Aphorisms and Letters The Grand Experiment—What Went Wrong? A Layman’s Interpretation by Alipio Baldi - HTML preview

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Modern parenting seems to be gradually distancing itself from old fashioned nurturing models. Recent arrangements, especially among ―progressive‖ families, seem to favor developing ―friendships‖ rather than promoting appropriate parent/child relationships whose (ensuing) friendships would naturally evolve on their own accord to begin with. This is a matter of balance and proportion rather than equal assumptions and privileges generally conceded to mature adults. Children, especially during their formative or

―impressionable‖ years, should not be afforded the same rights enjoyed by their parents; however arbitrary, such decisions may appear, until a child has demonstrated the capacity for making reasonable and responsible decisions consistent with the requirements of mature men and women. Some parents have become obsessed with the notion of compromising a child‘s affection, however, that many are prepared to abdicate the traditional roles of parenting while dragging themselves towards an adolescent center that seeks to promote a common frame of reference.

• • •

A federal court in Mississippi has (recently) determined that cigarette smoking promotes heart and lung disease. Imagine that! And to think that it only required four years of college and another three of law school to reach that weighty conclusion! These enlightened jurists have opened a Pandora‘s box of would-be litigants seeking redress of medical grievances brought on by their own questionable habits by holding cigarette manufacturers liable for (their) smoking-related illnesses caused by years of excessive smoking. Unless it could be otherwise shown that a (tobacco) company or any company for that matter has knowingly misrepresented its product, where is it written that an individual, unless that individual is incapable for whatever reason, of making an informed decision, should be (otherwise) compensated for being careless or indifferent to the (potential) consequences of his or her (own) inestimable actions?

Haven‘t consumers been sufficiently informed about the risks associated with tobacco products that they should allow themselves to be seduced or coaxed into purchasing a toxic substance that they understand is harmful to their health and afterwards seek compensatory (financial) settlements for having made questionable decisions to begin with? Is it the responsibility of our judicial system to dismiss private decisions where such decisions have no ulterior motive or designs beyond private decisions that are made?

Are (the) consequences uncertain as to require legal arbitration whenever such decisions prove fatal? Should an individual properly consider the harmful effects of bitter poisons before consuming them? Aren‘t our airwaves saturated with public service announcements cautioning the harmful effects associated with cigarette smoking? Aren‘t our public schools properly educating their students? Haven‘t these programs sought to discredit the (perceived) glamour and excitement of smoking disingenuously portrayed in commercial advertisements? Hasn‘t the Surgeon General‘s office issued a warning expressing its opinion on the hazards of cigarette smoking? Hasn‘t it been doing so for over thirty years? Human Nature being what it is however, intemperate habits will more often than not override sensible designs whatever the consequences.

• • •

The difference between an immigrant and an alien is that immigrants are generally conditioned over time by the customs and manners of his or her adopted homeland whereas Aliens, possess a transient mindset existing outside the margins of mainstream society.

Although both generally emigrate for economic reasons, the alien is strictly a hireling, an economic mercenary taking in proportion what he or she has given in proper measure while remaining emotionally, morally and intellectually ―alienated‖ from (that) society‘s social, cultural and political establishments. The immigrant, on the other hand, gives a (little) something more; he or she gives (of) themselves!

• • •

America may take pride in boasting the most elaborately dressed poverty in the history of Humankind explaining in part why it (poverty) has become, in some circles, an ―accepted‖ lifestyle in proportion with its rising levels of ―tolerance‖.

• • •

Tears of Perfection are achieved once we have conditioned ourselves to cry for others rather than for ourselves.

• • •

One of the (main) arguments for Centralization versus De-Centralization centers on the trade-off between Efficiency and Autonomy.

As the question relates to school boards, however, I believe that they should be localized; in touch with the communities they serve.

• • •

Codes of Conduct in the workplace consist of a number of gray areas that make for a guarded working environment.

• • •

Wealth is often perceived by the lower classes as something evil unless it is otherwise directed into the hands of those eager to acquire it.

• • •

Government needs to provide equitable access to Wealth rather than devising clever ways of taking it from the ―rich‖ and giving it to the ―poor.‖

• • •

To those who would deny the existence of God, I submit for their consideration Humankind‘s immanent capacity to examine its (own) 12

thoughts and feelings or sensations that are not due solely to Chance; the capacity to think (critically) and to reason, insight into our spiritual being, of our (human) dignity and self-worth. A heightened self-awareness, conscience, intelligence and emotion and memory are not accidents of Nature, however divine gifts provided to us by God so that we may know Him better.

