a stick upon a string. That’s just German philosophical humbug.

My son’s college professors say people like me are foolish because the Republican party is the party of the rich and we are not rich (yet ironically of course Big Money is supporting the Democrats in a big way.). Of course, I consider myself to be a small r republican and a small d democrat and a capital I Independent. I am only registered as a Republican since 2000 and I did so for only one reason: I wanted to be able to vote in the presidential primary for John McCain.

So in my small way I contributed to McCain’s rise –he had strong support in California and other places among independents.

My identity as an individual is as a Christian in the Roman Catholic tradition, as a Munro that is to say as a free Gael bydan free, and as an American who served his country of choice in the US Marines and who believes in the proposition that all men are created equal and that we are a nation ‘under God’ by which I understand our nation was built upon the natural rights philosophy that there are essential freedoms and rights such as LIFE, LIBERTY and PROPERTY (so Locke says as so says the constitution); I understand the ‘pursuit of happiness’ to mean the right of individuals to choose how they will live and how they will educated themselves and their children in their private lives or domain.

Marx is also wrong to think that religion is an opiate that that proletarians will necessarily be atheists and materialists. I think the 20th and 21st century has proved otherwise. Most major religions enjoy the prerogative of PERPETUAL YOUTH while philosophical systems come and go rarely lasting a generation or so. Indeed, I would say for most people in America Marx and Hegel are non-entities.
But Jesus of Nazareth, Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln are not. Most Americans have a very good sense of the beliefs and ideas of these men WHOSE LEGACY THEY TRUST.

Most Americans do not TRUST the legacy of Marx and all his communist spawn AND THEY ARE RIGHT because communism means the destruction of the individual, the destruction of private life, the destruction of private and public religion and above all the exterminator of happy families and happy individuals. Small nations have a right to be free and by God so do small entities like families.
Americans want justice but are wary of a Bold State (Big Government) which promises everything at the price of their freedom. This is why I think, in the end, the American people will be scunnered by Obama-Biden and go for McCain. If McCain is wise he will pick Sarah Palin –who like Chaput also has Native American ties (all of her five children are part Native American). If McCain picks a woman the Reagan/Hillary Democrats will flock to him and abandon Obama/Biden in droves. By picking a Dinosaur Democrat Obama has sealed his fate.

RICHARD K. MUNRO August 23, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The chorus of voices is stilled now...Remembering the Ants

Captain Arthur Henderson, 2nd Battalion, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders won the VC on 23 April 1917 near Fontaine-les-Croiselles in France. Although wounded in the left arm, he led his company through the enemy front line and then proceeded to consolidate his position, which owing to heavy fire and bombing attacks was in danger of becoming isolated. He was killed soon afterwards.

This village, today known as St. Juliaan, can be found a little to the north-east of Ypres, on the N313. Here and at nearby Langemarck was where, in the words of Hutchinson, "the tiny army of seven Divisions of 1914 stood it's ground before the pick of the world's greatest military force". The village was however taken by the Germans during their attack using gas for the first time on the 24th of April 1915, and then they held it for two years. It was only recaptured during Third Ypres, when it was taken on the first day (31st of July 1917) by the 13th Royal Sussex.

Some graves always catch your eye in any cemetery, and here the inscription on the memorial stone for Corporal Benjamin Anderson is "He was ours & we'll remember. From widow and children". A short but heartfelt inscription, and the CWGC website records that his widow was Jeanie Anderson of Caledonian Crescent, Edinburgh. The inscription on Private George Tait's grave reads "Home is not home since you are not there. By his mother." It is impossible to read these inscriptions and not think about the grief that lay behind them, and the hours spent in searching for the way to honour the loss of a husband or a son in a dozen words or less.


John McCrae

John McCrae was a Canadian, born in Ontario in 1871, who qualified in medicine at Toronto in 1898. He enlisted when the Boer War broke out in 1899, and served with the Artillery during that war. From 1901 until 1914, he practiced as a doctor in Canada and in England. On the outbreak of the First World War, he enlisted within the first few weeks, was sent overseas in September 1914, again with the Canadian Field Artillery. Whilst stationed at Essex Farm, in May 1915 he was moved to write the famous poem "In Flanders Fields". This was after one of his friends, Alexis Helmer, was killed and buried. Seeing the poppies blow around the graves led to the best known image of this poem. "In Flanders Fields" was published for the first time in Punch in December that year, and has since come to encapsulate the sacrifice of those who fought. Helmer's grave cannot be found in the Cemetery; it was lost later on in the War, and he is commemorated on the Menin Gate.

I remember the Ants- the men of Company A originally the 3rd Batallion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders -all volunteers -of August 1914 -who were transferred to reinforce the the First Batallion in Ypres in January 1915. They -and the men of the Black Watch and the Highland Light Infantry who fought by their side -were the heroes of the Ypres Salient.

I met an old Manxman about thirty years ago –he was a veteran of the Struma Valley- and he said I was the spitting image of Shalako Tommy in size in voice in appearance. Shalako Tommy of course was my grandfather and a fighting comrade with the famous soldier much more famous than my Auld Pop Colin Campbell Mtichell (Military Cross 2nd Ypres) , the father of Mad Mitch (Col of the Argylls in Aden)

He was called Shalako because he was a scout and stalker who led the infiltration of enemy strong points. (the best tactic was to infiltrate with a few crack shots who used precise rifle fire and grenades from camouflaged positions WITHIN and BEHIND the German lines. It was very dangerous because unless there was a break through you would run of ammunition and be killed or captured.

But it gave the men a tremendous espirt in attack because they were going forward to relieve 20 or so of their comrades. They used to paint their faces black and hide among the dead soldiers whose skin turned black in death. Sometimes they would just cut the throats of German NCO’s at night before the attack without a shot and of course the effect was completely demoralizing to the young German recruits some who were as young as 15 or 16. But it was war and there was no hesitation in killing the Hun on neutral Belgian soil –guaranteed by German treaty. Holding on to Belgian soil became almost a holy mission. It all seems senseless now but that generation felt that if the Germans took the channel ports France and Britain would fall.

