Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 In Review

2018 was actually a pretty remarkable year.  I got to go to Japan:





And California:




And Iceland:






I had to say goodbye to an old friend:




In terms of other goals, things were mixed.  I made some progress in my weight training and published my last text, but made almost no progress in things like cheesemaking or gardening.  Throwing was largely a wash. 

Still, on the whole, I would consider it a good year (if for no other reason than the places I saw).  Here is to hoping that 2019 is equally as amazing.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

A Few Words From...Niccolo Machiavelli


A return to first principles in a republic is sometimes caused by the simple virtues of one man. His good example has such an influence that the good men strive to imitate him, and the wicked are ashamed to lead a life so contrary to his example.”

There are three kinds of intelligence: one kind understands things for itself, the other appreciates what others can understand, the third understands neither for itself nor through others. This first kind is excellent, the second good, and the third kind useless.”

There is no surer sign of decay in a country than to see the rites of religion held in contempt.”

It is necessary for him who lays out a state and arranges laws for it to presuppose that all men are evil and that they are always going to act according to the wickedness of their spirits whenever they have free scope.”

Friday, December 28, 2018

Thursday, December 27, 2018

A World Without Media

So an observation from coming home here to The Ranch, as I am reminded every time I am here:  one can pretty easily live without the bulk of the outside world.

Less the incoming cable and InterWeb, one can go long days without any sort of news from "the outside world".   Even more so, one can pretty easily go without talking to folks as well for about the same period of time (I can see a case where a once a week visit to the outside world - say a Sunday of church, breakfast out, and shopping - could be the extent of contact needed).

To the (perhaps largely younger) crowd, I am sure that this is a world that would be beyond pleasant imagination.  Little contact, no second by second feed, Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) at an all time high - this might seem a sort of disconnected Hell.

But there is solace in silence, a settling of thoughts and ideas, the ability to listen to that which is unseen but of equal value to that which is seen.  One can be involved in the outer world to the extent that one wishes to - unlike the urban alternative, where the world is constantly being thrust in your face without any choice in the matter.

One comes to understand why the great writers and thinkers and theologians always preferred the silence and being apart from the world to do their best work.  It gives one a clarity of thought and experience that (at least I) could not replicate in the urban world.

It has also become a simple act of rebellion.

By refusing to constantly "plug in", by not always thinking about what others think (instead of generating my own thoughts), and by not constantly taking in a stream of information from other sources, one establishes and strengthens one's self as an individual.  One learns to think, to reason, to consider, to decide - all for one's self.  I no longer become locked into the exercise of the great Hive Mind, but rather into the exercise of a free mind.

Fight the system at the most basic level.  Take some time - even five minutes, but strive for more - to disconnect from the system.

Learn to think - to breathe - again.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

2018 Christmas Walkabout

My semi-annual morning walkabout:

Daffodils starting to grow at the house:


Looking towards the sunrise:


The Seasonal tank is full:


Old Pump head:


The local utility company was in cutting trees away from the power line all summer:




You can see they cut away quite a bit:


Back up the lower field:


Overgrowth on the road:


On the road:


A new discovery:  these little white berries.  They look a great deal like popcorn.  I have never seen them before.



Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas 2018

"Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign to you:  You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manager.

      And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:  "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill towards men!"  - Luke 2:  10-14

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:  and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Price of Peace." - Isaiah 9:6


Nollick ghennal erriu! (Merry Christmas!)

Monday, December 24, 2018

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Individuality

"Individuality is the husk of the personal life.  Individuality is all elbows, it separates and isolates.  It is the characteristic of the child and rightly so, but if we mistake individuality for the personal life, we will remain isolated.  The shell of individuality is God's created natural covering for the protection of the personal life; but individuality must go in order that the personal life may come out and be brought into fellowship with God.  Individuality counterfeits personality as lust counterfeits love.  God designed human nature for Himself; individuality bases human nature for itself.

