Tag Archives: Quotes

Entertaining Angels – Part One

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  

Hebrews 13:2 KJV

I have a long and, well, colorful, if you will, “relationship” with hitchhikers.  I was not brought up to pick up random people off the street, but I learned at a youngish sort of age that my path would often lead me to places where I would do just that.

My driver’s license was not even dry yet before I had my first experience with a hitchhiker.  It was dusk and I was driving alone down a long stretch of road.  The road was chain link fenced on both sides and I was the only car on it.  I passed a young man going the same way as I with his thumb out.  Without a thought I drove right past him.  Women alone in cars don’t pick up strangers, right?  But I immediately felt the Lord prompt me that I should have offered the man a ride.  I made a U-turn as soon as I could to go back, but the man had disappeared.  To where?  There was no one else on the road, and there was no way to get off the road.  I had thoroughly missed an opportunity.  And I decided that in the future, if I could help it, I would not let that happen again.  Over the years I practiced listening to that prompting and picking up people that I felt I was in the right place at the right time to render aid to.  I never felt much in the way of hesitation.  Until eight years or so ago…

Instead of flying on my annual September pilgrimage from Colorado to California to visit my people, I was driving this time.  The sun was just rising as I crossed from Colorado into Utah.  I found myself alone on the vast expanse of the freeway winding my way through the high desert.  Off in the distance I saw a figure walking along the edge of the road.  “Please Jesus”, I begged, “please don’t make me pick up someone out here in the middle of nowhere.”  I slowed down as I drove past him.  He looked pretty rough, was unshaven, and was barefoot.  I kept him in my rear view mirror so I wouldn’t lose sight of him as I briefly argued with God, ultimately pulling over and stopping about 200 yards in front of him.  He walked up to my window as I was tossing things into the back seat from the passenger seat next to me.  He was rather incredulous as I told him to get in and asked where he was going.  I knew full well this guy might be in my car all the way to Los Angeles.  Offering him a ride stretched even my usual calm reserve about picking up hitchhikers.

No, I don’t remember his name.  He was on his way to Phoenix and I told him I wasn’t on a schedule and offered to take him there.  He declined that offer.  We decided on Moab.  A big detour, but what the heck.  As we talked I learned that he’d been trying to get to Phoenix from the East Coast for months.  It had been a huge struggle.  He’d walked most of the way as few had been willing to stop and pick him up for more than a few miles at best.  His shoes wore out some time ago.  He hadn’t bathed in weeks.  He was hungry.  He had absolutely no money.  His little kids were in Phoenix and it had been years since he’d seen them.  We ate breakfast out of my cooler.  When we got to Moab, we went shoe shopping.  I gave him money, offered one more time to take him to Phoenix, and prayed with him.

But none of that was all that important.  After he first got into my car, he told me why he almost couldn’t believe that I’d stopped for him, and it’s truly amazing…

“I slept out in the desert last night.  I was cold and I was wet.  It was the worst night of my life.  I was feeling desperate, and I was feeling so angry.  This morning I stood up and raised my fist to the sky and shouted at God at the top of my lungs…WHY WON’T YOU SEND SOMEONE TO HELP ME?????  That was fifteen minutes ago.”

This man learned that God sometimes answers prayers immediately, even ones that weren’t asked in the nicest way.  And I learned that I never want to forget what it felt like to know that had I not listened to that voice I would have missed out on the opportunity to be the almost instantaneous answer to that desperate shouted prayer.  Now, instead of waiting to hear the voice, I ask God if I’m supposed to pick up this or that person.  I even offer rides to some people who are not asking for one.  Part Two of this particular story takes place on the way back to Colorado on this same trip.  Stay tuned.  (Click HERE for Part Two)

But don’t tell my dad.


“Obama’s fools …

“Obama’s fools and Stalin’s fools share the same drink of illusion.”

~  Xavier Lerma, PRAVDA


First World Problem

For anyone who has traveled and spent any amount of time in underdeveloped (third world) countries, the concept of “first world problem” is not an unfamiliar one.  First world problems are ones that either simply don’t occur in the third world, or aren’t something you would put in the “problem” category due to the rather unimportant nature of them in the big picture.

Yesterday my friend Krista posted this status update on facebook:

”  first world problem: I have cookie crumbs in my papercut. 😦  “

I laughed.

I spent the summer a number of years ago with Krista in the bush in Zambia on a mission trip.  Her duffel bag with everything she would need for the summer didn’t get to Zambia with her.  She spent the entire summer using other people’s stuff and wearing their clothes.  And she never complained, not once.   She was a trooper.  Having nothing?  A third world problem.  But hey, in the first world, a paper cut can sting when it gets cookie crumbs in it!

This morning in my inbox there was an e-mail from a company called “Fab”.  They sell all kinds of really cool and mostly totally unnecessary stuff.  Today a link to some very fun looking brightly colored small kitchen appliances caught my eye.  I would love to own a number of them if only I had room for them in my kitchen (first world problem).  And then I saw it.  A mini s’mores maker.

Really???  Is that a solution to a first world problem or what??

Or does it just take all the fun out of s’mores?


My Fellow Americans…You Are the 8%…Probably Even the 1%

If you have money in the bank, money in your wallet, and loose change lying around your house, you are richer than 92% of the world.

I wonder just how many of the “99%”ers are in fact, 8%ers…

The following is by an anonymous author (with numbers which are only approximate) and has been widely quoted for many years.  Does it put things into a different perspective???

If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following. There would be:
57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south
8 would be Africans
52 would be female
48 would be male
70 would be non-white
30 would be white
70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian
6 people would possess 59% of the entire world’s wealth and all 6 would
be from the United States.
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition
ONE would be near death; ONE would be near birth
ONE would have a college education
ONE would own a computer.

When you consider our world from such a compressed perspective, are you among the fortunate?  I certainly am!

And….

If you woke up this morning
with more health than illness,
you are more blessed than the
million who won’t survive the week.

If you have never experienced
the danger of battle,
the loneliness of imprisonment,
the agony of torture or
the pangs of starvation,
you are ahead of 20 million people
around the world.

If you attend a church meeting
without fear of harassment,
arrest, torture, or death,
you are more blessed than almost
three billion people in the world.

