I’ve pulled out a book I first read about 10 years ago and am starting it again. It seems to me to be a timely topic.
Gratitude, Reflections on What We Owe To Our Country
by William F. Buckley, Jr.
The instability of family life, listlessness at school, a growing national tendency to corruption, or hedonism; an insensitivity to suffering; a callousness that breeds ugliness of behavior . . . I think that one such affliction is the failure to acknowledge a running debt to one’s homeland.
The points raise will disturb some “conservative” presumptions as also some commonly thought of as “liberal.” I have, in any event, the obligation to explore the social meaning of duty.
That which makes a man a stranger to his father makes him also a stranger to his brother . . . What severs the cords binding the generations also snaps the web that unites contemporaries.
Many Americans . . . see themselves surrounded by intensifying illiteracy, amorality and anomie. The lessons of misspent federal philanthropy are absolutely vital when considering national service. But they do not and never can undermine the absolutely secure conviction that the man or woman who helps someone who needs help is better off for the experience.
I am not conversant with the literature of clinical psychology, and do not intend to become so. But I sense intuitively that while friendship does not necessarily grow out of experience shared, experience shared conduces to a bond from which friendship can grow.
National service, like gravity, is something we could accustom ourselves to and grow to love.
One thing about reading a “Buckley book” is that you need to have a dictionary by your side as you are bound to read words you have never heard before.
What are you reading?