A Sign of the Times?
Sam Aurelius Milam III
While I was writing the article about HDTV, I discovered that my spelling checker has the word megadeaths, but not the word megawatts. Interesting.
Does The Truth Lie?
Sam Aurelius Milam III
I went into the local Wal-Mart a few weeks ago and asked for a can of two-stroke engine oil. The lady looked at me like I had just spoken to her in Martian. Then she suddenly brightened. "Oh!" she said, "You mean two cycle engine oil!"
"No," I said, "There's no such thing as a two cycle engine. They're all one cycle engines."
She started looking nervous, like maybe she was suddenly in the Twilight Zone, and hurried toward a shelf of lubricant. The containers were labeled (you guessed it) "two cycle engine oil". She seemed relieved by the labels and anxious to get back to stocking the shelves. I let her leave, and stood there pondering the labels.
When I was a child, my father taught me about internal combustion piston engines. There's no such thing as a two cycle engine or a four cycle engine. They're both one cycle engines. A cycle has occurred when something starts in a certain condition, goes through a series of changes, and returns to the initial condition. In a four stroke engine, the cycle consists of an intake stroke, a compression stroke, an expansion stroke, and an exhaust stroke. A two stroke engine also has one cycle. It consists of a compression stroke and an expansion stroke. Such sloppy use of our language is so widespread that I wonder how people manage to make themselves understood.
A local food store in my area has a section of bulk food. One barrel is labeled "Black Eyed Beans". There's no such thing. They're black eyed peas, Vigna unguiculata, a member of the pea family. I asked a lady who works there and she said that she used to change the labels. They kept coming in wrong from the supplier. She eventually gave up.
I mentioned last month that ethnic cleansing isn't what we see happening around the world. Cleansing happens when you remove some sort of contaminant. That's what Hitler claimed to be doing when he killed the Jews — cleansing the human race of impurities. Why do we allow that same idea to slip back into our thinking now, when we see people being killed because of their "category"? There's nothing "cleansing" about ethnic-based murder.
There are other examples, but these are sufficient to make the point. They all have in common a distortion or misrepresentation of the truth resulting from sloppy use of the language. A pea is called a bean. A stroke is called a cycle. Murder is redefined as a cleansing process. When people don't notice the error, then the boundary between the error and the truth gradually disappears.
If this kind of thing can happen spontaneously, without anyone consciously intending a deception, imagine the deceptions that can be perpetrated by people intent upon deceiving us. Our language is diverse and adaptable. With it, we can convey truth, eloquence, and beauty. It's also very well suited to the perpetration of lies and misinformation. Sloppy use of the language enhances this potential by promoting sloppy thinking, causing people to be vulnerable to deception and manipulation. We need to be more careful with our language. The inaccuracies and lies, if we say them long enough, will become indistinguishable from the truth.
Sam Aurelius Milam III
There are many improvements that could be made in the American school system. However, I can suggest one that I believe would be more beneficial than most of the others.
There isn't anything so specialized about high school subject matter as to prevent a reasonably intelligent and normally educated teacher from being able to teach any subject through the high school level. A good text book and some preparation, perhaps during the summer, is all that would be necessary to teach a new subject. A teacher could always call a technical specialist into the classroom, if that became necessary. However, the real subject of importance to a teacher shouldn't be math, science, or literature. It should be the students. That being the case, I believe that teachers ought to become experts not just in particular subject matter, but in their students.
I suggest an experiment. Some schools, instead of assigning teachers to specialties, rooms, or grade levels, should assign them to groups of students. A teacher should start out with a group of students in the first grade and remain the teacher of those students throughout their entire course of study, through high school graduation. Obviously, there would be students leaving and joining the group throughout its existence, but it would be the same group. The continuity, stability, and trust provided by the arrangement might prevent many of the problems with children that occur today. The education, in my opinion, would be superior to what we have today.
from the Shenandoah Newsletter
Scan doe Lalihwisaks (He Who Looks For News)
The Occupation Forces taught me, when I was in their high school, that our people came across the Bering Strait approximately 10,000 years ago. I graduated from their high school 41 years ago.
