Post # 348  FREEDOM OF OPPORTUNITY (a mini essay)

At the very moment our Founding Fathers issued the declaration, applicable to the new Nation, “All men are created equal,” the death knell was sounded for the ages-old, European system of privileged birth and of privileged classes.

Such radical, 18th Century determination, ultimately, led our new Nation to unprecedented, and universally recognized success, wealth and power; albeit, it has taken decades of personal sacrifice and hard work, for the ideal of equality to be universally applied to all, regardless of race or gender. Yet it may truly be said that great progress toward the full attainment of universal equality has been made.

Liberty of action resulted in the development and encouragement of entrepreneurship, and with it, the unrestrained opportunity, by many enterprising Americans, to succeed in the acquisition of wealth, social standing and influence.  This laissez -faire system also resulted in a far greater number of citizens, of various degrees of financial success, including a lower economic, but self-supporting Middle Class, and a less fortunate economic class, referred to as the “Lower Class,”; the latter, with, manifestly, inadequate resources for its subsistence. The phenomenon of “class difference,” it appears, now morphed into relative considerations of temporal wealth, as opposed to the European, accident of birth.

In the early 20th Century, starting with the Presidential Administration of Franklin D Roosevelt, new,  empathic programs of governmental assistance to the Nation’s needy, (folks who apparently, fell into the cracks of the free enterprise universe) were enacted, for the purpose of granting needed assistance. Relief in many areas, including, social security and survivor’s insurance, unemployment and disability benefits, reforms relating to wages and working hours, sick leave and labor conditions, in general, were enacted. The governmental expression of empathy and concern for the working, and lower class, in general, developed into the salutary system we now call, “compassionate capitalism.”

An equitably essential concomitant, to the declaration that “all men are born equal,” is the officially declared, foundational principle of, “Freedom of Opportunity.” No longer would it be the case that the son of a tradesman or a blacksmith’s son be socially constrained to seek an apprenticeship with his father, or some other craftsman, and follow his trade or calling. As society progressed, the principle meant that, young men (and much later, women) could better their lives, economically or otherwise, if capable, by seeking to follow another life path such as in medicine, law, the church, apothecary, finance or other calling or profession.

Time tested experience, inarguably, demonstrated that the most successful route, to an improved life, economically and otherwise, was by the initial pursuit of a higher education, by matriculation into higher institutions of learning, Colleges and Universities, and graduating with a recognized degree; such graduates, demonstrably, have better jobs and earn far more, than non-graduates. The foundational assurance of equal opportunity for all, has motivated a great many young people to improve their lives and economic status by means of this propitious route. An unfortunate problem is the very high cost of college tuition, forcing many students, who cannot get a scholarship, or attain entrance to a City University, to borrow, and undertake significant long term debt, in order to obtain their necessary diploma. This, however, has been empirically demonstrated to be the most successful route to a better and more fulfilling life, and the effectuation of the phrase, “Freedom of Opportunity.

There would appear to be a hierarchy of purported “better colleges” which, have been adjudged, somehow, to be “superior.” Among the latter are the so-called, “ivy league” colleges and universities, for example, Stamford, Harvard, Yale and Columbia, among others.  The public perception, whether accurate or not, is that these “better” schools attract the best, and most desirable students, and furnish a distinctly superior education. Such reputations may, or may not be deserved, however, highly motivated, success-oriented students (and unfortunately, many economically privileged and ego-driven parents) actively compete for entrance to these “elite” success factories.

At this point in this “mini-essay,” we would observe that, based upon considerable personal experience, it may, creditably, be said that any motivated and capable student, can obtain a prime education from any decently accredited college or university, and be a desirable candidate for employment, or further study, anywhere. Any student seeking a sound college education, need not be concerned, regarding his future, with the public relations statements promoting any so- called “elite” college. His success in obtaining a good education and his consequent self- advancement is more dependent upon his character and accumulation of wisdom.

