Woe to Those Who Call Trash Treasure and Treasure Trash!

Ah, to know the mind of Aristotle, the man whom Dante called “the teacher of those who know.”  How magnificent to commune with the intellect of Plato, of whom Alfred North Whitehead dared to say: “the European philosophical tradition consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”  Many other ancient writers by their enduring works have bequeathed to us the gift of remarkable clarity on our unchanging human nature, a clarity which is conspicuously absent from most of the literature churned out in this Dark Age.

Contrast the lasting classics of the Great Western Tradition with the divergent and self-conscious works propagated by the architects of the Culture of Death and it is like comparing high noon in Hawaii to a sand storm in the Sahara. Such is the debris of self-deceit that plagues our age, so thick and turbulent, that we can only hear our children choking on it if by some grace we are not choking ourselves.

Yet, even the clarity of the ancient Greeks is like “looking through a glass darkly” when compared to the light shed by the inspired authors of the Bible.  My friend, a Christian university literature professor says “the ancient Pagans’ knowledge is like a candle while the revelation of Christ is like the sun.”  That would make the secular prophets of our age the bearers of darkness.

The Prophet Isaiah succinctly reveals a fallen human proclivity that is exaggerated in modernity.  He tells us in chapter 5:20 “Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness…” Misunderstanding the nature of language and the mystery of creation, we arrogate to ourselves the power to call things what we want instead of what they are. The inversion of morality Isaiah warns about is almost complete in the public schools.

Student text books alone provide enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that things human and moral have been badly corrupted by public education and her minions.  What passes for literature in the textbooks is a mirror of the disintegration of our social fabric. The tattered remnants retain only loose threads of our Great Western Civilization and even those have lost their coherence.  In short, the stories in the student literature book are trash.

Just like beautiful eyes ripped from their sockets, the integral truth suffers gruesomely when detached from its proper context.  This is the art of defamation. Isolated and out of context, referring to the literature book as “trash” sounds severe and even inappropriate.  It ought to be said because it is true. Put the statement in the context of the title of this essay, add a clear exposition of the attributes of a good piece of literature, compare any of its stories to a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale and it is a verifiable truth. Even the Emperor’s attendants would blush.

My colleagues know my mind on this.  Their sanguine advice is “If you enthusiastically pretend you love the stories the students will really get into them.” But when I ask my colleagues to name one story in the literature book they would read to their own children, the unanimous answer is “there isn’t one.”  Contrary to my colleagues’ calculating advice, we are obligated by principle to expose the intrinsically flawed nature of appalling writing, not to falsely sell it. The millstone is reminder enough that keeping a job is not worth deceiving children.

Countless works throughout the ages have attempted to plumb the depths of the mysteries surrounding the attributes of good literature.  A basic list of attributes would include at the very least, elevated language, universal themes, compelling characters and a plot worthy of consideration.  In his essay “On Stories,” C.S. Lewis tells us that, “a story is only a net with which we try to catch something else, something timeless.”  A part of that something timeless would be the eternal and unchanging truths of the universal themes that lead us to a deeper understanding of who we are, why we are here and how we ought to live.

Good stories are multivalent and are meant to be understood on many levels.  On the surface there is the literal meaning of a story.  A little deeper there is the allegorical meaning.  Deeper still is its moral significance. At its deepest level, the best stories allude to our ultimate end in eternal beatitude or hellfire.  Good stories are edifying.  Good stories foster our duty put forth by the Baltimore Catechism: to know, to love and to serve. Good stories allow a reader to grapple with the perpetual human questions about the proper moral order of good and evil.  Good stories help a reader cultivate the desire to use the intellect, will and memory to strive for excellence embodied in objective truth, goodness and beauty.  Good stories take us “there and back again.”

My school district has adopted a language arts program by McGraw Hill and the basal reader is called Treasures.  Considering how poorly the stories are written, the alliterative and sardonic turn of phrase that trash and treasure afford is almost irresistible.  This book is not a treasure but a collection of ideologically driven propaganda, disseminating distorted morality reflective of a flawed notion of human nature.  The stories do not square with any conception of good literature or with the Law written on our hearts.

