Thursday, June 29, 2006

Time and Ice Cream

Time and Ice Cream

Memories from My Ice Cream Parlor

By Richard E. Noble

What is time?
A second, a minute, an hour, a day, a month, a year? Is this time?
No. These are all manmade measurements of the phenomena we call time. Time is that unexplainable lapse that occurs between two events. The pause that we experience between seeing a bolt of lightening in the sky and the thunder we hear later.
We measure time by an ancient method that all started by the notion of light and dark and day and night. The Indians had Moons; “It will be four moons before we meet again.”
A day depends upon the rotation of the earth on it axis, and a year is recorded as one complete flight of the planet earth around the sun. Is it the Earth rotating on it axis and its habit of traveling about the sun, that makes us grow older? If we could stop the earth in its tracks, and yet keep the Universe and the planet and our lives functioning, would the stopping of the movement of the planet stop our growth? Would we stop aging?
If we could counter the rotation of the earth and the speed of its orbit around the sun in some sort of simulator, could we then counter the process of aging? If not, what is aging?
If aging really has nothing to do with the motion of the planets or the stars, then what is it? Is it a metabolic thing? Is it a gravitational thing? Is it internal? Is it individual? Can it be controlled? Is it a dietary thing?
Is NOT growing old a possibility?
Can science one day discover what it is that deteriorates our organs and causes us to grow old? Could it one day be possible that Man would live a thousand of our years by taking some kind of pill or injecting some stimulant into a gland that would slow down the aging process and that a man of two hundred would only have the bodily wear and tare of a man of twenty?
If this science did become available would we all benefit from it, or only those who could afford it?
Is this science already available?
And keeping all of this in mind, could you tell me, did you ask for chocolate, or vanilla? And was that one scoop or two? You said a waffle cone didn’t you? Was that a twenty, or a ten?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn

“A People’s History of the United States”

By Richard E. Noble

What is “A People’s History” you might be asking yourself. Mr. Zinn explains it as a history written from the point of view and in sympathy with the minorities involved as opposed to the traditional elitist style histories. Most histories are written from the established order downward. A People’s History is written more from the masses upwards. It certainly provides a different perspective. For example we see Christopher Columbus arriving in 1492 from the eyes of the Indian tribes waiting along the shoreline rather than from onboard Chris’s ship. I must say I knew that Christopher Columbus wasn’t all that he had been cracked up to be over the centuries - but I never saw him portrayed quite so horrendous. I felt much the same when reading about Ferdinand Magellan in William Manchester’s “A World Lit only by Fire”.
Mr. Zinn is what most analyst would call a “radical”. He does not provide the established approved interpretation of historical events. One might be inclined to call this book a “negative” history of the USA. I’m sure that some would find it very depressing.
I have done considerable radical reading, so I was not shocked by Mr. Zinn approach to history.
I have been reading now, for several years, Mr. Page Smith’s a “Peoples History of America”. It contains eight or nine volumes, each volume being approximately the size of Mr. Zinn’s work. Most of what Mr. Zinn had to say I had already been exposed to in one of Mr. Smith’s volumes or elsewhere and in greater detail. But yet I have no doubt that most Americans would be quite shocked at much of what Mr. Zinn has to say in His People’s History.
Mr. Zinn’s book, though it is over 700 pages is a good brief synopsis of American history - comparable, say to Bertrand Russell’s single volume of “A History of Western Philosophy”.
It is claimed that Mr. Zinn’s book has now sold over one million copies. I am surprised, but I consider that fact a very good sign. Anyone interested in American history should read Mr. Zinn’s book - or one like it.
After finishing Mr. Howard Zinn’s a People’s History of the United States, I wanted more background on the author himself
Howard Zinn is an historian and college professor. He is also a social activist. Being a social activist is a nice way of saying that he probably gets washed down with a fire hose quite often; is more than likely familiar with the effects of tear gas; and has spent several nights or weekends in various jail cells about the United States.
He served in the military in World War II and participated in the act of dropping bombs on people and things. The experience left him with a very sensitive conscience, and not much in favor of the concept of war. I have never understood why more veterans don’t feel similarly.
Believe it or not, dropping bombs on civilian populations was once considered morally and ethically inhumane. Since World War II the argument rarely surfaces anymore.
I would say that he is a very outspoken individual. And when one is saying the types of things that he is saying, this takes a great deal of courage. Most people do not want to hear the negative tales of their nation’s history or read about the history of their country from a critical perspective. Most people will admit that their country has made mistakes but they would like to think that nevertheless their leaders and their ancestors did the best that they could under the circumstances. Nobody really wants to hear that their country not only made mistakes but that maybe many of the mistakes weren’t mistakes at all - but were contrived and done with positive intent; nor do they want to hear that many of their ancestors weren’t really all that great - in some cases maybe even criminal.
There is no doubt in my mind that reading Mr. Zinn’s book will make any reader think about things. The reader may rethink many of his positions, or he may think that books like this should not be allowed to be published - but one way or another he will think.
Mr. Zinn would be considered Left in our current political spectrum - but from where we are today everything is Left. I think that we are about as far Right as this country has ever been at any time in its history – maybe the Wilson Administration could compare. But, nevertheless, Mr. Zinn I am sure would be considered very Left.
For my part, I find Left and Right very confusing. Neither Left nor Right is what they used to be. I like Mr. Winston Churchill’s remark on this issue; A conservative is a person who today adamantly defends the liberal policies of the past (paraphrase). We don’t live in a Conservative world - if we did we would all be wearing powdered wigs and practicing feudalism.
I enjoyed reading Mr. Zinn’s History even though I felt that he injected considerably more personal opinions and views than I have found in most history books. I am not saying that he tried to pass off his personal opinions as history - he didn’t. But he does
become much more familiar and personal than most historians whom I have read. I found myself on a few occasions questioning some of the author’s positions and interpretations but I must admit that I really don’t have enough information to actually deny any of the author’s viewpoints. And the more I investigate our “true” history, I’m afraid Mr. Zinn’s point of view will appear more and more accurate.
In a way his personal touch is refreshing. It certainly makes reading a history book more entertaining and enjoyable. When you are finished reading Mr. Zinn, you feel you know the man - heart and soul. What you read is what you get - he is certainly not holding anything back.
I intend to read more by Mr. Zinn - but not right away. I’ve got to let this book sit in my mind for awhile; or maybe in my gut, where it can be digested more thoroughly.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Molly Maguires

The Molly Maguires 1875-1876

By Richard E. Noble

In 1873 there was another financial crisis. Ninety thousand laborers, in New York City alone, lost their homes. The crisis stretched through the year 1877. The union movement was once again staggered. Craft unions alone were reduced from forty-one to eight. Overall union membership went from 300,000 in 1873 to 50,000 in 1878. Union disintegration seemed to go hand in hand with panics, financial crisis and depressions. If you didn’t have a job, you didn’t need a union.
From January of 1875 to June of 1875 in the Pennsylvania anthracite coal regions the “Long Strike” erupted. Franklin B. Gowen, president of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad announced a 20% cut in wages to the workers. The strike culminated in or was followed by a series of violent activities. There was an outbreak of murders, robberies, assaults and arsons in the area. A group called the Molly Maguires was singled out as the culprits. Late in 1875 twenty-four miners and laborers were arrested. They were all members of the United Mine Workers Benevolent Society and supposedly members of a secret organization known as the Molly Maguires.
The Molly Maguires originated in Ireland, it was claimed, and had over six thousand lodges around the U.S. The Molly Maguires was a secret inner ring of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians. The Molly Maguires was to Ireland as the Mafia was to Italy. The only problem was that no one could ever find any of these other 6,000 lodges. Nor could they find any other members, other than those accused of membership in the Pennsylvania or Philadelphia area. It also seemed very suspicious that the only victims of the Molly Maguires were union leaders, officials, organizers or members of the union. Interestingly enough it also happens that there was no violence in the area until the Pinkerton organization was hired by management. It was claimed that the inner turmoil and basic violent nature of unions, in general, was responsible for this strange circumstance of self abuse. The “animals” within the unions were killing one another in their battles for personal power and wealth. Of course, the wealthy business and railroad millionaires would never engage in such power battles, murder or violence.
A man by the name of James McPartland had infiltrated the Ancient Order of the Hibernians under the alias of James McKenna. McPartland was the manager of the Denver area Pinkerton office. McParland testified that he had been present
at meetings of the Irish terrorist and anarchist Molly Maguires when they planned their various murders and killings. When asked why he didn’t stop any of the killings or even notify the proper authorities, he had no answer. It also seemed interesting that all of those who testified against the alleged Molly Maguires were Pinkerton agents, ex-cons, or known criminals hired by the Pinkerton agency. Nevertheless, all twenty-four of the union members arrested were convicted, and ten were actually executed.
Mister McPartland has even greater accomplishments in the years to come. We will see him in the future with Harry Orchard and the killing of the ex-governor of Idaho, Frank Steunenberg. Only, in this case, his antics are discovered and he is not successful in getting the state to murder any new victims. He was also involved in the Cripple Creek and Coeur d’Alene uprisings.
In any case, after this horrible incident with the “terrible” Molly Maguires, the Molly Maguires never appeared again. Nevertheless, they became a permanent part of the anti-union folklore. Their name was brought up over and over whenever an example of union violence and senseless killing seemed advantageous. If it is true that the Molly Maguires were, in fact, a fictitious group, manufactured by management for the purposes of discrediting the union movement, and murdering, beating and assaulting its leadership, it turned out to be a very innovative and successful strategy. Fear, terror and suspicion of unions was implanted in the hearts of the general public in that particular area and over the United States for a long time to come.*

*Books used in this essay, include: “The Rise of Industrial America”, Page Smith; “Labor Problems in American Industry”, Carroll R. Dougherty; “A History ofAmerican Labor”, Joseph G. Rayback: “Roughneck”, The Life and Times of Big Bill Haywood, Peter Carlson.

