I think this article in The Atlantic is really important 

Emma Green wrote an excellent, vital piece on the importance of talking about virtue- and what makes it so hard to talk about! It requires the virtue of temperance in order to strengthen our hearts by tempering our passions with humility. 

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/05/ben-sasse-virtue-politics/528015/

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Short story: The Ministry of Natural Resources

The drizzle and the diffused, colourful light made the trees look like they were behind dusty stained glass and the road like hot steel. Elliott was pining to fish a small stream since he opened his office in the morning, and now in the afternoon with every bend in the highway he felt better. From the beginning of a long straight away Elliott saw a hitch hiker wearing a Hi-Vis orange vest. The sight of a hitch hiker always vexed him. His stomach tightened until the internal pull of generosity and push of discomfort dug a pit in his stomach. He passed the hitch hiker. But then he glanced at the rear view mirror and quickly hit the brakes, sliding into the washed out sandy shoulder. 
‘I’m going fishing about ten minutes south- I can take you down the highway that short spell, though, if it helps your cause.’ Elliott said with the window down. 

‘I love fishing, man- I’ll join if you have a little extra line and a hook- I’m Al.’ The momentum from Elliott’s out of control turn of magnanimity was irresistible. Elliott was still tense but couldn’t stop obliging the scruffy man hunched over his passenger door. 

The men stepped out into the bush off the logging road and froze listening to the comforting song of the riffle. Elliott awkwardly handed Al a spool of tippet and a box of terminal tackle and started setting up his short, whippy fibreglass fly rod. He scratched the back of his neck and picked at the flies in his case.

‘Would you like a fly?’ He asked, rubbing the bridge of his nose. 

‘Thanks- I have everything I need, good buddy- I think I’ll find some bait.’ Al rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet. 

‘You deserve a fish with a cast like that- that was a hell of a cast- brave to side arm it under that canopy,’ Al hollered downstream in the tall grass, still searching for bait. Elliott couldn’t contain a warm smile, even though the cast didn’t earn him a fish. 

Al stalked the creek slowly and deliberately, being careful to stay back from the bank. He sidestepped gingerly like he was at the edge of a cliff and, assuming the gracefully recoiled pose of a heron, he darted at blade of grass trapping a hopper in the palm of his hand. Al and Elliott locked eyes and Al raised his arm in triumph. They shared a chuckle. Al spied a dogwood and broke a young branch off, and then tied the line to the skinny end of the pole and the hook to the free end of the line. With the long branch extended over the middle of the pool he gently dapped the hopper on the surface, tricking a chunky trout to leap and dance on the water. Elliott jumped in the air and hopped with joy at the sight of the shimmering fish as Al horsed it through the brush and landed it on the bank. 

‘That got my heart going- like the drugs I used to take,’ Elliott said when they met by the logging road with their catch of the afternoon. 

A yellow lab burst through the thicket toward Al, startling both men out of their fast couple hours of blissful fishing. And Elliott saw a shadow cast from over his shoulder. He turned to see a conservation officer then he glanced at their fish and the cans of beer on the bank and the coals of their fire, and then back to the conservation officer. Al didn’t have a license, and they didn’t have a permit for their little campfire either. The conservation officer said they were ‘batting one thousand,’ and seized Elliott’s jeep along with his tackle. 

If you were driving north on the highway at dusk that day, you would’ve seen a man with a Hi-Vis vest next to a man dressed business casual sauntering and sashaying along the washed out sandy shoulder, both grinning. 

Short story: The Ministry of Natural Resources 

The drizzle and the diffused, colourful light made the trees look like they were behind dusty stained glass and the road like hot steel. Elliott was pining to fish a small stream since he opened his office in the morning, and now in the afternoon with every bend in the highway he felt better. From the beginning of a long straight away Elliott saw a hitch hiker wearing a Hi-Vis orange vest. The sight of a hitch hiker always vexed him. His stomach tightened until the internal pull of generosity and push of discomfort dug a pit in his stomach. He passed the hitch hiker. But then he glanced at the rear view mirror and quickly hit the brakes, sliding into the washed out sandy shoulder. 
‘I’m going fishing about ten minutes south- I can take you down the highway that short spell, though, if it helps your cause.’ Elliott said with the window down. 

