A culture, determined to turn everything into commodity and everyone into consumer, may ultimately consume itself. Determined to reach everyone , everywhere such culture must cater to a lower and ever lower common denominator. Everyone and everything must then conform to the "bottom line", the only and ultimate standard and measure of worth.
There may be two sides to man: his independent, individualistic side, but also his social, communal and collective side, a contradiction, no doubt, but what existence is without inherent contradiction.
Why be restricted by any narrow identity. "Identity" imposes a terrible limitation, a prison, a trap, pinned down like some specimen in a collection of properly labeled bugs. Questioning, examining everything, accepting no Gospel Truth, accepting few official pronouncements or even "news": Propaganda, brain-washing, entertainment! Inevitably, however, disbelief may lead to growing cynicism, perhaps the final stage, beyond skepticism, begun in restless curiosity.
Money has not only been an efficient measure of exchange. It also has had a way of insinuating itself into the very fiber and soul of anyone and anything touched by it. Unchecked, it compromises and corrupts.
Greed, however, may indeed be very creative: initiating innovation, research, wealth, even progress. But inevitably, an appetite for ever more becomes all consuming and ultimately self consuming. Even great empires in all their lavish, but blatant glory ultimately succumb and crumble.
A letter to Governor Bill Clinton
September 10, 1992
Gov Bill Clinton
Little Rock AR 72201
Dear Gov. Clinton:
Two summers ago, my wife and I happened to be in Chautauqua, New York. A series of lectures were scheduled on "The American Family" , and you were the key-note speaker. Frankly, I had never heard of Gov. Clinton, and had only the vaguest notion of the existence of Arkansas.
But when you began your presention, I became increasingly fascinated, and than
halfway through, I turned to Rennie, my wife: "You know, this man would make a
fine president" , I said. Later, we happened to meet at the Athenaeum Hotel,
and you ware kind and outgoing - telling my wife where to write for some
material on literacy , a subject in which my wife is very much involved. And
so now, two years later, you are indeed the Democratic Party nominee for
President of the United States.
You will make it to the White House but be prepared for some real nasty stuff. Please forgive my temerity for making the following suggestions.
"Denials" (of anything) are usually ineffective; they often reinforce the
Liberal ? Point out that no one but Reagan-Bush have been more liberal with
heaping riches upon the already rich, and at the expense of the truly needy.
Draft dodging ? there are wars and then there are wars, and sometimes it
takes greater courage to oppose a war. Itís a touchy subject, generating
often deadly emotions, and had perhaps best be left to former soldiers to
But the most vital issues, I believe, (and which should evoke wide-spread
response) are those of our declining economy, health care and every womanís
freedom of choice , free from government interference (with the emphasis on
You have quite a fight ahead of you, Governor - your opponents are wily and
experienced. But you should make it to the White House.
September 16, 1998|
New Paltz, NY
It is fortunate that the Herald is a family and local paper; and so we're spared the
titillating orgy the main media appears in frenzy over the Monica - Clinton affair.
Let's sober up for a moment: Whatever occurred between the two should be no one's
concern but Clinton's wife. This is the way such digressions are treated in most other
civilized countries, probably since the dawn of history. What our protectors of morality
evidently wish to ignore is that there is a difference between "sin" and "crime".
"He lied" we are told. Of course - denial has always been the first line of defense for any man
(or woman) caught in a compromising situation. This is no reason to hound a President, neglect
this nation's business and make us all the laughing stock of the world. It is not only Bill Clinton
who is being humiliated. Let's not forget, the hounding began the moment Clinton first was elected back in 1992. Six years and 40 million dollars later nothing remained of all the many allegations except this
Yes, the President should be censured - for letting us down on "health care" and other truly
important national issues, and so should Congress. Especially Congress and their so-called
"independent" counsel, as well as the mass media. They have made an obscene travesty of what
this nation should be about.
Excerpt of letter 4/16/1973
Sen. Jacob Javits
Senate Office Building
Dear Sen. Javits:
I am writing to tell you how deeply troubled I am over the American bombing in Indo China. It appears that not only the American people but even Congress has lost control over the use of American military power.
Senator Fulbright declared that he didn't think that there was anything Congress could do to prevent President Nixon from bombing Cambodia. I have begun to doubt whether, in fact, Congress has the means and inclination to prevent the misuse, and abuse of power by one man - the President.
I am aware of the "checks and balances" inherent in our Constitution. Yet, no one in 1776 could have foreseen the power available to a President 200 years later, due to the incredible advance of technology.
I hope that Congress can perceive the implications of this shift of power and rise above polities. If not, we may eventually suffer the consequences - an agony greater than we have inflicted on Indo China.
Efficiency? Our world, however, does not appear to proceed on "efficiency". It is redundancy that makes our world what it is - all creatures, even the cells and neurons in our beings and brains.
Diversity - whether biological or cultural - is the result of redundancy, not efficiency. Efficiency is unnatural, perhaps even inhuman, imposed by economic market and profit concerns.