Saturday, June 24, 2006



By Richard E. Noble

“Jerry ... ah ... I don’t say things like this too often ...
... Hey Ernie?! Another round over here ... Now, where was I?”

“You don’t say things like this too often ...”

“Oh yeah … well I’m not the kind of guy who forgets things.
I appreciate you, my friend.
Put ‘er there. I mean it, Buddy.
I wanna shake your hand.
A guy don’t have too many real friends in this life,
and you are one, pal. I mean it...
Hey, talk about real friends!
Look across the bar over there.
You see that guy all dressed up in that fancy suit.
That man and I have really been through some times together.
I mean, I grew up with that guy.
We lived on the same street.
I’ve known that guy since we were this high.
I mean, I knew him when he didn’t have a nickel.
And look at him now! Dressed to kill.
He must of hit the jack pot.
And I’ll bet he don’t even recognize me.
I mean, I haven’t seen him since we got out of the Service together.
HEY, you old rascal! Where the hell you been?
Look at you! You look like a million bucks.”

“Hey, don’t I wish. Don’t let these duds fool you.
I’m about as flat as a pancake.
Lost every damn cent I ever had.
I’m wearin’ this suit because it’s all I got left.
I mean things have gone really sour for me, Bob.
I’ll tell you how bad it really is.
I don’t even have enough money to buy another drink.
You wouldn’t buy an old fightin’ buddy a drink, would ya Bob?
I’d really appreciate it.
You just don’t know how thirsty a guy can get, old friend.
It’s like a desert out here.”

“Ah, gee Georgie, I really wish I could, but I’m flat broke ...
[Bob leaned forward, and with his elbows,
covered the bills and change lying in front of him on the bar.]

“Oh come on, Bob ... for old time sake?
We were two of a kind, we two.
Just one for old time sake?
And I swear to god, I won’t bother you again.”

“I really wish I could, Pal, but I’m out ... flat out, Buddy.
[Bob’s well dressed friend across the bar,
raises from his stool, shakes his head in anguish at the floor,
then heads for the barroom door.]

“I thought he was you’re old time friend?
Your bosom Buddy?
Your best pal? You went through thick and thin together?
Old Army Buddies ... Lived on the same street? ...
Never forget the time you and he did so and so??”

“That’s true.”

“And you wouldn’t even buy the poor slob a drink?”

“Hey, he’ll find another sucker ... besides,
once a drunk, always a drunk ...
you know what I mean?

Friday, June 23, 2006


A Christmas Carol

By Richard E. Noble

Carol is a pleasant rhyme,
enjoying, laughing, Christmas time,
snow filled streets and trees alike,
bows and tinsel, a shinny red bike.

Those crisp, clean, nights
the stars, what a sight,
sleigh bells ringing, a child’s delight,
it brings one’s heart to a new found height.

Carol is a pleasant rhyme,
enjoying, laughing, Christmas time,
the smell of outdoors, a pine tree bristles,
puppy dogs, bright red berries, boughs and thistles.

Hands in mittens, a pretty white kitten,
Cupid abounds with hearts all smitten,
a poppin’ fire, a reindeer for hire,
a mysterious box full of switches and brier.

Carol is a pleasant rhyme,
singing, laughing, Christmas time,
boys in love, and girls all aglow,
silent whispers and stolen kisses beneath a mistletoe.

Bonnets and babies, sweet memories so old,
hopes for the future and good things to hold,
keepsakes, and sonnets, a locket of gold,
those times of youth, so daring and bold.

Carol is a pleasant rhyme,
enjoying laughing Christmas time,
cherries and chocolate and ice cream balls,
dancing and singing and decking the halls.

Carol is a pleasant rhyme.
Carol is for Christmas time.
Carol is all things in time.
Carol is a love of mine.