If you have food in your refrigerator,
clothes on your back, a roof over
your head and a place to sleep,
you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank,
in your wallet, and spare change
in a dish someplace, you are among
the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If your parents are still married and alive,
you are very rare,
especially in the United States.

If you can read this message,
you are more blessed than over
two billion people in the world
that cannot read anything at all.

So if the world is reduced to 100 people, and only one has a college education, and only one owns a computer, then a whole lot of people who didn’t think they were, are actually in the 1%…


Don’t Buy a Fish in the Water

Day 17, April 2nd, 2011

Mopti, Mali

Early the morning that Abner and I were to travel from Mopti, Mali, to Ouagadougou (love saying that!), Burkina Faso, we encountered two young peace corps volunteers who were returning back to Ghana after spending time in Mali.  We hung out with them at the “bus station” waiting for our transport to be ready.  Lara and Raphaela were in their early 20’s and were from Belgium and Germany.  They would be on the same bus as us.  Because of all their time in Ghana, they’d gone a bit “wild”.  Raphaela had gone swimming in the Niger River (wow, a really bad idea) and was sporting a pretty “nice” case of impetigo (bacterial staph infection) on her face, neck, and torso.  They ate with (exceptionally) dirty hands.  I don’t know how wild I would go if I spent a year in a place like Ghana…but I think I would probably always eat with clean hands.  🙂  The girls were fun to be around for the next day and a half.  Westerners were a rare thing to run into on our particular itinerary.  It can be rather exhausting trying to communicate in a language (French) that you don’t speak well at all, and these girls were kind enough to speak with us in English.

Anyhow, while I cannot remember exactly what precipitated their sharing this lesson, I remember the lesson.

“Don’t buy a fish in the water” I was cautioned by one of the girls.  This was something they had learned from the Ghanaians they were living with.

It’s an excellent warning on knowing what you are getting before you invest in it.

Two young buys fishing the Bani River in Mopti, Mali


Good news of great joy…

    In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to their own town to register.So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

    And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you:   You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

    Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

    “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

    When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

    So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”

    Luke 2:1-20

     

    If not for Jesus’ birth, there would be no such thing as Christmas…remember this as you celebrate today.


28.99%

My friend Donna is a small business owner.  She has poured heart and soul into her retail business for the past two years and has been starting to show regular profits. 

If you’ve been paying attention to things in the news lately, you know that Bank of America is one of the banks that should be out of business, but instead was handed over FORTY FIVE BEEEEEEELION dollars of bailout money. 

That’s 45 billion of your dollars, my dollars, and Donna’s dollars.  Now, Donna has been an excellent customer of Bank of America and has tied all of her business accounts to the financial giant (she did this before it became clear that the lunatics were in charge of the asylum).

And in thanks for all the bailout money it got from Donna, and in thanks for Donna’s excellent support of said institution, the interest rate on her small business credit card was jacked up to….yep, you guessed it….a whopping and usurious TWENTY EIGHT POINT NINE NINE PERCENT.

How many small businesses are out there who also got the “Dear Customer” letter?  Donna’s not sure how she’ll get rid of her business’ credit debt before this onerous interest rate suffocates her business.  That interest rate gobbles up the profits she is making.

I reallllly need a very good explanation as to why this country is not letting bad businesses fail.  Failure isn’t a bad thing!  In some circumstances it’s the BEST thing.  B of A should be dead and buried by now and not sticking its bony zombied hands into every single pocket that they can.

I ask you, who in their right mind would seek out B of A in the future with interest rates like that?  Will this cost it customers?  Certainly it must.  If it costs enough customers, will it do well as a business in the future?  Certainly it cannot.  If it continues then to fail as a business, will we again have to bail the Loan Sharks out?  I guess we will.  So, in order to keep from having to let the Loan Shark stick its skeletal hand into our left pocket, we have to let it stick it into our right one by doing business with it???  We can no longer vote with our feet when it comes to Bank of America (GM, Chrysler, ETCETERA).

This is stupid.  This needs to stop.  Bank of America should not get the “good try award”.  It needs to go away and if it figures out a better way to do business, then it should come back, but not until then!

We should look at it like Thomas Edison did when it took 10,000 attempts at making the lightbulb…

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Thomas A. Edison

If Edison were alive today and making the 8,972nd iteration of his light bulb, I’m sure the American government would be forcing us to buy bulbs that lasted 42 seconds even thought they were crap because Edison was “too big to fail”.  We might never gotten our light bulb.

How many bigger and better things are we going to lose out on because we are propping up businesses where being not good enough IS good enough and where there’s no incentive to be the best because you’re going get your money one way or the other?  And how many small businesses who are trying to be good enough, and maybe even trying to be the best, go out of business because these not good enough businesses aren’t allowed to suffer the natural consequences of being bad?


“I’ll be back.”

Some think that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “I’ll be back” line is the best movie line ever.  Others perhaps think Rhett Butler’s “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” takes that honor.  Me?  I am thinking I’m partial to this one:

My dad will like this  for sure, so I think it’s fitting to put this clip here as a Happy Fathers’ Day shout out to my pop!


“Live Free or Die”

The following is the latest offering of “Imprimis”.  Imprimis is a publication of Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan.  It’s a small little magazinelette to which I subscribe.  The monthly offerings are usually very good, this one is a must read.  It’s long, but so very much worth the time it will take to read it. 

Live Free or Die

 

 

MARK STEYN’S column appears in several newspapers, including the Washington Times, Philadelphia’s Evening Bulletin, and the Orange County Register. In addition, he writes for The New Criterion, Maclean’s in Canada, the Jerusalem Post, The Australian, and Hawke’s Bay Today in New Zealand. The author of National Review’s Happy Warrior column, he also blogs on National Review Online. He is the author of several books, including the best-selling America Alone: The End of The World as We Know It. Mr. Steyn teaches a two-week course in journalism at Hillsdale College during each spring semester.

 

The following is adapted from a lecture delivered at Hillsdale College on March 9, 2009.