In general, the stories do not have a deeper meaning beyond the literal level.  Most of them are diatribes undergirded by multiculturalism, corrupted tolerance, feminism, and egalitarianism.  The stories engender at least six of the seven deadly sins particularly envy and pride.  If these stories were held up to an objective standard, they would fall miserably short.  In a less darkened age they would be seen for the wolves in sheep’s clothing they are.

There is a two page selection on Plato and Aristotle.  Like a shadow on the cave wall, the editors project a close-up of Raphael’s School of Athens featuring the two great philosophers in the center.  On the surface, hope is raised.  Sadly, the editors did not deviate from their sociopolitical agenda.  There are 350 words to sum up the no longer useful antique wisdom of the Ancient philosophers.  Of Plato it is written “Plato believed that men and women should have an opportunity to get the same education…. Plato also felt that women should not be restricted to getting married and making a home.  Men and women should be free to pursue or seek the same jobs.”

There is an award winning selection called “Rumpelstiltskin’s Daughter.” An Orc is to an Elf as this story is to Grimm’s notable fairy tale. It has to be read to be believed. In defense of our children, this story merits an entire essay to spell out its intrinsic errors and malice. This is surely a mockery of Grimm’s tale, but there is nothing funny about the seriousness of its social themes.  It is an egalitarian and feminist diatribe grounded in the Marxist material dialectic. It is smugly steeped in secular convention and stereotypes.

Rumplestilskin’s daughter catches the eye of the greedy and oppressive king.  He takes her against her will.  She outfoxes him and liberates the peasants from tyranny and poverty by manipulating the king into giving them his “ill-gotten” gold. At the end of the story when the king offers to marry Rumpelstiltskin’s daughter and make her the queen, she declines and says “why don’t you make me prime minister instead?” The king did so and “the people of the kingdom never went cold or hungry again.”   We come to find her name is “Hope.”

Each story I read with my students from Treasures is a counter example of good literature. The public schools have carelessly abandoned true literature and tradition in the reckless utilitarian quest for progress and an illusory human perfection. The Treasures stories are “anti-stories.” As teachers and as Catholics we are duty bound to call things what they are.  The stories in the Treasures book are an absurd misuse of language and unacceptable for human consumption, especially for our children. I have never been in favor of a book burning, but surely there is no more appropriate place for this book called Treasures to be, than in the trash.

Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg


Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg is a Catholic convert and a teacher with over twenty years experience in the public education system. He graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a degree in History in 1991. He is also a husband and father of 3 children and a catechist at his parish in Bakersfield, California.

  • tedseeber

    Sounds like you need to apply for a position on the curriculum committee. Except, of course, as a Catholic pro-life “terrorist”, they’d never let you on.

  • Alecto

    As long as public schools exist, the American mind will continue to close. As one of millions who never attended public schools, the concept of “public” education is anathema to many of us. After all, we are compelled to subsidize them, but derive no benefit and have no say over what goes on inside them. A society as diverse as ours can never synthesize all parents’ beliefs, values or goals for their children into one curriculum. Yet that is what public education seeks to achieve: bland, lowest common denominator uniformity.

    It is no surprise that as long as government is involved in any aspect of education, the death march towards centralized federal control over the curriculum will continue. Therefore, I would abolish all public education in favor of a pure privatized model. Yes, yes, I understand, that’s tantamount to treason, but the evidence is overwhelming that competition and total parental control over education is preferable to the current secular model.

  • David

    Excellent! ONe of a billion reasons to end public schools.

  • poetcomic1 .

    We are three generations into the brainwashing. I was dumbed down by ‘hip’ teachers in a class of 1970 at an ‘elite’ suburban public school. The message, even then, was to tell us sullen and narcissistic ‘rebel’s’ how wonderful and brave ‘you young people are’. I’ve never quite recovered. It is very, very late.

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  • ColdStanding

    Time to get radical. Time to really push the envelope. I hold that the public school teacher or producer of pedagogical materials is performing in accordance with the idealized cognitive unconscious models of their/our culture. They can not be faulted for this. They are carrying out their cultural imperative. That the cultural imperative is utterly destructive of any real culture, inhuman, even anti-human is a very serious problem. It has fallen, in significant part, to them to exercise stewardship over this important component of our society – they are responsible. Unfortunately, they are incompetent, because they have been hobbled from the get go. In fact, they are our enemy. In charity, they “know not what they do.”