‘I love fishing, man- I’ll join if you have a little extra line and a hook- I’m Al.’ The momentum from Elliott’s out of control turn of magnanimity was irresistible. Elliott was still tense but couldn’t stop obliging the scruffy man.

The men stepped out into the bush off the logging road and froze listening to the comforting song of the riffle. Elliott awkwardly handed Al a spool of tippet and a box of terminal tackle and started setting up his short, whippy fibreglass fly rod.

‘Would you like a fly?’ He asked, nervously. 

‘Thanks- I have everything I need, good buddy- I think I’ll find some bait’ 

‘You deserve a fish with a cast like that- that was a hell of a cast- brave to side arm it under that canopy,’ Al hollered downstream, still searching for bait. Elliott couldn’t contain a warm smile, even though the cast didn’t earn him a fish. 

Al stalked the creek slowly and deliberately, being careful to stay back from the bank. He spied a dogwood and broke a young branch off, and then tied the line to the skinny end of the pole and the hook to the free end of the line. With the long branch extended over the middle of the pool he gently dapped the hopper on the surface, tricking a chunky trout to leap and dance on the water. Elliott jumped in the air and hopped with joy at the sight of the shimmering fish as Al horsed it through the brush and landed it on the bank. 

‘That got my heart going- like the drugs I used to take,’ Elliott said when they met by the logging road with their catch. 

A yellow lab burst through the thicket toward Al, tearing both men out of their fast couple hours of blissful fishing. And Elliott saw a shadow cast from over his shoulder. He turned to see a conservation officer then he glanced at their fish and the cans of beer on the bank and the coals of their fire, and then back to the conservation officer. Al didn’t have a license, and they didn’t have a permit for their little campfire either. The conservation officer said they were ‘batting one thousand,’ and seized Elliott’s jeep along with his tackle. 

If you were driving north on the highway at dusk that day, you would’ve seen a man with a Hi-Vis vest next to a man dressed business casual sauntering and sashaying along the washed out sandy shoulder, both grinning. 

Creative writing vignette #5

As I sat in the backseat of my friend’s new white Honda Civic, the tops of some houses were aglow in patches of sunshine while others were under storms clouds. The cold air ushered in by the storm gracefully lifted my bangs when we turned the corner. We all looked out the passenger side window at the intersection to the parking lot of the lowrise apartment buildings, where a shirtless man in sweatpants was repeatedly flipping a water bottle as high in the air as possible. The shirtless man leaned back in exasperation each time he didn’t make the seemingly impossible clean landing. ‘What is he doing? He isn’t even recording himself- what if he lands it,’ the perplexed driver said. The passenger just looked on, transfixed. 

I can’t understand why people look to 1984 and the Handmaid’s Tale instead of Brave New World to go looking for where we’ve gone wrong

It seems 1984 would be more useful in Russia as the Handmaid’s Tale would be more useful in Saudi Arabia- Canadians should be looking to Brave New World (a book I regret not looking at more closely when it was assigned in high school). What Huxley shows us in Brave New World isn’t a police state or a brutal theocracy, but a society where political nudging, social status signalling, shallow relationships, and the ideas that advanced technology and pharmacology can solve moral problems and quench spiritual longings are paramount. The dystopian world in Brave New World should help us hone back in on first principles; The wild man yearning for higher beauty and willing to hurt for it should inspire us

P.S. I think I’ll give The Handmaid’s Tale a closer look because it seems like the cause of infertility that impelled the dystopian world might be shallow relationships, status grubbing, and pollution, so tracing it back Atwood might share some of Huxley’s warnings 

The government works for you in Canada

The government of Canada works for you: if you build your mansion in a flood plain, the government will buy it from you after the flood; if you make 200K a year and feel like you’re being squeezed in the middle class, you’ll get tax relief; if you’re the son of a lawyer, you’ll get your prescription drugs paid for just like the next young person; if you want to drive a luxury Tesla sports car, the government will give you a big discount- if you work every day but can’t afford to get your teeth or eyes checked, the government isn’t working for you yet, though- how about we get the government working for the working poor or let’s start limiting the government