Limbo Resolutions for 2020

As regular readers may recall from past go-rounds, I feel a profound indifference about New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day that at times borders on downright disdain. There are several reasons for this, which I have explained before, but three of which I mention in passing here: 

  • I neither drink nor enjoy being around drunks.
  • I don’t believe that changing to a new desk calendar is an event worthy of celebration or special notice.
  • I know that our human temporal time-keeping system is largely an arbitrary instrument, based partly on useful convention and partly on authoritarian fiat, and hence that making a big deal about “New Year’s Day” — which title could just as easily and correctly have been assigned to July 1st, or any other random day for that matter — is basically a deification of the inherent limits of the human intellect.
  • Soggy sentimentality of the “Auld Lang Syne” sort hardens rather than softens me. 

A party pooper, I know — but that’s who I am. Trump fans feel the same way about me these days. “Geez, can’t you just lighten up and praise the booming economy?” they moan. No I can’t, because “the booming economy” in their lament is just Auld Lang Syne’s “right good-will draught” for hyper-practical types, i.e., drunken sentimentality for the comfort-obsessed. It soothes the savage breast today at the expense of higher callings tomorrow.

There is only one New Year’s tradition that almost makes sense, although it is usually undertaken strictly as part of the mock sentimental ritual, and that is the New Year’s resolution. There is no reason whatsoever why January 1st should be a more appropriate day than any other to start breaking a bad habit or developing a good one, but human weakness being what it is, perhaps any excuse for wiping an unhelpful slate clean and starting to draw a new, improved picture of one’s life is a good excuse. 

So, to pretend to a little New Year’s spirit, I offer you my own short list of resolutions for 2020. (I keep the list short not because I have only a few aspects of my life that need improving, but because if I started listing everything I could think of, this post would never end.)

  • I will be a better teacher this year.
  • I will be a better writer this year.
  • I will be a better friend this year to each of the tiny number of people I am fortunate enough to call my friends.
  • I will continue to do anything I can to attract thoughtful people to the cause of educational freedom, which for me is the main theater of operations in the war between progressive authoritarianism and civilization.
  • I will become even more dedicated to saying, as clearly and forcefully as I can, exactly what I believe is the right thing to say about any topic or issue, regardless of how many friends or readers such words may cost me.
  • I will be even more diligent in seeking to live up to my own personal motto, the one I reveal to students who ask me for advice about how to bring more meaning into their own lives: “I don’t waste time.”

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