The Germans feared the Highlanders –they were more than their match and of course the Turks and Bulgarians were crushed by such aggressive tactics which seemed to be a mix of hunting and primitive warfare as much as anything. But that is how they held the Ypres Salient by courageous counter attacks against a foe that outnumbered them often three and four to one. But as long as you could get ammunition or they could resupply from supply dumps previously hidden in retreat or supply themselves from the dead –they were formidable. They quite literally were do or die soldiers. True die hards. And their sons were at Dunkirk , Al Alamein ,Guadalcanal and Bastogne and they were no sae bad either. NE OBLIVISCARIS DO NOT FORGET.

Everyone knew the Old Guard of the First Battalion who had enlisted in 1914. Not a single Junior Officer or NCO of 1914-1915 survived to see the Struma Valley and in 1917 my Auld Pop was Auld Pops to the men –after all he was almost 33 years old and the oldest serving soldier of the lot.

I met that Manxman in 1980 I think and he was the last WWI veteran I ever met. We had a drink, walked around the Menin Gate, went to Black Watch Corner and Ypres and had dinner together. He told me he would see me at sundown. He was making his last pilgrimage to the Salient and almost didn’t want to go because it had become so lonely for him but he told me the last time was the best because he met the grandson of Shalako Tommy, Chang Dhost and had heard news of the Auld Comrades. I wrote to him but he never answered. Sure he was near the end of his days. But I am glad I met him and I am proud to have known so many veterans from WWI and WWII and Vietnam and Korea. When I was in the Marines I had one DI who had been in the Marines since 1951 -35 years- all the other men I served with or under were combat veterans of Vietnam. I was of course just an ice cream Marine what Auld Pop would call “a tin-solger wi’ white starched pants and white gloves”. But I served (unlike Kronman and his 60’s generation)

It is quite true that I am the only male of my line in my generation (I have two sisters and six first cousins all female) and it is true that I am the last to speak the old tongue of CIOCH MHOR where my grandfather was born in the Highlands in the true Gaeltacht -in1886 –uninhabited since 1920.

I am the last to remember the ANTS –the men of Company A Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who held the Ypres Salient in 1915- all volunteers and all civilian soldiers. I knew a few of them myself. They are all gone now.

I am the first of our American line but the last Munro in history to remember the stories and the people of the Glen of Truimisgarry and the clachan of Chioch Mhor. The were always to first to follow the chief and every man marched out in the night all night to save Mary Queen of Scots from her English bought enemies. Clad in Gold she was our young Mary and we were there but now we are all gone every last one gone to Canada, the USA, New Zealand and Australia.

My great –grandfather Jos Munro (Jos M’anrothaiche) was the only one of his eight brothers and sisters not to emigrate and even he died in New York in 1937 for he had no family left in Scotland.

I do not forget –no I never will- but I face firmly towards the future and in that future there is no Scotland for me or any of my race or line.

But all is left now August 16, 2008 is the ghost of the chorus now stilled forever around the Hamilton upright and the memory of the old songs –fine songs for singing rare songs to hear –that only I remember and few ask for them now and fewer yet remember them at all.

So in the end the only Scotland there will be for me is in a pile of song books and old photographs and some small memorabilia –an ancient Gaelic bible –it must date to the middle of the 19th century- a missal in Latin and English dating from 1923 –it was my father’s –small books of Kipling and Burns with blood stains and mud stains of Ypres and the Struma Valley –a 1918 half crown carried in my Auld Pop’s left pocket –it was their custom to keep a bible with a silver half crown just in front of the heart and to put a new one there ever New Year’s but that was the last one.

There is a gold watch that belonged to Major MacKenzie his widow sent it to my grandfather after Armistice Day 1918. (Major Mackenzie was killed that fall in France after having invalided out of the service; he reenlisted to lead a new battalion of young recruits there were no officers left,,,even now I weep for Mrs. MacKenzie and her long years of widowhood. She lived on until the 1970’s as my grandmother lived on a widow until the 1980’s (my mother’s mother).. There are some trench candles. There are some gold coins and silver dollars from the USA 1921-1935, But physically that is is.

But we are still here and I like to think that something always remains.

I have done my best to pass on what I know of our Splendid Ancient Heritage: Bydan Free FOREVER FREE and DREADING GOD as in the days of yore. The sons and daughters of my race and line will not have a single syllable of our ancient treasures of song but I pray that OUR HOLY FAITH and OUR STRONG DESIRE and BRAVE HEARTS FOR FREEDOM will never die and that the COLORS WILL NOT EVER BE STRUCK in my time. And education has not come to an end not by a long shot.

But then the truest education is in the home not the school. We ought not to trust too much in schools and colleges. I warn my parents constantly that many universities are indeed enemy institutions and they must beware. I tell them the truth as I see it and they are glad for it.

Without the love of the hearth and without the women of the house and without the Auld Pops there is no reason to get any schooling. Nothing to remember. Nothing to believe in. Nothing to truly love. Perhaps no identity at all. No pride of name, of heritage or faith.

No reason to have a future. No reason to do anything but eat drink and be merry till it all falls doon like BY THE WATERS OF BABYLON.

Big liberalism and Secular Humanism dud in the mud ‘free love sex’ is not the answer unless you want to commit societal suicide.

No, I will carry on as I have….

AYE BYDAN FREE. And we shall see you at sundown....Aye!

A Classic for the Ages???? Kronman's Education's End

A classic for the ages????

Perhaps you have heard of or read Education’s End by Kronman a Yale law school professor.

I just saw Charles Murray on booknotes interviewing him and found it interesting and worthwhile. However, I was taken aback when Murray said that THIS book EDUCATION’S END was the greatest book on higher education written in the last 100 years!

