A reader (reportedly in Utah) sent me this image of Hillary Rodham Clinton, apparently responding to an assertion made during a Congressional hearing into the Benghazi affair. The caption is not indicated as a quotation, but I thought it worthwhile to reproduce here.
That correspondent also added this comment: “The Democrat’s 2016 nomination from Hell: Hillary and Nancy.” Can you even begin to imagine that?
The name of this 35-year old column was borrowed from the often entertaining, sometimes brilliant, writings of Lewis Carroll. In his marvelous work (Through the Looking Glass, c.1871), Carroll included a fascinating poem about “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” An extract of that poem is here reproduced:
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things.
Of shoes―and ships―and sealing wax—
Of cabbages―and kings―
And why the sea is boiling hot——
And whether pigs have wings.”
My opinion columns were intended to talk about “many things” ― from cabbages to kings; limited only by generally accepted rules of civility, sensibility, and good taste. For the first decade or so, the column was published primarily in a relatively small-circulation, Georgia paper, but it gained wide readership, clear across the nation, and even in Europe, as readers sent clips of my column to friends and associates. The editors, in that time, ran my ramblings without edit of any kind. The column was surprisingly popular; so much so, in fact, that National Public Radio twice tried to get me to participate in interviews about one or another of the subjects I’d commented on in print. I turned them down.
In recent years, the general public has become more and more liberal: accepting, even endorsing, policies and practices such as loose (lost?) morals, a Socialist welfare state, and legalized mind-altering drugs. In such a rudderless society, where just about any human activity is accepted (other than criticism, that is), it soon became difficult to communicate effectively amongst ourselves, or for a columnist to be able to offer a thoughtful opinion on many subjects. In that enlightened, “feel good” age of “flower power,” journalists and columnists had to be careful to avoid hurting some group’s feelings by use of words and phases seen, by a few, to be hurtful. In that mindless pursuit of nirvana, the language has been recklessly changed, to an extent that often makes meaningful discussion difficult, if not impossible.
The media have, in general, caved to even the slightest pressures exerted by various, special interest groups. Mexican immigrants, legal or otherwise, don’t want to be called “Mexicans”: instead, they’re “Latinos.” Does that mean that they speak Latin? “No,” you say, “It’s because they speak a Latin-based language (Spanish).” By that argument then, the Italians living amongst us are also “Latinos.” Do you begin to see how playing loose and free with our language can cause confusion? Well, then let me illustrate using a recent column of mine, which was edited at a newspaper, because I had, in their opinion, been politically incorrect.
My offense was in use of the scientific, and the only correct, term for one of mankind’s four basic, human races ― “Negroid.” The editor substituted “African American” for “Negroid,” or “Negro,” wherever I had, apparently, erred in such use. But what is an “African American”? Anthropologists, and various authoritative reference books, adequately define the Negroid race, leaving no doubt as to its meaning; yet, were you asked to define “African American,” what would you say? Most probably, your reply would be something such as: “It’s a person of African ancestry, now living in the United States.” Let’s take a moment to think about that seemingly appropriate answer.
First of all, you likely were really thinking, “An African American is a black person in the USA.” But does black skin define “African”? Indeed not! There are some 85 million non-blacks native to Africa; every one of five nations on the north rim of Africa is Caucasoid (“white”). They, along with millions of 3rd and 4th-generation Caucasoids, that settled and effectively created nations in Negroid Africa, such as Zimbabwe and South Africa, consider themselves to be Africans–as they should. So, when a Caucasoid, from such as Algeria (which is in Africa, Hillary), emigrates to our fruited plains, is he an “African American”? Clearly not—not anyway as that term is today carelessly used in these United States.
Ok, “African” therefore can not be taken to mean Negroid, or even “Black.” While we’re attempting to be accurate in terminology, you should know that there are two, distinctly different, human races, that are characterized by black skin color. They are: Negroid, and Australoid; the latter come from a continent separate from Africa (Australia). So to use “Black American,” in place of “African American,” to categorize Negroes in the USA, is similarly and seriously flawed.
As though we’ve not already presented enough evidence to support doing away with “African American” in the sense now used, think now about the second word in that categorical name. What, in fact, is an “American,” and what is America?