 

 

 

MY REMARKS are titled tonight after the words of General Stark, New Hampshire’s great hero of the Revolutionary War: “Live free or die!” When I first moved to New Hampshire, where this appears on our license plates, I assumed General Stark had said it before some battle or other—a bit of red meat to rally the boys for the charge; a touch of the old Henry V-at-Agincourt routine. But I soon discovered that the general had made his famous statement decades after the war, in a letter regretting that he would be unable to attend a dinner. And in a curious way I found that even more impressive. In extreme circumstances, many people can rouse themselves to rediscover the primal impulses: The brave men on Flight 93 did. They took off on what they thought was a routine business trip, and, when they realized it wasn’t, they went into General Stark mode and cried “Let’s roll!” But it’s harder to maintain the “Live free or die!” spirit when you’re facing not an immediate crisis but just a slow, remorseless, incremental, unceasing ratchet effect. “Live free or die!” sounds like a battle cry: We’ll win this thing or die trying, die an honorable death. But in fact it’s something far less dramatic: It’s a bald statement of the reality of our lives in the prosperous West. You can live as free men, but, if you choose not to, your society will die.

 

My book America Alone is often assumed to be about radical Islam, firebreathing imams, the excitable young men jumping up and down in the street doing the old “Death to the Great Satan” dance. It’s not. It’s about us. It’s about a possibly terminal manifestation of an old civilizational temptation: Indolence, as Machiavelli understood, is the greatest enemy of a republic. When I ran into trouble with the so-called “human rights” commissions up in Canada, it seemed bizarre to find the progressive left making common cause with radical Islam. One half of the alliance profess to be pro-gay, pro-feminist secularists; the other half are homophobic, misogynist theocrats. Even as the cheap bus ‘n’ truck road-tour version of the Hitler-Stalin Pact, it made no sense. But in fact what they have in common overrides their superficially more obvious incompatibilities: Both the secular Big Government progressives and political Islam recoil from the concept of the citizen, of the free individual entrusted to operate within his own societal space, assume his responsibilities, and exploit his potential.

 

In most of the developed world, the state has gradually annexed all the responsibilities of adulthood—health care, child care, care of the elderly—to the point where it’s effectively severed its citizens from humanity’s primal instincts, not least the survival instinct. Hillary Rodham Clinton said it takes a village to raise a child. It’s supposedly an African proverb—there is no record of anyone in Africa ever using this proverb, but let that pass. P.J. O’Rourke summed up that book superbly: It takes a village to raise a child. The government is the village, and you’re the child. Oh, and by the way, even if it did take a village to raise a child, I wouldn’t want it to be an African village. If you fly over West Africa at night, the lights form one giant coastal megalopolis: Not even Africans regard the African village as a useful societal model. But nor is the European village. Europe’s addiction to big government, unaffordable entitlements, cradle-to-grave welfare, and a dependence on mass immigration needed to sustain it has become an existential threat to some of the oldest nation-states in the world.

 

And now the last holdout, the United States, is embarking on the same grim path: After the President unveiled his budget, I heard Americans complain, oh, it’s another Jimmy Carter, or LBJ’s Great Society, or the new New Deal. You should be so lucky. Those nickel-and-dime comparisons barely begin to encompass the wholesale Europeanization that’s underway. The 44th president’s multi-trillion-dollar budget, the first of many, adds more to the national debt than all the previous 43 presidents combined, from George Washington to George Dubya. The President wants Europeanized health care, Europeanized daycare, Europeanized education, and, as the Europeans have discovered, even with Europeanized tax rates you can’t make that math add up. In Sweden, state spending accounts for 54% of GDP. In America, it was 34%—ten years ago. Today, it’s about 40%. In four years’ time, that number will be trending very Swede-like.

 

But forget the money, the deficit, the debt, the big numbers with the 12 zeroes on the end of them. So-called fiscal conservatives often miss the point. The problem isn’t the cost. These programs would still be wrong even if Bill Gates wrote a check to cover them each month. They’re wrong because they deform the relationship between the citizen and the state. Even if there were no financial consequences, the moral and even spiritual consequences would still be fatal. That’s the stage where Europe is.

 

America is just beginning this process. I looked at the rankings in Freedom in the 50 States published by George Mason University last month. New Hampshire came in Number One, the Freest State in the Nation, which all but certainly makes it the freest jurisdiction in the Western world. Which kind of depressed me. Because the Granite State feels less free to me than it did when I moved there, and you always hope there’s somewhere else out there just in case things go belly up and you have to hit the road. And way down at the bottom in the last five places were Maryland, California, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and the least free state in the Union by some distance, New York.

 

New York! How does the song go? “If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere!” If you can make it there, you’re some kind of genius. “This is the worst fiscal downturn since the Great Depression,” announced Governor Paterson a few weeks ago. So what’s he doing? He’s bringing in the biggest tax hike in New York history. If you can make it there, he can take it there—via state tax, sales tax, municipal tax, a doubled beer tax, a tax on clothing, a tax on cab rides, an “iTunes tax,” a tax on haircuts, 137 new tax hikes in all. Call 1-800-I-HEART-NEW-YORK today and order your new package of state tax forms, for just $199.99, plus the 12% tax on tax forms and the 4% tax form application fee partially refundable upon payment of the 7.5% tax filing tax. If you can make it there, you’ll certainly have no difficulty making it in Tajikistan.

 

New York, California… These are the great iconic American states, the ones we foreigners have heard of. To a penniless immigrant called Arnold Schwarzenegger, California was a land of plenty. Now Arnold is an immigrant of plenty in a penniless land: That’s not an improvement. One of his predecessors as governor of California, Ronald Reagan, famously said, “We are a nation that has a government, not the other way around.” In California, it’s now the other way around: California is increasingly a government that has a state. And it is still in the early stages of the process. California has thirtysomething million people. The Province of Quebec has seven million people. Yet California and Quebec have roughly the same number of government workers. “There is a great deal of ruin in a nation,” said Adam Smith, and America still has a long way to go. But it’s better to jump off the train as you’re leaving the station and it’s still picking up speed than when it’s roaring down the track and you realize you’ve got a one-way ticket on the Oblivion Express.