It is disappointing, even egregious, to note that despite the solemn promises of our great country, greed and the neurotic aspiration for publicly acclaimed success, unabashedly and shamelessly fly in the face of our historic proclamations and dedicated purpose. Two wealthy and successful mothers of would-be candidates for admission to the “elite” school, Harvard University, have been charged with the crime of bribery, the motivation for which was the purchase of Harvard’s consent to their admission to the school. We are of the depressing opinion that there may be minions of such ambitiously dedicated mothers, anxious to crow to their elite entourage. about their brilliant child’s meritorious admission to Harvard. From the student’s point of view, unless he is inclined also to be crass, he will, in any event, always remember that his seat was paid for, and not earned on the merits.

These selfish, miscreant, women are shamefully guilty of criminal behavior, but also obnoxiously, of a neurotic sense of personal entitlement. They should, certainly, be punished, but also pointedly reminded of having, acted in derogation of our Nation’s solemn promise, of equality of opportunity.

Harvard, itself is no less a disgraceful offender. The institution, originally created to teach the Christian faith to potential ministers, has an ages long, programmatic history of immorally and intentionally playing favorites, for “legacy” families, for substantial donors to it, of money and for other policies of favoritism, contrary to our Nation’s historically established promise. We do not consider such an intentional and consistent offender “elite,” in any sense of the word.

It might be well to remember the insightful statement of Socrates, who said. “It is not the equalization of property, but the moral improvement of man.”

-p.

Post # 347 AMERICAN KAMAKAZE

Many of our readers are old enough to remember the events of the Second World War. In the Pacific Theater of that war, the (then) enemy, Japan, devised a desperate and cruel plan of attack on the empirically superior, American warships, by heartlessly recruiting hapless young Japanese men to serve as suicide pilots.  Their sole assigned, mortal mission was to intentionally crash their airplanes into American Naval Vessels. These suicide pilots, called “Kamakaze” were recruited by means of a combination of personally applied, intense nationalistic propaganda, and threats of potential “shame,” (the latter, still remains a profoundly impactful critique, in Japanese subculture). The recollection of this period, and particularly, of this program, continues to inspire nightmarish recollections for our nation, and undoubtedly, as well, for our contemporary friend and ally, the modern Nation of Japan.

For a considerable period of time, we had been puzzled at the vast number of Americans, observably,  those of modest education and low information, who were, especially in need of, and entitled to, government programs of assistance (including nutrition, health education, disability), who have opposed such assistance and programs. The sole reason for such self-denial and, effectively, “suicidal” tendencies, as we have, more recently been able to discern, is a falsely implanted, and ingested meme, concerning a purported America’s current, steady metamorphosis into a dreaded “Armageddon” State called, “Socialism.”

Perhaps it would be useful (once more) simply, and accurately, to define “Socialism.” The latter is a political-economic theory of governance, pursuant to which, the Central Government, is the owner and manager of all industry and business (in direct contrast with private ownership, by entrepreneurs, termed, Capitalism). Such Socialist brand of government, identified by a totality of government ownership and control of nation’s economy and business, is manifestly distinguishable, from an empathic nation’s programs of governmental assistance, to its legislatively defined, needy citizens.  We would, once more declare, that there is no existing American political party of any significance, nor any governmental official, throughout our entire Nation, desirous of change to a Socialistic Government, or to “Socialism,” from our existing, Capitalistic, Democratic Republic.

Thus, the previously presenting conundrum, viz., the unexplainable opposition to such assistance, by deserving citizens, has been discernably accounted for, by the false meme, cynically and tactically, implanted into the under-schooled, and persuadable minds, that he same is purportedly, “socialistic”, and ipso facto, evil. One can be supremely confident, that the tactically selfish promoters of this, apparently successful, faux meme, do so for personally nuanced, self-interested reasons, and, of course,  have the good fortune to live comfortable lives, in which government assistance is irrelevant. We find the situation referentially analogous, to the subject of the inhuman Japanese World War 2, Kamakaze program. It is an evident fact that the Japanese military people who were the propagandists and enablers, employing the false and effective meme of manhood and national valor, did not risk their own lives, only the lives of others.

We continue to confidently maintain, as observed in previous posts, that America’s consistent exercise of empathy, best described as “compassionate capitalism,” is by any measure, the most effective and tactical, preventative against exotic governmental change, but, far more significantly, is a manifestly appropriate and just expression of truly foundational, American morality.          –p.