    The problem is, is rooted in, the near exclusive use of the English language. The problem is English. Specifically, English has no bones on it’s own. It is too plastic. The best English writers had a thorough foundation in Latin. Latin gave bones, rigor, to their use of English that it lacks on its own. (Greek may have given bones to Latin in the scholastic period)

    I would also say that English has long been employed against the truth. This is simple history. English has long been a main language of the Protestants. English culture is Protestant culture. Ultimately, the true causes of this problem are bigger even than the language we use, but the major deployment our Enemy has used against the truth is the English language.

    Catholic culture – true culture – can not long last in anti-culture. The English language is the language of anti-culture.,

    • Bono95

      The English language has been around for longer than Protestantism, and even after the Protestant revolt, there have still been good Catholic writers whose native language was English, most notably: Shakespeare, Cardinal Newman, and Chesterton.

      And, yes, many English words have Latin and Greek roots, but so do a lot of other European languages. By that token, are French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, and Modern Greek boneless too?

      English borrows from so many other languages because it is easier and more practical to just use the other language’s word for something not typically found in English or English-influenced cultures. Why reinvent the wheel or burrito (Spanish), or canoe (Native American), or kimono (Japanese), or beret (French), or vodka (Russian), or mummy (Arabic)?

      The devil can and does lie in any and every language. His methods just vary according to the situation. Someone once said that the devil can quote Scripture if it suits his purposes.

      • ColdStanding

        Shakespeare lived on the fumes of the smothered Catholic culture.
        Newman could speak and write in Latin and was Catholic.
        Chesterton’s natural ability was completed by the grace gained in his conversion to the one true faith.
        Besides, you are looking to specific instances vs. a phenomenon that I am talking about that operates over several generations to slowly shift the basis of a culture. Those that undertook the project of dismantling Catholic culture in England definitely worked to exclude all those influences that had a specifically Catholic character. Even when it comes to the use of Latin itself, they were fairly successful in presenting a Latin with the Church deracinated by focusing on classical Latin literature. Samuel Johnson being a notable example. Even he is a comparatively late development (and notable composer of Latin verse). Prior to him, it was pretty much “Why bother?”

        English borrows from other cultures because its a chinook wawa, a merchant’s language. It is a jargon language. (a eureka! sentence, if I have ever written one). Look at the ease with which jargon is produced in our culture. The language is unhinged. It has no cardinal points without Latin or Greek to ensure it’s validity. It is the fiat currency of languages. Any word in the English language can be made to refer to your Johnson.

        As to the devil, turning England has to be counted as one of his most notable successes.

        • Bono95

          But the Protestant Revolt started in Germany, ergo the devil started his work on England there. Doesn’t that make German a more Protestant language? And what do you have against merchants? If they don’t adopt at least a few of the words of their international buyers and sellers, they risk themselves and their English-speaking buyers and sellers being ripped off.

          • ColdStanding

            Either you do not know the history of the period or you are mocking me.

            • Bono95

              I’m asking you honestly. What is wrong with merchants or anyone else adopting practical words from other languages? And the Protestant Revolt did begin in Germany. Luther rebelled in 1517, Henry VIII didn’t officially break with the Catholic Church until 1534.

              • ColdStanding

                Think of it in terms of what was contested in the Prod revolt. In England, the Prod side entirely held the day – they wrested control and kept it, so the work of eradicating the faith could proceed unimpeded. In the lands of the Holy Roman Empire, the outcome was mixed. There was no clear victor. The Catholic side “won” in France, but at great cost. Pyrrhic victory. In these places it simply wasn’t possible to manage the flow of information or keep the priests out, like was managed in England. It is this effort, conducted in English, of eradicating Catholicism that has been thrown so forcefully in my face. I feel it as a reality, when before I only had it as an idea.

                Also keep in mind that the time period of which I speak is fairly lengthy and happened sometime ago. There is a great deal of spiritual, temporal, and physical distance between us and the events. It is impossible to render any account of the drama by only making reference to Henry, Luther, and Calvin. Their influence is greatly overstated.

