Thursday, July 29, 2010

Two Different Races

American Blacks Are Two Different Races


By Richard E. Noble

I was reading a columnist in one of our larger Florida newspapers the other day. The columnist was commenting on a "study" she had read. The study had to do with the American black population and their attitudes towards one another.

The columnist said that in this study it was pointed out that American blacks now think of themselves as coming from two different "races."

Supposedly, the black community is so divided that they have branched off into two different races. These two races are divided into Cosby Negroes and Ghetto Negroes.

Cosby Negroes, as you may have guessed, are represented in the successful and better off black populations. The “other race” of Negroes populate the Ghettos and slums and are poor.

First of all, I would like to see this study. It is very difficult for me to believe that any legitimate "study" would ever say such a thing. That a columnist would say such things is more than understandable.

But let us say just for the sake of hyperbole that such a study has taken place and that this is a legitimate finding - the finding being that American black people now consider that they are comprised of two different races.

No my friends, you are not of two different races. You have simply been overexposed to the very prominent human quantity called "elitism."

Elitism has been around for a very long time. It may be as old as human existence - maybe even as old as animal existence.

Elitism is not something new to the black community. One could get a good lesson in black elitism by reading even a brief history of the founding of the country of Liberia.

Liberia which was brought about by a tribe of white American goo-goos (good government advocates) who "set up" Liberia as a resettlement home for escaped American Negro slaves.

These new independent ex-American slaves immediately turned Liberia into a Southern style plantation with themselves in the leadership role and the native area black population as the slaves.

Elitism is the very natural notion of some animals that they are a step above other animals even those of their own type.

I had a cat who definitely thought herself above her kind. I originally named her Fluffy but after seeing her as she stooped to tolerate the other cats in our household, I re-named her Princess.

Horses are always being described in elitist terms - the thoroughbred who knows instinctively that he should be first in any race.

Most people think of human elitism as a quality belonging only to the wealthy. But this is not true. Of course it is very prominent within the class of the wealthy but I have met elitist living under bridges. Many elitist types end up very successful but other of this type can often be found behind prison walls.

I met this one fellow who had gone to prison for stealing automobiles, but he had an entirely different evaluation. He never stole anything he told me. He simply borrowed the autos. It was his convinced opinion that if there should be those who were riding from one place to another, he saw no reason why he should be excluded from that class. Any reasoning that excluded him from riding was bigotry and discrimination.

Consequently if he was walking someplace and there was a vehicle parked there along side the road, he would simply start the vehicle by one ingenious method or another and drive to his destination. He would return to his point of origin via another available vehicle.

I told him that he had been put in prison justifiably. He asked me to explain. I told him that I saw no difference between his actions and an individual who felt the same way as he did with regards to money and banks.

For example, banks are filled with money that no one is using. You could use some of that money. So you figure out an ingenious way to slip into the bank undetected and you take all the money you want. You don't keep the money, just as you didn't keep the car you "borrowed". You give the money to other people - in exchange for things that you want, of course. But what is wrong with spending money, you say. People spend money all the time. Some folks even consider spending money a good thing. Therefore, by your way of thinking, robbing a bank is a good thing to do and not a crime.

My ex-convict friend looked at me curiously and then with a rather strange grin said; You know I never looked at bank robbing in that light.

My conclusion is that elitism is not indigenous to a particular class or breed of creature. And a secondary conclusion is that elitism is not subject or deterred by reason or logic. It is instinctive and appears full-blown in all varieties of animals.

Clearly, judging by this new discovery within the black culture, Negroes have not been discriminated or overlooked by this particular natural antisocial phenomenon.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Preacher's Daughter

Lawrence – My Hometown

Martha, the Preacher’s Daughter

By Richard E. Noble

It is well documented throughout the annals of history that preacher’s daughters are often problematic for their fathers. I don’t know why this is so universally accepted but this phenomenon is not much debated – except by preachers. I know that many of my male friends have felt extremely “blessed” in having the good fortune as to have bumped into a preacher’s daughter, here and there, while diligently trying to traverse their “difficult” years – assuaging “that hard to be governed passion of youth” as Ben Franklin so aptly testified. Ben went on to state that he felt himself lucky to not have caught “distemper” or something even worse. Yes, yes how often I have heard my contemporaries whisper the very same ejaculation.

In most areas a preacher’s daughter usually accepts the direction laid before her by her father’s testimony. It is only in certain areas that they most often have disagreement.

Martha was her father’s daughter in 99% of his teachings. Her only real conflict came in dealing with the personal anxieties of young men while discussing life in the back seat of a ‘54 Ford or a ‘57 Chevy at a drive-in movie or other acceptable, popular locations.

In these situations her religious fervor was often dissipated by the persistence of a young man not so versed in the scriptures or moral philosophy. Martha was known to be a girl of few words and definite action. This was considered a good thing, if not a sure thing by most of the young men in the area.

