Friday, October 31, 2008
By Richard E. Noble
Determinism has plagued philosophy and theology for centuries. In relation to God it is especially problematic. God has been defined by some theologians and philosophers as pure act or existence. A thought in the mind of God being an instant reality in the world of man, and existence. Nothing being possible without God's will (thought). So then how does God become separated from the responsibility of his Own thoughts and creative will? If there is Sin and Evil, God must have thunk it. If He thunk it, He must be it. At the least, at the very least, God would have to be an accomplice in the crimes of Man, Being and Existence.
In another sense; If God knows that I shall perform a certain act, at a certain time and (2) if I am nevertheless able to forego that act when the time for performing it arrives, then (3) it follows that I am able to confute an item of Divine Knowledge, whether or not I actually do so. That conclusion is, of course, absurd. So then it follows that either God is not all-knowing, or my actions are predetermined by God. If my actions are predetermined before hand, by God, then who is truly responsible for my actions - me or God? On the other hand, if God is not all knowing, then what else might he NOT be? Not all Powerful? Not all Loving? Not infinite? Not at all?
As far as I can see, this question has not been resolved theologically. Answers have been postulated by Saint Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, various Popes and others, but nothing that makes any sense to reason or logical thinking.
In Philosophy, Jean Paul Sartre, and many, many others before him have solved this problem, and a slew of other problems, by eliminating God. To be specific; if there is no God, then there is no Determinism; man is then free and responsible for his own actions. John Lennon suggested in his song; Imagine that there is no Heaven, and there is no Hell, if you can; a world in which virtue and vise are their own reward. As the man in the oat meal commercial says; Do it because it is the right thing to do.
But science and psychology have now entered the argument and even without God, we still have problems. What about DNA? What about our genetic makeup? What about our chromosomes, our hormones? What about our chemistry? What makes us a genius or a fool? God, DNA, genes, chromosomes, hormones, or ...iodine, vitamin C, niacin and riboflavin? And what about conditioning and training? If I tie you up to a tree in my back yard, beat you with a stick each morning, and for food, provide you with nothing but live animals (please do not try this at home) can I then predict your future behavior or inclinations? How “undetermined” and free are we really... even with no God?
Richard Noble is a freelance writer. His latest book is a volume of poems and prose – “A Little Something.” It is for sale on Amazon along with Hobo-ing America, A Summer with Charlie, and Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother. If you would like to stock his books in your store or business he can be contacted at richardedwardnoble@gtcom.
I got my tax stimulus check!
By Richard E. Noble
This whole thing got its start with FDR and the notion of government spending. Prior to FDR we had Hooverism. Hooverism was Reganomics without the huge federal debt build up.
The 1929 Great Depression came upon us. Money dried up and disappeared, we are told. FDR got a bright idea because "business" and the wealthy stopped spending and investing - at least here in America. If big business would not spend and invest in America for whatever reasons, then the government should start, so said John Maynard Keynes and FDR.
So Roosevelt started the Tax and Spend Democratic philosophy. Back in those days the Federal government thought that taxes, and tariffs were the only legitimate means of raising Federal government money - they didn't know then that they could sell America piece by piece to foreign countries. Roosevelt took money from the rich in every way he knew how and spent it employing the poor and unemployed. Of course this did not make the rich happy - the poor and unemployed thought it was fine.
Democrats today believe that this technique worked and Republicans do not. But the majority of the American people, whether Democrat or Republican, have accepted that it did work - and in practice so have the Republicans.
The modern day Republicans decided to stop fighting the notion of government spending and instead began spinning the idea their way - and it worked. They proffered that giving taxpayer money to rich Republicans was wise and proper economics. After all, they argued, the people who have lots of money are the people who know what to do with money.
Then came Ronald Reagan. Ronny changed the whole tax system. First he cut the tax burden on large corporations. Ronny gave his old boss General Electric so many tax breaks that for some years after, the American taxpayers actually owed General Electric money rather than General Electric owing America. After Ronny, corporations who once paid 35% of the federal budget now only contributed 12%.
Ronny cut the taxes of the wealthiest Americans substantially, also. If he would have cut Federal spending proportionately we would have been all right. But he spent more than all previous American presidents combined - mostly on a pet program that he called Star Wars but overall on military and the promotion of war and a strong defense.
Consequently taxes on the middle class and the working class rose substantially - along with inflation so that the poor wouldn't feel left out. But nevertheless everybody bought into Ronny basic premise - America loved Ronny. The more rich the wealthy get the better it is for everybody, folks thought. That's the American way! Reaganomics was really an update of Hoover's "trickle down" theory.
The Republicans then supported this tax cutting and revenue cutting notion by stating the basic theory that if rich people have more money they will spend it. They will make more investments, build more factories and hire more workers. So America bought the idea of tax cuts. Republicans sold this idea by claiming that John F. Kennedy did it and it worked. The only flaw in this propaganda was that when Kennedy did it, he tied the tax cuts to jobs. Only if the businessman hired more workers did he get any tax dividend. The Republicans thought that little twist was superfluous and they left that detail out of their tax cut bills.
So now we have a returning of federal income to the wealthy with no strings attached. This was done on the basis that all those poor little billionaires were being persecuted. What did any billionaire ever do to you?
This left us with the basic principle that giving federal revenue or income to rich Americans so that they can spend it is a good thing to do and a sound economic policy.