The characteristics of individuality are independence and self-assertiveness.  It is the continual assertion of individuality that hinders our spiritual life more than anything else.  If you say - 'I cannot believe,' it is because individuality is in the road; individuality never can believe.  Personality cannot help believing.  Watch yourself when the Spirit of God is at work.  He pushes you to the margins of your individuality, and you have to either say ''I shan't,' or to surrender, to break the husk of individuality and let the personal life emerge.  The Holy Spirit narrows it down every time to one thing (cf. Matthew 5:23-24).  The thing in you that will not be reconciled to your brother is your individuality.  God wants to bring you into union with Himself, but unless you are willing to give up your right to yourself  He cannot.  'Let him deny himself' - deny his independent right to himself, then the real life has a chance to grow." - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Friday, December 21, 2018

Going Home 2018 Christmas Edition

Good Morning!  As you are reading this I am still (hopefully) sleeping in from a rather early morning arrival (0100) at Old Home this morning.

The whole thing happened a bit by accident - originally I was planning to drive out with Na Clann  and have The Ravishing Mrs. TB meet us there for part of the time (as she had to work) - but then she found a ticket that was about $300 to fly - and flying means another four full days there. 

The only bad part, of course, is that arrival time..

So we are here almost through the end of the year with plenty of time to see friends and family (almost 10 days total) - which, added with the week we spent here earlier in the year, is almost a full business month here.  Not enough, but something.

Fear not - I have left plenty of reading material in my absence and will check in from time to time.  Hopefully much good thinking and pondering will occur - at worst, I will have the chance to spend time with the people I love in a place I love.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Collapse XIV: Shopping


10 July 20XX

My Dear Lucilius:

The oddest thing happened today, something worthy of discussion that if not a sign of the times, is certainly a sign of something.

As I have mentioned, once a month I make the 150 mile round trip to the largest urban area in my vicinity. The trip, when it is done, takes an entire day and consists of a trip to the Large Discount Box Chain store for my monthly store of supplies and a fill up on fuel. I will generally use the equivalent of a quarter tank of fuel getting there and back but the savings in food and the ability to fill my vehicle and gas cans has (to this point) proven to be a value added proposition.

My shopping list when I go is inevitably the same 90% of items: oatmeal, rice, beans, potatoes – the sorts of staples that I always try and have a little more on hand than what I need – and a small amount of perishable items (dairy for example, or some kinds of fruit and vegetables, or perhaps even some meat). My lunch out is always the same there – their “classic meal” of a sausage sandwich and soft drink, my one luxury of the week. I load my supplies, fill it and the gas cans up with fuel, and return home.

This time however, things were very different.

For one, it was far more crowded than I had ever experienced on a week day (which I consciously choose as the least likely to be full of people). For another, they actually had posted limits on most items: one or two at the most. My oatmeal was rationed to two boxes instead of my usual three, my rice and potatoes at one bag each, and beans at three small one pound bags each. Most fruits had already been picked through and the dairy was the most reduced of all: one item each, of any kind.

Oddly enough, the whole facility was quiet – the hot, ominous atmosphere of a Midwest Thunderstorm about to break open, with all voices were in low tones. The payment options were limited to $200, cash or credit. As you can imagine, standing in line there were some heated disagreements with the cashiers.

I almost skipped my lunch but thought the better of it, given the circumstances. It was my one luxury of the day and I was determined to enjoy it.

As you can probably guess at this point, the gas line was equally as long – and constrained. $50 limit on what could be spent on gas per purchase per customer, which barely covered filling up my vehicle. No gas cans this trip.

Which lead to a second stop to which I had not intended to make: the gun store. My budget for such things had already been filled for the month but I had money left from the inability to complete my usual purchases so I stocked up – and again, was confronted with the limits available on the purchase of ammunition. The gun counter, from the looks of it, would be out of whatever was there in the day.

The news driving home, interestingly enough, was the banal sort of reporting that I have come to expect from modern media. If there was a triggering event, no-one was speaking of it in the media, nor was anyone saying anything about it anywhere I had shopped. It is as if there was a giant conspiracy to keep things silent, lest by speaking of a wicked event it would come to pass.

I stopped on the way home and filled up the gas cans, paying retail price. Not the best value, but perhaps the best I can do given the circumstances.

There is an undercurrent I am missing, Lucilius. I will scour the media sources tonight and see what I can find.

Your Obedient (and somewhat Concerned) Servant, Seneca

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

TB Learns IT

This week I purchased a book on General Computer Network Structure.

This is something I have been fighting for most of my life.

I am not a technology geek.  My interest in it - and especially computers - has always been limited to the bare minimum of what it takes to learn to work one (I learned to program on an Apple IIe back in the day, if that at all conveys some sense of how long ago it was since I first ventured into technology).  And I have fought learning more, as that knowledge pool is ever changing and I simply cannot compete in it.