• • •

Faith is the cornerstone of Salvation. However well intentioned our works, they remain uncertain. Reason, however often it (may) correctly inform our actions, is also insufficient in achieving that desirable objective. In the manner it (oftentimes) lends itself to (moral) corruption.

• • •

The break-up of Eastern European Communism is likely to rekindle historical rivalries which America should try to distance itself unless its own (economic) interests are at stake. The Bosnian Civil War is one such example best left for the European Community to resolve. On the other hand, where geo-political ambitions threaten to undermine the stability in an area whose sphere of influence remains vital to America‘s (economic) or political interests, the United States should take every precaution to protect its interests within clearly defined parameters.

• • •

Laws are rules of conduct established by social customs. Laws are not arbitrary guidelines that a citizen may either choose to obey or ignore. Laws are not (inherently) moral, although most are grounded on (timeless) moral and religious principles. Whether or not laws are ―fair‖ is uncertain. Therefore, a democratic society reserves the right to either revise or repeal them whenever it considers it appropriate to do so. Laws are meant to be obeyed, not (necessarily) valued, although any right-thinking individual should properly appreciate their inestimable contribution to a well-ordered society.

• • •

Affected laughter is either a sign of a very shallow individual or an unhappy one!

• • •

Residency implies a settled, conventional arrangement whereby Inhabitancy suggests a seemingly more primitive, transient condition.

Human beings reside, Animals inhabit. I am not certain about extraterrestrials, however.

• • •

Beware the shifting sands of Office Alliances!

• • •

The aged (may) conceivably find some measure of consolation in knowing that Youth, barring its untimely departure, is destined to travel in their footsteps.

• • •

President Clinton has ushered a Trojan Horse of sixties retreads concealed by (all) the conventional trappings. This ―new‖ Democrat has sold out the (American) Mainstream including party moderates on both sides of the political aisle. He is a truly a worthy successor of Hegel and Marx!

• • •

Private and Public Morality are interchangeable. Each is deeply rooted in Nature; each spontaneous as they relate to an individual‘s essential designs or what is commonly understood as Character however high or low.

• • •

The Revolutionary War, The War of 1812, The Mexican American War, The Civil War, The Spanish American War, The War to End All Wars—World War II—The Korean War, The Vietnam War, The Persian Gulf War and The Bosnia War however justified, belies the notion of a peaceful nation however much it may desire peace.

• • •

A (moral) weakling is to be feared above everyone else because he is the more likely, in a time of crisis, to betray his fellows!

• • •

Genetics, on some level, seals our Fate.

• • •

A clever man understands words; a wiser one comprehends their meaning.

• • •

The (intellectually) shallow are oftentimes verbose; the wise, more selective in the words they choose. The former create confusion, 13

the latter, promote clarity.

• • •

Independents, in whatever manner defined, generally lack core (political) values, which isn‘t a very good thing. Although (strict) ideology has its (own) inherent shortcomings, the lack of a firm commitment to values and ideas, however ―open-minded‖ it may appear on the surface, (oftentimes) illustrates a lack of moral and intellectual confidence.

• • •

To young people starting out in life: Work hard. Be diligent and trustworthy. Be reliable and forthcoming. Be sober and determined.

Approach every occasion with confidence. Accept every challenge as an opportunity to improve your present position. Always think positive, never negative. Avoid malcontents who would reduce you to their own level. Remain partial to things that are good; embrace sound values. Wherever possible, be kind to others and never hurtful; you will be repaid in kind. Never forget a kindly deed that accrues to your personal advantage. Never postpone an assignment, especially from a superior. Continue exploring avenues of growth.

Be loyal without carrying loyalty on your sleeve, however. And never, never entrust your fate to fortune!