Now they are finding evidence from their own studies that our ancestors were here 25,000 to 30,000 years ago.
Actually, we have been here for over 100,000 years, or as long as man has been man. And the reason the Occupation Forces attempt to make it very recent is to justify their stealing of our land and resources.
Genetic information taken from the remains of our ancestors does not agree with them, nor does the structure of our languages.
There is no question that the Native Peoples in the northern areas, called Eskimos, traveled back and forth with the peoples on the other lands, just as there is no question of international mingling and traveling at all the different levels of latitude, north and south of the dividing line called the equator.
Western Civilization, which includes the Occupation Forces of our lands, the English, French, Spanish, Jews and Egypt is very young, less than 7,000 years old, actually much less than a child in the time of human existence on Mother Earth.
Letters to the Editor
My Friend Sam
Thanks for the good words in your little but very substantive publication. Many thoughts of yours are perfectly echoing my own views. Keep this up! ....
— Peter; Vankleek Hill, Ontario
The comments on rights in the August issue are interesting. "Right" is a name often given to people's wishes or opinions. We often hear the phrases "God given right," "Human rights," "I know my rights," "right to (health care, subsistence or whatever)." Meanwhile, the argument as to what our rights really are or ought to be remains mired in a semantic swamp.
To paraphrase a portion of my Webster's 9th New Collegiate Dictionary, a right is the power or privilege to which one has just claim or is justly entitled -- The property interest possessed under custom or law and agreement -- Something that one may properly claim is due.
Thus, the legislature, the courts and the bureaucracy can all grant rights by law, custom or regulation, even at the expense of others, however wrong. They do so, and are wrong much too often. We refuse to recognize the unjust rights of the privileged at our own peril. "It isn't fair" is no defense. The cliche that "might makes right" is true. If Liberty and freedom are our high priorities, the trick is to prevent some from gaining rights at other's expense and to grant only justly entitled rights -- that is, earned rights or rights that do not obligate others. The Constitution and Bill of Rights made a start, but stopped far short of providing an adequate body of law in this regard.
Keep up the good work.
— Bob; Murphys, California
If a legislature or a court has jurisdiction over a behavior, then you can engage in that behavior only when and as permitted by that court or legislature. That isn't a right. It's a privilege. A right is something that is within your ability, for which you don't need permission, and which will be customarily tolerated. Neither courts nor legislatures have the power to grant rights. They have the power to grant privileges.
Buck Hunter Shoots Off His Mouth
My wife and I would like to take a second honeymoon for our 50th wedding anniversary. Where do you think we should go?
— Want To Do It Right
Dear Want To Do It Right
Sesame Suite is a production of the Children's Tunnelvision Workshop
More Funny Headlines
• My thanks to Bob (Murphys, California) for his contribution.
• My thanks to Lady Jan the Voluptuous for her editorial assistance.
• My thanks to The Affiliate, of Vankleek Hill, Ontario for regularly printing reviews of the Frontiersman.
• My thanks to Sir Donald the Elusive for paying the production costs of this newsletter and for his additional contributions.
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— Sam Aurelius Milam III, editor
is the text of a letter to the editor that I received in response to the
Frontiersman. I didn't have enough space to print the
letter in the September Frontiersman.
As usual, I must disagree with Don Cormier's reasoning [page 1, Anarcho-Feudalism is not an Oxymoron, Don J. Cormier] in extrapolating from definitions. I don't argue with the definitions. But as usual, if he would look at these concepts in their historical contexts, he might avoid some "logical" leaps. Pacifists do reject violence, & governments do use violence. But this does not mean that pacifists reject government. If one looks at the history of pacifism, instead of the dictionary, one sees that in the heyday of philosophical pacifism, the 50's, the major pacifist leaders, such as Einstein, were early representatives of world government as the means to a world of peace. In the early stages of the UN, before it became obvious that the UN & the IMF were simply the servants of the US corporations in their domination of the world, pacifists like Einstein (after having invented the Bomb - no zeal like that of the repentant sinner - the St. Paul of pacifism) promoted the UN as a means toward eventually creating a democratic world government, which would decide everything peacefully & democratically. This may not be a practical ideal, but that was the ideal. (Notice that the UN is once again helping Milosevic in his ethnic cleansing, this time by preventing the Kosovars from getting weapons.)
