Tag Archives: History

What are you sitting on?

With all we strive for in this world, it helps to remember what Montaigne observed:

“It is an absolute perfection and virtually divine to know how to enjoy our being rightfully. We seek other conditions because we do not understand the use of our own, and go outside of ourselves because we do not know what it is like inside. Yet there is no use our mounting on stilts, for on stilts we must still walk on our own legs. And on the loftiest throne in the world we are still sitting only on our own rump.”

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Filed under Writing

Where is the outrage?

Our President has unilaterally decided to suspend the implementation of a law (granted a horrible one) passed by congress (granted using the barest of procedurally minimal votes) and he has offered no constitutional justification for his actions. Additionally, the suspension only applies to corporations. Individuals will have to live with the flaws of this law without White House intervention. To further add to this brazen flouting of the separation of powers, he has granted “waivers” to members of Congress and their staffs to ensure that they do not have to suffer the consequences of this “train wreck” of progressive legislation.

Where do we live? How can this stand? Our country’s foundation of freedom is the separation of powers – devised to prevent tyranny by any branch of government. Our free press is supposed to be our diligent watch dog, ready to warn us of abuses and overreach. Where are they now?

This president loves to think of himself in grandiose comparisons with Lincoln (in a stunning exercise of hubris.) This comparison by Nicholas Quinn Rosencrantz, shows exactly how puny those comparison display him to be. But this perspective should not only be found on the editorial page of America’s most conservative paper. It should be everywhere. This is not about partisan politics, it is about the foundations and integrity of our republic.

As Benjamin Franklin left Independence Hall in Philadelphia after the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, he was asked, “Well, Doctor, what do we have — a Republic or a Monarchy?” He replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Can we?

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Filed under Politics, Uncategorized

Coffee, Beer and Civilization

I have long had a theory that civilization was greatly advanced by the introduction of caffeine into society. Great civilizations – China, India and the British Empire – were certainly fueled by regular and ritualized consumption of tea and coffee. Caffeine drives productivity and the work ethic. Other stimulants have played a strong role in other civilizations – coca in Peru fueled the Incas and quat has a long history in Arab based civilizations. Nicotine has also contributed to stimulating social interaction and tracking the spread of its use might be intriguing to discover correlations with civilization’s march.

 

But an article in the New York Times has made me consider the role played by depressants in  man’s ascent. I have always believed that everything is possible with beer. So I was very glad to get this more scientific take on the role of beer and wine in ancient social formation. Slainte!

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