Perhaps, I am wrong but though I liked the book (I read it last summer) and thought it was good and valuable and worth reading and studying I did not catch fire with enthusiasm when I read the book.

It is a book that I will refer to in the future but not a book I will re-read and STUDY THE REST OF MY life. Kronman’s analysis of the "modern research ideal" is, I think correct. But the first half of the book in particular is wordy and repetitive and not particularly well-written, in my humble opinion.

This is a good book but not in the first rank. I would give it a B or B+ at the most.

Mind you I read it with eagerness and will re-read it again this weekend, especially the final chapter which is the best part of the book.

I am aware –and I thought of this as I read it- that I have a prejudice against him because he was a noble Big Liberal of the 60’s who no longer is as much to the Left as he was . He is right that Globalization IS WESTERNIZATION and I agree with him on the Western Origins of human rights, democracy and the Great Conversation.

But other say it better than he.

The best part of the book is the insight it gives to me –as an outsider- what the Liberal Yale elite thinks is great –he pats himself and Yale on the back constantly. I agree with him that there is an educational crisis in higher education. I know this from first hand.

But it is enough for me to know that there is a crisis in American education.

The other was my quixotic attacks on the ENTIRE TEACHING ESTABLISHMENT during prop 227 leading to my debating Krashen the Great teacher of English and Languages (he has almost zero knowledge of any foreign language). My biggest problem with all of them is that they were teaching PROPAGANDA and INDOCTRINATION –orthodox bilingual education- not truly educating the teachers. And they obfuscated what they really were pushing for –Late Exit “Native Language Instruction” k-12 ! , Spanish language and Chinese language testing and alternative NON-ENGLISH NATIVE LANGUAGE INSTRUCITON across the core curriculum.

It was amazing to me that to this day not a SINGLE PROFESSOR OF TEACHER ED and NOT A SINGLE SUPERINTENDANT NOT A SINGLE MAJOR ELECTED OFFICIAL not one –not the Republicans and not the Democrats even said PEEP about what was going on.

It took people like me, Lenin Lopez of the 9th street School, Gloria Matta (like me a classroom teacher) and Ron Unz (the son of a teacher) and Jaime Escalante (though he took no part in the campaign except to lend his name to it whether this was for health reasons or political reasons I don’t know but at least he had to guts to give his name to 227 though he made no recordings.

To some people I was a hero (maybe to you perhaps and to my wife and to some of my students) and I am lucky to be in the Kern HS District where what I did and what I stand for is esteemed and remembered (that’s why I have my job at West High it is not a mistake that the Principal and VP had ties to the old Arvin establishment prior to B E and knew EXACTLY what I did and what I stood for.

Ideologically we believe in the importance of English Medium education. And of course the CAHSEE has made it all moot. Those stuck in Bilingual Ed are doomed. English Immersion is the modus operandi now. Rosalie Porter did that. GLorai Matta did that. Lenin Lopez did that. I did that. We all did it. And we were so few and as I said basically it was parents and students and classroom teachers against the whole educational establishment.

LEFT BACK is a superior book BECAUSE IT IS MUCH BETTER WRITTEN, EDITED AND RESEARCHED. I am sorry to say Professor Kronman is clever and learned but I got the impression he just tossed this book off. I know what good writing is and ‘he who writes a living line must sweat.’ I did not see that kind of effort NOR did I see a really rich array of quotations and allusions that I see in your books, Barzun’s books, Highet’s books, Hirsch’s books or Bloom’s books. I don’t know that much about Professor Kronman’s background but it is obvious to me that he doesn’t read any language other than English. I don’t think there was a single foreign language quote or translation made by him. From what I read Kronman’s background was obviously philosophy, liberal Democrat politics and the law but that’s it.

He praised the Great Books program at Columbia and Yale but it seems to me that St. Thomas Aquinas or St. John’s College in Santa Fe or Hillsdale College are vastly superior to the somewhat thinned out “Great Books” programs at Columbia and Yale. I like the Yale list BUT I thought there were major omissions. Yes there is the City of God by Augustine but no CONFESSIONS. This is not only a great book historically but it is a great autobiography. I think there is only one reasons it was left out and you know that reason. History and politics to read Polybius and leave out Plutarch, Xenophon and Caesar. Polybius is an interesting source and has an interesting view point BUT to have him on the list and skip over Cicero (the greatest prose writer of Rome and essential for philosophy, politics, literature and history plus the others is I think a week choice. Also there is no question in my mind that St. Patrick’s letter to Coroticus is vital in the HISTORY OF HUMAN RIGHTS -it is one of he earliest and most complete natural rights attack on the immorality of SLAVERY. Not to mention it is ignorant or merely prejudiced. There can be only one reason it is not listed. But other than that his Philosophy section was strong the best of Plato, and Aristotle plus Aquinas and Augustine’s On Free Choice of the will.

Literature has Shakespeare’s Sonnets (selections), King Lear, Cervante’s Don Quixote, Milton’s Paradise lost, some poets Blake, Wordsworth, Goethe, Eliot (the Wasteland) Flaubert’s Madam Bovary, Dostoevsky’s Brother’s Karamanzov.

Of the Russians I would have picked Tolstoy and not to pick Calderon de la Barca is a mistake. I suppose they presume Yalies have read Romeo and Juliet and MacBeth and Hamlet and perhaps Julius Caesar. For myself I would follow my father’s advice :DO NOT READ KING LEAR (except excerpts) until you have read or watched the Shakespeare Core: Othello,Henry V, Richard III, The Merchant of Venice, The Taming o the Shrew, Twelfth Night and the plays I have mentioned. King Lear like Moby Dick is a classic but is best appreciated by someone 40 or 50 years old who has a great knowledge of life and literature and Shakespeare.