As I’ve been reminded, usually politely, by proud citizens of Mexico, that nation’s correct name is “The United States of Mexico,” so for us to routinely refer to our country as “The United Sates,” is arrogant, at best. Even more importantly, our nation is but one of dozens on the American continent; citizens of Mexico, Equador, Guatemala, and Peru are just as “American” as you or I. Now then, recognizing that “strange” fact, would you think it strange to refer to a Tunisian ( “white” and African), living in Brazil, as an “African American”?
Some Negroes, here in the USA, may not like to be classed, correctly, as Negroid, or Negroes, but if so, then would they please pick a new term for their ethnic group–one that doesn’t result in avoidable confusion when discussing race and ethnicity. And will editors show a bit of backbone, by failing to give in willingly every time some group wants to change what it’s called? “Illegal immigrants” want to be referred to as “Undocumented”; if they’re here illegally, then they’re “illegal.” And homosexual males demand to be categorized as “gay.” Would anyone even try to explain what “gay” has to do with homosexuality? And how, if you know, did the primarily Mongoloid peoples of America south of these United States become “Hispanics”? They came to the Americas from Asia and Pacific Islands ― not from Spain and Portugal (Hispania), nor even from Hispaniola (an island in the Caribbean Sea).
Enough of this feel-good, name changing nonsense. We seem to have always needed ways to categorize humans, by race, culture, village, nation, or clan. If we are to continue that practice, then let’s try to do it intelligently. “African American” is clearly a bad mistake: a term presented and accepted without thought on anyone’s part. Our nation is made up of Caucasoids, Mongoloids, Negroids, and possibly a handful of Ausraloids, along with mixtures of those four basic races. Let’s try, rationally and reasonably, to live within that necessary limitation. And, in the process, allow me, and other journalists, to meaningfully discuss anything and everything―from cabbages to kings.
Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated feature by j.g.nash. Relevant comments may be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My recent column, which suggested eliminating archaic embassies and ambassadors, drew an expected flurry of fire from those whose “golden ox” I had thereby gored.
Their major objection seems to have been stimulated by my references to ambassadors as “boorish, destructive,” and as “ugly Americans.” Kindly allow me, here, to clarify such critical categorization, by stating that most of our ambassadors (those whom are trained and experienced foreign service personnel) serve the nation well: my condemnation is reserved for, and directed at, the scores of unqualified and unsuited persons appointed as ambassadors to plum posts (e.g., Paris, London, Tokyo, Rome, Madrid, etc.); most of which have been, and will become, those “ugly Americans.”
I hasten to add that those few, which, by themselves, give a bad name to the profession of international diplomacy, are aided and abetted by a dangerously naive consortium of government officials and policies, which work against the very name of the game — “diplomacy.”
“Diplomacy,” whether practiced professionally and internationally, or in one’s personal life, is defined especially as being “tactful”; considerate of, and respectful to, the feelings of others; suave; courteous, and polite. It is not “diplomatic” to invite a Mohammedan to dinner, at which pork is featured. Trained and experienced diplomats do not use the left hand to touch others, or, especially, to offer them food, in cultures where that hand is considered “unclean.” A “diplomatic” person does not bring up highly controversial subjects in what are meant to be social environments, involving a variety of guests. A diplomat willingly removes her shoes when entering a home where such is the custom. In sum: diplomats work hard to sensitive to, and respective of, the mores, traditions, customs, religions, and politics of their hosts. That, most unfortunately, is not how far too many of our “diplomats” (official as well as others) perform.
A surprising lack of diplomacy is hardly a recent phenomenon: I’ve read, for example, that Ben Franklin, while posted as our Ambassador to France, sometimes received host officials at his apartment, while sitting nude, in an armchair by an open window. There have been more recent reports, such as that of Ambassador Saxbe (India, 1975-77) chewing tobacco, and expectorating into a brass spittoon, while receiving official visitors to his New Delhi offices. And stories about crude, rude, inconsiderate, pompous, military generals and admirals, while representing us abroad, would fill a large book. For example, U.S. military leaders had been invited to a particularly significant dinner, in Turkey, where social punctuality is the norm. Hundreds of important and influential Turkish military and civilians sat at dinner tables, with obvious and increasing displeasure, waiting for the ignorant, imperious Americans to arrive “fashionably late” (30 minutes). To state that those “ugly” Americans “blotted their copybooks,” is an understatement.