Well naturally, the Democrats then said: if it is a good thing to give money to rich Americans so that they can spend it, wouldn't it be just as good to give money to poor Americans who will most definitely spend it - and probably spend it quicker and right here at the corner store! Now were back to Keynes, Huey Long and FDR.
When Bernanke announced this newly discovered economic principle many Republican Senators and Congressmen nearly fell off their big, comfortable, leather, lounge chairs. One Republican even asked Mr. Bernanke if he would explain that economic principle one more time. He did. And just recently many of us regular people got a check in the mail from the U.S. Government.
The Republicans are still stuttering and talking to themselves. What just happened here? Well boys, what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.
I thought it was rather interesting. My government who for years had been telling me to get up off my lazy butt, pay my own bills and stop gripping was now sending me money in the mail and begging me to go out and spend it as fast as I could. I did. It is all gone. Can I have some more, please? I promise that I will spend it also. I will spend it as soon as you send it to me. In fact, if you just tell everybody that I'm good for it, I'll spend it before you send it to me. In fact, if you guys will promise to pick up all my debts like you do with the banks and the bomb and bullet manufactures, I'll spend until I go bankrupt. And you have my word on it!
Whimpy used to say: "I'll gladly pay you tomorrow for two hamburgers today." This is even better. Now Whimpy can say: "I'll gladly buy all the hamburgers that you will pay me to purchase - today, tomorrow and forever." What a deal!
If we put the Republicans and the Democrats together it would seem that we should simply stop collecting taxes from anybody. Then how do we build an Aircraft Carrier?
Richard Noble is a freelance writer. His latest book is a volume of poems and prose – “A Little Something.” It is for sale on Amazon along with Hobo-ing America, A Summer with Charlie, and Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother. If you would like to stock his books in your store or business he can be contacted at richardedwardnoble@gtcom.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Privatization of the Bay
By Richard E. Noble
A number of years ago a state program came to our area. The big push at that time was the privatization of anything and everything. Apalachicola Bay was to be divided up into one acre leases and rented to qualified applicants for the purpose of "farming" their own oysters.
The program had numerous problems and large local opposition. Many oystermen along with fishermen, crabbers and shrimpers were very much opposed to any leasing or privatization of the public resources. All the other users of the bay, even the sport fishermen, found the idea problematic.
But I am not interested in rehashing all the arguments that resulted from that program. I want to talk about an idea for developing the bay that never seemed to get off the ground or even get notice.
I had been communicating with a number of universities and research centers with regards to this notion of farming oysters. I had contacted a professor of Marine Biology at FSU among others. His name was Dr. Livingston and he had done considerable research in Apalachicola Bay. While talking to him on the phone he informed me of a book that he had written describing a plan that he had devised for the future of Apalachicola Bay and the National Estuary.
He wanted the Natural Estuary to grow into a marine biology center and eventually establish a nursery and a hatchery. Local high school students would take courses there and get hands-on experience. Marine biology students from FSU would also train and learn at the facility in Apalach. There would eventually be trained managers to run the hatcheries. Oyster harvesting could be improved with bed building and seed planting if it proved viable. Fish hatchling like mullet, spotted sea trout, flounder etc. could be planted. White shrimp, brown shrimp and even blue crabs could be grown and seeded in the bay.
The program could be supported in many ways. As in Michigan and Oregon special stamps could be issued and sold to sport and commercial fisherman alike. The local government, the state, the sport fishing community, tourist fishing, and the commercial fishing industry could all contribute to a healthy and productive bay. Profits could be enhanced and good jobs developed locally.
I thought this was the greatest idea I had heard. Everyone would benefit. All cost would be shared. Profits would be taxed as always but there would be more and more profits. New good paying jobs for local children would be developed. The existing industries would not be challenged but complimented. Everyone could learn and everyone would prosper.
I wrote letters to the local newspaper and told everybody about this plan of Dr. Livingston but the idea received no attention. A conversation or dialogue never ensued. I could never understand it. Everybody talked of saving and improving the bay but nobody gave this great idea a second glance.
I recently covered the county commission meetings for a few years and I heard lots and lots of talk about the bay. But never once did I hear this idea of a hatchery and science lab ever mentioned.
Carol is originally from Michigan and we spent a good deal of time up there working, visiting and enjoying their fisheries. They developed a network of hatcheries that are credited with saving Lake Michigan. They hatched eggs and planted Steelhead and Salmon fingerlings. It became a fisherman's paradise. Carol and I caught huge Salmon and Steelhead trout on the piers and channel walls and up some tributaries and at the base of different dams. It was quite a thrill to battle with a ten to fifteen pound Coho Salmon or a Rainbow Steelhead trout of equal size.
My guess is that this column will also go unnoticed. The bay has too many problems. If the flow coming down the river isn't improved who knows what will be the result. And once again we are in a period of fiscal restraint. I think that we all have to learn that there is a difference between "investment" spending and other types of government spending. When we invest in something it will one day bring a return to the country in good jobs and increased revenue. This type spending is hardly comparable to pork-barrel spending or building bridges to nowhere. But if there is no investment, private or public, there will be no growth and no improvement. When the private business community stops investing, unfortunately the government must take up the slack or it is back to 1929 and the 1930's.