History and Politics Burke, Machiavelli, The Federalist Papers Locke, Hobbles, Luther, Tocqueville, Mill, Emerson, yes but no Thomas Moore, No Lincoln Douglas debates (instead they have SEVERAL WORKS by Marx, Nietzche, and Hannarh Arendt (the last one is OK) but no Lord Action? No Thomas Jefferson? Of course I think no course would be complete without Adam Smith and Adam Fergusson but perhaps I am prejudiced myself here. More philosophy again and these are the best selections though I have little stomach for Hume, Nietzsche.and Wittgenstein.

But over all I think it is top heavy on philosophy as opposed to poetry –very weak in drama and very weak in Spanish, French and Italian literature. No Tartuffe by Moliere? Almost no Dante? Not a single Spanish poet or dramatist? And of course not a single Irish, Scottish or Welsh author! Once again I may be prejudiced in this matter. Perhaps there is no Scottish novelist close to Cervantes or even Dostoevsky but the list of Irish novelists and writers of fiction is so long and so outstanding that this total omission is to me incredible. Johnathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce , C.S. Lewis, Samuel Beckett, -and I am leaving out personal favorites who are not really in the first rank but who are charming such as Padric Colum, Peig Sayers.

Welsh writer Ken Follett is known mostly for his thrillers (which are splendid) but PILLARS OF THE EARTH and WORLD WITHOUT END are, in my opinion, among the greatest historical novels ever written. They are on par with the best of Walter Scott or Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. They are that good.

Then there are many Scottish novelists I like but would not rate in the first rank but of whom I am fond – Helen MacInnes( Highet’s wife), Compton MacKenzie, Conan Doyle, George MacDonald, Neil Munro, FIonn MacColla, Iain Crichton Smith, John Buchan (39 Steps), A J Cronin, Allan Massie, ) Perhaps you want to leave out Walter Scott but then I have at least four who rank very high indeed: 1)Robert Louis Stevenson both as a poet and novelist. Borges considered him as great as any Spanish poet or novelists with the exception of Cervantes. Nabokov –that great author in his own right and critic of Cervantes felt the same way. So did Kipling. So did Ernest Hemingway. I found it shocking when I was in college that Stevenson was entirely excluded from the Norton Anthology (and Burns almost totally excluded). I think he is a peer to Joseph Conrad and Kipling (both not even mentioned on the Yale list!!!!) Stevenson’s prose and poetry are among the highest in quality. If nothing survived but Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde plus a dozen of his poems he still would be ranked among the greatest literary genius of all time . Kidnapped is not a child’s book; it is one of the wisest books I have ever read about the doomed 1745 uprising and the virtues and character and tragic failings of Highland Scots. Even more than Scott , Stevenson knew both Highlands and Lowlands, the old and the new.

2)Tobias Smollet Humphrey Clinker

3)Muriel Spark (who was part Scottish Jewish by the way ) The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

4) James Kennaway died far too young and was a great talent but his book TUNES OF GLORY is really as good or better than any fiction Orwell wrote with the exceptions of Animal Farm and 1984. It is THAT good.

VIDEO CLIP FROM THE MOVIE….which is probably the greatest film every made of its kind about post war peacetime military and post traumatic stress syndrome besides being a unique look into what it was like to belong to an ancient Scottish Highland Regiment. The film is very close to the book and many of the scenes are line for line the same as Kennaway’s book. Kennaway was an Argyll by the way but that doesn’t prejudice me in any way.

I think I have given plenty of evidence that Kronman’s curriculum is not the be all and the end all. Actually, in my opinion, EXCEPT for the philosophical works it is quite mediocre and nothing special..

Saturday, August 16, 2008


By Richard K. Munro, MA
There are at least SEVEN WAYS to make new words your own and increase your vocabulary

1) KEEP a vocabulary journal. Get a notebook and set aside parts of it for each category of new words you‘ll be recording (writing down). You might want to divide this into English, Math, Social Studies, and Computers, Foreign Language or word roots. Some people mix their vocabulary with commentary with their journals. Some people copy the quotation or put the page number for future reference. Some people color in the word in their personal study dictionary or write it in their favorite dictionary. The advantage of a vocabulary journal is that you can go back and review words or find quotations you like. Leave enough room around each entry for the definition or other notes you might make later. Focus on critical vocabulary or high frequency words such as imperialism, commerce or intention NOT griot, silviculture or valerian (words you are not likely to see very often).

2) LOOK UP WORDS in the glossary or in the dictionary. Read the definitions and choose the one that fits the way the word was used when you came across it in its context. Besides copying the definition I will often assign a sentence in your own words. Experts say you need to see or hear a word seven or eight times before you learn it. So the best way to practice a word is to copy it, translate it, say it, write it in sentences and use it in speech. TV is not all bad. Movies are not all bad. If you choose wise a good film can help reinforce your vocabulary. But it should be obvious to anyone that one will learn fifty or a hundred times more words by reading and writing. If you want to be a word “mavin” (an expert) you have to go to the dictionary on a daily basis. I own dozens of dictionaries (many are bilingual) and use several good ones regularly. Each is a little different. My favorite is the American Heritage dictionary. My favorite bilingual Spanish dictionaries are the Collins, the Oxford and the American Heritage (Larousse ).

3) Pronounce words : saying words aloud can help you fix them in your mind. Learn how to use the phonetic explanation (usually in parentheses) in your dictionary. Unfortunately there are several ways of doing this. There is the international phonetic alphabet which is very precise but very complicated –too complicated for the learner. Then there are the standards used by Oxford or American Heritage –they are very similar using long vowel symbols (ē) and short vowel symbols (ĕ). I will introduce you to these but you are NOT REQUIRED to be an expert on PHONICS for the CAHSEE or this class. Another good way is to listen to an ON LINE pronunciation. The entire American Heritage dictionary is ON LINE and each word is pronounced for you

4) Another method to organize new vocabulary words is to use INDEX CARDS. They are cheap and come in colors. Put the word on one side and its definition and an example how to use it on the back. You can carry a few cards with you until you learn the meaning. You can organize your cards anyway you like but it is good keep them together by unit or test or class if you need them for that class. If you are learning a series of words such as “NIMSA” for a history test (the causes of World War One; “NIMSA”: nationalism, imperialism, militarism and secret alliances.) it is OK to put more than one word on the card IF you know them all. But the key to study cards is not to put TOO MUCH on one card. Some teachers allow you to use a single note card for reference for a test.