Post # 346   JUSTICE IS SERVED AT ADHERENCE Pa.

The large, noisy crowd in attendance at the publically pre- announced event, Wednesday, December, 2099 @ 11:30 A.M., taking place in the rural town of Adherence, Pa., was far too distracted and animated to take any notice of the low, dark and disapproving rainclouds, rumbling, overhead. The attendees were exclusively men and boys; women, having been unanimously deemed, by the male Town Officials and the local Church Authority, as having no proper place at public events. In Adherence, Pa., women’s time was to be satisfactorily taken up with cleaning house, preparing meals, seeing to the proper maintenance of the Town Church, “Our Lady of Dire Repression,” and taking turns, cleaning and polishing the 25 ft., reverential Copper statue of a smiling, confident Donald J. Trump.

The town’s two old abandoned buildings, one formerly a public library, and the other, a deserted local newspaper office, have been designated to serve as the banquet halls for this major municipal event; thereby, effecting an economy of cost, and, as well, furnishing a current and rare use for such long neglected and steadily deteriorating edifices.

The entire cost of this municipal event, has been generously subscribed to, as usual, by the town’s two philanthropists, the patriotically outspoken, energy supplier, “Climate Change No- No, Inc.,” and the salubrious chemical company, “Mute the Pollute LLC,” both again honored for their perennial charity.

The established dress code for attendees, liberally permits the carrying of pistols and other defensive automatic weapons, but strictly mandates unsoiled jeans. The wearing of red baseball caps, bearing the patriotic meme: “Make America Great Again” is strongly encouraged, and optional bullet cartridge belts, or those of ordinary leather, with large western buckles, are equally acceptable.

The crowd is restless, almost unruly, and is impatient for American justice to be meted out to the despised miscreant, one, Mr. A. Page Turner, a confessed, former children’s librarian. It was reported that during one of the Town’s regular surprise searches, Mr. Turner had, with full intention and deliberation, secreted a shocking quantity of illicit literature, behind a secret wooden wall panel. These were said to include the nefarious, “Little Dorritt”, and “Great Expectations”, by Charles Dickens, “Moby Dick”, and “Billy Budd”, by Herman Melville,” Vanity Fair” by Charles Thackeray, and “Middlemarch”, by a brazen female author, pretending, by use of her nom- de- plume, to be male, the shameless hussy George Eliot.

The accused, Mr. A.P. Turner, has demonstrated absolutely no remorse whatsoever, by compounding his previous crime, with an attempt at still another heinous crime. He was intercepted by surprise, and caught in the archaic and atavistic act, of expressing his “last words” before execution of the sentence, by means of a hand- written letter, instead of by electronic transmission the patriotic, American way.

The Vicar of the aforesaid Town Church, the Right Rev. I.M. Priggish, in his dual role as Town Magistrate, directed, that, considering the serious extent of venality, together with the multiplicity of the accused’s crimes, he be punished by communal stoning, as provided in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. However, due to the recent shortage of such natural materials, urgently needed for the repair of the broken Church Wall, that the criminal be administered the decreed Biblical punishment, by means of the punitive casting at him, of each and every hard cover volume of the 7th Edition of The Encyclopedia Britannica.

Thus, decent folk can breathe easily, knowing that justice has again been restored in the town of Adherence, Pa.

-p.

Post # 345   THE UNCERTAIN RED LINE

The earliest Western statement of the basic and absolute need, for a mandatory standard of societal morality and moral behavior is that, no doubt, contained in the directives and proscriptions, of the apocryphal “Ten Commandments.” To simplify its archaic, thematic admonitions in more secular and contemporary language: where, in any group, of at least two persons, the action of one party affects the other, an agreed understanding of acceptable social behavior is mandatory. The laws limiting liberty of behavior are enacted by the relevant legislature, responsive to its perception of the contemporary societal morality (within, of course, the strictures of our Constitution).