In relatively recent times, the United States of America has anointed itself as “the World’s conscience,” strutting about, most undiplomatically, while demanding that all others comply with whatever current social fad may be popular in California’s la-la land. If women are treated “unfairly, or unequally” in some nation, then we make a point of sending them a female ambassador. If homosexuality is taboo somewhere on earth, we may try to force them to accept an openly homosexual ambassador. Where other forms of government, such as dictatorships, or absolute monarchies, exist with relative success, we openly proselytize against them. And if a nation is essentially of a single religious faith, we send them an ambassador that openly practices another. To get along with neighbors, one must respect, and, at least, appear to honor their values: not openly attempt to convert them to one’s own. That’s where U.S. diplomacy fails.
Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated column by j.g.nash. Relevant comment may be sent to him at email@example.com.
In these times of economic worry, most of us search for ways to save money—especially that which we are forced to pay in taxes, such as the billions wasted on non-productive, bloated government. So, the FAA furloughs a handful of air traffic controllers; saving $11.98, while further degrading already insufferable commercial air services. Homeland Security does their part, by further slowing down airport security inspections; the White House stops public tours, saving another $7.31; while the Feds turn loose hundreds of criminal foreigners held in our jails, saving about 3 bucks a day on their ration of bean burritos. And then our exemplary Leader-in-Chief, donates a few thousand to help our national debt, which is a trivial part of the millions he’s paid as President (true, when considering such as the extraordinary value of housing, servants, transportation, etc. which are furnished to him at no charge, and thus are indeed real “income”).
While back-room politicians (there’s another kind?) argue endlessly and pointlessly about how to make meaningful and necessary cuts to the budget, there are, right there in front of us all, quick and easy ways to save big bucks. I’m going to speak here to just one—the Department of State.
The State Department’s budget is the fourth largest item in the Federal Budget (following only Defense, Health & Human Services, and Education). They requested some $70 billion for FY 2013, with which to do what? Seriously―WHAT? In my studied opinion, $60 billion of that is wasted on patently useless embassies, and incompetent boorish ambassadors, which frequently, if unintentiionally, work against our national best interests.
Folks, it’s past time to stand up an demand major changes to our antiquated, destructive, system of ambassadors and embassies. Consider just the following:
Bottom line is that we waste about $60 billion a year on archaic, useless, often diplomatically destructive embassies and ambassadors. Small, unobtrusive, efficient missions, staffed by trained professional foreign service personnel (there are many such), could effectively handle such as problems encountered by U.S. tourists, and do so for less than $10 billion annually. By eliminating ambassadors and embassies, we not only save big bucks, but actually improve our image abroad. Let’s do it! “Off with their heads!”
Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated feature by j.g.nash. Relevant comment may be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[N.B. We will herein use the scientifically correct terms, "Negroes," or Negroid," because "African American" is a confusing, thoughtlessly inappropriate, misleading and inaccurate term for that race; "Black" is no better, because two basic human races are black skinned.]
I’ve had it up to here — no, even higher than that! Not a day passes in which the liberal press doesn’t feature a story about inequality and discrimination involving race, sex, ethnicity, religion, or other human differences; and they do that in the warm embrace of an “enlightened” age, wherein we all hold hands and sing “kumbaya.” Of course, such narcotic sedated, liberal idealism serves only to further divide our population, creating additional, avoidable, serious problems for our increasingly troubled nation.
Think–has a day gone by that your newspaper, or some boob-tube broadcast, didn’t feature a tear-jerking, misleading, emotional report about how one group of humans, or another, is being exploited, or otherwise held back, by others (usually “white males”)? According to the misguided, thoughtless, naive liberals, it is, for example, intolerable and unjust that women don’t make up at least 51% of elected/appointed government officials, CEOs of major businesses, combat soldiers, and trash collectors. The reason, Hillary, why women are not represented, in some occupations, in relation to their percentage of the general population, is because, and only because, men are better suited for those jobs. Live with it!
Let’s establish, right up front, that: In a free economy (which we still have, sort of, in spite of destructive actions of the present Administration), successful managers of businesses try hard to hire the best available persons to fill any available job. Except for a few rare cases (such as a business operated, owned, and controlled by a particular religion), sex, race, religion, etc. are not deciding factors in hiring.