                • Bono95

                  But if the English tongue is so much to blame, than the German tongue isn’t off the hook here either. Luther greatly influenced the development of modern German through his numerous and , er, colorful anti-Catholic pamphlets and his mutilated translation of the Bible. He went out of his way to not just translate the Gospel writers and OT prophets Hebrew/Greek/Latin words into German, but to make then sound as if they’d actually preached and written in German. He complained bitterly about how arduous that undertaking was.

                  • ColdStanding

                    So what if the German tongue isn’t off the hook? Do you live in a pervasively German culture? Can you even speak it? Do you read German? No? Do you read or speak any other language than English? If not, then what does their particular historical and current usage do to affect the way you think and interact, conceptually, with existence? It does affect you, but the influence is mediated through gate keepers. This is my point. English is has the character, or shaped purpose, of enclosing.

                    As for Luther’s suffering, I say boo-hoo!

        • musicacre

          And yet… in our own time we are witness to the tide turning in England and seeing more Catholics attending Mass, than Anglicans.

          • ColdStanding

            Hope springs eternal.

            • musicacre

              I live on hope, after all I (we) have six children.

              As for England you can almost note the exact dates when “bad” elements swept in, fomenting different types of revolution. It’s agonizing to see a culture that was once Catholic through and through, to be secularized…but as much as the language has a characteristic of continuously morphing,( don’t all the vernaculars?)I don’t think it is the language itself that can change people’s hearts. I realize there are lots of negative influences that are subtle caused by slang languages: disrespect, less specific, (look at what United Nations is getting away with, by using “language” in their documents) and of course bringing language down to purely utilitarian levels of crude usage.

              However, as some have mentioned already, there are some great notables in the English Language that contributed to posterity huge collections of endearing and uplifting literature, while communicating truths and beauty of our Faith. And translations to help Catholics understand their faith goes back to King Alfred in the 900’s and Bede and others before!

              • ColdStanding

                The notable exceptions that you mention need to be thought of in terms of the Recusancy. I am talking about the centuries long deracination (to up root from it’s natural environment) of Catholicism from the “culture” centered, first and continuing, in the historical homeland of English and extending to it’s cultural and political dependents.

                The negative response, perhaps a good deal of it is just simple questioning, has driven home the point for me. English speakers don’t really know very well the history of how the English language has been used, by whom it has been used, and to what ends it has been directed.

                What are Belloc, Chesterton, Newman, and Lewis famous for as English writers? Defending Catholicism in English against the great body of anti-Catholic writers active in the English language! They had some eloquent success, but, and I think the reaction here re-enforces the point, the task is Sisyphean. There are a lot of gatekeepers waiting to dog-pile dissent.

                English – this world – simply is not my home. “After this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”

                • musicacre

                  No one is really defending the English language as good or bad. Good and bad people will use it. My Mother’s original language is French and I don’t think they ( France) is doing a better job keeping the faith. If we’re here to generalize, I could say that. But of course there are many unheard -of heroic individuals in all these countries. But the points are always lost when one generalizes. You mention Chesterton and Lewis lightly, as though what they wrote didn’t re-ignite a revolution of Catholicism. It never was about having more people on our side of the street; it only took one David to bring down Goliath and an evil empire. When God is on our side, we don’t need the numbers!

                • musicacre

                  Are you for real? The English language wasn’t “invented” for evil purposes. I think the educated Eng. profs on this thread have given up trying to explain to you that the origins of the English language was organic and extremely gradual, and definitely influenced by certain political upheavals and changeovers. It didn’t just suddenly present itself intact, all at once. You missed my mentioning about King Alfred from late 900 AD. (He wasn’t, therefore, a Recusant.) He helped translate Catholic writings to English and some looked on him, a devoted Catholic, as the father of the English Language. I’m not sure where you got your “knowledge” of the English language.

                  • ColdStanding

                    The use of the ” X ” is typically used as a quotation. In this instance, the implication is that I have said, “The English language was “invented” for evil purposes.” I have thoroughly reviewed my posts and can not find where I said that.

                    The second, less typical use of the ” X ” punctuation is that the ” X ” word is the real essence or implication of my points. My first post on this thread plainly says that the English language has long been employed against the truth (go read it again if you doubt) and the implication of my saying this is the English language is, of all the major languages, the one most naturally suited to the purpose. For what ever reason this suggestion seems to have irritated you, and to dismiss my provocation you have used “invented” to imply conspiracy theory analysis on my part. The implication is that I am wearing a tin-foil hat. This is what you mean to say, is it not?

