Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
W. B. Yeats
“Manners are of more importance than laws. Upon them, in a great measure, the laws depend.”~ Edmund Burke
Society is held together by the rule of law and authority, not by the imagined rights of individuals. Obedience to the law is the duty of each citizen, this is the disposition that makes it possible to govern a society. Without obedience to law societies crumble into anarchy and totalitarianism. Real freedom, is not in conflict with obedience, but is the obverse. Socrates held that breaking the law is an instance of injustice, and injustice should be avoided so that one doesn’t become corrupted.
Shakespeare too realized the importance of law and order. In Henry VI, Part II, act IV, Scene II, Line 73: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers," was stated by Dick the Butcher, a follower of the rebel Jack Cade, who thought that if he disrupted law and order, he could become king. Shakespeare meant it as a compliment to attorneys and judges.
Burke's argument about the social contract holds that most parties to the contract are either dead or not yet born is correct. To ignore this truth and throw away customs and institutions is to "place the present members of society in a dictatorial dominance over those who went before, and those who came after them."
Moreover, in the Book of John(14:15), Jesus says "If you
love me, keep my commandments". Although the
statement has different interpretations, it certainly is no call for revolution.
Those who do not accept the vision are labeled, racist, fascist, politically incorrect or such. To protect this orthodoxy the power of language to describe reality is replaced by language whose purpose is to avoid encounters with realities and to paralyze opponents with guilt.
Assuming history can be given a direction or that a perfect society can make everyone equal is a childish impossible dream. A dream most obvious in academia. Alan Bloom described those academics who wish to replace the Western Canon with less talented writers and thinkers as the School of Resentment. For the resentful faculty members institutions are the cause of inequality, and therefore the cause of their humiliations and failures. All who oppose the dream must be driven out.
Life is unfair, the purpose of government is to provide stability and order to a society, not to redress the grievances of the less talented. The purpose of higher education is to educate the next generation for the benefit of society, not to act as a staging ground for social experiments and revolution.
The GOP might adopt the title of Eudora Welt's novel "Losing Battles" as their motto. I cast my lots and joined my meager forces with the GOP years ago because of their conservative stance.. But after a long series of GOP fumbles and stumbles I shall try a new tactic - maybe I will examine the entrails of a white goat to decide what political path to take.
My disaffection began with the invasion of Iraq. The White House was misled. However the responsibility ultimately rest with the president and he made the wrong decision. After that my disaffection list began to expand:
Republicans pride themselves on their libertarianism which upholds the principal of freedom of choice. Well, if a woman decides to exercise that freedom, I don't see why she should be prohibited. The decision to abort a fetus should be made by the woman and her physician; everyone else should butt out, especially sanctimonious religious hypocrites who care about human life only when it is unborn. However, if a woman is unable to afford the doctor's fee, she should not expect those opposed to abortions to foot the bill - perhaps the man involved in her plight might ante up.
2. Gay Marriage
Once again the principal of freedom of choice applies. A political party should not force its moral precepts on anyone and the Bible thumpers should read the part that says love thy neighbor, no matter who he/she sleeps with. As far as I know there is nothing in the Constitution about marriage, so I have some difficulty understanding how the Supreme Court managed to insert itself into the argument, but it did and their decision is the law of the land. So, any government agency that performs the marriage ceremony must do as the court directs. On the other hand, churches are free agents and do no have to follow suit.
3. The Confederate Flag
The GOP is certainly not responsible for the recent flag flap, but there will be spill over onto the conservative movement. My paternal great grandfather died in that conflict leaving my grandfather an orphan and my maternal grandfather served with honor in many battles. I firmly believe the Federal Government should have let the South go its own way and avoided the war, which they could have done. But that said, most true southerners have swallowed that bitter pill and have moved on. We lost the war, we respect the men who served the cause, but our vanquished flag, like our grief, should be kept private. Moreover, it pains me to see the flag displayed on the front of log trucks or waved publicly by big bellied bellowing fools. Historical reenactors and solemn ceremonies are the only exceptions I can think of for acceptable public display of the flag.
4. Obama Care
The program is law and approved by the Supreme Court so that point has been conceded. To continue opposition is foolish, just a waste of political capital. If the program is as flawed as some think, then it will collapse under its own weight. So move on, dude.
5. Global Warming
Once again the GOP managed to get on the wrong side of an issue. Global warming, global cooling, climate change or whatever the label is not the real issue. To deny that humans are causing damage to the planet is inane. The real problem is what to do. Closing all of the coal fired electrical generating plants in the U.S. would not help if China and India continue to build such plants - American coal would be transported to Asia and burned there. I favor everybody junking their automobiles and I will junk mine just after the last Chinese junks his...and I'll turn off the a.c. at the same time. This is problem to be solved by scientist, if there are any who have not sold out for grant money, and international statesmen, if any exist. See:
6. Gun Control
Attempting to bring reason to the gun control issue is impossible. As soon as the topic is raised members on both sides turn red in the face and began screaming. First, nobody can rid the US of all the guns that are already out there, strict legislation will only drive buyers to obtain guns from private sources. Second, there is no justification for a private citizen to legally own an automatic rifle. Any deer hunter who is unable to kill a deer with a bolt action rifle has no business hunting.
That said, the Republicans should all stand for gun control, but not gun control as defined by Democrats. Once again, the Republicans have managed to allow the media to portray the Republicans as the toadies of the NRA.