Our bay is still pretty much of a mystery. No one knows how productive it could be or what capacity it has for all the different species. It would be interesting to find out rather than to stand by and watch it die.
Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother, Hobo-ing America and A Summer with Charlie are books written by Richard E. Noble. They are all for sale on Amazon.com. Richard Noble is a freelance writer and has been a resident of Eastpoint for 30 years. If you would like to stock his books in your store or business email Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, October 24, 2008
By Richard E. Noble
Abraham Lincoln may not be all that he is cracked up to be, according to Gore Vidal in his book “The Second American Revolution and Other Essays.”
Nancy Hanks, Abraham’s mother was illegitimate, and this is documented by Abraham himself, says Gore.
He was no shy, modest, warm, gentle person. “No great man is ever modest. It was his intellectual arrogance and unconscious assumption of superiority that men like Chase and Sumner could never forgive,” says John Hay, Lincoln’s secretary.
He was no little po-boy, rail-splitter from a log cabin in the backwoods. By the time he became president he was a thriving, well to do, ambitious, aggressive lawyer.
Lincoln was not a good Christian. In fact, he wrote a book, Infidelity. “Lincoln, in that production, attempted to show that the Bible was false: first on the grounds of reason, and, second, because it was self-contradictory; that Jesus was not the son of God any more than any man.” Herndon, Lincoln’s law partner, friend and biographer confirms this account in his biography of Lincoln.
Lincoln spoke of God in later speeches, according to Gore, because of political pressure, but even so, made no references to Jesus.
Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd, went mad, and they had three sons who all died prematurely. This may be due to the fact that Lincoln around 1835-1836 went to Beardstown and contracted syphilis. He got treatment for it by a Doctor Daniel Drake in Cincinnati. He may have infected his wife, Mary, with the disease and hence her madness and the death of his three boys. This, claims Gore, may also explain his terrible bouts with melancholy, depression and “chastity.”
In 1846, as a Congressman, he opposed the war with Mexico on the grounds that it was a nasty, aggressive business started by the United States to seize new territories from an obviously weaker opponent. In a speech thirteen years before the Civil War he declared... “Any people anywhere being inclined and having the power have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better.” OOPS!
Old Abe wasn’t even a friend of the Negro, according to Mr. Vidal. He didn’t precipitate the war to free the slaves or to abolish slavery, but to save the Union. “If slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong,”... but ...”if I can save the Union without freeing any slaves, I will do that. If I can save the Union by freeing some and leaving others alone, I will do that.”
Early in his administration he and his Republican buddies “acquired” a bunch of land in Central America for the purpose of re-locating American blacks. I guess he didn’t know about Liberia. OOPS, again.
Gore goes on to credit Lincoln with the “creation” of the American Nation State. In other words, he says... Lincoln, with his war, destroyed the “Union,” and created a “Nation.”
I think old Gore has got his history mixed up with his fiction here. Lincoln did not start the Civil War; the South did when it attacked Fort Sumter. And Lincoln did not deny the South their “right” to secede from the Union. The South gave up that right when they signed onto the Constitution... “No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance OR CONFEDERATION ... ENTER ANY AGREEMENT OR COMPACT WITH ANOTHER STATE OR WITH A FOREIGN POWER OR ENGAGE IN WAR...”
So much for legal and social contracts, I suppose?
Abe and the War
As previously stated Abraham Lincoln did not start the Civil War. The Cotton South started the Civil War even before Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated. They had been threatening secession and rattling their sabers for over twenty years. The Atlanta Confederacy proclaimed
“Whether ... Pennsylvania Avenue is paved ten fathoms deep in mangled bodies ... the South will never submit to ... the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln.” The South was so aggressive and adamant on this slavery issue, I actually wonder if they intended or had a plan for conquering the North. With their aggressive attitude, it does seem difficult to believe that if they had been the victorious party in this conflict that they would have allowed the North to go on harboring runaway slaves or even continuing in their free slave state status. Did they want independence, or domination?
Abe, though a member of the right wing, abolitionist Republican Party was not about to abolish slavery anytime soon. He was in favor of a slow turn over of the policy, one that might take ten, even twenty years. He even talked of a colonization program for transplanting discontented black and freed slaves in South America. His initial emancipation proclamation outraged his Republican cohorts in 1863. It freed slaves only in those areas of the Confederacy still in rebellion, not in any Southern States already occupied by the Union army, nor in any loyal slave states. After much criticism he announced to strong critics, such as Horace Greeley and William Garrison, that his goal as president was not to abolish slavery but to preserve the Union. He actually dumped the Republican Party in his bid for re-election. He chose a Southern Democrat as his vice-president, Andrew Johnson, and run under the Union Party Banner.
Lincoln was a hands-on Commander and Chief. He fired McClellan and replaced him with Burnsides. Burnsides was replaced by Hooker, and Hooker by General George Meade.
At the battle of Gettysburg a defeated and escaping Lee was trapped by the flooding Potomac. But disregarding Lincoln orders, Meade hesitated and Lee escaped. Lincoln blamed Meade for missing the opportunity of ending the war.
It wasn’t until U.S. Grant came along that Lincoln found a man that he trusted. When the press went to Lincoln criticizing Grant on his unwillingness to provide information about the war or his plans, Abe told them not to feel bad because General Grant wouldn’t tell him anything either. When they criticized Grant for drinking too much whiskey, Lincoln asked them to find out what brand General Grant drank so that he could send a case of it to his other Generals.
