August 15, 2020Dear Reader,
I think Carpus is going to undertake to write the introductory letter this time, which, to me, seems only fair, as I was responsible for the last one. What he's going to say, or what I would say if I were in fact put in charge of the letter, is something still in gremio Minervae, which is to say as yet unthought of and unformed. I think I would try to avoid the topic of quarantine, myself, despite the word quarantine appearing on the cover, and maybe go with something more or less unconnected to either the season or the (admittedly mostly absent) theme of this issue.
In fact, the idea I'd probably turn to is one that came up by chance in one of my Latin practice compositions: that the failure of the Midwest to have sustained a vernacular culture is due primarily to the people's failure to believe in posterity - the phrase I actually used was something like "the eternity of the Republic." All good things come from long continuance; someone has to start somewhere: with apples, oaks, and country houses. An intergenerational time scale is easier to contemplate if there's a strong tradition of landholding and family inheritance; the modern Whig fallacy of individual primacy makes it much more difficult to take actions that will only bear fruit after one's own capacity to enjoy them has passed.
There was a time, of course, when the Midwest did have the project I'm describing: towns platted, orchards planted, schools built - the legacy is still visible in the various colleges across the region; the courthouse squares; the brick farmhouses. It was to be a Republic to match Rome. Well, call me Ausonius.
A. Pinguis (Ed.)