• • •

The counterpoints of Free Will vis a vis Predestination are one of hope versus despair; of optimism versus pessimism; self-guidance predicated on conscience and right-reasoning versus grace, exclusively; ―uncertainty‖ versus skepticism or doubt; spiritual regeneration versus the musings of the waking dead; the potential fruition of man‘s essential goodness versus man, the irretrievable sinner; the former ceding a measure of latitude in charting one‘s own spiritual course, the latter rejecting free-will, altogether; the former (spiritually) confident and trusting, the latter spiritually and morally defeating; the former holding each individual accountable for his or her (own) actions, the latter discounting such actions as inconsequential and meaningless; the former encouraging good works, the latter regarding them without purpose; the former regarding evil as (the) fulfillment of choice, the latter as the effective designs of destiny; the former seeking salvation through the intercession of faith and prayer, the latter deeming them irreconcilable with (pre-determined) designs. Transcending the boundaries of time and space, the former is linear, segmented, however whole; integrating past, present and future; completing an ―entirety‖ come full circle whereas the latter patiently bides its appointed time. It seems unlikely that salvation is merely a supernatural toss-up; a (fickle) expression of God‘s Will given solely to Chance. Such thinking must necessarily render God something less than Eternally Good. God, who created Humankind in His own image out of His infinite capacity to love would never pre-ordain the eternal damnation of His beloved creation.

• • •

Time is meaningless unless it is measured against some (assigned) standard. Eternity is timeless, therefore it cannot be compared with anything other than itself. It is not relative to anything other than itself inasmuch as it is incompatible with or unaffected by (arbitrary) time. In this manner, Eternity is (time) absolute because it is neither limited by time ―continuum‖ or spatial restrictions. Absolute values and morality remain constant inasmuch as things or ideas vary (in) time. Eternity is timeless (endless); therefore every thing comprised in eternity is unchanging; its conceptions, absolute.

• • •

America‘s ―manifest destiny‖ is/was a ―material‖ phenomenon understood by the taming of its frontiers, its exceptional role as consummate world leader and its conquest of space. This process has yet to reach full maturity, however, until it fulfills its moral and spiritual obligations, as well.

• • •

A lack of historical perspective fails to promote a proper understanding of current events thereby locking in time-essential points of view vital to informed decision making by distorting one‘s capacity to appreciate such events in a more clearly defined manner. Such parochializes [sic] our thinking while undermining our ability to form fresh opinions.

• • •

Many of us are victims of our own disinclinations.

• • •

A (heroic) deed that is prompted by fear, let‘s say, does not (necessarily) rise to the level of a courageous act. Indeed, a heroic act is (oftentimes) self-motivating without regard to personal safety or reward, for that matter. Such (heroic) acts are selfless; however such (heroic) actions may sometimes seek redemption for (our) perceived failings.

• • •

If Nature is subordinate to Man as written in the Book of Genesis, how is it that I often feel humbled by its majestic splendor?

• • •

Leviticus instructs the reader in the manner of Judgment never to show favoritism to anyone however rich or poor; that lawful judgment must remain impartial and consistent with Truth. Such is a sobering reminder of how our judicial system, guided by special interests and political correctness, has corrupted itself!

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• • •

Historical Revisionism has been unkind to President Andrew Jackson. His reputation as a social reformer and people‘s champion has been tarnished by modernists who feel that his Administration did not properly embrace a broader cross section of underprivileged people; favoring agrarian interests while ignoring the plight of the urban poor. Jackson wasn‘t indifferent to their hardships, however.

The (social) ramifications of a nascent industrialized nation were not properly understood at that time; whose phenomenon seemed more an anomaly, perhaps, rather than a permanent condition.

• • •

The absence of Character is analogous to existing inside of a moral and spiritual vacuum.

• • •

I‘ve been pouring through a collection of letters written by George Washington. He was truly a remarkable man, courageous and morally determined; a righteous and purposeful man possessing keen insight into the nature of ―things‖. He was steady and uncompromising by example, practical in his designs; or what I would consider a practical idealist. His letters reflect a quiet manner and (subtle) intellect that oftentimes disarmed his critics. He perceived things intuitively and accurately. Although lacking the aristocratical trappings common in those days, his easy manner considered (hidden) possibilities and combinations without exception.

In other words, he was a man of ―Common Sense‖. His letters have reinforced my considered opinion in the intervention of a Divine Providence that has often summoned the services of exceptional individuals as circumstances and events command.

• • •

It is sad to say that there seems exist a ―permanent‖ underclass that is unable to ride the crest of economic fortune(s).

• • •

Dear Dave -(David Huffman)August 23rd 1993

Enclosed is an article that I thought might be of some interest to you. Don‘t trouble yourself with any idea(s) of my trying to convert you. It was written by __________ , a contemporary writer by no means an avowed proponent of political conservatism, although his recent writings suggest a softening of his 60‘s styled rhetoric.