Negroes make up about 12% of the population, but represent a reported 78% of the National Basketball Association’s obscenely overpaid players, and nearly 70% of the millionaire football professionals. There are no women in those jobs, nearly no “Asians” or “Latinos,” and only a handful of Caucasoid (i.e., “white”) males. Where’s the outrage over those imbalances? Of course, there should be no “outrage,” because sports businesses are simply hiring the best qualified applicants for the work involved. It is fair to wonder why we seem to be unable to apply that logic in other instances of alleged discrimination in the workplace.
Let’s get the hard, inarguable, fact right out in front: there are significant differences between races, ethnicities, and sexes; and those differences often determine the jobs we will hold. In the extreme, consider that males do not give birth, nor suckle the young: is that discrimination? Of course not! And females are unarguably weaker physically than males, so should they be found in equal numbers with males in work requiring significant upper body strength? Again–Of course not!
More than just physical strength and skeletal construction separate races and sexes. That’s no surprise to intelligent, thoughtful, educated persons, who’ve long recognized that there are many significant differences between the sexes, which determine how each will live and work. Normal women may be expected to react differently to a given situation than do men. Women often allow emotions to override logic and common sense; and women are more likely than men to be unavailable for work when needed. Recent studies even seem to prove that females see colors differently than do males. Isn’t it understandable that prospective employers will consider such facts when hiring?
Wake up Nancy: there are very significant differences between men and women, which place necessary and predictable limits on the suitability of women for many jobs–including that of CEOs. Agreed: a few females, with confused hormones, can appear to perform adequately as head of a major corporation, as a football linebacker, or as a bayonet-thrusting soldier, but that is far from the norm for the female sex. Let’s stop this nonsense of suggesting otherwise. That advice is especially appropriate for such as Sheryl Sandberg (author of a recent book aimed at inspiring women to assert themselves in competing with men for top managerial jobs). Sheryl, for whatever reasons, you’ve made it to the top of the corporate ladder; live with that, and kindly cease attempting to convince other women that they can, and should, do the same–at the expense of families and the nation.
The free market place is doing a reasonably good job of placing workers where their particular skills and abilities are most productive. Except as in the rare case of such as a particular religion’s business, job applicants are almost always selected because they’re the best available–irregardless of sex, race, or religion. Negroes can and do find employment in just about every walk of life — from executive mansions to football fields. Race alone seldom closes doors to anyone: a lack of qualifications, and/or the way one appears, or behaves when being interviewed, can, however, be deciding factors.
There are significant differences between sexes, races, and ethnicities. Clearly, Negroes are favored as professional athletes in several major sports; men are selected as combat soldiers and construction workers; so-called “Latinos,” while currently only 12% of the population of the U.S., make up about 32% of the professional baseball players; women are favored in dozens of occupations. Oh yes — they also make far better mothers (mankind’s most important and demanding job) than do men. Kumbaya!
Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated column by j.g.nash. Relevant comments may be sent to him at email@example.com.
[The following conversations, as related by a deep-cover reporter planted in a big, white house in River City, are, to protect individuals involved, not attributed.]
“Ok, the Republicans surprised us and hung tough on cutting some of the increase we’d hoped for in next year’s budget: what are we gonna do bout dat?
Well Sir, we at INS have already taken action to show the public how painful those cuts will be. We’ve already released more than 2,000 illegal immigrants we’d held in our detention centers. That’ll not only frighten the masses, but it’ll actually save us almost $20,000 a day.
I thought that releasing the illegals would save more than $150 per day per prisoner; according to my math, that’s at least $300,000 a day. Why is your estimate so small?
That $164 per day/immigrant figure takes into account every possible associated cost in incarcerating illegals: actually, we spent only around $9.72 a day to feed them, so that’s all we really save, by turning those criminals loose on the public. But we’ll go with the $164 figure to make it seem that we’re saving big money, as mandated by the Republicans.
Right on bro! Now, who’s got more good ideas?
Well, we at Homeland Security are hitting ‘em with a double whammy. First, we’ll slow down airport security inspections, so as to further irritate the traveling public, and blame it on the budget cuts, rather than our inefficient management. Next, we’ll relax long-standing restrictions on items such as ‘small knives and clubs’ (which includes such as the box cutters used by the successful 9/11 terrorists). There may therefore be a few successful hijackings and aerial bombings, but that’ll send a powerful message to those damned budget slicers. There’s even a possibility of a staged incident in an inflight aircraft.