Mein Kampf

Mein Kampf

Chapter 4

By Richard E. Noble

Chapter six of Mein Kampf is entitled, War Propaganda. This is classic Adolf .This chapter is only ten to fifteen pages. This is a chapter that is very interesting.
I think, like everything else in this book, some of what Adolf says is true, some of it can not be substantiated.
Adolf became successful at his chosen career partially because of his intelligence and cleverness, and like every other successful person, mostly because of the circumstances existing about him. But as with many successful people, they rarely give credit to the circumstances about them and almost without question write a book about how their attitudes, outlook and insights had made them what they are today. Adolf is certainly no different in this regard. In this chapter he gives us his insights into advertising, and the marketing of an idea.
“… At the time of my attentive following of all political events, the activities of propaganda had always been of extremely great interest to me. In it I saw an instrument which just the Socialist-Marxist organizations mastered and knew how to apply with expert skill. I learned very soon that the right use of propaganda represents an art which was and remained almost entirely unknown to the bourgeois parties. Only the Christian Socialist movement, especially during Lueger’s time, acquired a certain virtuosity with this instrument and it owed much of its success to it ... Unfortunately everything has to be studied on the other side; for the activity on our side was more than modest in this respect...”
The first thing that strikes me here, is that Adolf considers ‘propaganda’ an art form. I think that the artistically inclined look at almost everything in life as an art form, or at least containing art overtones. I consider myself as artistically inclined, or one who at least appreciates the form, movement and rhythm of things. I have always seen art in just about everything. I remember working as a butcher and making the observation that there were those of my co-workers who exhibited such a smooth flow and rhythm to their movements that it seemed to me like poetry. People who aren’t artistically inclined, I imagine would think this ludicrous, but yet those that have the art spirit would probably know exactly what I mean.
I can still see some of the butchers and the way that they moved their bodies about the piece of meat; the way that they held their knives, and moved them in an action of rhythm and style. It almost looked like a dance that was being performed by an artist! A cruel brutal dance, maybe to some, a dance of hatred and war, but nevertheless a folk type dance - the more skillful the butcher the greater his style. The more flow to his movements.
The left handed butchers painted a completely different picture.They all presented a blurred picture of athletic motion and style. I looked at this quality as the artist’s ability to extract ‘beauty’ from even the ugly and cruel. Beauty has no political perspective. It exists everywhere; in a flame, in the ripping and tearing of a butchers knife, in soldiers falling to the fire of a machine gun on a battlefield, in clouds floating across the sky. Beauty has no morality. It is just there. You see it or you don’t.
Myself, as a percussionist, and observing other drummers play the instrument, I am not as fascinated by the ‘licks’ or number of hits they make at the surface of the drums as I am by the rhythm and smooth flow of their drumming style. The way they move. Many drummers have a great technique, but the great ones that I have observed have an art about them. They flow and move in a consistent predictable motion. The movement of their bodies flows with the rhythm of the song that they are playing. It is clear that they have a feel for the music.
It is also clear that Adolf had a feel for the movement of the bodies about him. He was a painter at heart. He saw the beauty of things. He eventually saw beauty in the ugly, and the cruel, and even the horrid - an artistically inclined individual feeling and clawing his way through the dark sides of life.
I don’t know who this Lueger is. My guess is that he is a pre-war anti-Jew propagandist, or something of that like.
Adolf obviously felt that the enemy had a better grasp on this medium of ‘propaganda’ than his side in the dispute. But this seems to be typical of Adolf. He is obviously more of a counter puncher. As they say today, he is a ‘spin’ master. He learns from his enemies and turns their own arguments against them.
He took the Marxist argument against the rich industrialists, and turned it against the Jews. He took the evolutionary notion of democracy, and countered it with the natural evolution of the historically great leader. He took the Christian appeal of ‘love thy neighbor’ and countered it with God’s brutal but practical process of natural selection. God eventually kills everyone and every living thing therefore killing is a positive emulation of the Divine.
Adolf was obviously a good debater. He could take his opponents very words and turn them against them. He took every contemporary argument and turned it upside down, or, as they say today, put his own ‘spin’ on it. But, this is nothing new. Politicians re-write history on a daily basis. But don’t we all? Aren’t I making just such an attempt right now? Am I seeking the truth, or ‘spinning’ the writings of Adolf to my liking or dislike? I feel that I am being honest and objective, but how much of my honesty is being driven from my personal prejudices, lack of information, and personal disposition? I do my best, but in the final analysis you will have to be the judge.
Part of this skill in writing that I have been pursuing for most of my life is truly the art of propaganda. A writer writes to influence the reader, to sway his opinions, to move him emotionally. Any writer who does not have this ability, won’t be read - at least not widely read.
“... I learned infinitely more from the enemy’s war propaganda ... Was there any propaganda at all on our side? To my regret, I can only answer no...”
I constantly hear people say, or credit Adolf with the statement that if you take a lie repeat it often enough and loud enough it will be believed. I haven’t found this statement yet in this book, but I am sure that if he did say it, he stated it in reference to Marxism and not as a technique of his own philosophy. I have no doubt that Adolf was an honest sincere individual. I think that he believed every word that he spoke. If he lied knowingly, I am sure that he would defend any lie by stating that the end justifies the means. He believed that his end was to make his nation and his race rule the world, and any method was justified in achieving this end.
They also accuse Adolf of being a manipulator, and of course he was, but certainly no more than Winston Churchill or Franklin Deleno Roosevelt or Joseph Stalin.
Adolf was successful because he preached a doctrine that appealed to many in his world of that day, and many of the richest and most powerful in that world. His doctrine was that of the successful, of the powerful, of the egotist, of the individual, of the capitalist. This is still the prevailing philosophy in America today. It is taught in colleges and universities through the writings of Ayn Rand, and Brandon, and others. It prevails as the primary notion and platform of our current day Republican philosophy.
He was the antithesis of the Marxist doctrine that preached the eventual overthrow of the individual by the masses, or the proletariat. Marx followed the historical rise of the slave, through the feudal serf to the ranks of the ‘wage slave’, and present salaried employee. He preached and defended his notions with what appeared to him as the inevitable trend of human history. Rule of the masses, by the masses, and for the masses ... the natural evolution of a humanitarian democratic socialist state - Socialist being interpreted as a government that acted democratically on behalf of the majority, and not in the favor of the individual or a minority of rich and powerful.
Marx’s writings had set the world on fire. I don’t know Karl Marx very well, and I have only perused his writings, but his idea precipitated a violent uproar among the poor and hard working throughout the world. Adolf mentions sixty years of fighting and debate prior to World War One in his own country. Marxist communism is without any doubt in my mind the ‘story’ of the last hundred years. To my way of thinking as Marxism is the key to the last hundred years, so is ‘the Jew’ the story of the history of the western world.
William Manchester makes a point of the post World War One pacifist, and the philosophy of the pacifist as giving rise to Adolf’s power. I don’t know if I can buy this point of view. I have also read that John F. Kennedy made some sort of a similar claim in his college thesis on the subject entitled “While Briton Slept” or something of the like. It might better have been entitled “While the World Slept” but that aside, I have my doubts that anyone was sleeping. I am more inclined to believe that the world was far from sleeping. All the knowledgeable and powerful were actively participating. I feel that though there certainly may well have been a sincere pacifist movement, as there always is and hopefully always will be there was much, much more of a pro-Nazi movement.
I will guess and intend to investigate the notion that of those who claimed to be pacifists, the powerful majority were much more pro-Adolf and his philosophy, than they were terribly distraught over the perils of war.
Why would anyone in their right mind be pro-Nazi? Because, to be pro-Nazi was to be anti-Marxist. You must remember Marx’s philosophy made the rich and powerful, the conspiring enemy of the people. It was the Rich and Powerful that promoted war. They did this for profit. It was the Rich and Powerful (the Capitalist), who enslaved the poor and hard working. It was the Rich and Powerful who indulged their own, and let the less substantial linger and die in their slave pits that they called factories.
Marx had promulgated ‘the Conspiracy of the Capitalist’ - an international group who had no national character and ruled the world by their cooperative cunning and like-mindedness. Adolf took Marx’s theory almost word for word and turned it back onto them. He simply replaced the internationally minded exploiting ‘Capitalist’, or rich industrialist and turned him into the no-country, parasitic, international, bank controlling, stock market manipulating, immoral interest bearing JEW!
Where did he get this idea? He didn’t think it up, it was already centuries old. The Jew had had this reputation long before Adolf came along.
Again, we know Henry Ford was very active in this area. But it seems that this notion was being written about all over the Western world. Adolf had been getting this information in the streets as a homeless teenager. Again we are brought back not to Adolf but to the history and legacy of the ‘International Jewish Conspiracy’. I think, by the way, that this is the title of Henry Ford’s book. A book that he self-published and disseminated about the world.
So here we have Adolf once again simply tapping into a prevailing philosophy and ‘spinning’ it to his own advantage. He was, as they say, a natural politician.
For my personal reading, I want to know more about this international Jewish conspiracy idea, about Henry Ford, about the Jew in general, about the Nazi movement and its popularity throughout the twenties and thirties worldwide, about Karl Marx and his influences, along with the causes and influences of the outbreak of World War One.
As for the part of his country in World War One, Adolf is clear.
“…The aim for which the war was fought was the most sublime and the most overpowering which man is able to imagine: it was the freedom and independence of our nation, the assurance of subsistence for the future, and - the honor of the nation ... It was for the struggle of its human existence that the German people fought...”
Adolf is convinced in his country’s righteousness in World War One. So, from the point of view of any soldier who is convinced that his cause is or was righteous, all reports negative to his point of view are not ‘truth’ but clever manipulations of a conniving enemy. And for Adolf the ‘enemy’ was not only the Allies, but the internal traitors, Marxist and others, who agreed with the Allies, and thus undermined Germany’s war efforts, even if this group were his own countrymen.
For my personal reading and research, I must find out more about the causes of World War One, and if anyone in particular was to blame. I know that Winston Churchill accuses the Germans of posturing and pushing for a fight. But by the same token Winston obviously doesn’t see his nation’s dominance of the seas, it colonization of less powerful nations, and its fear of any threat to its economic and military supremacy in European affairs, as a sign of belligerency on the part of his nation, or any threat to the autonomy or independence of other nations. But it is clear from history that many other nations of the world considered the British a threat; China, and India to name just two.
But Adolf’s conclusion is that news or ‘propaganda’ is a tool and its main concern is not with truth or righteousness but its ability to sway the masses to a point of view. I think, and it appears to be true, that every soldier who has ever, for whatever reasons, committed himself to a fight feels this exact same way. The press is not reporting but propagandizing, and all those who disagree with his fight are cowards and traitors, and it matters little to them that these opponents are also willing to die for their point of view.
“…To whom has propaganda to appeal? It has to appeal forever and for only to the masses! Propaganda is not for the intelligentsia...”
It is interesting, Adolf obviously does not consider himself one of the ‘masses’, and clearly not of the ‘intelligentsia’, but whatever he is, he exists apart and above both of these groups.
“…But propaganda is in its contents as far from being science as perhaps a poster is art in its presentation as such. A poster’s art lies in its designer’s ability to catch the masses’ attention by outline and color. The poster for an art exhibition has to point only to the art of the exhibition; the more it succeeds in this, the greater therefore is the art of the poster itself ... He who wants to occupy himself with art itself has really to study more than the poster ... The task of propaganda lies not in a scientific training of the individual, but rather in directing the masses towards certain facts, events, necessities, etc., the purpose being to move their importance into the masses’ field of vision. But as it is not and can not be science in itself, as its task consists of catching the Masses’ attention, just like that of the poster, and not in teaching one who is already scientifically experienced or is striving towards education and knowledge, its effect has always to be directed more and more towards the feeling, and only to a certain extent to the so called reason ... All propaganda has to be popular and has to adapt its spiritual level to the perception of the least intelligent of those towards whom it intends to direct itself. Therefore its spiritual level has to be screwed the lower, the greater the mass of people which one wants to attract...”