5) Learn words every day! A word will become part of your vocabulary when you see it and use it. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to learn new words. Here’s a plan for learning your new vocabulary words.
• Set aside about ten minutes each day JUST TO REVIEW VOCABULARY WORDS. Try to do it the same place every day so you won’t forget. Study waiting for the bus or waiting for breakfast or just before you go to bed at night. The time doesn’t matter. What is important is that you make review part of your routine. There is an old Irish saying “beag is beag is fhearr an ceum mor” which “means little by little (every day) is better than one big step (every once and while)”. This is true for almost anything such as saving, working or exercising
• Choose only a few vocabulary words to review. No more than five or seven perhaps two or three. If you try to study ten or twenty or more you will need more time and will not learn as many.
• Read the word. Repeat it. Try to remember the definition and the example of how it was used when you first heart it. If possible study with a friend or your sibling or an older relative. They don’t have to be experts they just have to ask you and hold the card!
• Check to see if you were right. If you KNOW a word 100% put OK by it.
• If you miss it HIGHLIGHT IT or put an asterisk or an exclamation point. I like to write N.B. for nota bene or ¡OJO! (Watch out!). It is important to identify the words you know and the words you don’t know. It is stupid really to wait until the test to find out you don’t know the words. We all make mistakes but we should learn from them!
• If you couldn’t remember the word re-read the word, the example and the definition aloud. It helps to SAY IT and HEAR IT.
• Try writing the word in a sentence. If the word is hard to spell, write it out a few times. Then repeat your sentence. Try to have fun. A good way to remember a word is by nonsensical association. Example: How do you say cotton in Spanish?
Algodón. I could never remember this word until my professor taught me “AH’L GO DOWN” TO THE COTTON FIELD (I’ll go down to the cotton field). I have never forgotten the word since that day –more than thirty years ago- and the funny association!
6. Try to use your new words whenever you can in conversation or writing. Try using the new word when your write emails or essays for school.
7) Another good way to learn words is to use CONCEPT MAPS. This is particularly good for science or history concepts. Concept maps help you remember a lot of words connection to one concept or idea and so are perfect for quick outlines for an essay.
A simple way is to contrast opposites


1) Read for pleasure during your leisure time. The reading you do on your own –magazines, newspapers, internet articles, adventure stories are a great way to pick up words . This is the whole purpose of ACCELERATED READER which is 10% of your English grade. It should be the easiest way to boost your grade but you have to DO IT on a REGULAR BASIS. But there is less stress to hurry and the scores of your tests on ACCELERATED READER are averaged separately from you regular quizzes, tests and essays.
2) Be an active listener. When you are having a conversation, especially with people who are older than you are, you will hear words that are unfamiliar to you. This is especially true if you are learning a second or third language. Much of what you hear will seem like gibberish but in fact the more you listen the more you begin to understand. When you have the chance ask, “What do you mean by that?” Sometimes you will have quite a laugh because you misunderstood entirely what the speaker was saying. I remember getting lost in Madrid, Spain. I want to see the Museum of the Americas. I couldn’t find it so I asked a passerby: ¿Dónde queda el museo? And the Spaniard replied –he was quite in a hurry- ¡EN ABSOLUTO! Which I took to mean ON ABSOLUTO STREET. I spent fifteen minutes looking for that street which did not exist on the map. Later another Spaniard explained and we had a laugh. He was kind enough to walk out of his way and show me the way
3) Play word games. Crossword puzzles are excellent ways to improve your vocabulary and your spelling. Some are quite easy and others are more advanced. You can make easier games such as finding small words in big words (ant in RESTAURANT)
There are more ways to learn new vocabulary. But the most important thing is to read and to think. If you don’t understand what you are reading it might as well be in Martian or Egyptian hieroglyphics. As my old Spanish teacher used to say: “Tururu es tururu” that is to say nonsense is just nonsense. There is no shame in not knowing a word. There is no shame in not knowing how to pronounce a word. We all make mistakes. There is no shame in misspelling a word (even famous writers make typos or misspell words). The thing is TO ASK. If you ASK, if you LOOK things UP and WRITE THEM DOWN, you will learn. There is only shame in making no effect to learn and improve one’s mind and vocabulary. That is a shame, a terrible shame. There is no better time for learning than NOW. The early learning is the “bonnie learning” to use a Scots expression. How true that is! Everything is harder after age 40! NOW IS THE TIME TO LEARN. WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG.


"Le grands clercs ne sont pas le plus fins" (French saying)
"Cha iad not ro-cleirich as fhearr" (Gaelic saying: "The very learned are not the best"

By Richard K. Munro, MA 2008
YOU have the ability to speak and make language. That’s what sets you apart from animals and other species. You think in words, read with words and write with words. Words are an essential part of what makes you a unique individual. Words are a resource, a source of wisdom and strength.
Improving your vocabulary means DICTION which is learning to use the right word at the right time. Vocabulary is not just knowing a word or recognizing a word. It is learning the connotations (associations implied by the word in addition to its literal meaning) as well as the denotation (dictionary or primary definition. For example the denotation of “ass” or “asses” means merely “any of several hoofed animals related to horses but smaller than donkeys”. But everyone knows an “an ass” is a kind of person who is vain, silly, or aggressively stupid or ridiculous.” That is not a bad word but it has a negative connotation.
Now if I spoke to you in Spanish and said; “Eres un as!”I am not insulting you but complimenting you! “Eres un as!” means you’re an ace or you’re the top! This is a colorful example of a FALSE COGNATE or a word which SOUNDS LIKE or LOOKS like a work in another language but it has a different meaning. This is also an example of the literary expression called a double-entendre which is a word or a phrase which has a double meaning (often somewhat risqué which means suggesting something off color or indelicate). A pun (or paronomasia) is a phrase that deliberately exploits confusion between similar-sounding words for humorous or rhetorical effect.Now we can use the word “ass” in a stronger way such as telling a lazy person to get to work: “Get off your ass!” Here the word means “buttocks” or rear-end or derriere which are all nicer and more polite words than “ass” which often has a negative connotation. But there are even more connotations of the word “ass” and you probably know some but these are too vulgar to be used in polite company. But there is nothing wrong with the word “ass”. It is a perfectly good word if you are talking about farm animals or even now and then a silly, stubborn person. But I would avoid using it too often because it is very insulting or off-color (exhibiting bad manners and bad taste). I would not use it to describe the size or physical attributes of shape of a person, for example. So improving your vocabulary means learning deeper meanings about words you already know or correcting a small error in your comprehension. Improving your vocabulary will improve your memory. Improving your vocabulary will improve your reading efficiency. Improving your vocabulary is a sure way to gain insight into the world around you and also enjoy the world around you!