I don’t know about that: couldn’t we just stop them from bringing pizza, or salami sandwiches, aboard? Seems too risky to me. What else do we have?
Well Sir, the new Department of Defense stands ready to support your demand for increased taxes and even more government spending. But if we must live with the Republican’s mandated budget cuts, we recommend not cutting programs such as those associated with building unwanted aircraft or unneeded aircraft carriers: instead, let’s cut the ammunition provided to front line troops. When those desert outposts run out of ammo, and are overrun by fanatical Arabs, the ignorant public will get the damn message. Look how excited they became over just that Benghazi thing.
I like that: let’s talk!
Sir! As much as I’d hate do so, we at food and agricultural inspection could actually facilitate the spread of food-borne diseases, with frightening consequences. That could easily be blamed on reduced inspections resulting from the impending budget cuts. Think, for example of Mad Cow disease in all the beef used by fast-food joints across the nation, deadly bacteria in the chicken supply, or of e-coli in your favorite arugula.
Could that be done without endangering ourselves? I’m not sure that such drastic measures are needed, although I appreciate your willingness to help in our war against conservatism, fiscal responsibility, and effective government.
Well, Sir, here’s a safer option. How ’bout the IRS makes submitting the 2012 tax forms so dependant upon the unknown results of the Republican’s budget rules that no one can actually prepare an acceptable report? We’re nearly at that point now, so this won’t take much additional effort. If we make it impossible to submit a correct form, but penalize everyone (except our voters, which largely don’t pay taxes anyway) for failing to do so, wouldn’t that get the public’s attention?
Those are all great ideas, and I thank you for your loyal inputs. I’ll get back to you on which we may use. Leave copies of your updated resignations with Amboeillia in the outer office, and genuflect as you leave!”
Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated column by j.g.nash; relevant comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of us seem surprised by news that the good ol’ reliable Postal Service will cease delivering mail on Saturdays; I, on the other hand, have been predicting that, and more, for about 25 years. My dire predictions failed to inspire politicians, postal officials, union bosses, postal workers, or the general public to take timely corrective action. About the only reaction to my criticisms of the mismanaged Postal Service, and its greedy Union, was in a predictable flood of Union inspired, created, and provided, form letters, sent by selfish, thoughtless, union members.
I am reproducing, herewith, part of a column of mine, which was published six years ago (2007). It was prompted by the Postal Service’s repeated increases in the cost of first class postage rates–a destructive economic policy that’s continued to this day.
[From 2007, in part, which pertains to the USPS practice of raising the cost of service to cover results of mismanagement and out-of-control unions.]
My father-in-law was a barber with no knowledge whatsoever of economics and business, but he was well equipped with an abrasive personality, which drove away customers after their first visit. I watched and listened as he complained about how hard it was to make a profit as a barber, unless you raise the price every year. As you’ve likely guessed, each time he raised prices (to make up for lost customers), he gained fewer and fewer new customers; so his income continually decreased, while prices were raised until he had no customers at all. Of course what he should have done was to learn why customers didn’t stay with him, and then taken appropriate measures to try to hold onto them. He could also have found ways to economize (e.g., perhaps running the shop from his home, which was permitted where he lived) and thus been able to keep his prices attractive to potential customers. But he buried his thick head in the sand, and did none of those things, so he went out of business. The Postal Service seems to be on a parallel track.
I watched carefully, nearly two decades back, as the mass arrival of facsimile machines cut deeply into the Postal Services income. At that time, instead of improving service, finding ways to economize, and/or compete with new technology, they continued with business as usual, until they noticed the big drop in income caused by facsimile use. The inept or careless management simply responded with an inadequately thought thru, knee-jerk raise in the price of first class postage, which resulted, predictably, in increased use of facsimile by postal patrons, and even further reductions in gross income for the Post Office.
