In plodding my way slowly through the Great Books series, I found a special treat in Michel de Montaigne, a 16th Century French philosopher. His thoughts peel back the surface of human interaction, often to an uncomfortable degree. But he does it in such a self-effacing and often humorous way that we take it in stride and ingest it. He is surely a great mind that deeply influenced many others, including another of my favorites, Eric Hoffer. (more…)
The way some people use the term “main-stream media,” you would think it has only four letters. The opposite of this MSM is, of course, the underground, iconoclastic, revolutionary side-stream media that is struggling to make its voice heard above the roar of the mighty river that is the main stream. The demonization of the main-stream media is a particularly cherished past-time of right-wing talking heads like Sean O’Limbeck. But who is really the main-stream? (more…)
This is a letter I sent to my state Senator about the DREAM bill, a bill that will allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Utah’s state colleges and Universities. PLEASE feel free to copy it and send your own version. You can find your Senator here and even send an e-mail directly from that page. Remember to insert your Senator’s name, and put your own name and address at the bottom. (more…)
I live in Utah, one of the most Republican-leaning states in the country, right? And yet, the majority of voters are not registered Republicans. In fact, only 31.5% are registered as Republicans, and only 7.4% as Democrats. Nearly 61% are registered as “unaffiliated” or independents. Then why does the Republican tail wag the Utah dog? Because Independents mistakenly think they’re powerless and alone.
For a long time in the U.S. there has been a battle between people who want to be able to display religious symbols, particularly the Ten Commandments, on government property (such as city parks, government buildings, etc.) and those who think the First Amendment prohibits such things. Christians who want vehemently to display the Ten Commandments on government property assert that “this is a Christian nation.” If so, let’s raise the bar. (more…)
“[Fanatics of various hues] hate each other with the hatred of brothers. They are as far apart and close together as Saul and Paul.” – Eric Hoffer, The True Believer
The animosity between the two principal political parties in the U.S. is unusually high these days. Doubtless there are many reasons, but I’ve been thinking lately more about the ramifications rather than the reasons. These two parties are a set of Saul and Paul of whom Hoffer spoke. They hate each other, but depend on each other for mutual existence. Without the Saul, or “devil” of an “other,” a political party sits like a child on a see-saw with no partner. The party out of power counts on the unrealistic expectations placed in and the incompetence of the ruling party. The opposition knows it will have its turn when we the people “throw the bums out.” So they sit and criticize, whine and obstruct while the ruling party steamrolls, blunders, and overreaches. If it weren’t for the incompetence of each party, the other may never come to power. And so they are like the moon, needing the sun to go away so it can be seen, but not too far away so it can still reflect the sun’s light. (more…)
The conduct of our lives is the true mirror of our doctrine. – Montaigne
The other day I saw a news article that said that Glenn Beck, a nationally-syndicated political talk show host who also has a TV show, a man who has millions of listeners/viewers, told them that if their churches mentioned “social justice” or “economic justice” (what he called political “code words” for communism, etc.), his listeners should leave their churches. This was shocking to me, first because Beck and I are both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) and I can’t reconcile what he said with the doctrine I know from our church. Isn’t this a violations of the First of the Ten Commandments? And secondly, because anyone who actually took his advice widened one of the biggest rips in the fabric of our society.
I’m talking about the fact that all of us are bound together in an eternal family. In too much of the political discourse lately, there has been demonizing, name-calling, and dehumanizing. To what end? To get the trajectory of the country to move a fraction of a degree to the left or the right. At what cost? We are sacrificing our kinship with our fellow man to our political objectives. (more…)
I recently read for the third time a book I was introduced to in PoliSci 101 as an extra credit assignment. In the past, to me The True Believer; Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer was an interesting theoretical book about sociology, based on observations of the past. This time, its voice was contemporary and reverberating. Every paragraph was an elucidating commentary on the news of the day. (more…)
On November 29, the disputed President of Iran announced plans to build ten new nuclear enrichment facilities throughout the country. Everyone’s mind immediately turned to military action, and many assume that Israel will bomb Iran sooner than later. It’s my hope no one attacks Iran. (more…)
I would like to invite you to a new blog I am contributing to. I am co-authoring it with my brother, Mike. The name of the blog is The Fearless Path (www.FearlessPath.net). I will post many things to both blogs, but I will save my purely political posts for Not Quite Center. I think you’ll like the new blog.