When John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln, point blank in the back of the head at the Ford Theater, while the newly re-elected president and his wife and some friends were watching the comedy, “Our American Cousin,” Mister Booth may have executed the best friend a defeated army could ever have had.
There were many in the North who were screaming for execution for Confederate generals and political leaders, firing squads or imprisonment for officers and lesser personages, military occupation of all the rebellious states and land reform and redistribution of all Southern plantations and wealth. Lincoln’s attitude was saintly when looked at from the point of view that this group of Southern conspirators and “traitors” were responsible by their belligerent attitude for the death of 600,000 thousand of their fellow citizens and probably double that number in wounded and maimed. And all for a cause that is considered by almost everyone today to be, not only immoral but unjust and criminal to humankind – the buying, selling, torture, abuse and trading of human life. Some say, cutely, that the issue of the Civil War was not slavery but State’s Rights. But the right that the Southern States were trying to secure was slavery. So no matter how one attempts to “spin” it, the issue was slavery.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
By Richard E. Noble
In the Franklin Chronicle there was a story on the front page the other week. It was about a little girl who just graduated from one of our tiny little High Schools.
Her picture was on the front page along with that of her proud mother. It was a neat little story. This little girl had graduated first in her class. She was the Valedictorian.
She had a grade point average that was ludicrous. I mean on a possible 4.0 she had 4.5 or something. How the heck can that be?
Well she not only completed and excelled at the regular high school stuff but she took preparatory college courses in her “free” time.
It was noted in the little article that she had received a couple of “scholarships.” She got a $1000 dollars and $500 from some local charities and $25 from the Mayor or something.
I didn’t think much about the story until the next morning when my wife and I decided to go down to the local restaurant for some biscuits and gravy.
The little girl that waited on us looked a lot like the cute little valedictorian whose picture was in the paper. My wife asked her if it was she. It was.
Now that didn’t upset me either. Why shouldn’t the local valedictorian be working and delivering grits and gravy to the likes of me and the wife? It is good for kids to work and have jobs.
As we chatted affably with the young lady my wife whispered; “You would think that the local Valedictorian would have a scholarship to FSU or someplace?”
It seems that she was going to be attending the local Community College. She was studying nursing. Nursing? Does America need nurses? Dahh … I guess!
This brought me to my own family and my personal career.
My older sister was Salutatorian from her High School. My sister, who was also a working high school student, got no collage scholarships. Back in those ancient times girls really weren’t expected to go to collage anyway. As a single mom, she has worked not one, not two but three different jobs in order to survive.
My older brother was Valedictorian of his graduating class. He, like this little girl, had an impossible grade point average because he passed exams for classes he never even enrolled in. He had the highest grade point average in the history of his high school. He got no offer from colleges either. He worked his way through a couple of years of college on a special “work” program at Northeastern University.
I didn’t do all that well in high school but I did get to a Community College and at the end of my first year I was first in my class. I went to the financial aid department and spoke to Dean So and So. When I told him that I had spent my entire life savings on my first year at college, he told me to go to the local bank and get a loan. I was also the child of a struggling single mom - my dad had died when I was just turning into a teenager. I took this comment by the Dean of “Who gives a Flip” as a total lack of interest on his part so I dropped out and got a job driving a truck.
When I had saved enough money I went back to that same Community College. It was a two year school and when I finished, I was once again first in the class. Via this great achievement I received no offers to other universities.
I applied for a college loan as I had been advised previously. I needed at least $3000. On the first week of admissions to the local college, I was called to the student loan department. I was informed that though I was not granted the $3000 that I had applied for - I was granted $300.
I told the nice lady to give the $300 to an applicant whom they felt more deserving and I dropped out of college and got my truck driving job back.
As you can probably understand, I have always been rather skeptical about this Nation’s supposed commitment to “Higher Education.”
My wife says that my attitude is just sour grapes and my story is ancient history. She says that anyone who wants to go to college in the U.S. today can do so if they want to. I say BULL!
But don’t get me wrong, this little girl downtown wasn’t griping. She was as happy as a lark. She was all smiles and as proud of herself as could be. But I know how I felt way back when. I had given it my best and no one gave a flying flip.
So what do I expect? Do I think that this little girl from Carrabelle or Apalachicola should be going to Harvard or Yale because she was first in her graduating class of fifty?
No, I guess not. But doesn’t she deserve something? You know from the greatest nation in the whole world - the nation that “believes” in its children and thinks that education is the salvation and cure for all of mankind and blaa, blaa, blaaa?
I left the kid a two dollar tip ... my wife made me put down another buck. Three buck TIP for two orders of biscuits and gravy! And so it goes.
Richard E. Noble has been an “Eastpointer” for around thirty years now. He has authored three books: A Summer with Charlie, Hobo-ing America and most recently he completed his first novel Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother. They are all for sale on Amazon.com.
Monday, October 06, 2008
Why War? Conclusion Part 2
By Richard E. Noble
Somewhere along the line here we must discuss the nature of dominance.