What particularly caught my attention was his conjecturable argument centering on Freedom vis a vis Security and the average person‘s willingness to sacrifice a portion of the former for the latter. This is a rather heavy price to pay although the trade-off speaks volumes about the higher premiums some people are willing to pay for public safety.

We argued this point a few years ago, lest we forget ―trains running on time‖. I was not trying to make a case for Fascism but merely explaining, rather, some of the reasons for its emergence. Fear, whether real or imagined, was the primary reason for its popular outgrowth. Shaky (social) foundations was another very important reason. Liberals have a disturbing tendency of casually dismissing such ―airy‖ notions as chimerical by-products of over-active right-wing imaginations.

Liberals, I believe, should realize that such concerns are serious matters for many individuals and shouldn‘t be put out of mind in a carefree manner. Such indifference is one of the many reasons why Democrats are being less perceived as (traditional) populists rather than the elitists many of them have evolved into over the years. (Watch that Conservatives don‘t steal their thunder!) I regretfully envision a nation divided; a revolution looming on the horizon that will not be fought on urban battlefields, but a (social) revolution defined by the systematic partitioning of prescribed values predicated not so much on color or race, religion, position or wealth, but on Ideas. The (ideological) balkanization of America, I believe, is right around the corner.

Fear is the motivating factor that has reduced our urban centers to ―play grounds‖ for the poor. Even the well-meaning among us have (altogether) given up fighting the good fight and are gradually retreating to the safer havens of ―Sugarloaf USA‖. I find it ironic how many working and middle-class families from all walks of life are involuntarily engaging in subtle forms of racism by moving into

―homogenized‖ neighborhoods. I am speaking of people of all races!

At some point, before it‘s too late, we will all need to lay political correctness aside and make some very important decisions. We will need to rediscover that common denominator that will (hopefully) reunite us as a nation. Otherwise, I fear that our Republic, as we now know it, will one day cease to exist.

As Always

Alipio

P.S.

Thank Lara for the pictures

• • •

―The more homogeneous our citizens can be made in these particulars, the greater will be our prospect of permanent union‖ (George Washington, September 19th 1796 taken from his Farewell Address).

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• • •

A Supreme Court justice, an individual of unqualified judicial prodigiousness, recently ruled that a loaded firearm pointed in the direction of a police officer in the line of duty does not (necessarily) constitute an intent to kill unless the would be assailant actually pulled the trigger. Perhaps this legal bastion of common sense might (care) to further qualify his position after the fact!

• • •

Economics is a ―quantifiable‖ science that attempts to measure trends in the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. Its precision in light of the varying spending/investment habits of millions of people triggered by a variety of fiscal and monetary policies influencing in one manner or another how people respond to such modifications is questionable at best.

• • •

Government has undermined the social and economic development of African Americans and other minority groups by its unwillingness to hold that Community and others to the same performance standards generally expected from Asians and Whites. (I am bewildered why Asians, given their relatively low numbers, are not a protected group as well, but that‘s neither here nor there) I am referring to the questionable standards of racial quotas and disparate results that sprung from misguided attempts to correct the historical injustices that many were subject to. Two wrongs, however, do not make a right; neither do they correct a wrong. Ironically, the double standards that have ensued at the expense of other equally, if not more so, gifted individuals who find themselves victims of a political numbers game, has checked the vast potential of a very capable segment of our society notwithstanding carefully crafted premises that suggest, however incorrectly, otherwise. That is to say, pre-conceived failings are often times self-fulfilling prophecies whenever conscious impressions are (institutionally) reinforced. The egregious miscarriage of fair play is a condescending affront to the dignity of every individual. This transparent attempt at racial/ethnic massaging for the sake of political expediency and securing voting blocs has given rise to fantastic innovations artificially conceived.