But in this tale I am not going to get into those few areas where Martha disagreed with her daddy but rather I have chosen to discuss some of those areas where her faith and trust in the positions of her father were not lacking – automobile radiators for example.

A young friend of mine became extremely infatuated with Martha and certain of her many charms. He had convinced himself that her religious “hang-ups” were of minor significance and could be handled without much difficulty. For example, one could simply agree – until the lights went out and the movie started or whatever. My friend was doing quite well in this regard even to the point where he accepted her challenge to meet her father … at their home … adjacent to the church. This was worrisome to my pal.

“I don’t know,” he said. “This is kind of like making an appointment with God. I am supposed to go there, before God, and pretend that I am not screwing his daughter. And she is going to be standing there beside me pretending to be “unscrewed” herself. I don’t know. I’m worried,” he told me.

“Well first of all,” I said. “This guy is not God. He is just a preacher. He might be on a little better terms with God than you are but he ain’t going to know what is going on between you and Martha unless you give yourself away. Certainly Martha ain’t going to say anything … will she?”

“I don’t know. She would have to be crazy to do that … wouldn’t she?”

“I would think so. I would guess that you won’t have any problem.”

So the two of them met with God the father and there was no problem. In fact, after the meeting Martha asked Dad if she could borrow the car so that her and her new pal could go for a drive to the beach for a little fun in the sun. Dad smiled benignly and handed her the keys.

God the father’s car was a 59 Cadillac, fins and all … red and cream colored. It was heavenly. Martha drove. Martha was very excited about this whole business … extremely excited. When they finally pulled the heavenly chariot to the shore’s edge, Martha was sitting on the edge of rationality. She turned off the ignition and wanted to play “submarine” and take the ship under right there in the front seat of God the father’s 1959 red and cream with matching interior Cadillac car. My buddy absolutely and categorically refused. He felt that this would definitely be in the area of sacrilege or heresy and could be subject to burning at the stake or disemboweling at the least. In consequence, they rushed to the beach and discussed the nature of abstinence between two snuggly beach blankets. Their argument went back and forth and up and down but finally climaxed in a mutual agreement – two or three times.

The first portion of the ride home was very pleasant and relaxing but at about half the distance to home base, my pal noticed that the heat gauge on the Caddy was rising rather rapidly. He didn’t say anything until it entered the danger zone.

“Martha, the temperature gauge is getting over to hot.”

“It will be all right,” said Martha.

A few more miles down the road and the temperature gauge was looking serious.

“Martha, stop at the next gas station.”

“Why? We have plenty of gas,” said Martha.

“It is not the gas that I am worried about. It’s the temperature gauge. The car is overheating. We have got to stop and put some water in the radiator.”

“I have never had to do that before. Maybe the gauge is coo-coo. I wouldn’t worry about it.”

My friend was very nervous.

“Martha, we better pull over and let this thing cool down. I think I see smoke coming out from under the hood. There is something wrong with the radiator.”

“That is ridiculous. I have never had a problem with the radiator. Daddy always has the car checked and serviced. My father wouldn’t let me use the car if there was something wrong with it.”

“I am sure that your daddy didn’t know that there was something wrong with it when he gave it to us. But there is something wrong now.”

“I don’t think that there is anything wrong.”

“Yeah, well I do.”

“I’ll tell you what; let’s pray on it. I am sure that God will help and protect us. Repeat after me ... Oh Lord, my god…”

“Oh Lord, my God…”

“Please don’t let anything be wrong with our radiator and allow us to get home safely.”

“Martha, God is not a mechanic. Henry Ford invented the automobile not Jesus.1 You have got to stop at the next gas station.”

Martha didn’t believe in stopping … she believed in praying. She prayed aloud all the way home. Steam was pouring out from under the hood when they pulled into her drive. The temperature gauge was off the meter. When she shut off the ignition she turned to my buddy and smiled. “You see,” she said. “Nothing happened and we are home safe … oh ye of little faith.”

“Give me the damn keys!” my buddy demanded.

He grabbed a blanket and ran to the front of the car. The hood was so hot he could hardly touch it. He got the hood up. Everything was hissing and pissing all over. He tried to remove the radiator cap. He turned it ever so slightly with his hand wrapped in the blanket and it exploded. He jumped away from the car and watched.
Suddenly there was God the father behind him.

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph … have mercy. What in the name of all that is holy have you done?”

“We didn’t do anything, Daddy. It exploded by itself.2 We’re so lucky. I prayed us all the way home. And look here we are both safe and sound.”

“Get in the house Martha and go to your room.”

“Why, Daddy? We…”

“NEVER MIND WHY! Just do as I say and NOW!”

Martha burst into tears and went running into the house.

“What is the matter with you?” God the father said to my pal. “You just sat there and let Martha blow up my new Cadillac?”

“I asked her to pull over or to go to a gas station, but she wouldn’t. She said God would protect us. She prayed all the way home. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t tell her that God wouldn’t help us. That’s what she believes.”

“I know what she believes, boy. I taught her everything she knows.”