But IT falls into my wheelhouse of responsibility (if you can believe that).  And more and more, the growth of what we are doing and what we are using has become disjointed and ineffective.

And so, off to the bookstore I went to buy a book on Networking.

I do not pretend that this is something that I will ever be really good at.  But I came to the realization that I could either be overrun by the event - or I could take action first and maybe actually come out looking like a hero in all of this.

A second item - not ever far from my mind - is that my skill set (more and more) needs to be even more differentiated in an industry that is global and in a business where it often seems that companies are laying off more quickly than they are hiring.  Anything that would differentiate me - especially at my age - is worth looking into.

The worst case is that I learn how to set up my home network correctly.  The best case is that I actually set the technology course of my company.  Either way, there seems little to lose.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Displacement

Last week it was announced that a Major Technology Firm was going to build a major campus 6 miles from our house.  They estimate single digit thousand employees within two years and double digit thousand employees after that.  This location sits squarely astride the route I have to drive every day to work.

On the whole (at least for me) this is fairly unwelcome news.  Our infrastructure is such that that many cars on the roadways will make that area of travel virtually impossible to do on a normal business schedule unless you leave quite early and arrive home the same or if you take the state toll roads (not a particularly desirable option).  The grocery store we regularly go to is about to become incredibly busy, as is the local bank we use.

Worst of all, of course, is the imminent threat of housing price increases.  I can already sense it coming - along with the obligatory rise in local property taxes.  I am expecting sky high stupid levels in a record amount of time, given how things have worked out in the past.

I do not know what this fully means (although having a discussion with a co-worker, I posited that this sort of thing will essentially seal the doom of our industry in this city due to a sky-rocketing cost of living and cost of real estate which will discourage other companies from starting or relocating here), but on the whole things do not look great.

Sometimes even our best plans are overturned by circumstances beyond our control.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Social Media And The Future of Independent Thought

The future of independent thought is not in social media.

Social media has become Marx's great Opiate of the Masses (religion, move aside), a drug which lulls the mind and spirit into a dull state of consciousness that make one prey to the rising and falling tides of majority opinion.  It has become the great weapon of opinion, the great "Grass Mowing Sword" of Japanese legend, scything down people and opinions and institutions - anything that is not considered socially "correct".  It values conformity above independence, right mindedness (as defined by social media) instead of thinking, and entertainment about pondering.

So where is independent thought moving to?

I do not have a full understanding of this yet.  In some cases it exists on blogs but as many have pointed out, blogs are in many ways the technology of  yesterday, a slowly dying medium of communication.  Perhaps it may it exist in books as well, thanks to the growth of the self publishing movement - but again, there is a an argument to be made that books as well are a passing medium.

But I believe that both of these still hold promise, as do podcasts (which I do not often follow) and other direct to reader technologies I am not aware of. Why/  Because only these allow people to generate and complete thoughts instead of just creating visceral emotional reactions.

Just because social media is causing a drought of independent thought does not mean such thought is going away.  It is just going underground like a river through rock, only to percolate up and emerge at a point where it least expected.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

A Few Words From...Ayn Rand


Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).”

Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.”

We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.”

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Collapse XIII July 4th

05 July 20XX

My Dear Lucilius:

July 4th has come and gone, perhaps on the most memorable July 4ths in all my years.

I have long stopped following the major news outlets and so have no actual idea of what the government “line” is this year – but if it is like years past, it is undoubtedly filled with how far we yet have to go and how only through the Government, not the People, can we be great.

This year, things felt different.

No sooner had I finished my missive to you of 02 July than a knock came at my door. It was a young woman, whom I had never before met. She said she lived over on the other side of the main road through town. Someone had decided that we needed a Fourth of July celebration. A local rancher had donated a side of beef. There would be fireworks of some kind. Would I consider coming?

The “yes” was out of my mouth before I had time to think and consider the matter. And so, the afternoon of the 4th, I got into a semi-dressed mode, the kind of which I have not worn for many years on a day not a Sunday, and headed out.

Someone had opened up what had undoubtedly been a bar in a former life, had swept the floors of the dust and washed the windows so the light could come through. Red, white, and blue bunting was hung on the walls with the American Flag.