The arrival of e-mail was a still larger loss for the USPS. Taking my own business as an example: between facsimile, e-mail, and other capabilities offered by the Internet, we reduced our USPS budget by 90%, between 1985 and 2005. We had typically spent about $25 in postage, registration, and insurance to transmit just one photo-illustrated story to a publisher: now all of that was accomplished over the InterNet, and at a trivial cost. Even my many retired friends now make extensive use of electronic bill paying options (which are offered by about 95% of the businesses to which they once mailed checks), so the Postal Service loses still more of their traditional income. Every time they increase the price of first class postage they drive another group of their customers away, thus reducing their gross income. Sounds just like that bumbling barber, and it is. To survive in this electronic age, the Postal Service needs to sharpen its pencils, find ways to make significant cuts in costs, and come up with ideas as to how to work with the new ways of corresponding. I might suggest that they ask the airlines for a bit of advice. Those commercial enterprises (which enjoyed no monopoly, as has the USPS) were also inexcusably and carelessly managed for decades. Now, many of those are involved in traumatic procedures (e.g., significant wage cuts) so that they can remain in business; even then they don’t offer significant evidence that they’ve learned much from their past, destructive management.
Unless the Postal Service gets a grip on the realities of present-day economics and electronic communications, and is willing to make some tough, thought-through decisions, they may self-destruct, as they are forced to face ever-increasing economic pressures caused primarily by more efficient and economical electronic communications. Raising the cost of first class stamps is no cure—not even a small bandage
Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated feature by j.g.nash. Pertinent comment may be sent to him at email@example.com.
I’m not all sure when it began, but I clearly recall that, in my naive youth, I actually believed that were we to elect a young man (age 25 or so) as our president, the nation, and the world would be far better off than it is when our chief executive is an “old man.”
Perhaps it is normal for the undeveloped and adventuresome brain to feel that youth, with its bright, new, invulnerable, simplistic perspective on life, holds the key to human happiness and success, while the elderly (e.g., one’s own, restrictive and limiting parents) are generally just obstacles on the open road to utopia. In the usual progression from ambitious, arrogant, confident, and ignorant youth to wise, experienced elders, the young, eager and uneducated have usually been counter balanced by an experienced, knowledgeable, cautious, and conservative generation, so that mankind managed to continue to progress rather well.
Now, however, I see troubling signs that feckless youth, along with the uncontrolled growth in numbers of illegal immigrants, may be gaining the upper hand politically, and may, within a generation or three, so unintentionally undermine the traditional structure of our society, that the nation will collapse on the rubble heap of history.
There have been a steadily increasing number of signs indicating that such a gloomy prophesy is reasonable. In the early 1940s, a popular radio drama (One Man’s Family) featured a traditional family, which included a wise and omnipotent grandfather. No matter the problems that arose in that series, Grandfather’s wisdom and experience, coupled with his offspring’s willingness to listen and heed, always saved the day. With the arrival of television came a replacement show (Father knows best), wherein the father’s collected experiences, wisdom, and intelligence solved his typical family’s problems with consummate skill, born of advanced age. Today, on the other hand, television regularly presents show after show in which the sharpest member of the family is often one of the youngest–if indeed not a diapered infant (as in a cartoon series, Family Man), while the elders are portrayed as bumbling, laughable idiots. Yes, the entertainment industry not only encourages immature youth to shoot up strangers in public places, it also supports their belief that they know more than adults, successfully discouraging them from benefiting from the wise counsel of their elders.
Being referred to as “old” is now an insult, rather than an accolade. Just the other day, I received an e-mail from an angry reader of my opinion columns, in which the writer made special note of my assumed age, by exclaiming that: “…you are a pathetic old white racist….you are old and will soon go the way dodo.” I often receive mail beginning with something such as, “Hey old man, why don’t you **********!” Such age-related insults are not uncommon in my work as a columnist, even though all those using such discriminatory comments have little or no evidence to suggest my chronological age. I am apparently assumed to be “old” because of my conservative views, which generally conflict with those of uneducated, immature, and inexperienced youth, of all ages.
Then there was a time when I was having a serious conversation, with a young relative, about life: including morality, economics, hard work, etc. Since my comments were unavoidably critical of her irresponsible lifestyle, she became increasingly upset with me, finally storming off in a huff. As she subsequently unloaded her dissatisfaction with me to a young friend,. the equally immature friend offered this advice: “Don’t let him get you down. You don’t have to pay him any attention: he’s just an old man!” Have we really already gone from “Respect your elders for their knowledge” to “Ignore whatever those old jerks tell you”? Incidentally, that young relative’s constantly troubled life (even with excessive welfare and interest-free loans) is a text-book example of children trying to play at being grown up, after having failed to learn invaluable lessons from experienced adults (“old” persons).