 

“Indolence,” in Machiavelli’s word: There are stages to the enervation of free peoples. America, which held out against the trend, is now at Stage One: The benign paternalist state promises to make all those worries about mortgages, debt, and health care disappear. Every night of the week, you can switch on the TV and see one of these ersatz “town meetings” in which freeborn citizens of the republic (I use the term loosely) petition the Sovereign to make all the bad stuff go away. “I have an urgent need,” a lady in Fort Myers beseeched the President. “We need a home, our own kitchen, our own bathroom.” He took her name and ordered his staff to meet with her. Hopefully, he didn’t insult her by dispatching some no-name deputy assistant associate secretary of whatever instead of flying in one of the bigtime tax-avoiding cabinet honchos to nationalize a Florida bank and convert one of its branches into a desirable family residence, with a swing set hanging where the drive-thru ATM used to be.

 

As all of you know, Hillsdale College takes no federal or state monies. That used to make it an anomaly in American education. It’s in danger of becoming an anomaly in America, period. Maybe it’s time for Hillsdale College to launch the Hillsdale Insurance Agency, the Hillsdale Motor Company and the First National Bank of Hillsdale. The executive supremo at Bank of America is now saying, oh, if only he’d known what he knows now, he wouldn’t have taken the government money. Apparently it comes with strings attached. Who knew? Sure, Hillsdale College did, but nobody else.

 

If you’re a business, when government gives you 2% of your income, it has a veto on 100% of what you do. If you’re an individual, the impact is even starker. Once you have government health care, it can be used to justify almost any restraint on freedom: After all, if the state has to cure you, it surely has an interest in preventing you needing treatment in the first place. That’s the argument behind, for example, mandatory motorcycle helmets, or the creepy teams of government nutritionists currently going door to door in Britain and conducting a “health audit” of the contents of your refrigerator. They’re not yet confiscating your Twinkies; they just want to take a census of how many you have. So you do all this for the “free” health care—and in the end you may not get the “free” health care anyway. Under Britain’s National Health Service, for example, smokers in Manchester have been denied treatment for heart disease, and the obese in Suffolk are refused hip and knee replacements. Patricia Hewitt, the British Health Secretary, says that it’s appropriate to decline treatment on the basis of “lifestyle choices.” Smokers and the obese may look at their gay neighbor having unprotected sex with multiple partners, and wonder why his “lifestyle choices” get a pass while theirs don’t. But that’s the point: Tyranny is always whimsical.

 

And if they can’t get you on grounds of your personal health, they’ll do it on grounds of planetary health. Not so long ago in Britain it was proposed that each citizen should have a government-approved travel allowance. If you take one flight a year, you’ll pay just the standard amount of tax on the journey. But, if you travel more frequently, if you take a second or third flight, you’ll be subject to additional levies—in the interest of saving the planet for Al Gore’s polar bear documentaries and that carbon-offset palace he lives in in Tennessee.

 

Isn’t this the very definition of totalitarianism-lite? The Soviets restricted the movement of people through the bureaucratic apparatus of “exit visas.” The British are proposing to do it through the bureaucratic apparatus of exit taxes—indeed, the bluntest form of regressive taxation. As with the Communists, the nomenklatura—the Prince of Wales, Al Gore, Madonna—will still be able to jet about hither and yon. What’s a 20% surcharge to them? Especially as those for whom vast amounts of air travel are deemed essential—government officials, heads of NGOs, environmental activists—will no doubt be exempted from having to pay the extra amount. But the ghastly masses will have to stay home.

 

“Freedom of movement” used to be regarded as a bedrock freedom. The movement is still free, but there’s now a government processing fee of $389.95. And the interesting thing about this proposal was that it came not from the Labour Party but the Conservative Party.

 

That’s Stage Two of societal enervation—when the state as guarantor of all your basic needs becomes increasingly comfortable with regulating your behavior. Free peoples who were once willing to give their lives for liberty can be persuaded very quickly to relinquish their liberties for a quiet life. When President Bush talked about promoting democracy in the Middle East, there was a phrase he liked to use: “Freedom is the desire of every human heart.” Really? It’s unclear whether that’s really the case in Gaza and the Pakistani tribal lands. But it’s absolutely certain that it’s not the case in Berlin and Paris, Stockholm and London, New Orleans and Buffalo. The story of the Western world since 1945 is that, invited to choose between freedom and government “security,” large numbers of people vote to dump freedom every time—the freedom to make your own decisions about health care, education, property rights, and a ton of other stuff. It’s ridiculous for grown men and women to say: I want to be able to choose from hundreds of cereals at the supermarket, thousands of movies from Netflix, millions of songs to play on my iPod—but I want the government to choose for me when it comes to my health care. A nation that demands the government take care of all the grown-up stuff is a nation turning into the world’s wrinkliest adolescent, free only to choose its record collection.

 

And don’t be too sure you’ll get to choose your record collection in the end. That’s Stage Three: When the populace has agreed to become wards of the state, it’s a mere difference of degree to start regulating their thoughts. When my anglophone friends in the Province of Quebec used to complain about the lack of English signs in Quebec hospitals, my response was that, if you allow the government to be the sole provider of health care, why be surprised that they’re allowed to decide the language they’ll give it in? But, as I’ve learned during my year in the hellhole of Canadian “human rights” law, that’s true in a broader sense. In the interests of “cultural protection,” the Canadian state keeps foreign newspaper owners, foreign TV operators, and foreign bookstore owners out of Canada. Why shouldn’t it, in return, assume the right to police the ideas disseminated through those newspapers, bookstores and TV networks it graciously agrees to permit?

 

When Maclean’s magazine and I were hauled up in 2007 for the crime of “flagrant Islamophobia,” it quickly became very clear that, for members of a profession that brags about its “courage” incessantly (far more than, say, firemen do), an awful lot of journalists are quite content to be the eunuchs in the politically correct harem. A distressing number of Western journalists see no conflict between attending lunches for World Press Freedom Day every month and agreeing to be micro-regulated by the state. The big problem for those of us arguing for classical liberalism is that in modern Canada there’s hardly anything left that isn’t on the state dripfeed to one degree or another: Too many of the institutions healthy societies traditionally look to as outposts of independent thought—churches, private schools, literature, the arts, the media—either have an ambiguous relationship with government or are downright dependent on it. Up north, “intellectual freedom” means the relevant film-funding agency—Cinedole Canada or whatever it’s called—gives you a check to enable you to continue making so-called “bold, brave, transgressive” films that discombobulate state power not a whit.