The dominant tendencies of the human beast seems to begin in the cradle. The baby screams, kicks and yells to get its needs and/or desires satisfied. Adolf is without doubt a character study of a dominant personality. He accuses the masses of being sheep, but the true inspiration of his call is one of dominance. Come follow me and 'we' will dominate over all others. The appeal of all Militaries is much the same. No one joins a military organization to serve or live the life of a follower. They only serve long enough to earn credentials to command. In the Military structure we have the perfect picture of a society where everyone is in position to be considered better than somebody else, at least in hopes and aspirations. I consider it to be the antithesis of the democratic spirit, and I find it totally inconsistent with my interpretation of the American democracy. My question is; is this desire to dominate a basic part of the genetic character? Is it a part of all of us?
Am I writing this book because, in truth, I have the innate desire to have my opinions become dominant? I personally don't think so. I think that I am writing this in order to discover what my true opinions are, and at the same time provide an insight for anyone who may be interested in this same subject matter. But if no one else ever reads this work, I am more than personally satisfied to have completed it for my personal well being. I also have the 'artistic' desire to record my own personal thought processes, because I have always considered that the most interesting part of my individual being. I have spent the most of my life in the contemplation of my own thoughts. It was a great discovery of mine to find in books, other people who had the same fascination. I have always considered myself to be a thoughtful animal, and analyzing the nature of these thoughts to bring myself to a greater understanding of myself has always been my chief occupation. Writing is not a complete ego trip for me. It is not entirely directed towards the reader. It is a personal record and organization of the notions that pass through my mind, most, of which, I realize is not totally astounding, but it is all that I have. I am a person who thinks in words. My words are my thoughts.
In my personal life overcoming the dominant tendencies of those about me, I have considered a never ending plague. But, I have not found in every relationship that dominance is the main goal of all those who wish to be involved with others. In our business lives, and our occupations it takes a stronger hold. In the true loves of our lives, if it becomes a factor, the affair will usually end in disaster. I think that this is not only true of our love affairs with people but also of our affairs of love in the Arts, sciences and personal interests. Once it becomes a competition, it loses its joy, at least for me.
If we are genetically designed to seek dominance, does this mean that it is the proper direction? Or, as with sex and other natural inclinations, it is something to be controlled and kept in a proper balance with the same inclinations on the part of others? Certainly if all of us are driven to dominate one another, and we all choose this as our natural right, and proper direction, we will all constantly be in a state of never ending war. If peace is to be our goal then compromise on this issue must be a part of any over all plan whose direction is harmony and not war. Studying the Jew in Germany is, in many ways, analogous to the study of the black in the United States.
Why the Jews?
At the start of this book I was not very familiar with the history of the Jewish people. As the book has progressed I have been reading some on the subject. With this perspective of history, why Adolf picked out the Jews seems less baffling.
Picking on the Jews in Germany does seem to be somewhat of a National tradition. The German hatred of the Jews goes way back into German history, and has always been cruel, if not totally brutal. Adolf seems to have gotten his script right from Frederick the second. But Martin Luther, all the way back in the 1500's, didn't have a lot of nice things to say about the Jews, and how they should be treated either.
Jewish persecution in general seems to go back about as far as we can go back. Being the new religion on the block, they were first suppressed by the Egyptians. In fact, it seems that their whole idea was pretty much a protest against the Egyptian established order. Their leader and law giver was Moses. The original Jewish religion, at least according to the Jews began with God Himself in the Garden of Eden when He created Adam, the First Jew, and Eve his wife. So the first man ever to be was Adam, and he was a Jew. Well, actually I guess he was 'The Jew.' In any case, how we get from the Garden of Eden to being an organized or at least identified group of slaves living in Egypt is a long story. But, at this point, even before Moses we have these Jews living in persecution and slavery in Egypt. It would be my guess that they were side by side with a whole bunch of similarly engaged non Jews. For the most part it seems that in the beginning there was religious persecution. The dominant view was pagan or multiple gods. An Egyptian ruler, Ikhnaton, it seems came up with the notion of there being only one God, which I guess was he himself. Moses, via a legacy and tradition from Abraham, expanded this idea into a ONE God who was also invisible, and not a representative of the human form. Moses was kind of the Tom Paine of his time I guess. He is credited by one historian that I've read as being the first Jewish labor leader. He organized Jewish brick layers working for the Pharaoh to go on strike.
We continue with pagan rulers persecuting non-believers, of which the Jews were but one of many. This seems to go right up to the time of Constantine who then performs the miracle of turning the Christians into the persecuting class. At this point it seems that the Jews are the only living dissenters, or the main group who persist in denying that Jesus Christ had once again returned God to a human status of an Ikhnaton. My guess would be that there were a slew of other minorities who didn't accept this dogma, but the Jews seem to stand out in their non-conformity on this issue at that time. So it seems that they took a pretty good beating.
As time went on the Christians got more and more belligerent and not only beat up on Jews because they denied the fundamental principle of their Christian polytheistic notions of faith, but even went so far as to label the Jews as the one true God's murderer. From there on there was a number of centuries of back and forth with regards to the Jews from the dominant Christians. Then, with great luck for the Jews, the Moslems came along and then a few centuries later the Christians even began arguing among themselves. True to human form they began to unmercifully kill one another. For a good time after that it seemed pretty much a free for all. It is hard to determine an exact body count for the purposes of determining an overall winner. The Jews being sort of a neutral in these arguments, just kind of migrated around to whoever seemed the most understanding, or at least the most occupied in killing somebody else. It seems that the bottom line with regards to hatred and persecution of the Jews stems from religious opinion and disagreement.