In order to protect legitimate liberty and assure ultimate fairness, the Constitution of the United States, importantly, provides, that for any behavior to constitute and be prosecutable as a crime, the relevant penal statute satisfy the legally prescribed standard of clarity; viz., “capable of being fully understood by a person of ordinary intelligence.” A Statute that is adjudged as not meeting this standard, is constitutionally, “void for vagueness,” and unenforceable. It is the American jurisprudence, that a potential criminal offender, be, fairly, put on notice that he will be committing a crime; before he can be prosecuted as a criminal. The Penal Codes of the State or Federal Government are drafted and legislated with this principle of human intention in mind.

Sexual abuse may fairly be described, as the wrongful performance of undesired sexual behavior, by one person respecting the other. At times it is committed by force; most often it is perpetrated by a person in a superior position or one with influence over the victim. The shameful number of such offenses, (many, unreported) led to the organization of the currently well known, “Me Too Movement,” an organization, properly opposing sexual harassment and sexual assault. It was reportedly begun in October, 2017, at the same time when the shameful allegations against Harvey Weinstein were publicized. The movement, contains, in addition to those who, properly, support it merely on moral principle, injured women from the areas of the American media, the Fashion industry, the Church, Education, Finance, Politics and Government, Sports, the Music Industry, and others. The numbers of such reported miscreant acts are virtually astounding. We can offer no estimate of the unreported ones, whom we are told, fear retaliation and exposure to shame. Many of the prominent women leaders of the protest movement, have stated that the problem is so numerous that it will, without doubt, require, in addition, men, to take a hand and also render their support. [We agree and dutifully volunteer our total support.]

Our initial [ but not sole] gesture of support is, to our mind, an important, and potentially effective approach to, at least, limiting the numbers of transgressions. With respect to this constructive suggestion, we completely exclude the entire class of intentional sex abusers, like Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump and the hordes of miscreant adolescent- neurotics who intentionally, get their perverted jollies by acts marginalizing and harassing women. This species of venal miscreant deserves adequate punishment for its misdeeds, and perhaps, optimistically, many years of psychological therapy.

Our suggestion would specifically apply to accused persons like Joe Biden, whom we continue to believe, is a completely honorable man, and a respecter of women. From our appraisal of the former Vice-President, a warm and socially communicative personality, he had no idea that the two complainants were feeling demeaned by his innocently intended, mere touching, which was, throughout all his life, a concomitant of his conversation. He has apologized, and ruefully explained that he had no idea that his communicative style was objectionable to them. He indicated that realizes that it is now, unfortunately, a new (Harvey Weinstein) world, and that he would, therefore amend his conversational style. It seems evident to us, that Joe’s intentions were, as always, warm and communicative, and unrelated to sex. He seemed shocked to apprehend the new sensitivities, which were totally unknown to him, albeit a public figure.

Our promised, contributing suggestion to the problem is as follows: Most men we know are like Joe Biden and not Harvey Weinstein; they do respect the rights of women to their dignity and privacy. From the matter of Joe Biden, we have, also, learned that the latest, expressed sensitivities to touching, are justified and real. Most people we know, however, touch occasionally when communicating. We are friends with people who are not criminals, yet, actually even hug and kiss others, affectionately.

With similar concern for fairness, analogous to the principles stated above regarding criminal responsibility, a potential offender (in this case, most especially, one of purely innocent intention) needs to be informed in advance, concerning the new red lines which recently have been re- drawn, gerrymandering areas previously considered, acceptable and normal social behavior, to those which are now to be described as abusive. We do a lot of hugging around here, and would be totally appreciative of the latest legal guidelines.

-p.

Post # 344     THE CURE MARKET (Redux)

As any cursory review of history will reveal, the first independent guild of pharmacists, was established in the 17th Century England by King James 1st.  Originally called “apothecaries,” early day pharmacists not only prepared and dispensed remedies,they also offered the latest in medical advice to their customers. It is to be noted that the tradition of apothecaries accompanied the English Colonialists, to the New World.

It also appears, that the first regulations, requiring a physician’s prescription, prior to dispensing a (non- “over the counter”) medicine, was passed as an Amendment to the U.S. Food and Drug Act, in 1951.