 

And then comes Stage Four, in which dissenting ideas and even words are labeled as “hatred.” In effect, the language itself becomes a means of control. Despite the smiley-face banalities, the tyranny becomes more naked: In Britain, a land with rampant property crime, undercover constables nevertheless find time to dine at curry restaurants on Friday nights to monitor adjoining tables lest someone in private conversation should make a racist remark. An author interviewed on BBC Radio expressed, very mildly and politely, some concerns about gay adoption and was investigated by Scotland Yard’s Community Safety Unit for Homophobic, Racist and Domestic Incidents. A Daily Telegraph columnist is arrested and detained in a jail cell over a joke in a speech. A Dutch legislator is invited to speak at the Palace of Westminster by a member of the House of Lords, but is banned by the government, arrested on arrival at Heathrow and deported.

 

America, Britain, and even Canada are not peripheral nations: They’re the three anglophone members of the G7. They’re three of a handful of countries that were on the right side of all the great conflicts of the last century. But individual liberty flickers dimmer in each of them. The massive expansion of government under the laughable euphemism of “stimulus” (Stage One) comes with a quid pro quo down the line (Stage Two): Once you accept you’re a child in the government nursery, why shouldn’t Nanny tell you what to do? And then—Stage Three—what to think? And—Stage Four—what you’re forbidden to think . . . .

 

Which brings us to the final stage: As I said at the beginning, Big Government isn’t about the money. It’s more profound than that. A couple of years back Paul Krugman wrote a column in The New York Times asserting that, while parochial American conservatives drone on about “family values,” the Europeans live it, enacting policies that are more “family friendly.” On the Continent, claims the professor, “government regulations actually allow people to make a desirable tradeoff-to modestly lower income in return for more time with friends and family.”

 

As befits a distinguished economist, Professor Krugman failed to notice that for a continent of “family friendly” policies, Europe is remarkably short of families. While America’s fertility rate is more or less at replacement level—2.1—seventeen European nations are at what demographers call “lowest-low” fertility—1.3 or less—a rate from which no society in human history has ever recovered. Germans, Spaniards, Italians and Greeks have upside-down family trees: four grandparents have two children and one grandchild. How can an economist analyze “family friendly” policies without noticing that the upshot of these policies is that nobody has any families?

 

As for all that extra time, what happened? Europeans work fewer hours than Americans, they don’t have to pay for their own health care, they’re post-Christian so they don’t go to church, they don’t marry and they don’t have kids to take to school and basketball and the 4-H stand at the county fair. So what do they do with all the time?

 

Forget for the moment Europe’s lack of world-beating companies: They regard capitalism as an Anglo-American fetish, and they mostly despise it. But what about the things Europeans supposedly value? With so much free time, where is the great European art? Where are Europe’s men of science? At American universities. Meanwhile, Continental governments pour fortunes into prestigious white elephants of Euro-identity, like the Airbus A380, capable of carrying 500, 800, a thousand passengers at a time, if only somebody somewhere would order the darn thing, which they might consider doing once all the airports have built new runways to handle it.

 

“Give people plenty and security, and they will fall into spiritual torpor,” wrote Charles Murray in In Our Hands. “When life becomes an extended picnic, with nothing of importance to do, ideas of greatness become an irritant. Such is the nature of the Europe syndrome.”

 

The key word here is “give.” When the state “gives” you plenty—when it takes care of your health, takes cares of your kids, takes care of your elderly parents, takes care of every primary responsibility of adulthood—it’s not surprising that the citizenry cease to function as adults: Life becomes a kind of extended adolescence—literally so for those Germans who’ve mastered the knack of staying in education till they’re 34 and taking early retirement at 42. Hilaire Belloc, incidentally, foresaw this very clearly in his book The Servile State in 1912. He understood that the long-term cost of a welfare society is the infantilization of the population.

 

Genteel decline can be very agreeable—initially: You still have terrific restaurants, beautiful buildings, a great opera house. And once the pressure’s off it’s nice to linger at the sidewalk table, have a second café au lait and a pain au chocolat, and watch the world go by. At the Munich Security Conference in February, President Sarkozy demanded of his fellow Continentals, “Does Europe want peace, or do we want to be left in peace?” To pose the question is to answer it. Alas, it only works for a generation or two. And it’s hard to come up with a wake-up call for a society as dedicated as latterday Europe to the belief that life is about sleeping in.

 

As Gerald Ford liked to say when trying to ingratiate himself with conservative audiences, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.” And that’s true. But there’s an intermediate stage: A government big enough to give you everything you want isn’t big enough to get you to give any of it back. That’s the position European governments find themselves in. Their citizens have become hooked on unaffordable levels of social programs which in the end will put those countries out of business. Just to get the Social Security debate in perspective, projected public pension liabilities are expected to rise by 2040 to about 6.8% of GDP in the U.S. In Greece, the figure is 25%—i.e., total societal collapse. So what? shrug the voters. Not my problem. I want my benefits. The crisis isn’t the lack of money, but the lack of citizens—in the meaningful sense of that word.

 

Every Democrat running for election tells you they want to do this or that “for the children.” If America really wanted to do something “for the children,” it could try not to make the same mistake as most of the rest of the Western world and avoid bequeathing the next generation a leviathan of bloated bureaucracy and unsustainable entitlements that turns the entire nation into a giant Ponzi scheme. That’s the real “war on children” (to use another Democrat catchphrase)—and every time you bulk up the budget you make it less and less likely they’ll win it.