Well, we have no doubt that this philosophy worked for Adolf, but, of course, it is a statement of an elitist, and not that of a populist. It is the philosophy of one who intends to manipulate people, or try to manipulate people. The idea of appealing to the lowest level of intelligence we still hear today with regards to advertising, TV, movies etc. This philosophy has never appealed to me. I consider myself to be one of the ‘masses’, and I resent being tricked, duped, and manipulated. I believe that the ‘masses’ are also made up of individuals, some more intelligent than others, but all intelligent in their own way. I realize that the masses can be duped, tricked and manipulated by lies and misrepresentation, but I also believe that if given all of the facts, and both points of view on a subject, equally defended with intelligence and reason, the masses will invariably pick the right alternative. The problem is that the masses do not get the whole story, or that the truth of the matter, or the opposing point of view is not simply denied but suppressed. Again, we never want to suppress or deny the free exchange of ideas in an open society. This is always one of the first steps to the loss of liberty. But, it is certainly clear that political parties today emphasize Adolf’s propaganda principles: appeal to the lowest intellectual level; make it simple, stupid; repeat it loud and often.
As far as Adolf’s technique for manipulating the masses, I really do not think that there is any conspiracy, or mystery here. Even in our simplest of human relationships we all use these techniques.
If we want to attract someone to us, the first thing that we do is to present ourselves in a noticeable way. We fix ourselves up to look pretty or handsome ... attractive, and then we try to get noticed. This is an attempt to appeal to our subject emotionally. We may continue to make further emotional appeal by fluttering our eyelashes, or flexing our muscles, or something of this nature. Once we have established contact in this manner, we proceed to establish a more lasting bond. We speak, and try to convince the interested party that we are not only ‘attractive’ but stimulating and engaging in other ways. After we have been successful in this, we go on in an attempt to intensify this relationship, and further convince the individual to whom we are attracted that we are not only interesting and attractive, but worthy of being loved by he or she.
This is not a dirty, underhanded conspiracy. These things only become dirty and underhanded if they are being mimicked for purposes other than to win the other person’s love and affection - sincerely.
As a writer I think I try to use all of these techniques. I write poetry. For the most part the poems are short and to the point, and appeal directly to the emotions. I hope that the simple, understandable notion in the poem attracts you to more of my writing, possibly my short stories and humor or satire, or essays. These I hope will then lure you into my more serious writing. Eventually I am attempting to build a bond. A bond that will attract you to all that I have to say, and will give you the confidence that I am a sincere individual deserving of your support and affection.
This is not a trick. This is an understanding of basic human nature. But to Adolf everything and everyone is involved in a conspiracy. They are not people who are in honest opposition to what he believes. They are a group involved in a deceptive conspiracy. I think that this feeling is also common to the human experience. I have a very strong inclination to lump people into conspiracies myself. I try to guard against this, but I constantly fall into this trap of thinking, and especially when I am angry. I have to keep reminding myself that people can have a point of view contrary to mine and not be totally insane, stupid, and involved in a conspiracy to take over the world. It is obvious from the fact of war that people are capable of holding confirmed but yet contrary beliefs.
“…The great masses’ receptive ability is only very limited, their understanding is small, but their forgetfulness is great...”
This is certainly another common fact of life, and if it weren’t so, I doubt that many of us would be able to bear life at all. We have to be able not only to forget, but to forgive or none of our relationships will survive.
“. ..As a consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda has to limit itself only to a very few points and to use them like slogans until even the very last man is able to imagine what is intended by such a word. As soon as one sacrifices this basic principle and tries to become versatile, the effect will fritter away, as the masses are neither able to digest the material offered nor to retain it. Thus the result is weakened and finally eliminated...”
This is more elitism. I believe in making your point, and repeating your point, but his constant referrals to the masses as stupid, and incapable seems rather overbearing to me. I am amazed that this man could be so insulting to the masses and still maintain such a strong public support. Obviously, everybody didn’t read this book. But his simple slogans certainly mimic our present day one minute sound bites.
But is any of this new political thinking? Maybe it was to Adolf but certainly was not to the political world of the American, or the British. These are common techniques of persuasion necessary in any democratic society. New deceptive ground in a Totalitarian German world? I think not.
“… It was completely wrong to ridicule the adversary as was done in Austrian and German propaganda in comic papers. It was basically wrong for the reason that when a man met the adversary in reality he was bound to receive an entirely different impression
the German soldier ... felt himself deceived by those who so far were responsible for his enlightenment, and instead of strengthening his fighting spirit or even his firmness, quite the contrary occurred. The man despaired.
Compared with this the war propaganda of the British and the Americans was psychologically right. By introducing the German as a barbarian and a Hun to his own people, it thus prepared the individual soldier for the terrors of war and helped guard him against disappointment ... Thus the English soldier could not even for a moment have the impression that his country had taught him the wrong facts, something which was unfortunately the case to such an extent with the German soldier that he finally rejected everything that came from his side as ‘swindle and ‘bunk’ …”
This seems to be a good point, and this tale always seems to appeal to defeated soldiers of any modern war, but the facts from what I can see and have read are to the contrary.
In 1917 the Russian Czarist propaganda had failed totally. So much so that the entire army dropped their guns at the front and returned home to start a revolution against their own government. The French were almost in the same condition. There was desertion and severe rebellion in the rank and file. The British were having riots in the streets. The war had lingered on and was more brutal and devastating than any of the nations involved had ever thought that it could be. Every type of horrible weapon had been used. Stupid and adamant Generals on all sides had sent their soldiers to their deaths in wave after wave of senseless confrontation. The people at home in all of the nations were fed up with the whole ordeal.
Finally Wilson came to the rescue, but not without riots and severe resistance on his home front. As far as I know more Americans refused to go to World War One than any other war in American history. Our prisons were filled with war resisters of one type or another. Thousands more opted for alternative service, but refused direct combat. Adolf is looking here for an excuse for his people. He was a fighting soldier - fighting on the front for his life. It was difficult for him to believe that his countrymen back home were giving up on him. But the fact of the matter seems to be that all of the countries back home were giving up on the senseless slaughter of the war.
America came in, and turned the tide of war in the favor of the British and the French, but again I have to ask myself what stirred Wilson to action? The real battle on every home front and the philosophical battle that had been raging for years in all of the countries of Europe and in the United States was the battle between labor and the rich industrialists.
In the United States federal troops were being used and had been used on several occasions to put down union movements and rioters in the mines in the west, and in the factories both north and south. The battle of the workingman was underway all over the world. When the Russians turned and actually walked off the battlefields, and capitulated with the Germans to end their part in the war, you can bet that Wilson and all of the rich and wealthy in the world shivered in their boots.
Rich Russians were undoubtedly being slaughtered, their homes ransacked, and their possessions pilfered by the poor and disorderly; by the peasants; by the proletariat. The class war had overpowered the cash war, and things were looking bad for the prosperous and better off. If Wilson hadn’t entered the war at that point, all of Europe might have fallen to the followers of the workingman’s rebellion ... the Marxist.
Wilson came to the aide of the rich and famous and saved Europe from the largest peasant’s revolt in history.
But as far as I can see propaganda was coming out strong on every side. Truthfully, I think that the strongest advantage of the ‘established’ in this World War struggle was the basic instinct towards loyalty.
Once war is declared in any nation, the truth is stifled, the debate grows dim, and anyone who criticizes the present government becomes an instant traitor, and no one protests this treatment, especially if they have a son at the front, or one who has just received his draft notice. Wilson entered the war, imprisoned the ‘conspirator’ at home and saved his class from a purge that, if we can use Russia as a guide, would have become very, very bitter, and most likely would have toppled the Union, or the established government of the United States.
As for the notion that the Western propaganda made the German’s into barbarians and the German propaganda made the Tommies into harmless clowns and cowards, I think that is another of Adolf s imaginings. The Germans as barbaric and warlike WAS the German image to the world around them. No one had to make up the notion of a German Barbarian. The British being prone to absurdity and elitist verbosity, and more talk than action WAS the image of the British. The ‘Propaganda’ wasn’t a trick on either side. It was stereotypical but not necessarily deceptive. And probably the only one misled by it was Adolf himself - he being, most likely, brash and over confident. But all of Europe’s young World War One warriors all seemed to be of the same brash, over confident nature and opinion. The war was going to end in weeks they all thought, and each side thought that it would be victorious.
“...It was fundamentally wrong to discuss the war guilt from the point of view that not Germany alone could be made responsible for the outbreak of this catastrophe, but it would have been far better to burden the enemy entirely with this guilt, even if
this had not been in accordance with the real facts, as was indeed the case ... As soon as by one’s own propaganda even a glimpse of right on the other side is admitted, the cause for doubting one’s own right is laid ... the mania of objectivity ... for now they will take pains not to do an injustice to the enemy, even at the risk of the severest strain on, or destruction of, his own nation and state...”
Adolf again shows that he is a loyalist, and a true believer in the philosophy - my country right or wrong. - Adolf is never concerned about the truth of any situation. The truth or righteousness of his cause is never the issue. Being on the side of one’s country or ‘State’ is always righteous. Once in battle truth is not to be considered. Truth is the first victim in any conflict. His is straight military thinking. But in the long run, or even the short run, I think that History has proved Adolf’s theory wrong. The truth and the opposition to whatever cause, will not be stifled. Stopping its publication will only force it underground, or to be spread by word of mouth, or revolution. Arguments and philosophic theories can only be countered by more substantial theories or their disproof by rational and reasonable means. Violence leads to more violence but invariably leaves the roots of the violence untouched. Adolf did say earlier that an idea could only be stopped by a better idea, but again, he is never concerned by the ‘truth’ of any idea. Of course, he said that not only a better idea would be necessary but it must also be promoted with the sword and indisputable conquering. Again, I think History has proved this theory wrong.
“…persistency, as in so many other things in this world, is the first and the most important condition for success...”
Well, I don’t think that anyone can fault that statement.
“…The purpose of propaganda is not continually to produce interesting changes for a few blasé’ little masters, but to convince, that means to convince the masses. The masses however, with their inertia, always need a certain time before they are ready even to notice a thing, and they will lend their memories only to the thousand-fold repetition of the most simple ideas...”
Repetition is a principle of learning. This notion is nothing new. Slogans are nothing new, and certainly weren’t thought up by Adolf. Drawing attention to your cause, product, or self, are well known techniques in establishing and idea or cause, and even personal success. All of this is like saying what makes a great painting is color, style and flare. Adolf isn’t telling us here anything that everybody doesn’t already know. And I don’t think that anything that he has said so far would give a guide to anyone else’s success. These are all fundamental notions.
Adolf was somehow able to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor that had been exaggerated by the Marxists. I can see how what he has said so far brought the rich and powerful to his side, but I am yet to understand his hold on the poor. His words and philosophy were certainly directed to gain the support of the moneyed classes. Maybe his signs, posters and spoken words were more for the common man. I have never heard or read any of his speeches to the public, nor have I seen any of his posters. Maybe this should be next on my list of investigations. Even though Mein Kampf sold in Germany by the millions, maybe its message only reached the better off. He then was able to garner the support of the better off, possibly, by showing his ability to manipulate the masses of unread and uninformed. I really cannot understand constant reference to the basically ‘stupid’ masses as being of any appeal to the ‘stupid’ masses in general. Unless, of course, there was no one in Germany at the time who considered himself or herself to be a member of the stupid masses.
In America today, if you talk about the ‘lower class’, I wonder how many will admit to being a part of that class? Unless it is defined for them by income, my guess is that we have no lower class in America. Or at least no one who will admit to being a member of it. Everyone in America, no matter what degree their poverty, are, I would suspect, middle class at worst. Maybe this was Adolf’ s appeal to the poor huddled masses. He talked to them all as if they were simple unemployed ‘elitist’, and then united them against the poor, stupid, and uniformed ... whoever they were. My guess is that only the German intelligentsia read his book, and the common people were lured by other means -  possibly his speeches, and street tactics - means that will probably have to be discovered elsewhere.