There are many similar examples from my personal and public life that I could quote, but the problem is much wider and more serious than just that. Even our founding documents (Constitution and Declaration of Independence) are now under attack by the “youth knows best” club. With worrisome frequency, opportunistic politicians (are there other kinds?) question the Constitution as having been written by a group of “old, narrow-minded, white men,” whose minds were focused on an era that is no longer relevant. They increasingly suggest, or imply, that our founding documents are archaic, and can’t work well with today’s realities, so they must be significantly changed. That dangerous, revisionist view is currently focused on the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees a citizen’s right to own and bear arms, but that particular effort seems likely to be just the tip of a fast-approaching iceberg, dead ahead of our ship of state.
Even one of the “progressive” judges (not herself a “spring chicken”) on the nation’s Supreme Court, has been quoted as saying that emerging nations should not try to copy our world-famous Constitution, because it is no longer adequately considerate of the times in which we live. Of course, she’s not “old” in that derogatory sense, because lawyers seldom, if ever, mature intellectually. Other liberals deride and undermine established religions, which they see as bothersome limits to their free-wheeling, irresponsible lifestyles. Some of them want time tested and proven guidelines, such as the Ten Commandments, removed from government buildings and other public places. Is that because those Commandments were written by a really “old, white man”?
As a human society decays, it generally fights restrictions on its pursuit of physical pleasures and lack of responsibility for anything and everything; since those “restrictions” are usually associated with those older and wiser than they, it is natural for them to attack those “old men,” which is what is happening, here and now, with increasing regularity. That is just one more sign pointing to the seemingly unavoidable decline and fall of the U.S. of A.
Yes, I know: I’m just an old man.
I’ve long been puzzled and perplexed by the way we humans react to tragedy. For example, in the continuing wide wake of the relatively-trivial, Newtown school massacre [your chances of being killed by lightning are higher than by being shot in school], President Obama solemnly intones that we have no greater responsibility than to protect our little children from being gunned down in the first grade. Our sensitive and caring leader then appoints his Vice (traditional “politician” Joe Biden) to front the charge to disarm the populace. Good ol’ Joe leads off by heroically establishing that he enthusiastically endorses his employer’s (that’d be the Prez) rallying cry: “If there is even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try (to eliminate firearms in the hands of ordinary citizens).”
Doesn’t it strike you as curious, that so much attention is given, for such long periods of time, to the sad slaughter of a couple dozen children and teachers, when horrific tragedies (such as those in which hundreds are broiled and strangled by preventable fires in useless nightclubs) get perhaps two days news coverage, and are then quickly forgotten, with no actions suggested, nor taken, to prevent further similar horrors?
I am just old enough to recall news of the infamous, Coconut Grove club fire, inBoston, in 1942; 492 died horrible deaths in that unquestionably, and recognizably, preventable tragedy. At least six similar fires (two in theUSA) have happened since; incinerating more than 1,300 tortured souls. All of those tragedies were preventable, but apparently nowhere did the politicians make grandiose speeches about “saving even one life,” by obvious measures, such as forbidding use of fireworks in nightclubs, severely limiting attendance in such unnecessary and useless businesses, and ensuring that, if such must exist at all, there must be adequate and functional emergency exits.
What is it, do you think, that gets so many of us fist-thumping angry when guns owned by responsible citizens, which save countless thousands of lives every year, are sometimes used by mentally deranged persons to kill a handful of strangers; when, at the same time, avoidable fires, which kill hundreds in businesses that contribute nothing to the strength or welfare of the nation, appear to be tolerable?
Could the answer be found in common human aversion to, and fright of, such as snakes, rats, and spiders? Is hate and fear of guns a learned or inherited characteristic, which gets in the way of rational thought and behavior? Do we, at the same time, have a sort of love affair with demonstrably dangerous fire and fireworks?