 

Conservatives often talk about “small government,” which, in a sense, is framing the issue in leftist terms: they’re for big government. But small government gives you big freedoms—and big government leaves you with very little freedom. The bailout and the stimulus and the budget and the trillion-dollar deficits are not merely massive transfers from the most dynamic and productive sector to the least dynamic and productive. When governments annex a huge chunk of the economy, they also annex a huge chunk of individual liberty. You fundamentally change the relationship between the citizen and the state into something closer to that of junkie and pusher—and you make it very difficult ever to change back. Americans face a choice: They can rediscover the animating principles of the American idea—of limited government, a self-reliant citizenry, and the opportunities to exploit your talents to the fullest—or they can join most of the rest of the Western world in terminal decline. To rekindle the spark of liberty once it dies is very difficult. The inertia, the ennui, the fatalism is more pathetic than the demographic decline and fiscal profligacy of the social democratic state, because it’s subtler and less tangible. But once in a while it swims into very sharp focus. Here is the writer Oscar van den Boogaard from an interview with the Belgian paper De Standaard. Mr. van den Boogaard, a Dutch gay “humanist” (which is pretty much the trifecta of Eurocool), was reflecting on the accelerating Islamification of the Continent and concluding that the jig was up for the Europe he loved. “I am not a warrior, but who is?” he shrugged. “I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it.” In the famous Kubler-Ross five stages of grief, Mr. van den Boogard is past denial, anger, bargaining and depression, and has arrived at a kind of acceptance.

 

“I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it.” Sorry, doesn’t work—not for long. Back in New Hampshire, General Stark knew that. Mr. van den Boogard’s words are an epitaph for Europe. Whereas New Hampshire’s motto—”Live free or die!”—is still the greatest rallying cry for this state or any other. About a year ago, there was a picture in the papers of Iranian students demonstrating in Tehran and waving placards. And what they’d written on those placards was: “Live free or die!” They understand the power of those words; so should we.

 …

 

 


“Re: Essay and other such rubbish” – Part III

Since I’m gone I thought I’d have my nephew, Richard, in again as a guest blogger!  Here’s another offering from my nephew’s collection of essays.  That’s my nephew!  Putting the positive slant on yet another “negative” personality trait!

This one is on Sarcasm..

Sarcasm as a Second Language

 

“Sarcasm: the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded.”

                        -Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, 19th century Russian fictional writer.

 

Did you know that I am multi-lingual? Not only do I speak English, pig-Latin, and New Zealandish, I also speak sarcasm. This wonderful language serves as a happy medium between the polite refutation and outright condemnation we are forced to shovel upon the idiocy that envelops us. Through sarcasm, we are able to eviscerate our moronic contemporaries, as opposed to politely and gently correcting their blatant and unforgivable lack of intelligence, without crossing over the boundary of downright meanness. We save our mean comments about the person for our close friends and family. The beauty of sarcasm lies in the fact that the people subject to your wit generally are too dense and slow to understand your true feelings.

            Another facet of the language of sarcasm is its use between two or more native speakers. Those fluent in this tongue can often carry on entire conversations with each other about their peers without these unwashed masses of idiots realizing what is going on around them. The difficulty in this resides in the fact that one must sift through the maddening crowd of morons to find one truly intelligent person who shares this gift, no easy task, for, as I have come to conclude, only one out of every thirty people or so qualifies. That is why the best alternative for we intellectuals is solitary, urban hermitage.

            There are several dialects of sarcasm. The first, traditional sarcasm, is most prevalent in the middle-aged, and tends to tread between the boundaries of politeness and meanness fairly evenly, reflecting neither too much softness nor too much open harshness. The second, reactionary sarcasm, is spoken almost exclusively by the old, and generally borderlines on razor sharp meanness. This dialect tends to focus more on teaching its subject didactic elements and improving its subject’s behavior as opposed to just openly mocking him. The final dialect, post modern ridicule, resounds both loudly and irritatingly from the youngest sect of the species. This dialect does not even try to mask itself, crossing over the line of nastiness in almost every instance, and rarely, if ever, reflects either intellect in presentation, or discretion in subject. It is because of this final dialect that we who speak sarcasm are looked upon as disrespectful little cretins, when in reality, we simply use sarcasm as a tool to prevent use from slapping senseless the halfwits around us.

(Posted in absentia)


California In Danger of Falling Into the Ocean – Part II

I’m on the e-mail distribution list of L.A. Mayoral hopeful, Walter Moore.  I doubt he’ll ever win.  But he’s the most straight-talking, realistic-goal-setting, voice-of-reason to enter into politics in my lifetime.  When I lived in Southern California, though not in L.A. proper, I financially supported his first campaign.  He lost to Villaraigosa, unfortunately.  However, I have stayed on Mr. Moore’s e-mail distribution list just so I could make sure that my ulcer never completely heals!  🙂  Here’s one of his latest offerings.  I doubt he’ll mind that I have taken the liberty of reposting it here in its entirety.

Up In Smoke:  Common Sense
By Walter Moore, Candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles, www.WalterMooreForMayor.com

Use a fireplace, go to jail.

The Philosopher Kings of the South Coast Air Quality Management
District (AQMD) have decided that government must stop you from
burning wood in your fireplace.

The AQMD — which is funded with $125 million of your money each year
— just made it illegal to install wood-burning fireplaces in new
homes, and adopted regulations to stop you from using your existing
fireplace on days they deem too polluted.

In a region where massive wildfires are as routine as televised car
chases, these kill-joys want to stop you from burning logs?  Are you
kidding me?

We’ve got ten jillion cars and trucks stuck in traffic, idling, for
about 18 out of every 24 hours.  We’ve got a governor who fires up the
Gulfstream twice a day to commute from L.A. to Sacramento.  We’ve got
kids getting shot while minding their own business.  And yet we need a
new law to ban the burning of logs in fireplaces?  Really?

Maybe I’ve led a sheltered life, but I don’t remember ever hearing
about a coroner listing, as the cause of death, “lived in a city with
wood-burning fireplaces.”

Laws like this make you wonder what they’re smoking at the AQMD.
Wonder no more:  our city’s representative on the AQMD’s board is Jan
Perry.  That’s right:  the same City Council Member who wants to
“protect” you from fast food in South L.A. because you’re too fat and
stupid to decide what to eat and where.

Remember common sense?  I really miss it, especially when it comes to
people who have the power to tax and regulate.

People used to understand the concept of “priorities” and
“reasonableness.”  Now we’ve created so many agencies that they need
to manufacture new problems to justify their continuing existence and
ever-increasing funding.