We have chosen to revisit this subject because of our negative reaction to the persistent, daily, continuance of the irresponsible practice of marketing medicine, to the general public on television, despite the consideration that the  lack of knowledge concerning any potential user, may result in adverse effects and dire outcomes. Miraculous “snake oil” results, in aid of sales, portrayed by the parading of beautiful models and actors, before suffering members of the viewing public, is a most reprehensible practice. Following the glitzy presentation of an assured personal Valhalla, a series of rapid, virtually unintelligible, disclaimer statements, are routinely broadcast, in Gatling gun, rapid-fire fashion. The latter practice represents a ludicrous, inadequate and amateurish attempt at legal cover, for any injuries proximately caused by the advertiser’s false representations. Neither does the tactical and sophomoric solicitation, to “consult your doctor,” detract, one bit, from the potentially devastating impact of such tortious and anti-social behavior.

Where medication is factually indicated, its selection is properly within the jurisdiction and  knowledgeable responsibility, of a qualified, experienced physician; most importantly, one who is well acquainted with the individual patient, and his personal health history. The routine suggestion, presented in all media sales pitches, that the viewer-sufferer to ask his doctor about the advertised medicine, is merely a deceptive tactic, designed to falsely assure the purchaser of the purported validity of the advertised product. At its least venal, such suggestion may be interpreted to mean that the physician may not be “up to date,” as to the latest available medicine. In reality (as known by the entire “pharma” industry), doctors are regularly besieged with sales representatives, energetically lauding the virtues of their pharmaceutical company’s new products. In such instance, and by obvious contrast, the physician has the education and practice experience, to enable him to evaluate such purported virtues.

If more were needed, we would, additionally observe, tha the prescription of medicine for known patients requires consideration and judicious decision as to the vitally important subjects of, proper dosage, method of administration, allergies, possible side effects, plus any and all other applicable and singular facts concerning the treated patient.

In the interest of public safety and health, television commercials promoting the sale of medicine should be legally banned, by the F.D.A.

-p.

Post # 343   NATURE, NURTURE AND FILICIDE (pliny editorial)

It is disconcertingly difficult, and painful, to comprehend and actually accept, that a revenant of “Dark Ages” fear and ignorance, still persists in the minds of many people, regarding the salubrious and responsible societal practice, of vaccination of the young against the onset of serious and potentially lethal disease.

History demonstrates that prior to the development and practice of vaccination, childhood deaths were legion. Tolls for diphtheria, measles, mumps and other early-onset illnesses, were no less than astronomical.  Earlier periods in literature, routinely speak of families, who had lost multiple young children to diseases, especially, but not limited to, diphtheria and measles.

With great kudos to scientists and clinical physicians, childhood vaccines were developed, improved and thereafter, routinely and responsibly administered, resulting in an immense decline in the onset of childhood maladies, cases of childhood disability and death. These vaccines proved to be effective in averting the scourge of diphtheria, polio, whooping cough, tetanus, chickenpox, influenza, and other tragic and dangerous diseases. Today, schools and institutions wisely require, as protective policy, prior to enrollment, the child’s official health record, attesting to the responsible program of vaccination.

For modern informed families, it would be unheard-of, to fail to have their young children routinely vaccinated. In fact, such omission would be frowned upon by society, as irresponsible and hazardous to the child. We would, describe such behavior, deservedly as, child abuse and its consequent mortality as “filicide.” Such irresponsibility, threatens not only the child, but others, the most critical being young cancer patients, prohibited from vaccination, and those suffering from diseases characterized by immune deficiency. Every creditable hospital, clinic and licensed health practitioner, including, for example, the notable Mayo Clinic, has consistently and mandatorily promoted, regular programs of vaccination for the young.

The persistence of the “Dark Ages,” superstitious belief, that vaccination causes autism, was debunked years ago, such false supposition, having been officially withdrawn, long ago, by its former proponents. The denial of any child’s right to good health and an opportunity for a normal life, upon the ignorant repetition of this hobgoblin-type fear, is nothing short of classic child abuse.  The advent of tragedy is easily preventable, and the inherent, moral and legal responsibility of the parent. We see its omission as akin to irresponsibly, permitting a young child to play on a heavily trafficked boulevard.

