I’m Against It

February 12, 2013 at 3:12 pm (By Tim) (, , )

I apologize for importuning you lately with my odd musical tastes. This has been done to make trials here of materials for a Music Appreciation blog for the school where I teach. Knowing that politics trumps polyphony, and that several of you have been disturbed over the years by my seeming to be a wussy Northeast liberal, I thought I’d try my hand at something purely political.

As I say, people frequently take offense when they discover I am not strong in party-feeling or love of faction. I tell such persons, if they must know which side I adhere to, they ought consult Addison:

The Spectator.
No. 117. Saturday, July 14, 1711.

… Ipsi sibi somnia fingunt.

There are some Opinions in which a Man should stand Neuter, without engaging his Assent to one side or the other. Such a hovering Faith as this, which refuses to settle upon any Determination, is absolutely necessary to a Mind that is careful to avoid Errors and Prepossessions. When the Arguments press equally on both sides in Matters that are indifferent to us, the safest Method is to give up our selves to neither.

This principle lies close to the foundation of my opinions. Further, Marx gives stronger standards for the practical conduct of life in the modern world that I have adopted as my own:


  1. mockturtle said,

    Love it! Always loved Groucho! :-D And I enjoy your music rants, though they are mostly above my level of understanding. Certainly, Bach and Mozart [yes, and Biber!] will be appreciated long after the political issues have faded into oblivion. Praise God!

  2. TT Burnett said,

    Thank you, mockturtle. I also wish to mention, if it isn’t obvious, that those whose politics include a more historical turn of mind might detect something of Burke’s hatred to innovation in my quoting of Groucho’s song as a support to neutrality.

  3. karen said,

    “The less i study, the less i know-
    the less i know, the less i forget-
    the less i forget the more i know…
    so: why study?”

    Words to a madrigal we used to sing in HS. What i am trying to say is that my passions run deep- even though i am not so well studied. Your post brought to mind to things for me, contrarily related …

    1) “The issue is now clear, it is between light and darkness
    and everyone must choose his side.” GK Chesterton
    b) vote ~Present~

    What does the ~ipsi sibi somnia fingunt~ mean? I did google, was interrupted by 4th grade homework- and the trail went cold.

  4. TT Burnett said,

    It’s from the Eighth Ecologue of the Bucolics of Virgil. The specific line and translation is as follows:

    Au, qui amant, ipsi fingunt somnia sibi?
    Or, do those who love, form dreams to themselves?

    Addison omits the part about love, and only gives us those who form dreams or fancies for themselves. Oddly enough, the rest of The Spectator piece is about the absurdity of a belief in witchcraft. This was still present in his day, although it was fading quickly, thanks, in part, to essays such as this.

    Addison is famous for his elegant writings on the evils of excessive political zeal. This introductory paragraph could have served for any number of his essays making sport of the hyperpartisanship of his day. To say Addison is not an enthusiast is a serious understatement. He is the farthest from credulity of any writer I know, and, although a firm Christian, he attacks superstition and mob mentality at every turn.

    So, a belief in witchcraft, and belief that a particular political party or faction is the embodiment of all virtue, and their opponents of all evil, amounts to Addison, as well as to me, the same thing.

  5. mockturtle said,

    C.S. Lewis also took some swipes at political and national zeal in his Screwtape Letters

  6. karen said,

    Thank you for the explanation. A lot to mull over.
    I love CS Lewis, but i never could stick w/the Screwtape Letters. My sister thought it was so good- maybe i’ll have to give it another go.

    I just wish there was less demonization(apparently not a word, but you know what i mean)in politics. It’s all about winning. It should be more about truth.

    Maybe i should give up politics for Lent:0).

  7. mockturtle said,

    It’s all about winning. It should be more about truth.

    Exactly! It’s a lot like criminal law.

    Maybe i should give up politics for Lent:0).

    Good idea!

  8. karen said,

    Do you remember Grumpy saying: I’m ag’in it!
    I think.

  9. mockturtle said,

    Grumpy, as in seven dwarfs?

  10. karen said,

    Yes- ‘ll have to re-watch it(again).
    I never get to actually see the movie- i just listen.

  11. karen said,

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