• • •

NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) was implemented to reduce barriers to trade and investment between America‘s North American trading partners (Canada and Mexico) and thereby facilitate the flow of Goods and Services in an effort to promote wealth creation through increase production. It was passed by both Houses of Congress. A number of prominent Democrats closed ranks with a majority of Republicans to ensure its passage. In practice, however, its impact on the American Worker in both the manufacturing sector(s) and assembly industries has been negligible at best. Many workers have gradually lost their jobs. The real beneficiaries, it seems, have been corporate interests who have been given free rein to pursue Cheap(er) labor. It may sound cynical, although I believe that NAFTA was/is a half-hearted attempt at securing America‘s (porous) borders. What our nation is witnessing is an unholy alliance between Corporate Executives on the one hand and Civil Rights Activists and (misguided) Libertarians on the other; the former looking to reduce wages and further undermine the ability of American Blue Collar Workers to adequately provide for their families and the latter seeking to alter America‘s ―homogenous‖ landscape. Through their combined efforts, our nation may one day suffer the consequences of prohibitively higher social costs that must inevitably ensue whenever high immigration rates and (the) unconscionable outsourcing of jobs go unchecked. America is committing national suicide without even knowing it or perhaps it has simply lost the moral authority to restrain its appetite.

• • •

The Israel/Palestinian ―Peace Accord‖ is an absolute farce. It is all about political posturing by both parties; its mutual overture(s) as equivocal as it was sudden. Centuries of animosities between warring nations will not stop by the perfunctorial signing of a meaningless piece of paper lacking moral authority and a questionable commitment to peace. Once its (Israel‘s) buffers have been (strategically) assimilated by (Palestinian) resurgents [sic], I anticipate a resumption of hostilities and unprecedented violence exceeding historical standards. The Lion is not yet prepared to lay with the Lamb!

• • •

Car alarm systems assault the senses, especially the senses of individuals sensible enough to be troubled by their whirlish (sic) designs. (Families residing in high-density neighborhoods understand my meaning.) Such disagreeable noises emanating from automobiles at all hours of the night are more a public nuisance than a deterrent to theft. Perhaps our legislators should consider outlawing them all together. Wishful thinking, perhaps; nevertheless, shouldn‘t stiffer penalties be imposed against car owners who fail to respond to their alarms in a timely manner? Perhaps they might considering invoking the three strikes and you‘re out rule by impounding the vehicles of repeat offenders. Perhaps some of us might finally enjoy a good night‘s sleep!

• • •

America‘s three greatest presidents during the twentieth century were Theodore Roosevelt, who presided over our nation‘s nascent emergence as a world leader scoring high points as a (social) reformer as well; Dwight David Eisenhower, who managed to keep Communism in check during Western Europe‘s economic resurgence at a time when a number of Western Nations were still straddling the fence while presiding over a sound domestic economy which many historians have all too often taken for granted; and Ronald Reagan, perhaps the greatest president of our century, for his ability to inspire a demoralized nation still reeling from the aftershocks of Vietnam, Watergate, and an economy mired in stagflation for nearly a generation under the Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and 16

Carter Administrations. Reagan achieved singular greatness as the catalyst responsible for spearheading worldwide efforts that eventually triggered the collapse of Soviet Communism in Eastern Europe; this as well as delivering our nation from the Economic Wilderness. The three worse presidents were Lyndon Baines Johnson whose ―Guns and Butter‖ approach to government hastened our nation‘s military debacle in Vietnam and the ―Great Society‖ financial fiasco; Warren G. Harding because I‘m still trying to understand the meaning of ―Normalcy‖ and what the heck was the ―Teapot Dome‖ scandal all about and who really cares for that matter? Perhaps the worst of the three was the egregious James Earl Carter, the ―useful idiot‖ who, for all his native intelligence and well-intentions, perhaps, was a certifiable pinhead. I selected Johnson over FDR because whereas Roosevelt lacked precedential benchmarks to help guide his economic policies, Johnson enjoyed the advantage of hindsight that should have correctly informed his Administration of the historical failings of socialistic economic policies. Such does not alter the fact, however, that FDR established a pattern of social and economic engineering whose impact still resonates today. He too, was a ―pinhead‖, although a charming one.

• • •

President James Earl Carter‘s ―comprehensive‖ energy program, some people may recall, consisted of lowering thermostats and donning a Cardigan sweater. (I exaggerate, of course, to make a point.)

• • •

The two-party system dominated by partisan politics marked by a Jacksonian spoils system awarded to the victor; a system naturally divisive and likely to further divide opposing factions unlike multi-partied coalition type governments likely to assuage passions. (I really can‘t say for sure) where real majorities are rare and often forged by uncertain alliances however fragile, or perhaps consensus among political factions may lead to true compromise, or perhaps majorities are no longer tenable in an era of growing (vocal) minorities, or perhaps the solution, if any, may be found within the majority of minority factions. (I really can‘t say for sure). On the other hand, too much compromising and not enough consensus (building) and nothing of consequence ever seems to get accomplished by the way, and that particulars must soon give way to broader generalities harmful to the welfare of the nation. (I really can‘t say for sure) other than (that) too many parties can not (efficiently) represent a (pluralistic) mainstream or collective body of (varied) opinions but rather ‖exceptional viewpoints that (otherwise) allow for meaningful debate, perhaps too much so. (I really can‘t say for sure).