“Yes, really. But I let her go with you because you looked like you had a little damn common sense! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? Are you an idiot? Don’t you know that radiators need water? What am I supposed to do now?”

“Ahh … don’t worry about me, sir, I’ll just walk home.”

“You’ll walk home, well isn’t that wonderful. He’s going to walk home,” God the father said looking up toward the heavens. “‘Don’t worry about him,’ he says … ‘he will just walk home.’ Can you believe this Jesus?”3

My pal backed his butt out of the drive as quickly and softly as was reasonable.
In discussing this story over the years me and my buddy have both agreed. One can pray all he wants, but God is still not going to fill anybody’s radiator.

1 I know that Henry Ford did not invent the automobile. Please don’t interrupt me when I’m trying to think.
2 That is what she always said.
3 Need I say, once again, that there was no response?

Richard Edward Noble is a freelance writer and columnist. His local column, the Eastpointer, won the first place 2007 humor award from the Florida Press Association. He has published several books. All of his books can be viewed and purchased on Contact for bookstore discounts and volume sales.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Summer with Charlie

Book Review

By Christine Lewis

Christine Lewis is a journalist, researcher, writer, and photographer. This review by Christine appeared in the Merrimack Valley Magazine July/August edition 2010 along with the first chapter of the novel and a write-up about the author.

If memoirs are the reality TV of the literary world, self-published memoirs are the local cable TV version. The show could be raucously enjoyable, but who’d know to watch it? Such is the experience with a recently discovered gem of a book, A Summer with Charlie by ex-Lawrencian Richard Edward Noble. Published by Noble in 2004, the book tells the story of a young man, Charlie who spends his last days with his boyhood friends at a Salisbury beach summer rental. Charlie has been discharged from the Navy, sent home to die and wishes above all to be “treated normally.” Eight young men do their best to accommodate Charlie during the summer of 1961 and in return receive early lessons on how to live and how to die with grace.

Noble begins the story by providing a humorous background of growing up with the street corner gang in the city of Lawrence. The reader is introduced to the crazy hothouse characters that populate the local YMCA, a hangout more hospitable for the maturing young men. There’s “Harry the Walker” who mysteriously materializes everywhere, bearing a spooky resemblance to an Alfred Hitchcock cameo. Or “Fat George” who shares his encyclopedic knowledge of dirty jokes for hours at a time, never telling the same joke twice. As appealing as these characters may be, the siren song of Salisbury Beach draws the gang to its shores, providing the perfect troika of summer fun: booze, babes and beach.

Charlie reunites with his gang at the Y and asks to be included in the rental when he hears there’s one bed left. The gang says yes but with apprehension: born and raised as Catholics, they want to have their fun and not worry about eternally damning Charlie’s soul due to their debauchery. Charlie spit shines the cottage, the streets and indirectly, the guys with a quiet, unassuming charm. Neighbors begin speaking with the guys, inviting them over for backyard barbecues, even asking them to briefly babysit their kids. Young women are no longer fearful of walking by the cottage or attending parties hosted by the guys. All of this is met with shock on the part of the group, who still like to think of themselves as a wild wolf pack.

While the females are featured indirectly in this story, there’s never any doubt that the women are strong and in control. Niki, the local striptease artist, is clearly capable of holding her own with this crowd. Helen, a young woman who falls in love with Charlie, is artfully fleshed out through her gestures and actions, while the dialog, strictly Lawrencian, belongs to the guys.

The reader is introduced to the inevitability of Charlie’s death in the first chapter, the author surprises instead with how Charlie’s final days lead this group together to manhood. This is a coming of age story that is both tragic and funny and charmingly local.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lawrence – My Hometown

Big Town – Small Town

By Richard E. Noble

I spent approximately half my life growing up in a big city, Lawrence, Ma., and the other half here in the small town of Eastpoint, Fl. There were probably more people in a one mile radius of my original tenement apartment than there is in the entire Franklin County. I thought it would be interesting to compare the two areas and the lifestyles.

Both of my hometowns were/are poor communities. I understand that the residents in either of these hometowns take offense at being classified as “poor.” But if the historical record of either community is checked, the facts belie the opinions and prejudices of the residents. I don’t know the present status of Franklin County but any record book that I have looked into will show Franklin County historically as among the poorest counties in Florida. My other hometown, Lawrence, is and has been one of the poorest cities in America since the late 1880s.

The residents of either of my hometowns will claim that money or per capita income is not everything. There are other values and qualities that make their respective communities worthwhile and even better and happier than places that boast of more money and greater prosperity. I agree. If I didn’t I wouldn’t have remained in this community for the past 30 years.

So both communities were/are poor. I point this out to make note that poverty has different faces. I have no doubt that if all the poor living in Franklin County were shipped up to my first hometown, in the Merrimack Valley, they would crawl all the way back to the poverty of Franklin County rather than to try and exist in the poverty of that big city. There is a big difference between being small town, country poor and being big city, ghetto poor.