                    Your “Are you for real?” illustrates my point nicely. I have notice that it is a common habit among English speakers, because there are so many words with similar but not identical meanings, to take it upon themselves to substitute words, whose definition they are familiar with or favour for words that they hear or read but whose meaning is ambiguous (to them) or unfavourable (to them), as if the original and the substitute had the SAME meaning; as if the words were merely interchangeable; as if the great profusion of words were merely a luxurious but non-essential overgrowth with one being as good as the other.

                    “Employed against” does not equal “invented.”

                    For the record, I will restate my points, whether you care to read them or not. 1) the English language has long been employed against the truth. 2) It is particularly suited to this purpose because a) there is a great deal of ambiguity in it’s usage b) it tends to be explanation oriented c) because of the English language’s inherent ambiguity, it tends towards frustrating a successful explanation. 3) It does not handle perception very well. 4) It is very expensive to acquire a high level of competence as an English speaker/writer, but fairly easy to acquire functional fluency. This leads to a situation of the bad money chasing out the good. 5) It has a tendency to cordon-off itself (gatekeeper phenomenon) from other languages that it is dependent upon for it’s structural integrity. All of which, including geographical circumstances, created a favourable climate for the anti-culture that is English today.

                    The abandonment of the study of classical languages IS the cause of the near-term collapse in the cultural capacity of English only speaker to think. It’s antecedent cause is the cordoning off of the British Isles from and active suppression of Catholic cultural influences by parties with a boldly declared interest in doing so. Those parties are the Calvinist influenced religious enthusiast in alliance with the newly wealthy robber barons under Robert Cecil.

      • ColdStanding

        The short answer to the question, “Are these other languages boneless, too?” is without Latin, yes. Latin is the guarantee of almost everyone of these languages, even German (which is why the German scholars were so into philology.)

        • Bono95

          Does this mean that languages with no Latin roots at all, like Cherokee, Khmer, Hebrew, Japanese, Basque, etc, are boneless?

          • ColdStanding

            How would I know? I don’t know.

    • hombre111

      I am an author and I will have to tell you, the weakest words in the English language are the ones with Latin or Greek roots. The strength of English is in Old English rooted in Germanic tongues. That is where the bones are. When I write, I try to use words with that inborn strength. I avoid Latinized words if I can, especially because they are so often multi-syllabic.

      • ColdStanding

        I am not talking about matters of taste in word selection while leaving the employment of the English language as a given; taken for granted; beyond reproach. No, it is precisely upon this point, the deployment of English as language of choice, that I take issue.

        I speak as one that, for the first time, feels in the nerves, the constriction of English as a language. Oh, it has it’s utility. It’s practical, if that be of value. This is no longer enough for me. It is the language of my enemy. It is the language of those that make war against the my faith and the faith of my ancestors. By and large the works of it’s servant pens are blasphemous, irreligious, and nests of equivocation. English culture – and how can you separate the culture of the English from their great cultural endeavour: the English language – is anti-culture.

        I wish to leave it behind, but it chokes my very core like black sin. I tremble in the knowledge of my enthralment.

        • John200

          Then maybe you should leave English behind, eh? You have been at this thing for awhile.
          In one comment:
          You take issue with English as the language of choice, then drop the subject.
          You feel the constriction of English as a language, then drop the subject.
          You declare that English is the language of your enemy, then drop the subject.
          You inform that English makes war against your faith, then drop the subject.
          You claim that English pens are blasphemous, irreligious, and nests of equivocation, then drop the subject. I do a little scribbling on my own account, in English, and I do not think these adjectives fit me.

          A few more points round out the parade:
          – English culture is anti-culture; you drop the subject.
          – English is the language of your enemy; you drop that subject, too. If this is a reference to the devil, well, he speaks all the other languages, doesn’t he?
          – English chokes your very core like black sin; you drop the subject and commence to tremble.

          What to make of all this? You are perhaps being funny? Or you are making a soap opera out of whatever is eating you.

          • ColdStanding

            Oh, thanks for that. I didn’t realize it would be so simple. Would you do me the kind favor of waving your magic wand and make me fully literate in another language? No rush, mind you. Days end would be fine.