1) Diction means a) choice of words in writing or speech b) distinctness of pronunciation in speech or singing such as “she has good diction” (meaning she sings or speaks very clearly.)
2) Connotations: the different meanings or associations a word has. The connotation could be negative or positive , imply wealth or poverty, thinness , youth or stoutness or age
3) Denotation means the most specific and direct meaning of a word as opposed to its secondary, associated or figurative meanings.
4) negative connotation means when a word has a negative meaning or attribute.
5) FALSE COGNATES are similar words in different languages (such as Spanish and English) that appear to have a common etymology (historical linguistic origin) (regardless of meaning) but actually do not.
6) A pun (or paronomasia) is a phrase that deliberately exploits confusion between similar-sounding words for humorous or rhetorical effect
Examples: English neck/German Genick and Spanish nuca; English red and Spanish red meaning net.
Compromiso: Meaning a promise, obligation, or commitment, it does not usually convey the sense that one have given up something to reach an agreement. There is no good noun equivalent of "compromise" that would be understood that way out of context, although the verb transigir conveys the sense of giving in to, yielding to, or tolerating another person. Words like hot dog can become lost in translation, and especially since words carry different connotations in different areas; Richard Lederer, an author and professor of English, reports going to Germany and asking a vendor for a heißen Hund (a literal translation of "hot dog"). The vendor broke out laughing, for in German, heißer Hund suggests a dog in heat. has a lot more and any bilingual person should study lists like this but be careful! Even native speakers make mistakes and sometimes use slang!

7) double-entendre which is a word or a phrase which has a double meaning (often somewhat risqué which means suggesting something off color or indelicate). An example of this would be the title of the famous short story, "The Most Dangerous Game", by Richard Connell in which the title can refer both to the "game" (caza mayor) that is most dangerous to hunt, and "game" that is most dangerous to play.

some bilingual puns

A Spaniard who knows very little English walks into a bus station and requests:
"One ticket to Kentucky."
The clerk asks:
"On the bus?"
And the Spaniard replies:
"Onde voy a ir, a Kentucky."
("On the bus" sounds like vulgar Spanish "Onde vas", contraction of "A dónde vas" as pronounced by most Spaniards, which means "where are you going?" The guy replies "Onde voy a ir, a Kentucky" - roughly, "where do you think, to Kentucky!")
A Spanish speaker who knows no English walks into a pharmacy and requests, in Spanish:
"¿Hay ampolletas?"
To which the clerk replies:
"Hello, Mr. Polletas."
("¿Hay ampolletas?", Spanish for "Are there ampoules?", sounds like English "I am Polletas")
A Spanish speaker who knows no English goes into a clothes store in an English-speaking country and wants a garment but doesn't know how to ask for it.
After the manager shows the Spanish speaker every article of clothing in the store, she shows the Spanish speaker a pair of socks, and the Spanish speaker says:
"¡Eso sí que es!" ("That's what it is!") The manager responds:
"If you could spell it all along, why didn't you say so?"
("¡Eso sí que es!" sounds like the English letter sequence "S-O-C-K-S.")
Profesor: ¿Cómo se deletrea 'nariz' en inglés? (How do you spell 'nose' in English?)
Estudiante: No sé. ("No sé" means "I don't know", but it spells out "nose".)

Profesor: ¿Cómo se dice "yo veo dos" en inglés? (How do you say "I see two" in English?)
Estudiante: Ay sí tú , como si supieras inglés. (Yeah right, as if you spoke English.)

Thursday, August 14, 2008


By Richard K. Munro, MA
August 13, 2008 San Felipe River (Kern River. Bakersfield)
English or the “right-true Saxon” tongue as it was once known is a Germanic language, related at its heart to Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and German. English is a not an ancient language, only coming into prominence in the last five hundred years. It is not the oldest native language of the British Isles and Ireland but to day it is the preeminent language of many English-speaking nations such as England (the U. K.), the USA, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. English has become the native language of more than 350,000 million people and is the most important second language in the world. English is worth studying because it is very useful in business, law, medicine, computers, diplomacy and education. English has a vast and famous literature, an influential musical culture and arguably the greatest film and entertainment industry in the modern world. English is also the language of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and the Roosevelts and so has been an instrument in spreading democracy and human rights throughout the world.
The history of English is traditionally divided into three periods usually called Old English (or Anglo-Saxon), Middle English, and Modern English. Three Germanic tribes, called Angles, Saxons and Jutes, invaded Roman Britain in the fifth century AD. They may have first come as barbarian mercenaries and when the Roman legions were withdrawn from Britain. the Anglo-Saxons or English –who were pagans- gradually took over from the native Romano-Britons who were Christian. King Arthur the legendary King of Camelot is supposed to have rallied the Britons against these pagan invaders from a time; this allowed Wales and Scotland to develop as independent countries with their own languages and traditions.