I’m sure if I took photographs showing the basic poverty of both communities and published each in the opposing community’s local newspapers, both towns would recognize the squalor of the other while seeing nothing unusual about their own. It’s the old frog in the heating water, syndrome.

Comparing the politics is also interesting. I know that people in Franklin County are often frustrated by their local politics. They scream corruption, nepotism, wasteful spending, and a lack of transparency. In the big city the corruption is amplified a thousand times, nepotism and job favoritism is everywhere and the lack of transparency borders on the invisible.

In the small town much of the local news travels around by word of mouth – a little card on the post office door. In the big city a little card on the post office door probably wouldn’t even be read by the busy postmaster.

Traditionally both the small town and the big city depended on area and local newspapers for their regional information. Local newspapers were once a very important source of information for the small town and the big city alike. Things are changing.

In my old hometown there was a local newspaper that was started in the 1860’s. It has a rich archive of local historical lore. Today that local newspaper, I have been told, is owned by a rich millionaire or billionaire who owns and operates a chain of newspapers around the nation. My old hometown was an industrial mill town. The American industrial revolution began in the area. The town was established in 1840 and it was built around a textile mill. In fact, it was settled and populated in preparation for the mill and the manufacturing. It was a heavy blue-collar, worker community with strong union roots and traditions. One of the biggest labor strikes in U.S. history took place there in 1912. It was called the Bread and Roses Strike.
The paper which was locally owned for over a century and published to reflect the neighborhood and the city’s local values is now owned by a man who was born and raised in South Carolina (that’s better than China, I suppose). A man, I have been told, who has no interest in the local values or in many of the differing communities. I am told that he is there promoting his personal propaganda. He covers his editorial opinions with a light sprinkling of local color.

The newspaper business in Franklin County is the very same. The one local newspaper finally sold out to a giant media manipulator. The local paper is heavily slanted to the right, as would be expected. Poor folk don’t own newspapers.

I worked for a number of years for an area-grown, small town media man. He lost more in the 15 years that he ran the newspaper than I earned in my lifetime.

Why did he do it? He had amassed a small fortune in his lifetime – mostly inheritance – and he used the paper as a tax write-off. Interesting to note: even though the paper was a tax write-off, he still wouldn’t pay his reporters and writers more than the minimum wage and no travel expenses – not even gas money. If a writer wanted to submit a commentary, if accepted, it was FREE. The writer’s only reward existing in the glory of publication – the ransom of ... a by-line.

Relationships with neighbors and making friends, is also interesting to compare.
I am still in regular contact with many of my old neighborhood friends – friends that I made in grade school, playing in the streets and hanging out on the street corners. The internet and the e-mail have helped out enormously in that regard. I actually write an e-mail column of memories and nostalgia that I send out to my old buddies and others in the area once a week.

Most of my buddies are in agreement that the friends they established in their childhood in the old neighborhood remain their closest personal relationships other than immediate family members, of course.

I find that somewhat interesting. One of my buddies who was very successful and well traveled confessed to me that his childhood buddies are still the ones he thinks most about. He considered most of the people that he met since leaving the old neighborhood, whether in business or neighbors, only acquaintances – some close acquaintances but acquaintances nonetheless. I’m in the same boat, sorta.

I made lifelong friends growing up in my old hometown and I think of one or another of them every day. But I was very happy to leave Lawrence and I don’t want to go back. To the contrary, I’ve enjoyed my years here in Franklin Country, friendless as it is.

But to be truthful, I would much rather be parked in a motor home or travel trailer somewhere in Oregon, Oklahoma, Texas, Michigan or anywhere – not knowing a soul. Small town or big town, I enjoyed the life of a vagabond/hobo best of all. There is something confining and restricting about living anywhere permanently. The more you know, the worse it gets – and I don’t read newspapers.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Hobo Philosopher

The Atomic Bomb

By Richard E. Noble

To our many veterans and World War II veterans in particular, an important transition has just taken place. Commander Tibbetts of Enola Gay fame has died just recently. Both he and President Harry S Truman expressed their opinion that they never lost a night of sleep over their part in dropping Atomic Bombs on Japan to conclude World War II.

The controversy concerning dropping the Atomic Bomb on Japan is over whether we should have killed a few hundred thousand Japanese civilians or let an equal number of American soldiers die on the shores and coast lines of the Japanese mainland, right?

Wrong. According to the history books that I have been reading and I have been reading no secret documents, or CIA hidden files. I have been reading the basic books by a variety of writers and historians. It seems to be common historical knowledge that the Japanese had been trying to surrender prior to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They had petitioned the Russians to act as an intermediary for them. They had the correct suspicion that after Pearl Harbor, the Bataan Death March, and their treatment of captured Americans, the U.S. of A. might not be too sympathetic.