• • •

Old Money is more secure than New Money. New Money, however, barks louder than Old Money.

• • •

American Generosity is second to none. No other nation has unselfishly shared its material abundance with other nations in time of need. It is unfortunate, however, that its generosity has been often greeted with indifference, if not contempt, in foreign circles.

• • •

Ayn Rand‘s theory of Objectivism is a system of ethics that claims Reality is independent of an individual‘s (inner) consciousness; that is to say, individuals either react or behave in a manner consistent with their own purposeful or conditioned designs rather than guided by essential sources informing their moral purpose. Her theory rejects altruism as inconsistent with Man‘s rational self interest and that every ―selfless‖ act designed to produce some salutary or desirable effect upon another individual, perhaps someone that we love or have fond affections, is not performed with that individual‘s happiness or well-being in mind but is governed, rather, by our (own) self-interest. For this reason, it may be plausibly argued that a parent willing to sacrifice his or her life in the interest of a son or daughter, is less motivated by his or her love for that child rather than the thought of that child‘s (intolerable) absence or that parental pride in that child‘s scholastic or athletic achievements otherwise constitutes a projection of that child‘s remarkable accomplishments.

There is no place for love, for love‘s sake, in a hard-boiled world of internalized values.

• • •

I feel that the most humane treatment of homeless, unadoptable (sic) strays would be to put them to sleep rather than locking them inside filthy cages in objectionable environments without proper nourishment that typifies a number of animal shelters nationwide.

Recent arguments affirming the spiritual and human like qualities inherent in animals, however, renders this alternative a non-option among zealous activists who would not give a second thought to aborting life or ―mercy‖ killing if the situation called for it. I would remind these indivuals that a lame horse is humanely put out of its misery.

• • •

Many of us seem to be looking for easy religion, approval for how we choose to live our lives That is to say, where questionable patterns of behavior are perceived to be inconsistent with church teachings, many of us seek (principled) affirmation of our accustomed lifestyles. I am reminded of Isaiah, chapter 30 verse 10: ―see not; and to the prophets, prophesy not unto us the right things, speak unto us smooth things; prophesy deceits.‖

• • •

A quick thought about Barbara Tuchman‘s the ―Guns of Autumn‖. Her style of writing is rather dry and pedantic; suited for scholarly interests rather than casual readers like myself who prefer the ―short version‖. (Too detail oriented) She‘s an excellent historian, however, who has thoroughly researched her subject matter. Much thanks for recommending the book to me. It was fascinating reading. It provided a comprehensive overview of the War (WWI) which is what I wanted. (Excerpt from a letter written to David 17

Huffman).

• • •

Political Correctness, rather than securing our nation‘s (legitimate) interests abroad, is guiding military policies at the State Department. In Somalia, for example, humanitarian efforts spearheaded by the United Nations (UN) to provide famine relief to that starving country has resulted in inter-clan conflicts among tribal warlords who perceive such intervention (nation-building) as a threat to their territorial sovereignty. American relief efforts have resulted in the ignominious death of eighteen United States servicemen dispatched to oversee the distribution of food. The political climate is no less uncertain in Haiti where U.S. warships were sent to restore the peace following a recent military coup. The island‘s first (I believe) elected president, a practicing Marxist and former priest whose efforts at nationalizing the country‘s resources has earned him the accolades of the International Left as well as misinformed Americans who envision this thug (Aristides) as some numinous divine, has been unceremoniously overthrown by a military junta only to be replaced by another equally ruthless gangster. Port-au-Prince is going up in smoke while American Naval vessels are anchored in territorial waters waiting for order to be restored. To what purpose may I ask? The American Government has been drawn into a quagmire of warring factions, each of questionable character, for no apparent (political) reason. American Foreign Policy under this present Administration has devolved into a theatrical farce by making a mockery of the death of young American soldiers who are needlessly placing their lives in harms way in countries that have little or no strategic value.