I would guess by the crowd present that almost everyone in our 110 or so odd town came along with the some of the outlying folks. The beef was as promised and everyone, including myself, brought a side dish (I had forgotten how much I missed potato salad). A trio of a guitar, string bass, and violin played songs, mostly of the patriotic and County and Western variety.

You would be rather proud of me – I conversed with a number of individuals. I met my neighbors down the road. I found another person that kept bees. And mostly against my own better judgment, I had a beer.

The fireworks were for the most party for the children and consisted of those “safe and sane” fireworks which are even now illegal in most places – but were appropriately enjoyed by all none the less. They also had sparklers, and everyone got at least one to wave in the dying light.

This is my country Lucilius: People celebrating their country, the fact they are free and, among other freedoms, have the ability to associate unmolested by the government. There was no discussion of current events or what the future might hold: instead, just citizens celebrating who they are are.

It was glorious.

America may be in trouble, but it seems the American spirit is as alive and well as it ever was.

Your Obedient Servant, Seneca

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Dependent Individualists

We have become the most dependent group of individualist ever.

On the one hand, we completely value individualism (at least in Western society) to the point that the power to be me - really, the right to be me - has become an article of faith in modern society with an almost religious-like fervor.  The world can and should do nothing except accept me precisely as I am.

On the other hand, we have become a society that is completely controlled by the opinions of others - that dreaded "peer pressure" society that everyone preaches against, yet we somehow all seem to be in.  Opinions, actions, and beliefs that are not currently considered societally acceptable are driven from the public square with an animosity and a zeal resembling that of the Cultural Revolution. And in a rather amazing turn of events, elements of our society now need defending from words and ideas which they find to be offensive or "damaging to the psyche".

If you think that things are getting stretched to the breaking point, you would be correct.  Such a thing cannot exist in tension for a long period of time.  We are on the cusp of those who demand social conformance starting to eat their own side as, once they have driven out everyone else they disagree with, they will instinctively (but perhaps not consciously)  seek out new targets to ensure that their view is the dominant one - even if that means destroying one time allies in the process.  More often than not, revolutions always end up eating their own.

Sadly, we are almost at the point that every totalitarian society dreams of:  a society where individuals go after aberrant opinions and zeal which the dominant power can never match, reaching into every aspect of life where the government cannot reach.  And once people become used to living in such a society, they one day discover they have discarded their freedom for the privilege of being a societal slave, always living on the edge of having one's life destroyed by a stray word or thought or deed.

Do not believe me? Read the histories of totalitarian states, of Communist China and North Korea and Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany, even of Rome under Caesars.  And then get back to me on your right to "be" who you want to the exclusion of all other opinions.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Losing My Way

I have become deeply convinced that I have lost my way.

Oh, things are going swimmingly of course.  I am making more money than I ever imagined.  We have heat and food and clothes and cars.  Everyone is healthy and happy.  The bunny is well and the dog seldom manages to run out the door any more.

And yet, I am as deeply unsatisfied as I have ever been.

Life seems to be a long series of work, sandwiched between weekends trying to recover my good mood and energy.  I have to force myself to open my e-mail at work in the morning for the overwhelming amount of e-mail I get. My day is spent answering questions, refereeing arguments, and checking and double checking documents.

Oddly enough, I find that I enjoy precisely none of this.  It has become a great burden I shoulder Monday through Friday (and sometimes Saturday).

I have started asking myself if this is really it.  I should really be more grateful, yet my feelings vacillate between anxiety of not being able to complete the job and a growing sense of depression that what I am doing is what I will be doing for the rest of my time.  Any sense I have that I am filling a role that God has called me to has completely escaped me at this point.

I have tried to pinpoint - perhaps uselessly - the precise moment when everything went astray.  I think I know when it was, although I have no guarantee that the outcome of my life would be better than it is now.

It was 1996 and I was splitting time working at my cousin's Mini-mart and doing business college teaching, which I enjoyed although it always was struggle knowing if I had a job the next quarter.  I had just gotten a position at a second college for teaching when my Brother In Law called with a potential job offer in his industry (biotechnology).  It had benefits which my then-current job did not, so off I went with the responsible "adult"position.  I did enjoy teaching political science more, but benefits were benefits.

And if I look back, it always seems that my choices after that date have always come back to "follow the money"- even the time I tried real estate and came back (crawling) to biotech.  I suppose there is nothing wrong with that per se - after all, we all need to eat and make a living.  But following that path has gotten me to this point, where the connection between myself and my dreams (whatever are left of them at this point) seems completely divorced from my actual 168 hours of life a week.

