The Dumbbell's Dictionary
Explanations, n. Any system that purports to explain everything (Marxism?) will in
reality explain nothing.
Extremism and moderation, n. Barry Goldwater was right in 1964, and he remains right
today: „Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue. Extremism in defense of liberty is no
Extremes, n. The difference between the extreme right and the extreme left amounts to no
more than a difference in labels. They are not at opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Think of a circle where they converge at 180 degrees from moderation.
Facts, n. Irrespective of the teachings of most modern American philosophers (I of course
exclude Ayn Rand and Robert Nozik), they do exist. If you drop a ball bearing, it will end
up on the floor, and that’s a fact. Reality has a habit of catching up with us.
Lord Falkland, n. Eighteenth century British statesman and namesake of the Falkland
Islands (not the Malvinas, as Argentina would have us believe), and let us never forget
the American President who in 1982 helped Margaret Thatcher retake them after
Argentina invaded. Nor should we forget the current President who sides with Argentina
in the ongoing controversy over those islands.
Lord Falkland speaks to us with this sage advice: „When it is not necessary to do
anything, it is necessary not to do anything.’
Familiarity, n. We are told that familiarity breeds contempt. We are also told that absence
makes the heart grow fonder. These two dictums seem to complement each other quite
Fanatic, n. Not to be confused with phonetic.
Fantasy and Science Fiction, n. To my way of thinking, a type of story-telling that has
finally, over the past several years, found itself enfolded from time to time in the arms of
It is worth remembering that A. E. Van Vogt, one of the greats in the genre, prefaced one
of his collections of short stories in the mid sixties with the statement that surveys
showed that the typical reader of fantasy-science fiction had an IQ above 120, and
included professionals such as engineers, doctors, and lawyers. Having been addicted to
this type of reading since the early fifties, Van Vogt’s observation helped me feel
Farce, n. Somewhat farcical. Thus, Obama’s knockoff of the recurring mantra in „Star
Wars:’ May the farce be with you.
Farmers, n. A breed who has fed this and too many other nations to count for these past
hundred years. One can’t help wondering why they are looked down upon by the
majority of America’s liberal so-called intellectuals. After all, every now and again
scientists are oh so excited when discovering facts that farmers had known, after plowing
and seeding, for generation after generation.