In any case, the Russians who still remembered their own Japanese sneak attack a few wars earlier (Russo/Japanese War, February 8, 1904 at Port Arthur) were really not overly tender hearted with regard to the "Japs" either. BUT, it is said that the message that the Japanese wanted to surrender was conveyed to the Americans and to President Truman and his advisors. But the Japanese had a stipulation to their surrender. They would only surrender if the Americans would promise not to humiliate the Emperor. Supposedly Harry Truman was informed of this request, and it was denied on the grounds that the U.S. would accept nothing less than an unconditional surrender.

Next a group of scientists requested that Harry drop a practice Atomic bomb on some deserted spot, for the Japanese to observe, with the implicit message that you better look a' here, because this could be you. Supposedly Harry refused this request due to lack of time, money, and atomic bombs.

In any case, we all know what happened next. The United States goes down in the History books as the only country to ever nuke anybody.

A very interesting non-judgmental book depicting this horror is "Hiroshima" by John Hershey. Hershey makes no judgments about the decision but follows the tragic lives of several of the survivors from ground zero. The blast of the bomb actually melted the eyeballs of people and pealed the flesh from their faces – and these live corpses were still walking around days and weeks after the explosion. It is a difficult book to read but very worth while.

But war is Hell, and most World War II vets heartily agree with the decision – better them than me, they all justifiably hail. The only problem is that was not the choice. It would not have been them in either case, it seems.

One thing that bothers me about the whole deal is that after the bombs are dropped and the hated Japs surrender, does MacArthur go in, grab Hirohito by the ears, bring him to the top of the tallest temple in town and throw the little bugger off, head first as we could have expected would have been done to Adolf?

No. No he doesn't. In fact, Hirohito doesn't even have to appear at the signing of the surrender. Hirohito doesn't even have to announce to the Japanese people that he is not God, or God's immediate descendent. He does make such an announcement later, on his own, and without provocation, but nobody forces him. On top of all that he gets a "pension" from the U.S. Government (via the American taxpayers). Can you imagine if we gave Adolf Hitler a pension so that he could continue living in the style that he was accustomed?

But why didn't they execute the Emperor?

MacArthur told Truman that the occupation would be much simpler and less troublesome if the Emperor were treated with respect and dignity. Humiliating the Japanese Emperor would have been comparable to crucifying Jesus in the eyes of the Japanese people, said Mac.

Now that seems all right to me also, but if that was going to be the attitude why didn't Harry accept or acknowledge the overtures made by the Japanese to the Ruskies in the first place? And why didn't Mac tell the president of this opinion in the first place? No more Americans would have died, hundreds of thousands of non-combatant Japanese civilians (old women and children) would not have been incinerated, and the United States of America would not go down into the History books as the only people in the History of mankind to ever use a weapon of such indiscriminate destructive power and horror.

The latest book that I have read on this subject by Gar Alperovitz analyzes this whole thing in detail. On the back of the book Mr. Alperovitz has quotes from General Eisenhower, Admiral Leahy and General "Hap" Arnold who all made their opinions known to Truman that they disagreed with the use of the Bomb. They all thought that it was unnecessary and a disgrace to the name and reputation of the United States.

This book (along with many others) suggests the notion that the bomb was actually dropped for political reasons. Chief among those political reasons being the basic cold war, Iron Curtain/anti-Communist attitudes proliferated by Churchill, Byrnes, Truman and other right-wing conservatives and liberals of the day. They wanted to frighten Stalin and intimidate the pro-Communists Asian continent.

The bomb cost 2 billion to produce and there is also mention of the economic justification to the American public. This seems rather ludicrous when we analyze the expenditures of war these days and the "justification" of these expenditures to the American taxpayer. What justification?

I guess that we could say that this is all ancient history and so it is. I just wish that both Harry Truman and Commander Tibbetts didn't say that their parts in this human tragedy didn't even cost them one night loss of sleep. Whether it was necessary to save American lives or not, it should have cost any human being a few nights of lost sleep. It does me and I had nothing to do with it. To drop a bomb that incinerates hundreds of thousands of civilians – old men, women and children – I should think is a horrible burden for anyone to sleep with.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Mein Kampf

Chapter 16

National Socialists German Workers Party

[This is an excerpt from my upcoming book "An Analysis of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf" written by "The Hobo Philosopher," Richard Edward Noble]

Next Adolf gets into the nitty-gritty of developing his National Socialists German Workers Party.

"...I spoke for thirty minutes, and what formally I had felt in my mind, without knowing it somehow, was now proved by reality..."

Without knowing it somehow? Give us a little break here Adolf! So Adolf found that for some reason strangers in an audience listened to him more so than those who knew him personally. Was that because of how he said it, or because of what he had to say or both?

If only he had discovered this ability as a small child and was led to acting as a career – acting on the theatrical stage rather than acting on the political stage that is. Ah, but for the small twists of fate.

I wish he discovered singing, instead of public speaking. Maybe we would be playing his recordings today, instead of cleaning up the dead bodies and the tortured and twisted psyches of those that he left behind in the wake of his oratory. Kind of makes one want to do away with oratory altogether, doesn't it?