            No, enough sarcasm. I was asked to sell all my riches and turned away bitter.

            My point is that English has been turned to ends contrary to the truth. Not by you or me. Sorry to say but we count for little – in this world. This is relevant to the article in that I am proposing that the problem we face as a culture, the portrait rendered in the article being a specific instance, rests in the fact that the Canon of English literature perpetuates untruth.

            • Bono95

              The “Treasure Chest” books Mr. Rummelsburg describes are junk in any language, they just happened to be written in English. They are NOT English literature, and no one here has claimed they were. REAL English literature is “Beowulf”, Chaucer, St. Thomas More, Shakespeare, Cardinal Newman, Chesterton, and even some non-Catholic but intelligent and artful authors like Milton, Swift, Austen, Dickens, and C.S. Lewis.

              • ColdStanding

                How’s about an anecdote? Of late I purchased, on the cheep thank you very much, 6 Latin grammar books. The most recent being published in the 1920’s. The point? Would you hazard to guess how many times the Catholic Church, the group who has used Latin as a language for a longer period of time than the famous Roman republic and empire combined, was mentioned in these books? No guess? The answer is zero. Not once. Blotted from the record.

                That is what I am talking about. Propaganda masquerading as history by means of omission. The influence of the Baroque Italian painters did not arrive into the English visual arts, notably Turner, until after a time lag of 200 years. Why? Catholic culture was/is persona non grata.

                • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                  Grammar is an inductive science, based on the usage of native speakers of the language. In the case of Latin, that means, roughly, authors from Plautus (254-184 BC) to Boetius (480-525 AD)

                  Only authors of the first century BC to the end of Augustus’s reign are proposed to students as models of style.

                  Ecclesiastical Latin, for the most part, reminds me of the English of highly educated Indians.

                  • ColdStanding

                    “Bad Latin, but good Greek” it was said of the Schoolmen’s use of Latin.

        • hombre111

          What the? If you feel the constriction of English as language, are you going to communicate with smoke signals? If English is the language of those who make war against your faith, then use the words better than they do.

          • ColdStanding

            Pfff. Did I not start this thread by saying, “Time to get radical”? And what am I met with? Gap-mouthed incredulity at the radical nature of my provocation.

            • hombre111

              You call it radical. I call it strange. If you fear the language so much, do a better job writing.

              • ColdStanding

                Thank you for sharing your opinion with me and all, but I just don’t find your comment useful or relevant. I don’t see you forwarding an alternative suggestion as to the source of the difficulties our society is facing in dealing with the widespread degradation of our pedagogical materials. I only see you setting yourself up as gatekeeper to dismiss mine. A fellas got to have a hobby, I guess.

  • hombre111

    You are an excellent writer who can turn a phrase. But somehow you seemed mostly to be airing a gripe. I kept waiting for details to prove your point. Your critique of the summary of Plato seemed valid to me. But the other two examples? Not sure if they helped me get a grip on the problem you see so vividly. Maybe I have to take a look a Treasures for myself?

    • ColdStanding

      Should your last sentence really be in the form of a question? Seems more like a statement to me; a note-to-self, as it were.

      Proposed correction: Perhaps I have to a look a(t) Treasures for myself.

      • hombre111

        You got that right. I should have said, note to self.

  • musicacre

    Let’s have a barbecue! I guess the PC thing to do would be to put the book in a recycle bin.

  • I have in my office upstairs — it’s really the third floor of my house, where about 3500 of our 5000 books are kept — about 200 textbooks from 1930 and before: readers, geographies, histories, arithmetic books, grammars, and language books. It is absolutely stunning, just how different these are from the swill that our kids are made to read. I found a book on poetry for seventh and eighth graders; it’s all about the artistry and the meaning of the text; no politics, no gabble. No poison.

    • musicacre

      I’d love for my kids to invade your attic: sounds like book heaven! I don’t know if I mentioned this from an earlier post, but my Brittany -born Catholic grandfather was livid at the textbooks being used in the school where my mother attended. This would have been late 30’s and early 40’s in the prairies of Canada. I guess they got rid of the wonderful PRE-30’s books. When we made the decision to avoid the junk and homeschool, (starting 1990) she finally understood why he was upset, so many years ago.