[This is a part of a continuing series appearing on this blog. This is my 10th entry. Click on Search This Blog to find other entries on the same subject - Mein Kampf.]

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Tom Paine

Tom Paine

The Age of Reason

Thomas Paine
I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.
I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow creatures happy.
I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.

By Richard E. Noble
With the current controversies with regards to religion, the Bible and Christianity, I am at a loss to understand why “The Age Of Reason” by Tom Paine is not a million seller. I have found that although many people, famous and otherwise, often quote or paraphrase Tom Paine, few have actually taken the time to read what he had to say.
Whether you are a defender of established religion or a detractor, you should read “The Age of Reason” by Thomas Paine. If you are a defender of the Bible or any religion other than Deism then you are going to have a challenge defending your views against the logic contained in this book. If you think that you know the “truth” then you should not fear such a challenge.
What this book has to say is as valid and logical as the day it was written.
I do not understand why the religious apologists of today have not taken this book and debated it line for line. Instead, no one even mentions it. It is as though this book were never written. Instead they continue to promote the same old defeated arguments with a modern day spin. It does make any honest man question their sincerity.
The first section of the book challenges the Old Testament and the second part the New Testament. Since first reading this book, I have read more detailed, more philosophical and more historical criticisms of the Bible and Christianity. But in this volume Tom Paine does a very good job of stepping on the basic bases for argument with regards to the Bible and its authenticity. The book is very easy to read even though it was written in the 1790s. Tom Paine writes in much the style of today - which seems rather amazing when you look up many other of the writers of the period. In those days the established writers criticized Tom Paine’s writing as being common and untrained. Well, for better or worse, it seems that the common and the untrained has become the language of today.
This book deserves to be read, of course, as a history book but it also merits a place as a philosophy book - certainly an exercise in logic and critical thinking.
Tom Paine is so sensible he is shocking. He is still shocking today. I remember as a teenager when I first read the introductory pages in chapter II discussing the Virgin Birth. To say that I was shocked would be an understatement.
But this is just vintage Tom Paine. If you sit down and start reading the Crisis Papers you will be equally shocked. You will wonder where this man got the audacity, the confidence; the courage; the balls! This man’s whole career is one of a fearless disregard for consequences and an all out embrace of what he understood to be the truth. Tom just said it like he saw it. Most of us, even today, learn not to do that - it can be very troublesome; and so it was for Tom.
The Crisis Papers made Tom famous and a hero. The Rights of Man only served to enhance this heroic reputation. The Age of Reason, though no different in style, character, straightforwardness, and courage, destroyed him.
He wrote this book while sitting in a prison cell in France during the French Revolution – waiting to have his head chopped off. He had no reference material and wrote the book entirely from memory. This seems impossible to me.
In the introduction he tells the reader that his intention was to publish this book posthumously, but since he was about to die – this appeared a good a time as any.
Fortunately or unfortunately, as the case may be, Tom lived – to be chided, derided and harassed for the remainder of his life. After all his great and patriotic achievements the people could not forgive him his trespasses when it came to honestly expressing his thoughts on religion. It does seem strange that everyone could respect his honesty in all else he did and said; but when it came to religion – he was suddenly a liar, a hypocrite and an infidel. You can tell the people anything that you want – but don’t tell them that you don’t believe in their God; whatever God that may be.
The people of the time could respect courage and truth in War, and respect truth and courage in politics but when it came to religion and the Bible - their ears were closed and their fists were clenched.
Unfortunately we seem to be returning to those days of yesteryear and today we have no Lone Ranger to protect us - we don’t even have a Tonto.
I put this book on my blog several months ago as one of my favorite books and since then I have checked it for links to other blogs and individuals in the infinite blogosphere. So far there is not one other blogger who has listed “The Age of Reason” as one of their favorite books. (I just checked to be sure - there are now three others.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Making Love

By Richard E. Noble

Let’s go for a ride on top of the tide.
The darkness is daring and sweet to the touch.
Her fingers ... his stare,
Let’s make love ... if we dare.

Let’s lay on our backs, naked as the stars up above.
Let’s fill this night with the romance of our need for love.
With the help from the smell of the salt from the sea,
We’ll make love to an ocean’s rolling rhapsody.

A moment like this may never exist.
So grab on, let’s reminisce
On the lips of this kiss.

We’ll keep ourselves warm
With the breath from our storm.
We’ll hold on tight,
Until the world’s out of our sight.

Let’s make our love
On the crest of an in-coming wave,
Then splash in the sparks
Our fingertips made.

We’ll ride this tide with our eyes open wide,
No need to dream or make it seem.
First up with a groan, then down with a moan,
We’ll ride this wave’s crest, then roll in its foam.
You’ll look in his eyes,
Feel the caress of her thighs,
Then swoon in a moon of yearning.

You’ll love him again,
And her ‘till the end,
In a moment of love ever burning.

You’ll touch with your toes;
He’ll kiss the red rose,
Of passion’s torchless turning.

And she will wreathe with a sigh,
And heave her breasts high,
Then roll in the dream of love’s tender churning.

To remember the meaning of a carnal bleeding,
To know an evening of lust,
To touch that passion, forever in fashion,
To reel, to feel to be human,
… or bust.

[I love poetry. Click on Search This Blog for other entries labeled – Poetry. Some selections are: A Child of Night; If I were a Butterfly;Edith; After We’ve gone our Separate Ways; I’m a Stubborn Old Mule; But Do You Love Me; Call of the Dead; Have You Come to take me Home; And the River Flows; Hangin’ Out; It’s so regrettable; Over and Over … and there’s more.]

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Carl Bernstein

Carl Bernstein

“Loyalties, a Son’s Memoir”

Executive Order No. 9835

By Richard E. Noble
I’ve just finished reading a book entitled “Loyalties, a Son’s Memoir” by Carl Bernstein, the Washington Post reporter of Watergate fame.
Carl Bernstein’s dad was a lawyer. He was interested in politics. He got involved in the Roosevelt administration and served on several prominent committees. He joined the military in World War II and went over to Europe to fight against Fascism and Nazism. When he returned to his home, it seems to me, he found more of the same waiting for him right here.
On March 21, 1947 Harry Truman passed executive order 9835. This order was to trigger the American Inquisition of the late 40’s and early 50’s - the McCarthy Era.
This law basically stated that anyone suspected of disloyalty could be summarily dismissed from their government job. You could be called before a commission on information provided anonymously. You had no right to a lawyer, no jury, no trial. You weren’t allowed to confront your accusers, or to even know who they were. No proof or specific evidence was required, but yet if the board found that you were suspect, you would be fired from your job, and labeled as a subversive. You might never find another job. You might have to move from your neighborhood, change your name, lie, hide and keep the knowledge of your appearance before this inquisition committee a secret for the rest of your life. And this all could happen to you because you were a member of some labor union, or an associate of a member of a labor union. Or you were a member of a club that petitioned for the rights of blacks or minorities in America; or you wrote something positive about the Soviet Union, or you associated with someone who did. You could lose your job, your career and the potential for your whole life’s efforts on the false accusation of an anonymous, jealous fellow worker; someone who may have had a cousin in line for your job.
Carl Bernstein’s dad was one of these people. He was bigger than an unjustly accused victim though. He was an outright champion of the victimized. As a lawyer, he took it upon himself to defend over five hundred of these people brought before Mister McCarthy and his team of government investigators until finally like, Clarence Darrow before him, he was brought to the firing line by his political rivals and enemies. He lost his status and position. He lost his Washington career. He lost his ability to practice law. He ended up opening up a Bendix coin-operated Laundromat in a black neighborhood, and that is how he earned his living from that time on.
This is quite a story, in itself, but there is more.
Carl Bernstein’s dad, a defender of the liberal left was confronted by the McCarthy champions of the right. Two of McCarthy’s prominent Knights were the infamous Roy Cohn, and Richard M. Nixon.
Richard M. Nixon, the man who was forced to resign from the highest government job in the land, who had his whole career ruined; who lived the rest of his life fending off accusations and denying his being labeled a crook, and a criminal - this man’s life, very much in the pattern of his late rival, Alfred Bernstein, was brought to this disgraceful position, at least in part, by the son of his victim, Carl Bernstein. The man whose life and career Richard M. Nixon had once helped to destroy.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Toilet Seats