Sometimes Adolf makes me laugh in his 'astute' observations. He criticizes his little party group for its rather feeble early attempts at developing an audience for their cause.

"...Each of us turned to his circle of friends in order to move the one or the other to visit one of these meetings.The success was a miserable one.I still remember how in the first period I myself once carried out about eighty of these bills, and how in the evening we waited for the masses of the people that were to come.With one hour's delay the chairman had finally to open the meeting. We were again seven men, the old seven..."

Upon reading this, we, the readers are supposed to laugh haughtily with our hero Adolf (the great man, the great speaker, Adolf the Great) at his inauspicious beginnings. But who the heck is Adolf Hitler in the year 1923? He is certainly no General Luedendorf. He is a nobody but yet a legend in his own mind even at this point. Here without any doubt is an example of the power of positive thinking. You are what you think you are. Once again this whole book appears to me as a political advertisement. He and his ghost writer Rudolf Hess are putting out their pre-election campaign book, just like our politicians of today. I wonder if he was the first to use this technique.

He mentions two men who were his humble associates at the beginning, Herr Harrier, a journalist, and Herr Drexler, a simple workman. This is interesting. These are the two men who supplied the initial funds, the enthusiasm, the cause, and the impetus for the whole effort, but Adolf goes out of his way here to belittle their importance, and their leadership qualities. Herr Harrier was a well educated journalist, but 'not a speaker for the masses'. And as for Herr Drexler;

"...who was then chairman of the local group of Munich, was a simple workman, as a speaker equally little important, and for the rest he was not a soldier. He had not served with the Army, also during the war he was not a soldier, so that he, whose entire nature was weak and uncertain, lacked the only school which made it possible to turn uncertain and weak characters into men..."

Well, that is quite a mouthful with regards to the man who seems to have given Adolf his start in his political career – the man whose name appears on nearly every one of the posters that were printed to advertise Adolf's speeches to this date. And I presume the man who paid for not only the posters but the hall for the evening. I can see this poor worker, Anton Drexler, running around these meeting halls with his hat turned up, begging his other poor, stupid, non-soldier-weaklings workers for their few coins in an attempt to finance Adolf the Great's next speech. It seems quite obvious that at this point Adolf had picked up some new financial backers and was about to dump his low class supporters from the old neighborhood.

Far from being a criminal at this time in his life, he was more of a celebrity. Little women from the upper crust thought he was just the berries, a German patriot and hero. They brought baskets of bread and cheese to his cell, and giggled about how brave a man he was for standing up to that horrible makeshift government set up by the allies, and those Bolshevik bullies.

"...The reds! In the year 1920, in many parts of Germany, a national meeting that dared to direct an appeal to the great masses and to extend an invitation publicly to visit it was simply impossible. The participants at such a meeting were dispersed and driven away with bleeding heads. The mere name 'German Workers Party' had an irritating effect. Terror is not broken by power of mind, but by terror.
“Subject; Brest-Litovsk and Versailles. Four gentlemen appeared as speakers. I myself spoke for almost an hour, and the success was greater than on the occasion of the first demonstration. An attempted disturbance was at once nipped in the bud by my comrades. The disturbing individuals were thrown downstairs with their heads knocked about..."

Ah yes, the art of political speaking in Munich. Interesting to note – this is one German talking about the treatment of fellow Germans who disagree with his point of view.

"...On the whole, the entire winter of 1919-20 was one single fight to strengthen the faith in the victorious power of the young movement and to increase it to that fanaticism which then, in the form of faith, is able to move mountains..."

And there it is! Adolf is a preacher, and fanatic Nazism is the faith. What are the basic tenets of this new faith? – nationalism, race, and anti-Semitism. To boost these up a notch, could we redefine these principles as pride, egotism, and hate?
In relation to the Faith espoused by Jesus Christ for example, what did we have? Of course, in place of hate, Jesus preached love; in place of egotism, Jesus preached humility; in place of pride, Jesus taught respect.

These two are pretty much opposites. So once again Adolf is up to his Hegelian tricks. He suggests for his moral standards the antithesis to Jesus.

But is the antithesis to the teachings of Jesus, the antithesis to the teachings of Christianity? Was Charlemagne any different than Adolf Hitler? Were the Popes and the Christian leaders of the Crusades any different than Adolf Hitler? Was Alexander the Great, great or simply a mass murderer? Adolf speaks from a unique view of history. To him it matters little how many people or nations a great leader slaughters, what really matters is how many pyramids he leaves behind.

Once again, historians take note. Maybe we need a different emphasis in our history books on what is truly great. Even today in our own country we study presidents who presided over times of war and talk of them as great. Could it not be that these wars were the failures of these presidents, and maybe, just maybe we should be studying those presidents under whose administration nothing of so called note happened? Maybe nothing happened because they were smart enough to prevent it from happening in the first place. We say for example what would the Nation have done without such a great man as Abraham Lincoln?

