Occupy Grand Rapids Poster for April 14th Rally and Really Really Free Market (Photo credit: OpenSourcerer)
We have the misfortune to be living our lives in a time of religious fanaticism, and I am not just referring to Muslim terrorists. Here in the US, we live with fanaticism of the religious Right as well as the fanaticism of free market capitalists. Now I think that it is obvious that free markets can do some things better than government, but it is also true that government can do some things better than private enterprise, especially those activities that promote the common good. Our problem is that there are too many millionaires in Congress and not enough representatives of everyman and woman. Those touting privatization believe that the free market is better because it pays THEM better than government service after they leave government. Bar them from working in the private sector after government service and then see their opinions change.
NRA Headquarters, Fairfax Virginia USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When we judge by appearances or some other easily identified characteristics, we are stereotyping and not really thinking. When we judge someone by religion,or skin color or mode of speech or language or clothing or occupation, we are not thinking. We are prejudging or stereotyping other people.
Not everyone who wears a hoodie is a thug.
Union members are workers just like you and me.
Community organizers are people helping people who need help to cope with the system.
Homeschooling in Action (Photo credit: Robbi Baba)
Rick Santorumhome schools and so do millions of other parents. I home schooled my son for one year and I loved the closeness it entailed. However, home schooling is not easy. I would like to know how well prepared home-schooled children are for college and to be good citizens. This is a question I will pursue in the near future and report on my findings.
In particular, I wonder how Rick and his wife are preparing their children. Are they learning to think for themselves or are they learning to repeat some of Rick’s crazy ideas? We in the West criticize the Saudi financed madrassas in Pakistan and elsewhere because the students there learn to memorize the Koran and little else. Does home schooling in the US do a better job preparing children for life than the Muslim madrassas?
This is what we think we know: the Costa Corcordia ran aground due to human error, there may have been an electrical fault, and the captain abandoned ship in a cowardly manner. It may be months, if not years, before we know for certain what really happened. In the meantime, I suggest reading or re-reading as I just did, Joseph Conrad‘s Lord Jim. Conrad was a competent seaman, but he was an extraordinary observer of and writer about man’s relation to the sea.
Jim was an ordinary man, not a British lord, who exhibited cowardice at a critical moment on a ship that struck a concealed obstacle and then did not sink. The European crew abandoned ship and left 700+ Muslim pilgrims onboard to their fate. At a hearing, Jim was stripped of his license as a ship’s officer and then began to work as a liaison between ships and on-shore suppliers. As his story followed him eastward, he fled before it. Finally, he could flee no farther and he sought escape among the native Malays where he thought his story would not follow. They called him Lord Jim in their native tongue. There after another act of cowardice by a renegade who Jim allowed to depart caused the death of the chief’s son, he met his death at the hands of the grief-stricken father.
Conrad makes the point that no one knows if he will meet a challenge or retreat in cowardice until he is tested. An act of cowardice frequently causes death to others. Finally it results in the death of the coward himself at a later date.