By Richard E. Noble

Whether the toilet seat should be up or down has become a major point of controversy between the male and female of the species, at least in developed countries where toilet seats exist. This issue has been brought to a point of intensity, in my opinion, by woman. I have never yet met a man who has complained of having a problem with his toilet seat. I have had many strange conversations with men but never have I sat around drinking beer with a bunch of guys discussing toilet seats and whether they should be kept up or down. Without doubt this is a girl thing. Coleslaw, potato salad, ice tea, and toilet seats seem to be of major concern only to woman.
I have been in the restaurant business most of my adult life and never have I been confronted by a male who complained of sour ice tea. I, myself, am part English and was raised in the Boston area. You do remember Boston; that place of Tea Party fame? Tea was so important to Bostonians that they started a revolution over it. I have used tea every morning in place of coffee for the greater part of my life. Nevertheless, I have on occasion made a cup of tea on a Monday, found that same cup of tea in the microwave on a Thursday, re-heated it, and drank it without the slightest hesitation. Slap some mayo on a piece of cabbage or a potato and I will eat it without analysis or prolonged discussion. And I have never asked the question at any family gathering; ‘Who made this coleslaw?” - NEVER!
But Toilet seats are today’s problem. When I was a little boy I was trained BY WOMEN to lift the toilet seat up before peeing. My father had no interest in any of this business and after peeing in my pants on several occasions because of a lack of a public facility, he taught me how to pee on a telephone pole, in an alley, or behind a building. Information that I still find valuable today. But the logic of lifting up the home toilet seat never perplexed me. It was only after being married for a number of years that I learned that it was not only my responsibility to put the toilet seat up before I peed, but to put it down after I was done. I should do this, I have been told BY WOMEN because, a half-asleep woman wondering around during the middle of the night looking for a place to pee often finds herself sitting on a cold porcelain bowl. What, I wonder, in this day of Republican individualism and personal responsibility, have I become the guardian of the female butt? I really don’t give a darn if she has a wet butt or a cold butt. You can bet when I go to pee, anywhere, I not only check to see if the toilet seat is up or down depending on my particular intention, I also make darn sure that it is dry and clean. This seems like common sense to me. I do it all on my own with complete understanding of the consequences if I don’t. And after doing so I don’t blame anyone, nor do I go about complaining about my victimization by the human race.
Why is it that women do not seem to be capable of exercising this same responsibleness? What are they dopey?
Maybe when we go out to dinner, us men should escort our wives to the facility, clean and check the toilet seat for them, and I suppose we could also wipe their butts when they are done because maybe they will forget. I think it is time that US GIRLS should do a little growing up here. Let’s all take care of our own butts and our own toilet responsibilities, Okay? I don’t need your help. Why do you need mine?

[If you enjoy reading Humor or satire there are numerous other selections on this blog – click on Search This Blog and select: How Poor were You; Family Values; Bridges of Madison County; Majority Rule; Electricity; Cattle Theory; I’m a Freelance Writer; Small Business; The Pill; Benjamin Franklin; News from the Front; Frederick the Great; Spring is Here; Warning; Sex is Normal; Alexander the Great; Capitalism or Save Your Buttski; Plausible Denial; My Wife’s Religion; Galileo Galilei; Dwarfism; Old is where it is at; Francis Bacon; Nothing; Escalating Real-estate; Jews History.]

Friday, June 16, 2006

"The Universe and Dr. Einstein"

Lincoln Barnet

By Richard E. Noble
“The Universe and Dr. Einstein”, by Lincoln Barnett is a great book. I've enjoyed it immensely. I've now read it twice. It has an introduction by Albert Einstein verifying its credibility to the "lay" reader.
Well, from one lay reader to another, I have two criticisms: One is Mister Barnett's conclusion with regards to the existence of a God: and the second has to do with a reference on page 24 to Quantum physics and "freewill".
On page 24 Mister Barnett states that because of a Mister Heisenberg's "Principle of Uncertainty" brought forward in 1927 which hypothetically states the impossibility of determining both the position of an electron and it's velocity at the same time, man may honestly and truly be possessive of a free, undetermined will.
If this seems to you to be a rather drastic jump in logic and common sense, I'm with you. What the possible randomness or even factuality of an electron's position or predictable course, has to do with Man's freewill, I'm at a loss to figure out.
     Mister Barnett goes on to express that the nature of probability in Quantum physics brings into question the notion of Causality and Determinism. I interpret this to mean that because the human race is at the moment unable to technically determine or predict the actual position or future direction of a particular electron, simultaneously, the Universe may truly be without direction, randomly established, and of an unpredictable indeterminable cause.
I would presume that in pointing out this Heisenberg principle, Mister Barnett would be challenging the existence of a God. This is not the case. In the conclusion Mister Barnett uses the third law of thermodynamics, the Hubble notion of an expanding and eventually destructive universe, and Einstein's notion of the non-existence of space (an aether) as a proof of the existence of a God.
     So, Mister Barnett establishes Man's freewill with the Heisenberg principle of uncertainty, and God existence via the third law of thermodynamics, Hubble's expanding and self-destructive universe, and Albert Einstein's theory of relativity. And supposedly Albert Einstein, himself, has read this book and agrees with it. Wow! I'm at a loss for words. Where do I begin?
     First of all, I don't think that you can have it both ways. You can't on the one hand claim that the Universe is without cause, undirected and unpredictable and that therefore man is in charge of his own destiny and totally free; and on the other hand claim that because the Universe is on an inevitable path to its own destruction, that this destruction implies a Creation and the inevitable existence of an all knowing, (non) deterministic God. How can God be in control of the Universe and not in control of Man?
     Freewill is an argument that has two directions. The Philosophical argument has always been with the nature of God and His relationship with Man. How can Man be free in relation to an Omniscient, Omnipotent, and all knowing God? If, as the religious and theological philosophers contend, God must of necessity be "actual" and not "potential", how could He have then created man, with all knowledge of man, and then not in some way be responsible for Man's actions or for Man in general?
The argument is, if there is a God, as defined above, then - Man of necessity must be determined. Man may have the ability to make choices, but whatever his choices, God "knew" or must know the results.
     The second argument with regards to man's freewill deals with his physiological and psychological makeup. Man as we now know has a genetic code (DNA). His physical structure and individual design is pre-programmed to a degree by this genetic code. It is so accurately programmed that we are now experimenting with the notion of "cloning" exact replicas of ourselves. Regardless of this new discovery, the very fact that a man is a man, or a particular thing, as opposed to "any" thing is determination enough to substantiate the notion that man is not self determining, or totally free. Because Man's choices may be indeterminant or even infinite it does not follow that Man is totally free or even possessive of “freewill”. Because a monkey is provided an infinite variety of bananas to choose from, it can not then be concluded that the monkey is possessive of "free" will or even that he is possessive of a will to choose freely. Man is limited by the fact that he is "a" man.
     Psychologically man is as much a formation of his learned “environment” as he is the product of his genetic code. Man is limited by what he is genetically, and also limited by what is made available to him environmentally. So man is "determined" and limited in terms of his genetic makeup and his environment. In this respect man is not possessive of a total freewill even if there is no God. God or no God man is not "free", nor is he in possession of a "free" will.
     So, what does Heisenberg's indeterminate, unpredictable electron have to do with Man's freewill? How does an unpredictable electron suppose an undetermined individual man?
     What does Heisenberg's unpredictable electron have to do with the theory of causation?
The implication seems to be that if Man can not predict the course or position of a particular electron then nothing is predictable, or he can make no predictions about anything? And therefore, since everything is unpredictable man himself is therefore totally undetermined and consequently without limits in his ability to choose – and therefore possessive of “freewill”.
     Does the unpredictable path of an electron have any bearing whatsoever on the atom that it is involved with? Does the course that this electron eventually chooses, have any bearing on the structure or known and predictable properties of the atom it is involved with? Does this electron's position or direction make for any changes in the atom involved? Does this electron's unpredictableness have any relationship to this particular atom's other myriad of relationships?
     If this electron jigs left as opposed to right is an atom of gold changed to an atom of silver? If nothing of any consequence is changed, then for all practical purposes couldn't Heisenberg's Principle of Uncertainty be placed right along side the “aether” as in Einstein's theory – in other words, of no consequence?
     David Hume supposedly dealt with the principle of causation a few centuries ago. But without even reading David, I am sure that he did not make the notion of causation untenable. He may have destroyed the notion of establishing an efficient cause or a primary cause, but not the notion of "causes". Without the notion of causes, even if they be varied and multiple and difficult to pinpoint, we could establish no theories and certainly no principles or facts of nature.
     Without causes and our ability to determine them, we have no knowledge, nor do we have the hope of ever having any. All science and all of our accumulated theories and knowledge are dependent on our ability to determine events by studying causes. Without this little trick our search for knowledge is condemned to perpetual ignorance, and all that we now claim to be knowledge is unfounded.
     How does Heisenberg's theory question the foundation of causes? Isn't Mister Barnett in fact using Heisenberg's theory of Uncertainty as a "cause" in establishing his theory with regards to Man's freewill? If the theory of causation has been challenged or compromised by Heisenberg's Principle of Uncertainty then how can Mister Barnett establish Mister Heisenberg's Principle as a "cause" in his establishment of his own theory of Man's freewill?
     What has this electron got to do with one's belief or non belief in the existence of God?
     A believer in God, Mister Berkeley, for example, would simply say that whatever choice this electron makes, you can be sure that God knows about it. There is also the theological notion of spontaneous creation. This notion explains the Universe as God's work in progress. God, in effect, recreates the universe moment by moment, instant upon instant - thus not only accounting for "change" but miracles also.
     On the other hand from the non-believer viewpoint; is predictability of the habits or idiosyncrasies of Mother Nature a proof that the Universe has a Creator, or merely an observation that the Universe is, at present, conforming to certain predictable physical phenomenon? If certain physical phenomena are permanent, unchangeable, repeatable and infinite, would this imply anything more than the fact that these phenomena are permanent, unchangeable, repeatable and infinite. And if the reverse were the case would the conclusion be any different? To point to something that "is" and say that it "is" only because of something that isn't, is not reasonable - God being viewed in this case as an unconfirmed suspicion or an illogical impossibility.
     In conclusion, with relation to God, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle changes nothing. The unpredictable Heisenberg electron neither verifies nor disproves the existence of God.
With regards to causation and determinism the philosophical arguments still remain as they have always been. There are causes. Determinism is still a philosophical and theological paradox - inevitable when combined with the existence of an Omnipotent God.  
     Freewill is not a paradox. It is confusion in terms. There is no "freewill" as such, but this does not negate man's ability to make choices or to make selections between what is perceived as either good or evil. The case for Man's genetic determinism and his psychological and environmental determinism in this regard certainly cannot be dismissed for the convenience of society and/or religion – civil or Divine Justice. The Cosmology of the Universe remains indeterminate with or without Heisenberg's wayward electron.