There is yet, another despicable, pseudo-sanctimonious group of people, who defend their atavistic position against vaccination, upon purported religious grounds. Before reviewing this ludicrous defense, we would restate, the well- established, constitutional principal that no freedom (such as the freedom of religion) is without limit; and that the (constitutionally) legal limit of any and all of our freedoms is at the point, where it causes harm. The denial of a simple procedure, to ensure a child’s freedom from disease, is not a denial of religious liberty; there is no religious liberty to cripple your child, nor to perpetrate child abuse. There is no ascribed, benevolent Deity who would favor ill health and childhood disease; and no “religious” right to harm, only religious travesty.

Empirical experience has shown that the practice of simply waiting for natural cure, is extremely hazardous; mumps easily leads to deafness, polio to paralysis or death, measles to pneumonia.

We find it to be unspeakably unjust, that the health and life of children should be threatened by their own parent’s obstinate ignorance; accordingly; in a proper case, we feel, in the best interest of the young child, that society execute its moral authority, as well as its protective responsibilities, and enforce the health and safety of the child by legal process.

***************

ADDENDUM: We are vehemently opposed to recent suggestions that unvaccinated children be officially denied admission to parks and other places of public assembly; the implementation of the suggestion is impractical, logistically, but most significantly, such policies would improperly smack of Nazi mentality and apartheid type exclusion.

-p.

Post #342  WE’RE SO SORRY, ALBERT EINSTEIN!

Albert Einstein, indisputably, the greatest theoretical physicist and genius of our era, portrayed (to those capable of its comprehension), a novel definition of energy in a miraculously simple algebraic formula, and, in addition, announced a theory (“Relativity”), to the effect that space and time (the latter, our present subject) are integrated to a degree, previously unknown.

We, like many other somewhat, well educated, and somewhat sophisticated, mortals, based upon the acceptance and positive valuation of Einsteinian theory, by the World’s premier academics and physicists, are not scant in our obeisance to the great man; we accept the majesty of his reported contributions to human knowledge, but candidly speaking, we do so, as a matter of appropriate, secular faith in, and encouragement of human endeavor and advancement. We, unfortunately, cannot pretend to understand it, but do recognize and join in, the universal homage paid to him, by those who do.

We sincerely hope that we are not committing philosophical or scientific blasphemy, when we state that we would have enormously appreciated it, if the great and celebrated genius, would have defined for us, just exactly what “time,” itself (as a conceit) is; or whether our nonscientific, mundane use of the word is merely an attempt to fill a needed, and meaningless, void in our language. If he had chosen to tell us what the concept, “time” (which he integrated with space) signifies, such limited, but much needed, enlightenment would be shared by all, and much appreciated.

In all of our readings, we have never come across an explanation of the word, “time”, nor any description of its properties; which appears to us, strange, because of its frequent use in literature and in conversation. We know, or can discover, the properties or essence of most planetary phenomena, such as, wind, sunshine, soil, river, daffodil, moonlight, carbon (unfortunately), flora and fauna; but what can the essential characteristic, or the physical properties of “time” be? Is it possible, that it only has existence as a needed word (a filler) for an elusive concept that we can utter but not describe?

Many people use “time” only with reference to a “timepiece”, viz., the numbered revolutions of he hands on a wristwatch or clock. But what if there were no timepieces, no clocks or watches, would there still be a shared understanding, or any understanding, of what we choose to call “time.” A butterfly lives out its short span of life, homo sapiens lives longer, the germination of the tulip bulb will occur, at its own nuanced pace, provided there is sufficient water and sunlight, the four seasons arrive and depart when they do. What is it that orchestrates the natural order of nature? Will you answer, “time” simply because you are stuck for another available word, or some explanatory conceit?

We are very humbly obliged, absent any available and useful enlightenment on the subject, to admit, in unscientific fashion, our conjecture, that (1) either the word, ”time” exists, simply out of necessity, for the lack of a more useful descriptive noun, (2) that the word “ time” is, in essence, merely an awkward description for the natural, or expected order of things, or (3) that it has no intrinsic substance and is used simply out of practical necessity.

Albert, you could have helped us!

-p.