Tuesday, October 03, 2006

How to Win Friends and Influence People (and have them say nice things about you later on)

It's so seldom that people actually say nice things about me, I couldn't resist reprinting Francis Beckwith's recent remarks in one of the comment sections of the Right Reason blog. Frank is one of the most logically forceful and articulate evangelical scholars writing today. He is the author numerous books and articles, and is one of the foremost experts on the issue of the constitutionality of Intelligent Design in schools:

BTW, Martin Cothran was instrumental in my embracing of political conservativism. While in graduate school in southern California in 1983-84 (while we were both studying for our MAs at the old Simon Greenleaf Univ, which has since merged with Trinity in Deerfield IL), Martin scolded me when I called myself a "moderate." Then he bought me a subscription to the American Spectator and encouraged me to read National Review, Bill Buckley's UP FROM LIBERALISM, and Newt Gingrich's WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY. I then went on to devour Gilder's WEALTH AND POVERTY, Hazlitt's ECONOMICS IN ONE LESSON, and Schaeffer and Koop's WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE. From there I read Schlossberg's IDOLS FOR DESTRUCTION, Novak's SPIRIT OF DEMOCRATIC CAPITALISM, and Robert Cord's SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE.

Also, Martin's a huge Chesterton guy, having done his MA thesis on Chesterton's work. This inspired me to read ORTHODOXY and a collection of Chesterton's writings that Martin had bought me as a gift.

I am semi-literate only because of Martin Cothran.

Thanks, Martin.

Take care,

What he doesn't mention (probably because he has forgotten) is that he was also prochoice at this time. I remember many evenings debating the issue with him at JoJo's Coffee Shop. It makes my heart glow to think that I may have had a hand in bringing the author of Politically Correct Death, the best demolition job of the prochoice position ever written, over from the Dark Side.


F. Beckwith said...

Can you believe that was over 20 years ago? Wow!

I have to correct you on two things. 1. It is was "Coco's" not "Jo Jo's." 2. I wasn't prochoice; I just wasn't fully onboard on the prolife position. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, "I was prochoice to a degree...." I guess that would make me pro-inconsistent.

But other than that, Martin is correct. I was not fully prolife and he was instrumental in forming my present position on the issue. This shows, I believe, that arguments and reason make a difference, if offered in a winsome and intelligent fashion, as Martin did to me.

Also, Martin and I were both hugh Dylan fans and share an interest in the music of gospel-blues artist, Rev. Gary Davis, if you can believe it.


Martin Cothran said...


Thank you for the corrections. You are right on both counts.

As you can tell, I am attempting to take credit for all of your career successes, based on our admittedly limited time together at CoCo's. But remember St. Thomas's declaration in the Summa: that the effect cannot be greater than the cause. :)