c. 500-1110 C 1350- 1450 From 1600 to present
nama name name
him him him
comon come come
beon be be
waeter In the watter (water) In the water
Genoh (enough) plentee Plenty(enough)
mildheortness mercy Mercy; mildheartedness
wraelice In pilgramage Pilgrimage , traveling
cniht knyght knight
Hwaet what what
eg egge Edge
Ealda man The olde man The old man
findan finden find
fundon founde found
funden founden found

Christianity came at the pagan Anglo-Saxons from two directions who had it was said ,“neither numbers, nor letters, nor God.” If the Anglo-Saxons had remained pagan it is possible that their language may never have been widely written and so may not have survived its many travails. Missionaries from Roman Britain spread Christianity to Ireland and Scotland (St. Patrick c 432, St. Columba,c 563 and St. Mungo c 560. for example) thus preserving the ancient faith and knowledge of schooling, books and the alphabet. In turn, these Celtic missionaries reintroduced Christianity and the Latin alphabet to the Anglo-Saxons. The Irish were instrumental in this time period in fomenting education and Christianity not only in England but on the continent as well planting an early missionary base on Lindisfarne Island as well as schools in Charlemagne’s empire. The other force in Christianizing the Saxons came from Rome beginning with the mission of St.Augustine to Aethelbert, King of Kent, in AD 597. Aethelbert was chosen because he was married to a Frankish Christian princess who encouraged the new religion. The story goes that Aethelbert, afraid of the powers of the Christian “sorcerers”, chose to meet with them in the open air to ensure that they wouldn’t cast a wicked spell over him!
Augustine's original intent was to establish an archbishopric in London, but at that time the London English were hard-core pagans, slavers and polygamists and so were very hostile to Christians. Therefore, Canterbury, the capital of the Kentish kingdom of Aethelbert , became the seat of the pre-eminent archbishop in England. The Church was a very important force in medieval English society. It was the only truly national entity –international really- tying together the various warring Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. The early monasteries of Northumberland were vital centers of learning and the arts until they were wiped out by savage Viking raids of the 9th century. There was an ancient prayer known round the Isles that went like this: A furore normannorum libera nos domine ("From the fury of the Norsemen deliver us, O Lord!"). Much of England, Ireland and Scotland were conquered by the Vikings (c.800-1263) and the northern dialects of English were very influenced by Old Norse (an ancestor of Norwegian and Swedish). Some examples are fellow, hit, sly, take, skirt, scrub, gill, kindle, kick, get, give, window, skipper, sister, thrall (slave),earl(warrior/noble), want and dream (it meant ‘joy’ in Anglo-Saxon.).

Anglo-Saxon England's most famous historian and Doctor of the Church , the monk Bede, known as the Venerable Bede, lived most of his life at the monastery of Jarrow, in Northumbria (died 735). His famous book was "The Ecclesiastical History of the English People".
Nearby, the monastery of Lindisfarne is famous for its' celebrated hand-colored illuminated Bible, an 8th century masterpiece of Celtic- inspired art, which is now in the British Library.

Churches were almost the only forum for education during the Middle Ages. Under the auspices of Alfred the Great church schools were encouraged for common people, and many Latin works were translated into English. The higher church officials also played important secular roles; advising the king, witnessing charters, and administering estates of the church, which were extensive. The Magna Charta (1215) was written in Latin and so was the Arbroath Declaration of 1320. Much of early common law was written in French. But the language of everyday community life in England became English.
No written records of the Anglo-Saxon language survive from before the seventh century. The main written language in England as English Britain began to be called was Latin, the official language of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1066 the Normans, under William the Conqueror, conquered the Anglo-Saxons and killed their last king Harold at the Battle of Hastings. There are no loanwords of unquestionably French origin that occur prior to 1066. Essentially the Anglo-Saxons ceased to exist as an independent people from that time. The Anglo-Normans spoke French and used it as a language of administration; they also learned Latin for the Church and the Universities.
French English Commentary/Spanish cognate
Chateau-fort castle castillo
jongleur juggler Malabarista; juglar)poet/minstrel is a false cognate
prison prison prisión
service service Servicio
gouvernment government gobierno
administration Administration administración
avocat attorney Lawyer/advocate/abogado
court court corte
crime crime Replacing the Anglo-Saxon word ‘”sin”
Delito ; CRIMEN is MURDER (AS)
juge judge juez
jury jury jurado
noble noble noble
royal royal real
prince prince príncipe
duc duke duque
armée army ejército
capitaine captain capitán
cabot corporal cabo
lieutenant lieutenant Teniente/alférez
sergent sergeant sargento
soldat soldier soldado
boeuf beef Cow (Anglo-Saxon)
mouton mutton Sheep (AS)
porc pork Pig (AS)
veau veal Calf (AS)
dignité dignity dignidad
feindre Feign fingir
fruit fruit fruta
lettre letter Carta (“letras”=words of a song or letters)
litérature literature literatura
magicien;magique Magician , Magic AS: Sorcerer/sorcery
miroir mirror AS Looking-glass
question question Pregunta; cuestión
recherche search Buscar; investigar
secret secret secreto
son Sound (noise) Sound /saludable(AS)=healthy,solid
solace solace solaz
chapitre chapter Capítulo
dictionnaire dictionary AS word-book
bestiaux Cattle (beasties) Ganado
gain wage sueldo
calibre Gage (or gauge) Indicador/calibre
garant Warranty Garantía (limitada)NOT the same as guarantee.Partially FALSE COGNATE
garant guarantee Garantía de fábrica
mars March marzo
mélodie Melody/tune(AS) melodía
Nature/ caractère nature Naturaleza/carácter
courage courage Coraje, valor
aventure Adventure; love affair aventura
spécial special Specially part AS
chef chief jefe
chef chef Chef o jefe de cocina
champion champion campeón
Psalmodie/chanter chant cantar
machine machine Note French sound not Greek “K”
sauvage savage Wild (AS)
couleur Color (colour) color
honor honor honor
vertu virtue virtud
fleur flower Flor
soupe soup sopa
Debris; décombres debris escombros
De luxe De luxe De lujo
denouement denouement Or resolution
élite elite élite
Hors d’oeuvre Hors d’oeuvre Appetizers (tapas)
Reveille Reveille “reVALLEY” in British English
RE-valley in Am. English
quitter To leave (AS) “to quit”
arrêter To stop (AS) “to arrest” ê indicates “s” sound was dropped.
demander To ask (AS) “to demand”
penser To think (AS) “to be pensive”
ami Friend (AS) Amicable ‘
“mon ami” is almost universally known in English just as “mi amigo”
pont Bridge (AS) Pontoon (temporary Military bridge)