I find myself torn.  On the one hand, I have to keep doing what I am doing to be a responsible husband and father.  On the other hand, the sense of not fitting in - and as result of that not being the best person for the job to the point I fear I will make an error - continues to grow.

There is a resolution of sorts here, something beyond my vision that I cannot fully see at this point but I know to be there.  No matter how I squint my mental eyes and look though, I cannot make it out at this point.

If I had more wisdom I suspect I would know better what to do.  Right now all I can do is sit and think and drive to work and do the work and continue to feel that something is fundamentally, terribly wrong.


Sunday, December 09, 2018

The Barricades



I love Les Miserables.

I love the story. I love the music (a great deal of it is in my singing range).  I love the themes and the messages.

And who would not?  Redemption, protest, sacrifice, nobility, a glorious struggle against wrong.  All within a three hour period.

Actual revolution, thought looks a bit different:


This is potential revolution, in reality.

It is not clean like the musical.  People are not nicely dressed - nor are we, as the audience, in our climate controlled atmosphere and comfortable clothes.  The air is full of smoke and shouts and gas.
And people really get hurt and bleed - not just the theatrical kind that makes us sigh and weep.

We have become so removed from much of the world around us that we can view such things and never think about what such things (which are still going on) actually look like in real life:  the injuries that maim, the deaths that take forever (instead of conveniently falling over after the first hit), the starvation of depressed economies.

I wonder the next time most people go to see such entertainment, can they go and see it ever the same again?

Jesus As Lord

"Jesus is Lord, and those who refuse Him as Lord cannot use Him as Savior.  Everyone who receives Him must surrender to His authority, for to say we receive Christ when in fact we reject His right to reign over us is utter absurdity.  It is a futile attempt to hold onto sin with one hand and take Jesus with the other.  What kind of salvation is it if we are left in bondage to sin?

This, then, is the gospel we are to proclaim.  That Jesus Christ, who was God incarnate, humbled Himself to die on our behalf.  Then He became the sinless sacrifice to pay the penalty of our guilt.  He rose from the dead to declare with power that He is Lord over all, and He offers eternal life freely to sinners who will surrender to Him in humble, repentant faith.  This gospel promises nothing to the haughty rebel, but for broken, penitent sinners, it graciously offers everything that pertains to life and goodness."  - John MacArthur, The Gospel According To Jesus

Saturday, December 08, 2018

A Few Words From...Paulo Coelho


“The two worst strategic mistakes to make are acting prematurely and letting an opportunity slip; to avoid this, the warrior treats each situation as if it were unique and never resorts to formulae, recipes or other people's opinions.”

“I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience and to respect the fury of nature.”


“Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure.”


(Hat Tip:  Brainyquotes.com)

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Of Christmas Gifts And Changing Interests

Driving around this last weekend, The Ravishing Mrs. TB and I got to talking about Christmas presents, specifically the presents that we were going to procure for each other (I cannot complain - for most of the years of our marriage, I am only directly responsible for procuring hers).  

It is always a little bit of a fencing match, I suppose:  the question of who is going to name the first idea (and thereby set the price range) is always present.  There is also the realization that practically speaking, the acknowledgement that for most of the small things we desire, we can just buy them outright (not always the case, of course).

So I thought and I thought.  Finally I said "Most of the things I want are connected to Iai so I doubt we can get any of those."

This struck me as a very odd development.

Over the course of the years (and if you have read long enough, you have been through at least some of them) I have had any number of interests and activities.  I still have many of them of course, but over time most of them have slowly continued to fade into the background - it is mostly a time and space continuum thing:  not as much time available, so I have slowly started to focus on a few activities to the exclusion of others.  The big winners from this paring down are Iai and  weight training (writing, reading, and cheese now hold runner up designations).

It is funny how one thing tends to take over our life we when were not looking for it - and this is certainly not something I would have predicted 10 years ago.  My interests then were much more focused on gardening (when I had a good one I could grow) and bees and mead making.  Things changed, of course, and we ended up here.  And I ended up with a new interest.

What does wanting "Iai" things looking like?  Getting a new scabbard made.  Getting a sword fitted out.  Getting a higher grade of training gear.  And always, going to Japan to train.