    • ColdStanding

      In your opinion, what was the source of the change? Was it something that was added to the stream or was it an inherent flaw in the language from the get go?

      • Bono95

        It’s gotta be poison dumped into the language stream. If there was an inherent flaw in the English language in Norman or even Anglo-Saxon times, I would think that problems would have surfaced much sooner than the 16th century.

        • ColdStanding

          It did. Wycliffe.

          • Bono95

            When did he do his dirty work?

            • ColdStanding

              You don’t have access to the Internet?

              • Bono95

                Yes, but I don’t really like googling stuff. Can’t you just give the year(s)?

                • ColdStanding

                  There isn’t anybody else looking at this post anymore. If you don’t know about the Lollardy & Wycliffe, I implore you to investigate it. You should also take a look at the Waldensians, Cathari, Hussites, and Hugenouts (Calvin). You can find out about it at New Advent’s search bar.

                  Now, please do some lifting on the topic at hand your self. It isn’t fair, by which I mean it is a discourteous employment of rhetorical devices on your part, to dump it all on me. To get you back on track again, I invite you to entertain the following notion: English only speaker is at a great disadvantage, not because English isn’t doesn’t have (some laudable) qualities or that all English speakers are evil, but because the main employment of the language is has been towards ends that are contrary to the truth.

                  Wycliffe was kicked out of Oxford in 1381. He had been active since mid century.

                  • Bono95

                    Thank you for the info on Wycliffe. And I agree that speaking only 1 language does limit a person, but I think that goes for any solo language, English, French, Malaysian, you name it. I’m not fluent in any other tongue, but I do know a decent amount of French and Spanish, a friend of mine from Ireland has taught me a tiny bit of Gaelic, and I can say “hello” in 12 languages and “goodbye” in 7. I was never very good at Latin, but I do know several Latin (and Greek) roots, and I believe they have very much strengthened my English vocabulary.

                    I cannot and do not deny that so much junk and downright evil has been written and spoken in the tongue of Britain, Hobbes’ “philosophies”, gossip magazines, disgusting movie and TV show scripts, Obama’s campaign and presidential speeches, “The Origin of Species” (In Darwin’s defense though, he at least acknowledged that his theory WAS JUST a theory, and that it could well be disproved), and of course the “treasures” series. But English is far from the only language to be lied in. The propagandists of the French Revolution wrote in French, Luther and Hitler wrote in German, Stalin wrote in Russian, Mao wrote in Chinese, and Joseph Smith wrote in Latin (granted, a kindergartener could have written better).

                    The point is, language is morally indifferent. It can be used to speak and write lies, and it can be used to speak and write the truth. It only becomes bad when used for bad ends, and good when used for good ends. If you prefer to speak, read, and write in a tongue other than English, be my guest. I wouldn’t mind learning 1 or more new languages too, but I could never give up English completely. And like Hombre111 said somewhere down below, perhaps the best way to fight lies in English is by responding with the Truth in English, and in English employed more skillfully than it is by the liars.

  • On English: it is the most unusual language in the history of the world. It is a Germanic language, but a majority of the words are not Germanic. Blame it on William the Conqueror and the Norman invasion. Then in the Renaissance, English writers borrowed liberally from Latin (and occasionally from Greek), so that many English words are closer to their Latin roots than are words directly descended from those roots in French or Spanish or Italian.
    Looking about me as I write: chair (French), table (French), wall (German), window (German), floor (German), light (German), door (German), television (Greek/Latin), picture (Latin), flower (French), tree (German), street (Latin, through Old English), dog (unknown origin). Many of our monosyllabic words do not come from German: touch, place, car, beef, pork, catch, chain, core, plain, main, vain, vein, veil, choir, paste, taste, haste …

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      “Wall,” I fancy came into Continental English from Latin “vallum”

    • ColdStanding

      So, it is a patois, no?

    • hombre111

      Good analysis, Mr. Esolen. I always appreciate the skill with which you write, even though I often disagree with your message. It is a pleasure to watch you handle the English language.

  • Jane

    Is the “Treasures” series aligned with Common Core? We need examples of the drivel being taught under CC. Would also like to talk to you about other aspects of CC implementation.

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