• • •

The proliferation of ―sensitivity‖ training workshops and seminars in both the public and private sectors sadly reflect how easily we bruise as a society.

• • •

Rising health care costs associated with higher malpractice insurance premiums are driving many doctors away from private practice.

I wonder whether the gradual departure from the more traditional (doctor/patient) ―relationships‖ that evolved when house calls were common, isn‘t driving a wedge between doctors and patients by rendering modern arrangements more impersonal while (further) undermining confidence and trust.

• • •

The First Amendment provides extraordinary advantages for many reporters and journalists in the news media pre-disposed, for a variety of reasons, to distorting (the) news in whatever manner considered appropriate in advancing either a social or political agenda that they may (otherwise) support. There is a disturbing tendency in (the) news media of interpreting rather than properly reporting (the) news. This is all well and good. After all, everyone is entitled to his or her (own) opinion provided that what the viewing audience understands as reporting (the) news is correctly distinguished from ―spinning‖ or interpreting (the) news and that this distinction is properly conveyed to that audience. All too often, however, the two are passed off without qualification. The primary function of (the) news media is to inform the general public. Private interpretation(s) should be secondary to reporting (the) news.

Such interpretations or judgments that inevitably follow once (the) news has been properly assimilated (often) reflect conditioned opinions, responses or explanations reflecting a journalist‘s essential points of view, not necessarily; however, the inherent properties of (the) news itself. (The) news, apart from informing the Public, is a medium (oftentimes) lacking underlying or supporting proofs or creditable evidence. It should remain apolitical, amoral, a-everything; that is to say, it should never engage in alliances with any side of a particular issue or (political) contest. (The) news must first be internalized by the viewer before her or she forms a ―proper‖

estimate of things (oftentimes) based on his or her OWN pre-conceptions, (personal) experiences or worldly viewpoints. Personal interpretations (judgments) should be joined together with (the) news, however not in conjunction with (the) news. There is a subtle difference here!

• • •

The acquisition of Knowledge is impervious to ethnicity, gender or race. Familiarity with subject matter, awareness and comprehension does not distinguish itself among particular individuals or groups. Its only requirement is the capacity and willingness to learn.

• • •

America‘s Public School System has become increasingly obsessed with self-esteem rather than meeting the educational requirements of a competitive society. Feeling ―good‖ about oneself, it seems, has superseded academic performance standards, much to the detriment of underperforming students.

• • •

Creativity and Imagination do not supersede Practical Knowledge whose foundation provides ballast to both.

• • •

It is fascinating how evolving customs (often) alter the interpretation or underlying meaning of words. A Jeffersonian ―Liberal‖, for example, was likely to favor smaller government, faithful interpretation of the Constitution and private autonomy whereas Liberalism, by modern standards, is generally supportive of bigger government, judicial activism and intrusion into the private affairs of its citizens.

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• • •

The result of November‘s off-Year elections may have sent a warning signal to the Clinton Administration as a number of prominent Democratic incumbents went down in defeat including the mayor of New York City where, in what might be considered a mild upset of sorts, Liberal Republican Rudolph Guliani narrowly defeated the empty suit Democratic incumbent David Dinkins.

• • •

Police bashing has become the prevailing custom in many of our urban centers despite the heroic efforts of the many brave men and women who routinely place their lives on the line each and every day protecting law-abiding citizens. Unfortunately, the police have become easy targets for community activists and political malcontents with axes to grind; inclined to promote racial unrest and false allegations and other unfavorable impressions notwithstanding a few bad apples that have (otherwise) damaged the reputation of their honorable profession. The negative impact on morale, however, may quietly produce a backlash of indifference among police officers whose performance in the line of duty is often met with contempt rather than gratitude. Even more troubling is the growing number of people, themselves, crime victims, eager to enlist among the ranks of cop bashers.

• • •

Youthful Idealism is squandered in Time.

• • •

Novels, especially Classical ―Romance‖ Novels, are sometimes read by older people with some measure of reservation or detachment or indifference or perhaps time has simply passed them by and they no longer give a fig unlike the youthful idealism characteristic of developing, inquisitive young minds receptive to all possibilities.

• • •

The chasms of perceptual bias have lent partiality to a number of potentially worthy endeavors.

• • •

When reading; comprehension, assimilation and recall are (more) essential to learning than velocity.