The AQMD will never issue a press release saying, “The federal and
state Environmental Protection Agencies, along with county and city
agencies, have pretty much taken care of everything, and since we’ve
gotten to the point of regulating wood-burning fireplaces, we
recommend that our agency be disbanded.”

Okay, enough ranting from me for one day.  I’ll think I’ll go buy a
McBreakfast and light up a cigar just to spite the Philosopher Kings.

I don’t even think I have anything pithy I can add to this well-crafted and succinct masterpiece.

More idiocy in bureaucracy at its finest…

A brief follow-up note:

Looks like Mr. Moore has someone searching LexisNexis!  I got an e-mail from him today!  Love the internet!  Here’s the nice note I got from him:

L.A. needs you!  Come back!

It is so crazy here.  I’m glad to see you stayed on my e-mail list.

And hey, I may win this time.  I’ve raised nearly $80,000, and 
Villaraigosa is SO bad that I think he’s going to increase turnout 
among people who would ordinarily ignore the election.

We’ll see.

Bye for now.

Walter Moore

I have decided to make “California In Danger of Falling Into the Ocean” a regular feature as I come across items that make me shake my head.  I’m sure I’ll be posting more from Mr. Moore in the future!


California In Danger of Falling Into the Ocean – Part I

I grew up in Southern California and spent the majority of my life living there.  It is a BEAUTIFUL place.  And the weather is near-perfection.  You have oceans and mountains and deserts and valleys all within an easy driving distance.  Despite all that California has going for it, including being the home of most of my family, I pretty much fled from there back in 2005, in part as I was increasingly sickened by “the state of the state”.  California will soon fall into the ocean, but not because of some powerful earthquake.  No, it will fall into the water under the weight of all the stupid that is building up there.  Case in point:

Homeschoolers’ setback sends shock waves through state

Friday, March 7, 2008

Debbie Schwarzer of Los Altos homeschools her two boys, W... Debbie Schwarzer (left) runs Oak Hill Academy, a private ...

(03-07) 04:00 PST LOS ANGELES

A California appeals court ruling clamping down on homeschooling by parents without teaching credentials sent shock waves across the state this week, leaving an estimated 166,000 children as possible truants and their parents at risk of prosecution.
The homeschooling movement never saw the case coming.
“At first, there was a sense of, ‘No way,’ ” said homeschool parent Loren Mavromati, a resident of Redondo Beach (Los Angeles County) who is active with a homeschool association. “Then there was a little bit of fear. I think it has moved now into indignation.”
The ruling arose from a child welfare dispute between the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and Philip and Mary Long of Lynwood, who have been homeschooling their eight children. Mary Long is their teacher, but holds no teaching credential.
The parents said they also enrolled their children in Sunland Christian School, a private religious academy in Sylmar (Los Angeles County), which considers the Long children part of its independent study program and visits the home about four times a year.
The Second District Court of Appeal ruled that California law requires parents to send their children to full-time public or private schools or have them taught by credentialed tutors at home.
Some homeschoolers are affiliated with private or charter schools, like the Longs, but others fly under the radar completely. Many homeschooling families avoid truancy laws by registering with the state as a private school and then enroll only their own children.
Yet the appeals court said state law has been clear since at least 1953, when another appellate court rejected a challenge by homeschooling parents to California’s compulsory education statutes. Those statutes require children ages 6 to 18 to attend a full-time day school, either public or private, or to be instructed by a tutor who holds a state credential for the child’s grade level.
“California courts have held that … parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children,” Justice H. Walter Croskey said in the 3-0 ruling issued on Feb. 28. “Parents have a legal duty to see to their children’s schooling under the provisions of these laws.”
Parents can be criminally prosecuted for failing to comply, Croskey said.
“A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare,” (emphasis mine) the judge wrote, quoting from a 1961 case on a similar issue.

Union pleased with ruling

The ruling was applauded by a director for the state’s largest teachers union.
“We’re happy,” said Lloyd Porter, who is on the California Teachers Association board of directors. “We always think students should be taught by credentialed teachers, no matter what the setting.”
A spokesman for the state Department of Education said the agency is reviewing the decision to determine its impact on current policies and procedures. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell issued a statement saying he supports “parental choice when it comes to homeschooling.”
Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, which agreed earlier this week to represent Sunland Christian School and legally advise the Long family on a likely appeal to the state Supreme Court, said the appellate court ruling has set a precedent that can now be used to go after homeschoolers. “With this case law, anyone in California who is homeschooling without a teaching credential is subject to prosecution for truancy violation, which could require community service, heavy fines and possibly removal of their children under allegations of educational neglect,” Dacus said.
Parents say they choose homeschooling for a variety of reasons, from religious beliefs to disillusionment with the local public schools.
Homeschooling parent Debbie Schwarzer of Los Altos said she’s ready for a fight.
Schwarzer runs Oak Hill Academy out of her Santa Clara County home. It is a state-registered private school with two students, she said, noting they are her own children, ages 10 and 12. She does not have a teaching credential, but she does have a law degree.
“I’m kind of hoping some truancy officer shows up on my doorstep,” she said. “I’m ready. I have damn good arguments.”
She opted to teach her children at home to better meet their needs.
The ruling, Schwarzer said, “stinks.”

Began as child welfare case

The Long family legal battle didn’t start out as a test case on the validity of homeschooling. It was a child welfare case.
A juvenile court judge looking into one child’s complaint of mistreatment by Philip Long found that the children were being poorly educated but refused to order two of the children, ages 7 and 9, to be enrolled in a full-time school. He said parents in California have a right to educate their children at home.
The appeals court told the juvenile court judge to require the parents to comply with the law by enrolling their children in a school, but excluded the Sunland Christian School from enrolling the children because that institution “was willing to participate in the deprivation of the children’s right to a legal education.”
The decision could also affect other kinds of homeschooled children, including those enrolled in independent study or distance learning through public charter schools – a setup similar to the one the Longs have, Dacus said.
Charter school advocates disagreed, saying Thursday that charter schools are public and are required to employ only credentialed teachers to supervise students – whether in class or through independent study.