Sadly, none of this fits easily into a stocking or is something that one can just procure at the local brick and mortar store. And that is okay - budgeting for it and waiting are part of the fun.  But is a remarkable thing that most of the less valuable things have been sluiced away by the years, starting (in small measure) to leave the nuggets visible.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

A Lack Of Interest In The Future

I find myself a great deal less interested in the future than I used to be.

Once upon a time, of course, I was much more so - I remember being in 5th or 6th grade at our local public library, reading a book about how space stations were the wave of the future and what they would be like (with artist's renditions, no less).  And I have been a great consumer of science fiction for over 40 years.

But my interest in the last few years has drastically fallen off.

The easy answer is to look at my age (back side of 40) and simply say that the future means less to me because I am likely to spend less time in it.  Which is a legitimate thought, of course - statistically I have something like 26 years or so, thanks to my genes maybe something more like 30.  And with that, of course, are all the things that I will not get to do (because on the whole, 70 year olds do not go to space).

But that is not it, entirely.

The more factually accurate answer is simply that I have seen the future, and there is very little of it that interests me.

The onward roll of history in my lifetime has been that of collectivization, a slow but steady loss of true diversity of opinion, and greater and greater control and power by centralized bodies of authority.  On the whole, most of us can do less, say less, express our opinion less, and be less than what was once possible.  The technological achievements of this age - the fact that I can stream music or look up facts anywhere - are a pale benefit compared to that.

I foresee a time - before I die - that even the lesser versions of what I can do, think, say, and participate in now will be swept away in the great societal need for control of every aspect of the "common good"  (it does not matter which good you discuss at the moment - there are several, and all involve more and more control and less and less freedom).  If you would see the future - at the least the future as some see it  - research the experiments the Chinese Government is making with the Social Credit system.  This represents control at the highest level - rated by the government for what you do, say, and how you act, you ability to do things, get jobs, and travel are expanded or curtailed.

The sad thing for those that are pushing these sorts of future is that the tomes of history tell us that those who create such things seldom survive them.  The edifices that are put in place in the name of the common good will ultimately resemble the high walls and towers of fortresses and walls, meant to keep in those below.  The future they get will not be the future they pictured.

I, however, have reconciled myself to the fact that this is the nature of things.  I can only hope that such things are at least held off until my demise.  I have no sense that they will go the other way.

I would like to have seen space, though.


Tuesday, December 04, 2018

De Mortuis Nihil Non Est Nissi Bonum

Over the past weekend, one of the rather depressing things that has come out of the passing of President George H.W. Bush is the nasty tone around his passing - not from his political enemies (which one might expect), but from his theoretical allies.

I have scanned the sites that I usually do and almost overwhelmingly I have found almost nothing but political invective against him.  25 years has done nothing (apparently) to dull the anger and rage of individuals and their opinions.  For every person that wrote sympathy to his family, there seemed to be four times that number that remembered something that they hated.  Those who he was political opposed too overwhelmingly speak of his grace and tact.  Those he was politically aligned with speak of every bad decision he made.

Why does this all matter?

Look from the outside in.  You may be an individual that has no strong political leanings one way or the other.  You read the attacks of a side against someone - now deceased and unable to defend themselves.  How likely are you to become attached to that line of thinking?  Not very - if they savage their dead like that, what do they do to the living?

(It is a point to consider for every line of endeavor, be it political, religious, economics, even back to the land:  if you are only ever arguing against something you will never win.  You have to be for something, to present ideas, if you want to move opinion and people to your way of thinking).

De mortuis nihil non est nissi bonum - Speak nothing but good of dead.  For the ancient Romans, a very practical consideration lest their enraged spirits come back to haunt.  For those of us living now, less likely that we are concerned about vengeful spirits - but the continued carping about deeds long past may make them victim to ghosts of the future from those now living that remember the side that made war on their own dead.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

A Few Words From...Montesquieu

"Patriotism is conducive to good morals, and good morals contribute to patriotism.  The less we are able to satisfy our private passions, the more we abandon ourselves to those of a more general nature.  Why are monks so fond of their order?  Precisely because of those things which make it insupportable.  Their rule deprives them of all the things on which the ordinary passions rest:  there remains, then, only that passion for the rule which torments them.  The more austere the rule, that is, the more it curbs their inclinations, the more force it gives to the one inclination which leaves them."

- Charles-Louis De Secondat, Baron De La Brede et de Montesquieu