A couple of thoughts that follow on two earlier blogs …

Last Friday I meandered on the subject of living and walking positively, with one’s head up, as opposed to stumbling along heads-down in a perpetual pity party.

Photo from allaboutbirds.comI’ve tried to keep that in mind especially when walking Samuel’s dog (not my favorite chore). Last night I was rewarded with a clear sky in which a bright moon and more stars than usual were visible. This morning the winds were blustery and the skies were a striking mix of clear blue to the southeast and banded, murky clouds to the northwest as yet another cold front pushed through. While admiring the cloud formations, I heard the piercing cry of a red-shouldered hawk in flight. He was riding the wind, sending a clear message to some nearby buzzards, warning them away (also the subject of a recent blog). Just watching that hawk do its thing was a source of joy and an uplifting way to start the day.

Of course, we can’t walk with our eyes to the sky all the time, or we’d stumble over any number of things that weren’t intended to be obstacles, or fail to prevent the dog from rolling in something nasty.

Speaking of stumbling blocks, NC Gov. Pat McCrory’s radio screed against public funding for some liberal arts courses has garnered lots of negative comment from progressives, as expected. One of the best critiques I’ve read, however, came from a News & Observer column by Jonathan Riehl and Scot Faulkner, both of whom self-identify as conservatives.

Riehl and Faulkner decry the anti-intellectualism fostered by some conservative blogs and talk-radio, and note that a broad-based higher education serves the conservative cause rather than threatening it. “As a political philosophy, conservatism is grounded in intellectual thought and deliberation,” they wrote. “The governor’s statements about education are therefore not only counterproductive but also anti-conservative.”

While McCrory suggested that the state should focus on funding education programs designed to impart specific training for practical job skills, Riehl and Faulkner observe that “Ironically, the notion of colleges and universities as factories for job-performance smacks much more of leftist, socialist societies where individuals were not valued for their knowledge or perception but for their ability to perform tasks.”

If the ongoing debate over the proper course of the state and country is going to take place on a higher level than bumper stickers and political ads that pander lies or promote iron-hard ideologies without any real engagement between parties, we need an education system designed, as Riehl and Faulkner wrote, “to give young students a broad-based knowledge that allows them to think about matters widely and deeply, to form their own opinions and find their place in society.”

That sounds a lot like Baptists arguing for soul competency and the priesthood of the believer — thoughts worth looking up to.

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