Saturday, December 3, 2011

Contrary Consideration of Izaak Walton

I hope the title of my previous post does not imply political freedom in America is coming to a close, with the haunting question about what it was for, rather than from, meaning that we as a nation just never got it together to produce a culture that sustained the ideals of our Founding Fathers. At least some of them, and I suppose all of them, knew that this was to be an experiment in freedom, if an unlikely test I can't say. I opened my blog for the first time since last weekend, read the title, and received it with this awesome recognition.

I don't think political freedom can survive without an intellectual and artistic culture that unifies a society. If the mind is reduced to too much arbitray chaos, then the basis of a free society, objective law, goes the way of subjectivity, insanity, and force without the rule of due process. However, as I find people and things in my everyday life, invariably I am encouraged by almost everyone's being purposeful, focused, and more and less polite--when I encounter rudeness and distrust it always is due to misunderstanding. Things have not fallen apart and we still have an opportunity to build bridges of the mind to hold this nation together.

Angling in America is not really an isolated form of escapism, something we do of which we are perhaps subtly ashamed for its being close to nature, rather than in clean, man made, well-lit places. (But no place is more brilliant than a frozen lake with snow at the height of a bluebird day.) I do not believe that Izaak Walton is beyond criticism, if it's really his supportive critics more than he who have interpreted The Compleat Angler as anti-capitalistic Anglicanism (Episcopal Christianity), the essential point of angling being to get away from The Beast, as it were, as if capitalism were ultimately something to despise, resent...and be victim to, at least in this life. Walton himself was much more in reaction to the English civil war during his lifetime in the 16th and 17th centuries. He not only wanted no part of that war but to help counter it, he wanted to do his part to preserve Anglicanism, which is not at all anti-capitalist, if capitalism is understood to be the system of the mind. I am in full agreement with Walton that recreation is something best practiced outside routine, except for its own. No evidence I've found suggests that Walton despised his work as an iron tradesman, and to return to work as under oppression is nothing to be proud of.   

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