     Now for Mister Barnett's eschatology.

     In the last two chapters of Mister Barnett's book he goes from being a very interesting and astute scientific type into a complete irrational theologist and apologist. These last two chapters involve some of the most twisted and inane logic on the part of a believer to "spin" the facts or theories of science into a substantiation of his mystical conceptions and prejudiced beliefs that I have ever read.
     First of all, in discussing the cosmology and eschatology, the probable beginnings and endings, of the Universe, one is dealing in speculation based on speculation. These theories although fascinating are very much in the category of Star Wars. These areas involve theoretical science at its wildest. But still, I think that we should at least try to maintain our "faith" in reason and not our reason for faith.
     Mister Barnett puts scientific notions, I think, as follows.
     Relativity establishes that there is no absolute time and there is no space. The Universe is now entirely composed of matter and all of matter is a product of man's perception or mis-perception. He alludes to Hegel and establishes that due to man's varied and interminable and inconsistent perceptions "Pure Being and Nothing are the same." Pure Being philosophically defined as God, we now have the hypothesis that God is Nothing. So therefore not only do we have the concept of Nothing as possible, it is, in effect, the cause and fundamental principle of the Universe. From here we devolve philosophically from Hegel via Hume to Berkeley, around about Plato and end up with Saint Augustine and his notion that God created all things from Nothing. Not only did God create all things from Nothing, He is, in fact, Himself, Nothing. We close the book with Saint Paul who tells us that "the world was created by the word of God so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear." Amen
     I have the very strong felling that if Mister Barnett were to have continued with this text we would be "scientifically" lend to the establishment of the Blessed Trinity, the Divinity of Jesus, the Transubstantiation, the Virgin Birth, the Assumption and the Miracles at Lourdes.
     Most interesting is how we have been brought back to the establishment of Nothing being the real stuff of the Universe. But, of course, Mister Barnett as with St. Augustine informs us all that mysteriously behind all of the inevitable Nothing of the Universe there is that "Somethingness" contained all too realistically in that Nothingness we term as God. Though this entire Universe has been derived from Nothing, everything is based in an inevitable reality, which is God, who is synonymous with Nothing. If you think that this is all "Double Speak" you are absolutely right.
     To my way of thinking there is either Something, or there is Nothing. If Nothing were the Primary source of the Universe and ourselves, then we would not "be". The fact that we "are" and the Universe "is" (whatever it is) is a priori proof that Something is, and always has been and forever will be, whether we like it or not. Nothing therefore ISN'T, never has been and never will be. My opinion is that if you or anyone else comes to the conclusion that Nothing is responsible for Something you must review your logic because unless you are not here, you must be wrong. Nothing by definition is what is not and has no capacity to become.
Anyone who says that in reality, there is no reality - is equally in the wrong. Our perceptions of reality may be wrong, inaccurate and even deceptive but this does not change the reality of reality, whatever that may be.
Another point of Mister Barrett's has to do with Uranium, Hubble's expanding universe, the third law of thermodynamic and entropy. This is a good one.
     "The unvarying rate at which uranium expends its nuclear energies and the absence of any natural process leading to its formation indicate that all the uranium on earth must have come into existence at one specific time, which, according to the best calculations of geophysicists, was between four and five billion years ago." This notion is coupled with Hubble's notion of the red shifts and blue shifts which supposedly explain to us that the Universe is expanding. Cosmologists calculating this rate of expansion have traced the rate of expansion backwards and estimate that the universe began five billion years ago. So now we have two different groups verifying that the universe not only had a beginning but that this beginning happened five billion years ago.
     But to be more specific, the one group is establishing that uranium appeared or came somehow into existence approximately five billion years ago. The second group claims that the "expanding" of the Universe probably also began five billion years ago. This does not tell us when the "unexpanding" universe came about or for what period it existed before it got to expanding. But in any case we have this probable date for the beginnings of our expanding universe or the Big Bang.
     The Big Bang is the present day explanation for where our expanding universe got its energy and impetus to expand. The expanding universe is the result of a cosmic egg or atom explosion.
     Now we have the third law of thermodynamics. This has to do with the notion of an irreversible natural transference of heat to cold. With regards to the universe, Mister Barnett says that everything is cooling down. The "law" of entropy is taking over. The end of the Universe is in the making. The heat from the Big Bag is entropying. One day everything is going to stop spinning; all the suns in the Universe will have expended all of their heat; the Universe will turn cold and all motion with stop.
     And then what?
     Will all the stars and planets fall from the heavens? Where will they fall to? Will they contract? Where will they get the energy to do so? All energy has been dissipated, or dispersed, or entrophied, you will remember. So, I guess God will have to come out from behind a cloud and give everything a goose, once again - now we're back to Isaac Newton.
     But what if there is truly no such thing or entity as God? Then what?
     Well, things really become interesting now. If we go back to the cosmic egg explosion idea; where did the heat that exploded the egg come from? If entropy is implying that the inevitable state of heat is cold and that heat spontaneously occurring from cold is impossible. Then in the beginning there could not have been a "hot" egg. There could have been a very cold hard boiled egg, but not a hot one.
     If it is true that in the beginning there really was a "hot" egg then the third law of thermodynamics and the rule of entropy are 1) not true 2) may apply to beans in a bag, but not to a system as large as the Universe. 3) are being misinterpreted or misunderstood.
`     If the energy of the universe is truly being used up or undergoing an irreversible process of transference into cold this would not be consistent with our understanding of the laws of conservation with regards to matter and energy.
     If hot is merely an agitated condition of cold then there must be an agitating agent that produced heat in the first place. If motion is heat, then are we back to Aristotle vs. Galileo - is "a body that is in motion tends to remain in motion" the primary state of matter in the universe, or is the notion that "a body at rest tends to remain at rest" the primary state of matter? If motion is the primary state of matter then we need no Big Bang. If a body at rest tends to remain at rest is the primary state of matter, then we're in trouble. We have no explanation then for motion or heat and a miracle as to how they could possibly have evolved.
     If the Universe started out with "fire" and then ends up dying in "cold", we are left with an unexplainable initial fire. We have a mystical paradox once again, or we have a mistake in our laws and hypotheses.
     If we presume that there is no interfering God in the Universe, and that heat can not arrive spontaneously from cold, does this not lead us all to conclude that heat and motion are primary and cold secondary?
     In the beginning then, there was heat and motion. Could heat and motion then somehow be irreversibly transformed into cold and inert?
     It seems to me that nature conforms to the laws of conservation of matter and energy. If these laws are correct. Then heat and cold must somehow be interacting and interchangeable in the Universe.
     It could also be very, very possible that Hubble's expanding Universe is not correct, and that there was never a Big Bang type start to the universe.
     So then, how did the Universe begin?
     It didn't. It always was. It always will be. It is self regulating and self perpetuating. Instead of looking for beginnings and ends to the Universe, it would then make more sense to be searching for explanations in the direction of a self perpetuating ever evolving Universe, and questioning anything to the contrary as a possible mistake.