As time went on the Jews, like the American Indian, kept being pushed into territory steeped in gold, silver, bingo parlors and gambling casinos - their ostracism actually becoming their benefactor.
First in the Christian Feudal system there was not much room for a middle class. The Princes had their castles and the peasants had their hoes and rakes. The Princes wanted to keep things that way. They didn't want the peasants learning to do anything other than till the soil, tend their sheep and pay their taxes. But who would make the hoes and the rakes and do all of those little cleaver things that the peasants didn't have time for? The Princes in their desire to keep the peasants barefoot and pregnant farmed out these middlemen tasks to the Jews. As time went on the Jews learning from the Princes, I would guess, also began to prosper off the labor of the peasants, and the peasants didn't like it one bit. Eventually they took these Jewish areas over for themselves. Before you knew it there was a struggling middle class, and the Princes were now in trouble.
After the Jews got pushed out of this area, they were then backed into the money business. It seems that the religious morality of the day felt that loaning money and charging interest on that money was sinful. The Jews were then once again pushed into another lucrative business, or a business that they made lucrative. In any case, they prospered once again, while all the while living as outcasts, and being considered by the Christian community as degenerate and inferior. By the time Adolf came along a whole tradition of stereotypes and prejudices had been saddled onto the Jews. Adolf took these stereotypes and prejudices and elevated them to a new intensity. It does seem that all of the adaptations of the Jews that were necessitated by their minority status over the centuries in their struggle for survival, (separateness, clannishness, secretiveness, unwholesome living standards, their peculiar religious beliefs, their ability to earn and hide their money from the community at large, intermarriage, their non-national attitude along with their international connections with fellow Jews who had settled elsewhere) were all now turned against them, and defined as evil and un-Christian and therefore un-Godly and finally the ultimate in un-Godliness - demon-like.
But Adolf had a whole slew of reasons for hating the Jews. It was not only their lack of Christianity, their Christ killing tendencies, and the fact that they were too damn smart and prosperous for their own good. They were also the November criminals, who with their anti-nationalistic, unpatriotic bolshevist, communist babble, had undermined the War effort and turned the German people against themselves. They were the leaders and wielders of the dagger that had stabbed every loyal German in the back. They had turned Germany into an occupied country of slaves and the defeated and dejected. They made the sacrifices of him and his comrades on the battlefields of World War I, a thing of disgrace and shame. For these reasons and possibly other psychological and personal feelings that I have not completely investigated, he determined that this whole race of Jews could and should be exterminated.
I can only believe that he got his love for killing from his indoctrination, conditioning, personal experience, and "on the job training" in World War I. Why one experiences killing, murder and horror and embraces it, while another has the very same experiences and is repulsed by it, I attribute to the 'Unknown.' Whether it is in the genes, the soul, or the intellect will maybe someday be determined. I can only deal with the intellect and reason. Passion, hatred, revenge, retribution, irrationality, we all understand these things. We see them every day - the mind of the terrorist, the mass murderer, the criminal in general. But a bigger question is how are 'we the people' led to follow and conform to the teachings of the irrational and insane among us? How did Adolf convince a whole nation? It happened. And there are just too many similarities between them and us and me and you, for my liking.
How he did it? How he convinced and intimidated others? Who provided his financial support? What circumstances led to the success of his brand of insanity? What can we do to avoid a repeat of this in our future?
As with everyone's life story, but for a turn here or a twist there, Adolf might never have been. Winston Churchill, in "The Gathering Storm" points out numerous intervals along the path of the Gathering Storm at which Adolf could have been stopped, and the strong possibility that he may have even been removed from office. But he wasn't, and as time passed he got more supporters and individuals who went along with his brutal interpretation of existence.
I am personally convinced that more important than Adolf's personality, or his philosophy, or his public speaking ability, and all other factors that are attributed to his success, including his hypnotic and mesmerizing capacities, without monetary backing Adolf would have been just another street corner, soapbox political philosopher.
The War circumstance provided an enthusiastic listening audience in the disgruntled war veterans, but there can be no doubt that the German disposition towards Militarism, and anti-Semitism was historically well established. In other words, Adolf didn't say anything that the German people weren't historically accustomed to hearing. The reconstruction of the German military industrial complex was well under way long before Adolf hit the big time. He did bully and push his way to become the leader of the disorganized masses, but from there he was selected and carried into the upper ranks of the establishment. I certainly don't think that Adolf was a Swingali who molded the putty of the German people into his own creation. He was a traditional, conservative spokesmen from the German political right, who did his best to read his people wishes, and provide to their ears what he thought that they wanted to hear. Nevertheless, without the influx of big money, and 'little' money initially, he would have gone nowhere. For my dollar, the real story of Adolf Hitler lies in the question; Who financed Adolf Hitler. These people are the real war criminals of World War II. From my point of view, they are still at large and have never been brought to justice. At this moment I do not look at these people as the innocent victims of a surreptitious and mysterious demon. These people should have their names and their positions defined in the history books of this last century. I hope at least that one day their names and reputations will be brought before the world and the nefarious part that they played in our history will be made public. I have the feeling that when this information is made public the revelation will be shocking, and this type of information will give us more incite into the question of - Why War? - than all of our social, psychological, and philosophical inquiries to date.
