Monday, February 6, 2017


I didn't mean to follow up on my last Post, which  I wrote deliberately very promptly, so as not to hear others' opinions.
But I just was badly frightened by BookTV which I've listened to almost every weekend since the 1990s, even when it covered authors far to the left or to the right of Brian Lamb or his successors.
For three hours Nick Adams said whatever he wanted in depth, though his depth was not quite such as I'd call it.  Thing is, I watch Fox News channel only for major sports events (I had just turned off the Super Bowl).  I only knew Bill O'Reilly, for example, from Henry Louis Gates' genealogy program.  Had just, unhappily, made the on-line acquaintance of KellyAnne Conway, whom I didn't like.  Anyway, now, directly following Nick Adams, I am consoled by Hugh Hewitt, who like Morning Joe is reasonable and even entertaining.  Certainly reasonable (though I prefer Chris Mathews).  And like Hewitt, I've been reading lots of stuff I ought to have read decades ago, but the Kindle now encourages instant purchases, and back in my graduate student years and early teaching years I had neither the money nor the time taken from publishing to gain job security (I didn't have time or shelf space. either).
Anyway, though I always voted D, I am no political fanatic.  It's interesting however, now that I'm reading up on Eisenhower and the Bushes and the youth of Joseph Pulitzer has proven that American history may be wasted on kids, but Nick Adams seems to me a frightening basket case.  That label shows how scary he felt to me.  So bless Hugh Hewitt for consoling me.
But I have to get back to that word: liberal.  Don't ask me to say what that new OED may say of it. What I say is what it HAS meant, and why it is worth considering that.
Liberality is the mentality of the freeborn, such as Romans born as freeborn children are, of famuli of patres familiarum.  Of course, there were others in the household, who could work their way out of slavery: I've never been sure, in the absence of something quite like our Welfare, whether all of them were purchased persons, or in either case, they were at least indentured.  They were servi, who were servili, just as the freeborn liberi were  liberali.  Nicely bigoted children, who might grow up to inherit or to marry their peers, could be called liberal as adults, just as servi, whom you might dislike even when they'd worked their way free, might be dismissed as servile, especially if they had bowed and scraped.
Now on BookTV Dennis Prager in his turn is heartening me even more than Hugh Hewitt did, though I'm sure, alas, that Nick Adams is awfully illiberal.  But I do recommend Dennis Prager.  And the ancient source of the word liberal clings happily to its etymology, even though usually it is mangled.