Secondly, pacifists are the kind of "idealists" who say: "I must follow my ideal of peaceful means, in whatever I do, issue by issue, whether it is practical or not." This kind of attitude does not generalize into an ideal of an anarchist society. Either way, pacifism does not imply anarchism at all.
The comparison between feudalism & anarcho-capitalism, however, is quite relevant, & has already been thoroughly explored in the cyber-punk novels, which have already made their point, & gone out of style, in the 80's. Under feudalism, the lord is the head of the local military, & is himself therefore the local government, subject in theory to the king & the pope, whose power & influence were real, but limited. The lords were not absolutely subject to the king (or the pope), the way local governments are now subject to central governments - the stronger the lord, the more independence he had - and this was a distinguishing feature of feudalism. In the libertarian fantasy world of cyber-punk, the corporations became analogous to feudal fiefs; each corporation has its own private army, & the CEO becomes a kind of mercantile feudal lord, the ideal of Donald Trump, which the likes of Rupert Murdoch & Bill Gates are approaching. However, this system in reality requires a police state like that of the US government, as well as a passive population, believing they are "free" under a democratic constitution. In a real libertarian world, it would be too easy to sabotage technology - power lines, railroads, dams, etc; anarcho-capitalism would break down, & you might end up with literal feudalism, or perhaps (gasp) revolution.
19th century anarchism was originated by Proudhon. His ideas were rather vague. Bakunin's anarchism, which insisted on equality, & a classless society, became the standard. Bakunin's un-hyphenated anarchism was the most violent of all. Kropotkin's anarcho-syndicalism accepted Bakunin's ideal, & simply offered unionism/syndicalism as a means to the anarchist society. But you won't find that in Webster.
Greek democracy, with all its faults (slavery primarily), was based upon the small, manageable government of the city-state. A federation of democratic city-states was developed under the leadership of Athens, & even in this situation it amounted to an Athenian empire. Roman democracy became the Roman empire. Only citizens of the city of Rome had the vote. After the feudalism of the Middle Ages, democratic city-states appeared again in Italy, such as Florence. These were swallowed up with the rise of nationalistic monarchies. Modern democracy began within the context of national monarchy, in the US, England, & France. Industrialization developed shortly after wards. Inequality grew, & freedom became an illusion. Disillusionment led to the ideas of socialism & anarchism. Because of the interconnected nature of technological society, socialists claimed that large nations must be dealt with as they existed. They did not advocate socialism as a solution for small tribal societies. But they claimed that huge, interdependent populations could not realistically aspire to a return to the ideal of the democratic city-states.
The good things in tradition should be preserved. The bad should be replaced. Only reason & taste can decide what should remain the same, & what should change. Living traditions evolve. Conservative societies stagnate. Flexibility allow for evolution. Rigidity justifies revolution.
Today bill Gates has as much money as the 100 million poorest people in the country, about 2/5 of the population. He got the money by robbing workers like them, & intellectuals like myself. He can afford 2/5 of the country's doctors. We cannot afford doctors. Libertarians say this is justice, but I say it's insanity.
For decades, I never shirked my duties as a citizen, but couldn't get paid for my work, or get a book published, either. As I've said, many times before, something is seriously wrong, but it's not as you describe it.
Ayn Rand was a woman.
— Elliot; N. Merrick, New York
Just because somebody is a woman doesn't mean that she has an inalienable right to demand unconditional access to an all-male workplace. You're confusing "natural law" with assumptions. They may be widely held assumptions, but they're still assumptions.