• • •

Our journey through life will oftentimes acquaint us with individuals ―greater‖ or ―lesser‖ than ourselves. Never shun the fellowship of the latter, however, as Wisdom is often numbered among those considered unexceptional and common.

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Corporate restrooms provide a leisurely opportunity for employees to catch up on some light reading.

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―To what extent does the public servant suppress the vocations of conscience in deference to the demands of the constituent or the nation security‖ (Profiles in Courage).

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If a common denominator exists between European Colonial Imperialism and American Slavery and to a lesser extent, Social Engineering, it lies in the (underlying) assumption of ―Native Inferiority‖. I‘m not sure where I‘m going with this so try and follow my line of reasoning inasmuch as I am liable to form an uncertain analogy as it relates to the childlike treatment of the (subject) people involved: undermining freedom, initiative, self-reliance, (human) potential and an individual‘s moral and intellectual authority; that is to say, contrary to an individual‘s inherent right to naturally evolve into a productive human being; to learn, think and act independently in his or her (own) inestimable manner. Neither institution sought/seeks to improve an individual‘s ―natural‖ condition but exploit, rather, that individual‘s labored and intellectual resources for economic and political reasons. Whereas the Slave Owner or Imperialist sought to exploit human resources for personal economic gains, the social engineer, on the other hand, seeks to exploit the under-utilized capacity of individuals or groups for utopic reasons. Am I making myself clear?

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The role of traditional customs in the Modern World may be properly measured in Half Lives.

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Moral Relativism is a precursor to Nihilism. It (MR) advances the proposition that no single value (or moral) is exceptional in itself; that is to say, (conventional) moral or ethical assumptions do not properly reflect objective or universal truths, and concludes with (N) rejecting moral authority altogether.

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Panhandlers, vagabonds and street merchants do not (necessarily) pose a threat to public safety in whatever manner their presence may (otherwise) be perceived offensive to conventional propriety, if not Quality of Life in general. Most people, especially those of us 19

residing in congested urban centers, have grown (sensibly) immune to the outbreak of unsightly or unpleasant appearances that are gradually undermining congenial customs and manners. The more ―progressive‖ among us are likely to interpret such eyesores in a different light; as oddly urbane or reflecting the attributive characteristics of a multidimensional society. Perhaps guilt has triggered our indifference or resignation to devolving social and cultural standards that have assumed a life of their own. An environment which finds itself aesthetically challenged, however, must inevitably hasten the radical departure of polished elements to more refined environments.

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That the Brady Bill mandating a five-day cooling-off period prior to purchasing a firearm will have an negligible impact on curbing gun-related crimes should be apparent to any clear-minded individual excluding knee-jerk liberals and well-intentioned, muddled-headed individuals who sincerely believe that adding another gun law to the thousands of gun laws already on the books will, in some (uncertain) manner, act as a further deterrent to professional criminals who want to acquire a firearm. As it is oftentimes the case, it‘s the law-abiding citizen who desires a firearm for a variety of (legitimate) reasons; security, sport or collection, who finds himself entangled in so much Red Tape.

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A cacophony of harsh noises assaulting the senses is less disturbing, perhaps, than the rhythmic expressions of uniform sounds.

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The recent passage of NAFTA is a certain indication that labor unions are gradually losing their political clout. Although a majority of Democrats remained firmly opposed to this bill, a sufficient number of party defectors were able to secure a major political victory for the Clinton Administration and Free Markets. I am undecided what the immediate impact this measure will have on (Blue Collar) jobs in the U.S. although I believe the prospect for future job creation on the domestic front will not be a very promising one. Besides, how are diminishing (capital) resources expected to vie for cheaper consumer products when many workers will find themselves either under-employed or competing in greater numbers for lower paying jobs? (I exaggerate to make a point.)

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Truth needs to be tempered with Discretion, at times.

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…astonishing higher learning for convenience sake, knowledge subordinated to superstition and fear, censorship making cowards of us all, ambitions overriding moral authority, flattery superseding substance, principles arousing suspicion, abandoning Faith…

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Although (private) values may vary, rules of ethical conduct governed by (the) accepted customs of decency and fair play and respect for human rights remain the underlying requirements of a well order society.

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Violent thoughts precipitate violent actions.

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Faith, when called upon, supersedes ―Common Sense‖.

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Youthful appearances, confident, proud and determined, quickly ravaged by the vicissitudes of Time, humbled in the flesh, however undaunted in the spirit that Time can neither violate nor impair.