Invincible Ignorance

One is stupid in the same way one is red-haired; one belongs to the stupid set as one belongs to a blood group. A stupid man is born a stupid man by an act of Providence. Although convinced that fraction of human beings are stupid and that they are so because of genetic traits, I am not a reactionary trying to reintroduce surreptitiously class or race discrimination. I firmly believe that stupidity is an indiscriminate privilege of all human groups and is uniformly distributed according to a constant proportion…

Money

In an early episode of The Beverly Hillbillies, which first aired on television in 1962, Jed Clampett comes into the kitchen — I think it was at the cabin in the Ozarks, but I could be wrong — and he tells Granny that Mr. Drysdale told him they’re going to pay him in some new kind of dollars. Grannie scoffs and says: “There ain’t no new kind of dollars.” Jed turns to Jethro and asks: “What’d he call them, Jethro?” Jethro replies: “Mill-ee-on dollars.” What we have, compared with 1962, is a new kind of dollars, but the effect is quite the opposite of what it was for the Clampett family.

You Call Yourself a Christian?

“Christian” falls within the language of collectivism — grouping people according to some contrived characteristic or one vaguely held in common. This expedites the mission of social do-gooders: They can elevate, exonerate, or vilify all members of the group, the better to apply group solutions to problems not all members share or apply pressure and enforce restrictions that not all members deserve.

Six Disastrous Assumptions

A government ought to know how and when to make law, but more especially when not to. This was the message of Viscount Falkland early in the 17th Century, who declared before the British Parliament: “Mr. Speaker, when it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.”

A Well-regulated Militia

The time is approaching when we will be compelled by an act of Congress to register our firearms. We are continually reminded that “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” That part is clear to everyone except those promulgating law in Washington, D.C. Few people, though, understand what is meant byContinue reading “A Well-regulated Militia”

The Meaning of Doing the Right Thing

This morning’s random reading over coffee brought together two articles under one theme.  The first was Maria Popova’s “The Day Dostoyevsky Discovered the Meaning of Life in a Dream.”  Immediately upon absorbing that piece I opened “The Right Right Thing to Do” by Irene McMullin. The Meaning of Life Dostoevsky didn’t allege that he personallyContinue reading “The Meaning of Doing the Right Thing”

Eric Hoffer and Mass Movements

In the summer of 1971, while I still lived in Monterey, California, as a student at the Defense Language Institute, I obtained an address for Eric Hoffer and, on a trip into San Francisco ostensibly to prowl more bookstores, I spent the day finding the humble apartment building bearing the address I’d been provided. It was late on a Saturday when I finally stood before the façade in the evening shadows and contemplated knocking or ringing a doorbell…

The Disadvantages of Being Educated

Well-trained professionals welcome the accolades for possessing proficiency in their field. Their education, however, if they had any, is another matter, as it lies behind their proficiency, and should not be confused with it. The joy and satisfaction of an education for education’s sake should still be what Commencement speakers say it is. Something must be done to mature the national resources of intellect and character, as well as proficiency…

Extremism

“But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love … Was not Amos an extremist for justice: ‘Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like anContinue reading “Extremism”