A citizenry armed with muskets created theUnited States of America. If you consider that to have been a good thing, then please cease working to disarm our law-abiding citizens, in violation of our founding Constitution. If doing that leaves you without purpose in life, how about working to eliminate nightclubs or pickup trucks, and to severely restrict the use of fire in homes? It was only a couple of weeks ago when a young boy, playing with his mother’s lighter, while she slept blissfully, carelessly, and ignorantly, set a fire that fried his two siblings, and severely injured the culpable mother. Shouldn’t the use of fire be better regulated? How about making it mandatory that all flames (e.g. water heaters, furnaces, space heaters, stoves, candles, etc.) be enclosed in securely locked, metal cages, and all matches and lighters kept in similarly locked boxes? As silly as that may sound, it makes far more sense than anything being emotionally and politically proposed to further restrict ownership of, and access to, firearms.
Let’s try to put aside irrational emotions, and suggest a few potentially productive measures to improve personal safety for all of us. Doing anything more, at this point, to restrict ownership of firearms by responsible citizens, is an irresponsible, unproductive, even destructive, effort!
Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated feature by j.g.nash. Relevant comment nay be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to a very recent news item: A person in a southeastern state (inane political correctness now even prohibits mentioning a human’s sex or specific state of residence) drove a heavy duty pickup truck along a 15-mile path of death and destruction covering two counties. One witness reported that, “It was just a nightmare. I just knew that we were going to die.” Another exclaimed, “He was able to just ram and ram.” More than a dozen vehicles were struck by the truck, resulting in one death and many serious injuries. The truck driver survived and has been charged with vehicular homicide.
Should such pickups be banned? What if this particular truck struck a school bus carrying 30 children to grade school, and the bus burst into flame, killing all inside; should such trucks then be banned? Is the violent death of a six year old any less tragic or significant if caused by a motor vehicle accident than by a firearm?
Yes, I am well aware that pickup trucks are necessary to our way of life, and that they perform many useful functions, so I agree that banning them makes no sense at all. At the same time, I know that firearms, in the hands of sane, mature citizens perform similarly necessary and useful functions, so thoughtless, knee-jerk, politically motivated attempts by irrational, ill-informed, do-gooders to ban firearms also “make no sense at all.”
The important role played by firearms possessed by responsible citizens is not as well understood as that involving pickups; so listen and learn. Police can not possibly be at most of the places they’re needed, at the crucial time. Chances are that, if thugs smash in your door, with intent to rob, rape, and pillage, even if you have an opportunity to call 911, the dirty deeds will be done, and the criminals long gone, before help arrives. On the other hand, every year, thousands of attempted home invasions are thwarted by armed residents; hundreds of thousands more are not even tried, for fear that the occupants may be armed. I once had hundreds of trophies awarded for NRA sanctioned, pistol competition; I used some of those as scarecrows, placing them behind drapes on window sills, so that they were visible only from the outside; there was never an attempt to break into my home—not even in crime-ridden, Los Angeles.
Until, if ever, the criminal element is disarmed and diminished, the rest of us will have a very real need for firearms in the home and place of business. It is important to note that, in cities and states with the most restrictive laws pertaining to possession of firearms (e.g., Wash DC, Chicago, and NYC), there also are the highest crime rates. That’s because those poorly thought-out gun laws disarm honest citizens, but have little or no effect on criminals. As has been often wisely pointed out: “If responsible citizens are disarmed, only the police and criminals will have guns–and the police cannot even begin to protect everyone, everywhere.”
Guns are an easy and perennially popular scapegoat for politicians and well-meaning-but-thoughtless-citizens when exposed to another “inexplicable act of violence” involving firearms. The real reasons why such horrible incidents take place are less apparent, and far less acceptable on a personal level, so they are usually, as even now, being largely ignored. It seems quite clear that the mentally-troubled youth responsible for the Newtown massacre should not have been permitted to move freely about public places; and that his defective mind had been terribly twisted by horrific, shoot-’em-up video games; by similar movies and television shows; and by warped images of self going down in a blaze of gunfire, which is played over and over and over again by thoughtless news media, so that his friends and associates will be suitably impressed.
Our sick society is responsible for all the “Newtowns” and “Columbines”―which would have been carried out with chain saws, knives, or bombs had guns not been needlessly and carelessly available. If we’re at all serious about wanting to reduce the likelihood of further “Sandy Hooks,” then we must focus all of our attention on what causes the poisonous desire to randomly slaughter other humans, rather that wasting time on further, useless―even potentially destructive―restrictive gun laws.
Will we wake up and do that? Probably not. Oh well, back to banning pickups.