The Fact of Bolshevism as being a major stepping stone or prop used in the ascendancy of Adolf, I don't think can be denied. Communist Marxist Socialism and the Russian Revolution are possibly the main ingredients in Adolf's formula for success. Fighting Communism provided Adolf with his rhetoric and political platform, and more than likely the sources for his campaign financing.
Two areas of inquiry that I intend to pursue are 1) Who financed Adolf, and where his money came from. And 2) The influences of Marxism and the Socialist movement on World War I.
My questions are, was World War I a classist war? A War precipitated by the wealthy and the super wealthy as an attempt to stem the tide of rising Marxist-Socialism throughout the world? Secondly, if this is true, was World War II only more of the same? When World War I failed in its preventative attempt to stem the tide of social, political reformation via the seeming success of Russian Bolshevism, along with the German November Revolution, and the leftist labor movements agitating all over the world? Did those whose security was directly threatened, namely the "rich and the wealthy" perpetrate and precipitate World War II also? Adolf Hitler merely being their front man, turned nemesis? The Cold War then being merely the logical perpetuation of the established pursuit of the "rich and the famous" to quell and silence the opposition with propaganda as opposed to bombs and bullets, temporarily?
If this in fact be the case, then realizing this how do we go about creating a philosophy or understanding of these passions that will lead to a peaceful reconciliation for mankind? I think that even knowing the worst, a possible peaceful solution is possible. The real problems come from being misinformed and trying to perpetuate a lie. I believe that it is necessary to come to the bottom of the truth because without the truth as a goal and guide all paths lead in circles around nowhere.
I am certainly not naive enough to believe that Joseph Stalin was just a nice guy who was misunderstood by right wing paranoids. But F.D.R., I have read, felt that Stalin was a man that could be dealt with, while Truman and his backers thought otherwise.
Our struggles with Communism have led us down a very confusing path. If my guess is correct we supported a host of horrors in this cause. This support began with Adolf Hitler because of his anti-Russian, anti-Communist position. We all know today what kind of a man Adolf was. We then backed Chiang kai-shek in China because he was anti-Communist. He, according to History, turned out to be not only incompetent, but deceptive, underhanded, ruthless, and corrupt. Even General Marshall advised Truman to dump that bum.
We then went to Sigmon Rey in Korea, which again seemed to be a rather disgraceful choice. We followed that with Batista in Cuba, a man who had turned Cuba into a Gambling Casino and whorehouse for the super wealthy all over the world, but especially the United States. Somewhere along this anti-communist path we had the C.I.A. install the Shar of Iran in that country - a man who, as we are all well aware today, did not win the good will and loving support of his people. We seemed to have acted in a similar manner in Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Then, of course, do I even need to mention the Diem regime in Vietnam, or Marcos in the Philippines. I imagine that if I knew more of our past foreign policy I could add more names to this list. We also have an organization today, that again because of this anti-Communist attitude, has sapped us of any moral high ground on almost any issue - the C.I.A. This little group has accomplished and participated in everything from assassinations to torture. They are even suspect of murders and assassinations in our own country, possibly even an involvement in the killing of a president of the United States. This type business going back to, at least, the Eisenhower and Nixon administration. Kennedy, who followed, seemed to have no problem when it came to these type tactics.
My point is why are we not arguing with Communism and Socialism on an intellectual level, rather than pursuing these horrible alternatives supposedly in the name of freedom. Whose freedom?
Historically? Theologically? Philosophically?
Historically I don't think that it can be denied that Adolf was a traditional Christian in his outlook. In the tradition of say Constantine, Philip Augustus, St. Louis IX, Edward I, Ferdinand and Isabella, Martin Luther, Philip II of Spain, Maria Theresa of Austria, Frederick II of Prussia, Elizabeth Petrovna of Russia, Alexander III of Russia, Nicholas II of Russia, Fredrick II and Wilhelm II of Germany. We only have to look briefly at the reigns of these Christian rulers and the Christian Crusades, and the Christian Inquisition, to understand that there has always been an anti-Semetic and belligerent faction to the notion of historical Christianity. Somehow this always seems to get forgotten when we examine the motivation behind Adolf. We would like to make him out as some sort of anomaly as opposed to 'the same old, same old,' but the facts are otherwise. Certainly he was a belligerent Christian traditionalist in his attitude towards Jews, and possibly militarism and aggression ...onward Christian soldiers! don't we forget. The evidence of Christianity in their Nazi movement is also evident in today's position of right wing racial extremist who always seem to have "Christian" as a part of their title.
Philosophically, Adolf is always teemed up with Nietzsche. He was certainly an egotist, and took great pride in himself and his personal achievements. Ayn Rand, right wing Christian and Moral Majority supporters, Capitalistic individualists and even the Republican Party stalwarts would have a great deal of difficulty separating themselves philosophically from Adolf. Much of their defenses would undoubtedly be in matters of degree and not substance. I don't think that Adolf was as much a philosopher as he was a pragmatic politician and power seeker. It is also certain that he had or thought of himself as having some sort of messianic mission. This becomes more than evident in his eventually proclaiming himself Fuhrer and requiring the army to vow its allegiance to him personally, as opposed to the State, or the Nation. He was a modern day Caligula, or Alexander, equal in ambition, and madness.