Could it be that without Abraham Lincoln there may not have been a Civil War? Without Washington no American Revolution? Without Wilson, no U.S. involvement in World War I?

Even without Wilson there would have been a World War I, and without Roosevelt there would have been a World War II. How about Truman? Maybe no Korean War? Without Johnson, no Vietnam war? Well, whatever, it does leave room for thought and investigation into the lives of our so-called lesser presidents for the future.

"..But a man, who in this world does not succeed in being hated by his adversaries, seems to me of little value as a friend..."

Well, this sounds to me another of Adolf rationalizations but he does have a point.
From my point of view it seems to me that any man who says anything on any subject will be hated by somebody. Jesus Christ you will remember had said that a man should love his neighbor as himself. Even if this neighbor becomes his enemy and strikes him on the right cheek, he should turn the left cheek also. This man was brutally tortured and killed for uttering such incendiaries. But maybe it wasn't these lines that got him into all the trouble. It might have been some of those remarks about a rich man passing through the eye of a needle or that one about giving away all of your possessions and come and follow me; or helping the poor; or sharing what you have with others. Who knows?

In any case, Adolf is implying here that if a man speaks his mind he will make enemies.

I think that a man will make enemies even if he doesn't speak his mind. But I do not consider anybody a friend or a hero because he has amassed an army of detractors and hateful enemies, and I truly admire people who are able somehow to speak their minds and somehow even make friends of some of their enemies. The more that I read Winston Churchill, and maybe I haven't read enough, the more I am impressed. He really had a way with words, and seemed to be able to say some of the sharpest things to his opponents and still maintain a respectful attitude. This is something I would want to learn myself. I guess it is what they call class. Tom Paine on the other hand was not so good at this technique, and, it seems, either is Adolf.

"...But it makes no impression whatsoever on such a quack that in a peoples' assembly a Demosthenes can be silenced if only fifty idiots supported by their talk and their fists, won’t let him speak..."

Gee wiz, Adolf Hitler, the Demosthenes of the 20's, 30's and 40's, had trouble giving his great orations. I wonder why fifty idiots didn't show up at the speeches of Demosthenes and bust a few heads? You know coming from a bad neighborhood and slum myself, I have the impression here that Adolf was trying to give his political speeches in the wrong neighborhoods. Of course, I do remember Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Robert McNamara and even Ronald Reagan having a similar problem during their political careers. Obviously, whatever Adolf was saying at the time was unpopular to a lot of people. When I read some of the posters put out by Adolf Hitler at the time, they remind me of the stories about John L. Sullivan walking into a local tavern, jumping up on a table and announcing, My name is John L. Sullivan, and by God, I can whip any man in the house.

Adolf's speeches were to say the least incendiary. I can't imagine that at nearly every turn he wasn't arrested for disturbing the peace. If you think that Malcholm X and Eldridge Cleaver had some bad things to say about the government under which they lived, you should have heard Adolf.

Like McCarthy, Adolf got very personal. He named names and pointed his finger. He made accusations. He slandered, ridiculed, and accused people of treason and cowardice.

This next statement is interesting;

"...A man who knows a thing, who realizes a given danger, and who sees with his eyes the possibility of a remedy, has the damned duty and obligation to work, not in 'silence,' but to stand up publicly against the evil and for its remedy..."

But, of course, if you happen to be standing up against the opinions of Adolf you are a coward, a traitor to your homeland, not to mention an idiot who deserves to be thrown down a flight of stairs, by some ex-soldiers who know how to talk with their fists and aren't afraid to bust a few heads.

And here is the basic formula for success.

"...propaganda; influence on the great masses, concentration on a few points, continuous repetition of the latter, self-assured and confident wording of the texts in the form of apodictic assertion, greatest persistency in spreading, and patience in awaiting the effect..."

And today we have the thirty second TV spot, the one liner confidently spoken over and over and over. Is this something that Adolf thought up, and has since been adopted by our politicians, or is this just the way that it has always been?

"...At 7:30 the opening was to take place. At 7:15 I entered the banquet hall of the Hofbrauhaus at the Platzl in Munich, and my heart nearly burst with joy. The enormous room, for then it appeared to me like that, was overfilled with people, shoulder to shoulder, a mass numbering almost two thousand. And above all-those people had come to whom we wished to appeal. Far more than half of the hall seemed to be taken by communists and independents ... After the first speaker had finished, I took up the word. A few minutes later interrupting shouts came down like showers of hail, violent clashes occurred in the hall, and a handful of the most faithful war comrades and other adherents were struggling with the disturbers and only by and by were they able to restore peace. I was able to continue. After half an hour applause gradually began to drown out the shouting and calling.

“When after almost four hours the hall began to empty and the crowd, shoulder to shoulder, like a slow stream, began to push, to scramble, and pour towards the exit, then I knew that now the principles of a movement which never could be forgotten walked out into the German people.

“A fire had been lighted, and out of its flames there was bound to come some day the sword which was to regain the freedom of the Germanic Siegfried and the life of the German nation.