Ruling will apply statewide

Michael Smith, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association, said the ruling would effectively ban homeschooling in the state.
“California is now on the path to being the only state to deny the vast majority of homeschooling parents their fundamental right to teach their own children at home,” he said in a statement.
But Leslie Heimov, executive director of the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles, which represented the Longs’ two children in the case, said the ruling did not change the law.
“They just affirmed that the current California law, which has been unchanged since the last time it was ruled on in the 1950s, is that children have to be educated in a public school, an accredited private school, or with an accredited tutor,” she said. “If they want to send them to a private Christian school, they can, but they have to actually go to the school and be taught by teachers.”
Heimov said her organization’s chief concern was not the quality of the children’s education, but their “being in a place daily where they would be observed by people who had a duty to ensure their ongoing safety.” (again, emphasis mine)

More regulations, more restrictions, more ridiculous impositions by the state into the lives of American citizenry, and a couple of THE MOST ridiculous statements I’ve ever heard from anyone anywhere…

 

To Justice H. Walter Croskey…you truly sound like someone who toes the Communist party line, or like a character from “Animal Farm”.

 

To Leslie Heimov…how arrogant can you be to imply that a child in their own home being taught by their own parents aren’t being observed by people who have a duty to ensure their ongoing safety and that this observation can only be carried out by the state in the public school arena.  Shame on you.  Watch the news.  Hear about the bullying, the shootings, the assaults on buses, the fraud (holy cow, the fraud in the LAUSD is fathomless but I won’t go into THAT debacle here), and the teachers who are luring their young charges into sexual relationships, and then come back with a straight face and tell me that our children’s ongoing safety is being adequately ensured in our schools!  And you don’t even hide behind the agenda of assuring a quality education!  You just come right out and say that across the board, the state does a better job caring for children than parents do.

 

Where have we heard these sorts of statements before about the state being the only entity truly qualified to raise children, educate them, and make good citizens out of them?  It’s kind of scary!!! 

 

And finally, should all these homeschooling parents decided to get their teaching certificates, just to get those bozos off their backs, will they then be forced into joining the all powerful teacher’s union?  Will they be forced into using “state approved” curriculum???  I bet the answer is yes.  And then what??  This is only the beginning.  Homeschooling parents (and others like myself who don’t even have children) everywhere are gearing up to fight this decision.  It’s an assault on the family and on PARENTAL rights.  I don’t think that the establishment is quite aware of just what sort of hornets’ nest they’ve blasted their shotgun into…


“Re: Essay and other such rubbish” – PART II

Here is the second installment from my 16 year old nephew Richard’s ‘Essays on the benefits and Wonders of what Society Deems as “Negative Traits”‘.  (Click HERE to read the first).  Enjoy! 

Part 1: The Joy of Pessimism

PESSIMISM, n. A philosophy forced upon the convictions of the observer by the disheartening prevalence of the optimist

with his scarecrow hope and his unsightly smile.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary
US author & satirist (1842 – 1914)

            The average member of a society, when hearing the word “Pessimism”, conjures up images of sour-faced, ill tempered individuals who darken those around them with their morose countenance. This is but an atypical example.

            True Pessimists, myself included, have simply experienced enough of life’s trials and difficulties to conclude that things rarely, if ever, go as planned, and, more often than not, drown in the slough of inadequacy and disappointment. A true pessimist realizes that any hope in the things of this world will eventual succumb, suffocated by the festering miasma of time, dissatisfaction, and extraneous, albeit not unpredicted, circumstances.

            There is a certain joy, however, reserved only for we true pessimists. Our mindset tends for us to set low expectations of life around us. The truth of the matter is, however, that in our civilized life, with our inexhaustible supply of resources, pursuits, and possibilities, things never fall too far into disarray. We pessimists, by keeping our expectations low, often see them fulfilled, despite the fact that all does not go to plan. Moreover, should everything go as planned, our expectations are fulfilled above and beyond what we had hoped for. This constant fulfilling, as a result, makes us happier individuals, for our lives progress far better than we expect. In this, optimism seems to the observing pessimist not only absurd, but oxymoronic. An optimist always has high expectations and hopes, which are rarely if ever fulfilled, yet they remain happy. A Calvin and Hobbes comic strip emphasizes the credo of we true pessimists best:

Calvin and Hobbes are walking in the woods. Calvin turns to Hobbes and asks, “If  you could have one wish, what would it be?” Hobbes ponders this for while and replies, “A sandwich”. Calvin proceeds to condemn Hobbes as a fool for using his wish as such, listing all the things he could have wished for. At the end of their walk, Hobbes goes to the kitchen, makes himself a sandwich, and says, “I got my wish”.

            In the end, true pessimists see their low expectations fulfilled all the time, and we are happier as a result, whereas optimists rarely see their high expectations fulfilled, but are still happy because they are optimists, always looking forward to the future.

If “40 is the new 30”, and “pink is the new black”, then it appears that “pessimism is the new optimism”!  🙂

What do you suppose his NEXT essay will be about???

 


“Re: Essay and other such rubbish” – PART I

That was the subject line of an e-mail I received from my nephew Richard.  I had called his house moments before and my little sister Whitney was cracking up about this new bit of writing that Richard was reading to her.  He said he was going to send it to me to read.  I asked him if it was okay if I put it on my blog if I liked it.  He’s been the subject of many of my posts already, so I’m pretty sure that he knew that this was more than a distinct possibility.  BUT, I like to get permission to “publish”, if you will, the creative works of another.  Permission was granted.  This tome of his is a work in progress.  I hope to be receiving more of the essays that make up the ESSAY in the days to come.   Here is the first installment of:

Essays on the benefits and Wonders of what

Society Deems as “Negative Traits”

Introduction

            My intent for these essays is that they be used to show the lighter side of what many deem as negative traits, and how they are beneficial to those blessed with them, if used properly. I started writing these essays on a whim: I was in study hall, and, having successfully completely all of my math work, I decided to pass the rest of study hall writing an essay on pessimism, extolling a thesis I had contrived regarding pessimism some months earlier, and then seen mirrored in a fellow classmate of mine. This one essay snowballed into a series of essays dealing with related subjects. So, here they are:

Okay, well, that ought to whet your whistle!  You’ll have to wait for the next installment!  It’ll be worth the wait though.  It’s called “The Joy of Pessimism”.


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