I think that analyzing this work has been a good experience for me. It has certainly put a lot of things in perspective, and I hope for you. My guess is that there will be much for people to disagree with in this work. Yet, I don't think that I have made any connection that is not corroborated logically and reasonably, and with backing historically.
Book two of Mein Kampf would involve another five hundred pages of analysis, but until and if I find someone in the future interested in publishing this work, I think that I will continue with other endeavors. Adolf has certainly been a trip, one that mankind would have been better off without. Unfortunately, there he is and here he is today, in all of our arguments, in our politics, in our religions, in our military attitudes, and in our moral judgments. These are facts which I think we should all be aware of, and possibly keep in our view as we make our decisions and policies in the future. If we can bring ourselves to an awareness of our disagreements with Adolf, we can't help but be heading in the right direction. It is unfortunate that far too many of us defy Adolf as a mad man and manic, but mouth his rhetoric in our daily lives. Just as many a Christian praises Jesus as the Prince of Peace all day Sunday and then wreck havoc against his teachings all week long. Demonizing Adolf, in my opinion, has had the same effect as the divination of Jesus Christ. In a way, it pigeon-holed, compartmentalized and dissipated what each of them really had to say. It turns them both into types of gods, as opposed to very human philosophers with very human messages to convey to their contemporaries.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Carol and Her Cast Net
By Richard E. Noble
Being an Eastpointer, of course, requires knowledge of both cooking and smoking mullet but it doesn't end there. You have got to know how to catch it also.
A traditional, non-commercial method for catching mullet is via a cast net. Cast netting for mullet is an old Eastpointer and Franklin County tradition. My wife Carol was not satisfied learning to catch mullet by throwing a cast net. She wanted to learn to make her own cast net too. And she did.
I really don't remember how long it took her to hand tie this net but it was a long time - a year anyway. She would sit in our camper, or outside by the campfire with her weaving tools and knot by knot tie this throw net. I was not convinced that she would ever really finish it - but she did.
And on this one auspicious Sunday afternoon we went over to Battery Park in Apalach and meandered out onto the pier to give Carol's new cast net a try. My old buddy Ronald the Redneck just happened to be out there with a pretty good Sunday afternoon crowd. I told him all about Carol hand crafting her net. He took a look at it and was mighty impressed.
Carol had been practicing throwing the net. She had finally mastered the technique. She could toss it and make it spread out pretty well on the front lawn. She was quite proud of herself.
So she got herself into the proper position. She had a portion of the net up over her shoulder and the weight line between her teeth and she gave it the old sashay and tossed that thing right out there.
It spread perfectly. It looked beautiful as it floated through the air and then settled on the surface of the water and started sinking rapidly. She had done it perfectly - except for one tiny detail. She forgot to loop the retrieving pull rope around her wrist. So, in effect, she had just thrown her net away. When I saw the rope handle out there floating, I looked at my wife. Her face was twisted in distress. "Richard! You've got to get it honey?" she pleaded.
How the heck was I supposed to get that darn thing? I had no idea but within a few seconds I was leaping off the pier and into the drink. I remember seeing a tiny piece of the handle of the green colored pull rope momentarily on the surface. I tried to gage my leap off the pier with one arm stretched out to grasp the rope where it had last been.
You won't believe this but no sooner did I hit the water than I felt that tiny rope hit the palm of my hand. I had the darn thing. It was a miracle.
When I came back up to the surface I held the rope up in the air where everybody could see. We had a crowd there now and I got a big cheer.
But the water level was about 10 foot below the level of the pier. I swam over to a wooden piling and tried shimming myself up the pole. I got up the piling far enough that I could hand the rope up to my wife who was lying on her belly and reaching down over the edge of the pier. She was just able to get it and pull her net up. But Dick was still down there clinging to a piling.
I kept trying to shimmy my butt up that pole. I remember shimming up poles when I was a kid but that was when I weighed 42 pounds and not 242 pounds. I was going nowhere fast and it was a long swim down the channel to solid ground.
Ronald the Redneck then appeared over the edge. He bent over at the waist and stretched his hand down to me and said; "Grab ahold and I'll pull you out."
At first I thought I would do as he said but then it occurred to me that I weighed over 200 pounds, if I grabbed onto his hand with him bent over as he was, why I'd just pull him into the channel on top of me. There was no way that he could reach down from the position that he was standing and pull 200 pounds up onto the pier with one arm. I mean come on!
"Ronald," I said. "I know that you are a big old, strong, country boy but you can't pull me up there. I weigh as much as you do."
"Do you want out of there or don't you?" he said.
"I want out."
"Well then get ahold, like I told you."
I thought Ronald was nuts but I reached up and grabbed onto his hand.
I no sooner got hold of his hand than I was skidding and bouncing up on that pier. I got a sliver in my nose from sliding along so fast. I couldn't believe it.
I rolled over on the pier and I looked up at Ronald who was standing there with a big grin on his face.
"Ronald, if I ever doubt your word again, you just bring me back down to this pier and throw me back in.
"I'll do that," said Ronald. And I know that he will and I also know that he can.
Richard E. Noble is a Freelance Writer and has been a resident of Eastpoint for around thirty years. He has authored three books: A Summer with Charlie, Hobo-ing America, and Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother which are all listed on Amazon. If you would like to stock his books in your store, he can be contacted by emailing him at Richardedwardnoble@gtcom.net.