[If you are interested in the subject matter of this blog, click onto Search This Blog and find A History of God, Intelligent Design, God, Yes or No, or St. Anselm of Canterbury. These all deal with  the debate of God’s existence or non-existence]

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Illegal Immigration

Illegal Immigration

[I posted this article a few months back. In light of current National developments, I decided to post it once again. If this is a topic of interest to you, you should find this article enlightening]

By Richard E. Noble

This is a difficult subject. I told myself that I would not get into it. My goal these days is to win friends and influence people and not make enemies - if it could be avoided. But since my wife and I have traveled all of these United States picking fruits and vegetable for a number of years, it would be logical to conclude that I have an opinion on the current controversy. Of course, I do.

By the way, if you would like to read about our adventures as migrant farm workers, you can find the whole story in my book, “Hobo-ing America” - contact me via my e-mail for more information.

If you have already read Hobo-ing America you realize that illegal immigration is more than a physical problem at our borders. We have people here from all over the world who have come by one legitimate method or another, but once here have violated that agreement and taken up illegal residence. Not only that, but we have governmental immigration services that are not only inadequately staffed, but are also permeated with corruption. In my travels I learned from illegal aliens from all parts of the world that all the legitimizing paperwork to bring a person from an illegal status to a legal status can be purchased directly from unscrupulous government employees working at those agencies.

This is what I have been told; I have no personal experience with the practice. I was born in this country and therefore qualified to work any lousy job this country has to offer.

A green card can be bought for “x” number of dollars; a social security card can be purchased in the same manner; and any other paperwork that one might need guaranteeing permanent residence can be bought for a price. This is what I was told by any number of illegal aliens. Some freely showed me their papers. They were very proud that they had earned enough money to buy them.

Many illegal aliens come here on student visas, or as a part of a political asylum. The U.S has been involved in so many corrupt governments and revolutions around the world that it would be difficult to determine how many illegal aliens are here with our government’s permission - in a sort of protection program.

Many of them were working at jobs procured through employment agencies, some head-quartered right in Washington D.C. They showed me their paperwork. Employers around the nation were signed up for this service and the workers paid large sums of money for the privilege of working in a chicken factory or a meat packing house somewhere in “anywhere USA.”

This is a big business, not only for the placement agencies involved but for the corrupt employers as well. You can be sure that these businesses have their butts protected via sub-contractors and other phony or not so phony agencies. When confronted they will deny any knowledge of the illegal nature of their practices – but they know. This is big business - and the government agencies along with the business community are in it up to their ears. This is my opinion based on what I have seen with my own eyes and heard from the people who are the customers involved in this racquet - and it is a racquet in my opinion.

To say the least, the illegal immigration problem is more than rounding up a few poor Mexicans at our southern border. It is systemic. It won’t be solved overnight by one bill being passed in the Federal legislature. You can pass all the laws that you want but if they can’t be enforced or you’re not ready to spend the money necessary to enforce them - it won’t happen.

I shouldn’t have to say this because it should be obvious, but illegal Immigration is illegal.

If I said to you; Are you against people illegally withdrawing money from banks? Your answer would be simple and unqualified. I doubt very much if you would start telling me about all the economic advantages provided to the community by bank robbers. I also doubt that you would tell me that the bank robbers or illegal withdrawers are just poor people who need those funds. You wouldn't you tell me about all the good that has been accomplished by past bank robbers who have invested their illegal withdrawals wisely, either. The same can be said for any illegal activity whether it be drugs, prostitution, or organized crime.

But, you say, an illegal immigrant isn’t a bank robber. True. A friend of mine said to me a while back; Your problem is with the word illegal. Just eliminate the word illegal and then what is your gripe?

If this is your attitude, then I must assume that you are for an open immigration policy. I can only imagine what the United States would look like in a few years if we did away with any restrictions on immigration. My god!

I’m sure that right at this minute there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of people in Poland who would like to migrate to this country if they were allowed. I’ll bet that there is no shortage of Russians, Chinese, Croates and whatever. Is it fair to deny these eager, enthusiastic folks; these huddled masses yearning to be free; these poor hard working struggling folks who simply want to be a part of the American dream; these honest, decent, hard working people - is it fair to deny them this opportunity to be free?

Of course it is. If you want to have a Nation or a Country, it is. It is unfortunate, but it is necessary.

Now we come to the more practical arguments. What do we do with the eleven million illegals who are here right now? And secondly what about all these jobs that Americans refuse to do?

They say that there are eleven million illegals here, my guess is that the number would be closer to twenty million; and I would not be surprised if after and actual count, it was found to be even higher.

This is going to be a big, big problem. If I was here illegally and it was announced in some newspaper that I should go down and register, I wouldn’t do it. Unless the penalty if I got caught was extremely severe, or the reward to my advantage, I wouldn’t register. I’d take my chances. What the hell, I have been illegal for all these years, what’s a few more?

Whether it is the right or wrong thing to do, I do not think that all illegal aliens can be rounded up and deported. Some method of incorporating these people into the society will have to be devised. But this is going to require thousands and thousands of new government jobs. These people are going to have to be recorded and processed.

If the stern Republican approach is taken, this will require the same monetary outlay. The Republicans who are asking for this type action will not be willing to pay for it. I think that they are putting up a big show. If they get their way I doubt if anything will be done to change the situation at all. And that would be in tune with their traditional point of view - help the Bosses.

If the Democrats get their way it will be another kiss and make up amnesty deal and when they try to get the regulatory jobs and the border enforcement jobs it will all turn into political mush. The final product will have no teeth. Nothing will be accomplished, nor will the situation be changed.

So to tell you the truth, I don’t take any of this debate seriously. It is a political campaign issue, and nothing more.

But, let’s pretend.

On the issue that there are jobs that Americans just won’t do - I take serious issue. This is totally bogus. Anybody who says this in my opinion is (pardon my French) full of shit.

Americans have always been willing to do any jobs that have been offered to them - but they have never been stupid. Most Americans are the sons and daughters of hard working immigrants – just like the Hispanics. This is simple reverse prejudice that has been propagandized by the elitist business community looking for cheap labor. The Hispanic community has picked up on this because it flatters their egos. But it has no more truth to it than the reverse prejudice stating that all Hispanics carry switchblade knives, belong to gangs and sell drugs. This is all stereotypic hoseshit. This type of slander is used, as always, to obfuscate the important issues – in this case paying fair living wages and upgrading competitive technoligies

The problem is not with the American worker, the problem is with the jobs themselves. There are jobs in this country that are difficult to find workers to do. For the most part these jobs are very limited. They deal almost entirely with the harvesting of seasonal crops in Agribiz. All the other jobs in all of the other industries are simply jobs that employers are unwilling to pay a living wage or a decent respectable wage to their workers. They want the money or they are being pressured out of business by foreign imports and virtual slave labor, overseas conditions.

The employers have some legitimate reasons for this complaint. One is world free market competition. I’m sorry but the advocation of this policy is a paved road to disaster.

If one accepts the logic that better wages, fair wages, higher wages automatically means higher prices and eventual inflation and vanishing businesses, then the same principle must hold true for greater profits, higher dividends, and bigger pays for CEOs and CFOs and Doctors, Lawyers an accountants and Indian Chiefs who now own gambling casinos. If this principle holds true for the lower income jobs then it should also hold true for higher income jobs - and profits and dividends from the stock market. In which case, poverty is the goal and success or a better life means destitution. This is pure horseshit and obvious class prejudice.

This argument advocating lower and lower wages for the poorer hard working folks in our society is illogical. If it were true then it would also be true that more people making more money on any level would eventually lead to the collapse of the Capitalistic, free enterprise system. The principle is not valid. If more competition and lower wages means a better more prosperous world, then why did we ever do away with slavery; why did we have the 1929 depression? This logic is just plain and simple stupidity.

This country has not become the greatest, wealthiest nation in the world because we have a few very wealthy, smart people. All countries have a few wealthy, smart people. This country has become the greatest economic nation in history because it provided a means for more and more people to become modestly well off and for the average worker to have, at worst, a roof over his head, food on his table, and a hope for the future.

It took a combination of economic philosophies to accomplish that. It took a little Capitalism, a little mercantilism, a little protectionism, a little foreign trading, a little free marketing, even a little communism – and a lot of Socialism. It took a number of strong leaders in government and in private enterprise, and a good dose of moral economic conscience - provided by labor unions, churches, charities, environmentalists, suffragettes, and fearless champions of every type of minority right.

This Country is not great because we adhered to inflexible dogmatic notions of anything and not because we have always had the most powerful military in the world. We have always been like the Universe around us, a nation in flux, steeped in change, a people willing to do and try anything.

Most of the businesses around this country who depend on illegal workers could have all the legal workers they want - they simply have to offer a living wage. If there are legitimate reasons why they cannot - other than simple greed and more and more for the bosses - then the legislature should enact policies accordingly - whether they are called projectionist, or nationalistic, or even isolationist. If we let middle-class America go down the tube, we can forget the American dream altogether.