Many English expressions are direct translations of French. For example, if you please (s’il vous plait), marriage of convenience (marriage de convenance), that goes without saying (ça va sans dire, reason of state (raison d’etat)), trial balloon (ballon d’essai) even every day expressions like the arm of the professor (le bras d’ professeur rather than the more Anglo-Saxon “the teacher’s arm). Also we have question de connaissances générales ;general knowledge question ;champion du monde champion of the world (world champion)
Many more French expressions entered the English language in the 16th and 17th century when French was the lingua franca of educated people. French remained the spoken language par excellence in Scotland until the 17th century and 18th century. Mary Queen of Scots, previously the Queen of France, never spoke English as the Queen of Scotland but habitually spoke French (or Latin). General Wolfe used French-speaking Highlanders as interpreters and as scouts who could penetrate the French lines at will as they did at Quebec in 1759. French remains an important foreign language in the British Isles as well as Canada and there are many mixed Belgian-English and French-English families who are completely bilingual and of course millions of Canadians speak French and English. I daresay one of the differences between educated British English and American English is that British English uses far more French words and phrases than does American English. In any case, thousands of French words are identical or nearly identical to their English cognates.
English might have died out completely except for the fact that England, being part of an island, was separated from France and tended to thus be isolated. England and France –cousin nations really- fought many wars for supremacy. At one time England claimed and occupied most of France. The ruling families which continued to speak French until abut the 1350’s. Chaucer wrote the Canterbury Tales in Middle English using thousands of French borrowings. The London dialect, for the first time, begins to be recognized as the "Standard", or variety of English taken as the norm, for all England. Other dialects are relegated to a less prestigious position. Over the years the Anglo-Norman French of the ruling classes created an English-French patois with a vocabulary that was heavily Latin and French and a very simplified grammar and inflectional system. For example, English lost its masculine and feminine nouns and adjectives (a few exceptions survive today: we say a BLONDE girl but a BLOND boy; we say fox and vixen for a female fox. ) Gradually French lost its prestige and popularity with the English ruling class and French though still used in the courts was studied as Latin was as a foreign language. By 1362 English had replaced French as the common language of the English parliament.
HERE IS a QUOTATION FROM Merriam Webster. I can read Middle English (Chaucer) with some annotation but I cannot read Anglo-Saxon nor am I an expert on Anglo-Saxon so here it is best to go word by word from an expert source:
The following brief sample of Old English prose illustrates several of the significant ways in which change has so transformed English that we must look carefully to find points of resemblance between the language of the tenth century and our own. It is taken from Aelfric's "Homily on St. Gregory the Great" and concerns the famous story of how that pope came to send missionaries to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity after seeing Anglo-Saxon boys for sale as slaves in Rome:
Eft he axode, hu ðære ðeode nama wære þe hi of comon. Him wæs geandwyrd, þæt hi Angle genemnode wæron. Þa cwæð he, "Rihtlice hi sind Angle gehatene, for ðan ðe hi engla wlite habbað, and swilcum gedafenað þæt hi on heofonum engla geferan beon."
A few of these words will be recognized as identical in spelling with their modern equivalents—he, of, him, for, and, on—and the resemblance of a few others to familiar words may be guessed—nama to name, comon to come, wære to were, wæs to was—but only those who have made a special study of Old English will be able to read the passage with understanding. The sense of it is as follows:
Again he [St. Gregory] asked what might be the name of the people from which they came. It was answered to him that they were named Angles. Then he said, "Rightly are they called Angles because they have the beauty of angels, and it is fitting that such as they should be angels' companions in heaven."
Some of the words in the original have survived in altered form, including axode (asked), hu (how), rihtlice (rightly), engla (angels), habbað (have), swilcum (such), heofonum (heaven), and beon (be).
Perhaps the most distinctive difference between Old and Modern English reflected in Aelfric's sentences is the elaborate system of inflections, of which we now have only remnants.
The period of Middle English extends roughly from the twelfth century through the fifteenth...
Other important early developments include the stabilizing effect on spelling of the printing press in 1474. William Caxton published the first printed English book in England. This began a long process of standardization of spelling. During the Renaissance, there was a large influx of neologisms from Latin and Greek in this great age of translations from Hebrew, Latin and Greek. The King James Bible was published in 1611 and is the most influential English book of all time, closely followed by the works of William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Shakespeare himself coined many new expressions and words and wove them all together in the most artistic and imaginable way possible. In 1755 Samuel Johnson published his English dictionary and the classical writers of this period (Gibbon, Pope, Swift, Boswell) used a highly polished syntax and an elaborate vocabulary borrowing many words from French, Latin and Greek. The rise of the British Empire led to the spreading of English all over the world (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India , Canada, Bahamas, Jamaica, the Thirteen Colonies) After Independence American English consciously develops as a separate dialect with its own spellings , grammar and jargon. After the industrialization of Britain and then the USA, the English-speaking peoples became a world-wide military, naval and commercial powers often trailblazing new business techniques and new technologies. English bestsellers are translated to dozens of languages and most of the great books of the world are translated into English. The great age of the primacy of the English-speaking peoples may be at its close but I think it is a fair bet that English will remain important in my lifetime and for the rest of the 21st century. Keep learning the “right true Saxon tongue”; continue studies in the excellent English language.