“And side by side with the coming rise, I sensed that there walked the goddess of inexorable revenge for the perjured act of the 9 of November, 1918..."

And there we have the end of book one of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.

For me it has been a worthwhile endeavor. I think that I have a better understanding of Adolf Hitler than I have ever had before. Many of my questions have been answered and many new ones have been raised.

Adolf was a self-styled Messiah, preaching a faith. He came from out the Germanic Woods like the fabled Siegfried to rescue his people from world domination. If only he had turned to the theater rather than politics.

World War I and his experience as a soldier formed the basis of his moral thinking and from what I can see formed his adult personality. It was certainly the most traumatic experience of his life. I've read several accounts or analyses of Adolf's life and it seems humorous to me that so many great thinkers, psychologists, journalist and writers can concentrate so heavily on Adolf's childhood, or his love life or lack of love life, on his relationship with his mother and his father or siblings, and totally ignore World War I.

I think this is a great insight into our culture. War is accepted as normal and everyday. Watching men die by the millions, smelling their rotting carcasses heaped in front of you as a protective wall; seeing the dead; watching them die sometimes slowly, and other times in an instant; seeing, witnessing, and possibly participating in the killing of children and the raping of women; these are not considered traumatic enough to alter one's psyche, or change one's personality?
War is so much a part of the everyday nature of man that like the Mailbox and the Campbell's soup can, it becomes inconsequent and an invisible part of the background. War not only arranges men's lives but changes their souls. It is such a horrible experience that most men never recuperate from it. They live it over and over every day of their lives. Some rebel against it, some spend the remainder of their lives trying to justify their part in it, but I have never met a one who has experienced combat that has been able to totally put it aside.

Adolf's reaction is one man's alternative. He learned from the war to incorporate death and brutality as a part of the living cycle and even a part of God’s wisdom and direction. Dying on the battlefield for a cause of whatever nature seems much more glorious to him than willowing away at the hands of fate by way of old age, or purely natural causes. He has found a meaning for life in war. By war the race is purified, the superior justified, and brutality sanctified.

The authoritarian Military structure provides order to the chaos of the human relationship. Indecision makes one weak. It is better to make a positive, resounding, authoritative statement even if it is wrong, than to waver. The way to leadership is to seize it, and resist all challengers with a club. Murder and killing are not only justified but are actions performed in accordance and imitation of the Divine. God eventually kills everyone. To be like God is to seize the power over life and death, to put terror into the hearts of the timid and to kill the weak and impure, and imperfect. This is the example of God.

Peace can only be established by the power of the sword. There will be no peace for man until the world has one sole ruler. This ruler has no need of principle, only power. He should use whatever means or method within his abilities to become victorious and in the end when all is said and done, the world will not remember his misdeeds, only his achievements. History does not count bodies but buildings and pyramids, columns and coliseums, shrines and monuments.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Thomas Jefferson - Separation of Church and State

BACKGROUNDER ON THE VIRGINIA STATUTE FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM In Virginia, the American Revolution led to the disestablishment of the Anglican Church, which had been tied closely to the royal government. Then the question arose as to whether the new state should continue to impose taxes to be used for the support of all recognized churches. The proposal had a number of supporters who, even if they no longer accepted an established church, still believed that religion should be supported by the public purse.

For some Virginians, however, imposing religion on people smacked of tyranny. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, both of whom would later be president of the United States, argued that religious beliefs should be solely matters of individual conscience and completely immune from any interference by the state. Moreover, religious activity of any sort should be wholly voluntary. Not only did they oppose taxing people to support an established church, but they also objected to forcing people to pay taxes even for their own church. To Jefferson, a high wall of separation should always keep church and state apart.

Jefferson drafted the following measure, but it was Madison who skillfully secured its adoption by the Virginia legislature in 1786. It is still part of modern Virginia's constitution, and it has not only been copied by other states but was also the basis for the Religion Clauses in the Constitution's Bill of Rights. Both men considered this bill one of the great achievements of their lives, and Jefferson directed that on his tombstone he should not be remembered as president of the United States or for any of the other high offices he held, but as the author of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and as the founder of the University of Virginia.

For further reading: William Lee Miller, The First Liberty: Religion and the American Republic (1985); Leonard W. Levy, The Establishment Clause and the First Amendment (1986); Merrill D. Peterson and Robert C. Vaughn, eds., The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom: Its Evolution and Consequences in American History (1988).

Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as it was in his Almighty power to do; that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavouring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all time; that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor, whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporary rewards, which proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labours for the instruction of mankind; that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry; that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which in common with his fellow-citizens he has a natural right; that it tends only to corrupt the principles of that religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them:

Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

And though we well know that this assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding assemblies, constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act to be irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present, or to narrow its operation, such act shall be an infringement of natural right.

Source: W.W. Hening, ed., Statutes at Large of Virginia, vol. 12 (1823): 84-86.
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