Today, I was looking for lawn more blades in a supply store that caters to farmers, mechanics, et al and watched an man purchase a $700 automatic rifle. There were five or six guys around, either clerks or customers and I asked of nobody in particular, "What do you shot with that thing besides people?" Somebody replied, good naturedly, "Hogs". True there a plenty of feral hogs around, so I let it drop. But a good sportsman should aim at the heart of the targeted animal not spray bullets in the general direction of moving targets. You should aim for a clean kill, nobody wants wounded beasts dying long horrible deaths. I do not accept the need for automatic rifles to kill anything but other humans.
The Republicans were once the civility party, the party of the head and the Democrats were the party of the heart and of rabble rousing. Now the head has had a lobotomy: an election can not be won by insulting Hispanics and alienating woman.
The special interest element of Republican constituency will deliver the country into the hands of the Medusa.
THE MENTAL INFECTION known as “political correctness” is one of the most dangerous intellectual afflictions ever to attack mankind. The fact that we began by laughing at it–and to some extent, still do–doesn’t diminish its venom one bit.
PC has an enormous appeal to the semieducated, one reason that it’s struck roots among overseas students at minor colleges. But it also appeals to pseudo-intellectuals everywhere, since it evokes the strong streak of cowardice notable among those wielding academic authority nowadays. Any empty-headed student with a powerful voice can claim someone (never specified) will be “hurt” by a hitherto harmless term, object or activity and be reasonably assured that the dons and professors in charge will show a white feather and do as the student demands. Thus, there isn’t a university campus on either side of the Atlantic that’s not in danger of censorship. The brutal young don’t even need to impose it themselves; their trembling elders will do it for them.
The insidious thing about PC is that it wasn’t–and isn’t–the creation of anyone in particular. It’s usually the anonymous work of such Kafkaesque figures as civil servants, municipal librarians, post office sorters and employees at similar levels. It penetrates the interstices of society, especially those where the hierarchies of privilege and property are growing. To a great extent PC is the revenge of the resentful underdog.
Nowhere has PC been more triumphant than in the U.S. This is remarkable, because America has traditionally been the home of vigorous, outspoken, raw and raucous speech. From the early 17th century, when the clerical discipline the Pilgrim Fathers sought to impose broke down and those who had things to say struck out westward or southward for the freedom to say them, America has been a land of unrestricted comment on anything–until recently. Now the U.S. has been inundated with PC inquisitors, and PC poison is spreading worldwide in the Anglo zone.
For these reasons it’s good news that Donald Trump is doing so well in the American political primaries. He is vulgar, abusive, nasty, rude, boorish and outrageous. He is also saying what he thinks and, more important, teaching Americans how to think for themselves again.
No one could be a bigger contrast to the spineless, pusillanimous and underdeserving Barack Obama, who has never done a thing for himself and is entirely the creation of reverse discrimination. The fact that he was elected President–not once, but twice–shows how deep-set the rot is and how far along the road to national impotence the country has traveled.
Under Obama the U.S.–by far the richest and most productive nation on earth–has been outsmarted, outmaneuvered and made to appear a second-class power by Vladimir Putin’s Russia. America has presented itself as a victim of political and economic Alzheimer’s disease, a case of national debility and geopolitical collapse.
None of the Republican candidates trailing Trump has the character to reverse this deplorable declension. The Democratic nomination seems likely to go to the relic of the Clinton era, herself a patiently assembled model of political correctness, who is carefully instructing America’s most powerful pressure groups in what they want to hear and whose strongest card is the simplistic notion that the U.S. has never had a woman President and ought to have one now, merit being a secondary consideration.
The world is disorderly and needs its leading nation to take charge and scare it back into decency. Donald Trump fits the bill. Other formidable figures, including Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, have performed a similar service in the past. But each President is unique and cast in his own mold. -Paul Johnson
Yes Paul, but I fear the cure may be worse than the disease.
Finally, Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland is a full blown fiasco. Do they think the Medusa will nominate anybody nearly as rational as Garland?
Trump should be acting presidential by now. Instead he continues to brawl with anyone who disagrees with him. His brother said Donald was the kid at the birthday party who threw the cake. Such a bad sport is pushing all the uncommitted voters towards Clinton. She will reign as Queen of America and appoint liberals to the Supreme Court. The non-productive hoards will be underwritten and this nation will flounder. So sad.
Donald Trump has finished off the Republican Party. It is now bankrupt and should seek protection under Chapter 11. They must regroup, throw out all the old stale ideas and make a fresh start. The US will be sick and tired of Hillary and Bill after four years in the White House, thus presenting a golden opportunity to return the country to sanity.We can only hope.
If Trump were actually fit to be president, then he would realize that he can not defeat Clinton and step aside at the convention. But as he is not presidential, he will not step aside. Therefore, the GOP rules committee should change the rules and allow Romney to ride in like the US Cavalry in a bad western and save the day.
Too bad this is not a movie....
Clinton sent and received confidential, secret, and top secret government documents on a private email server (a server that was certainly hacked) and that is obviously indictable behavior, even treason. Why then did FBI director Comey let her off the hook? Well, he laid out the dirty laundry for everybody in the world to see but he wisely refrained from being the arbiter of the presidential election. If the American voters are willing to put such an irresponsible witch in the White House, the Director of the FBI should stand aside.
Trump has chosen Mike Pence as running mate. This belays some of my fears about Trump's character, so for now, I am leaning towards casting my one useless vote for him.
Flip and Flop. One rational act does not certify a person as sane. Trump's utterances are becoming increasingly incoherent and the fear of an unstable personality, as opposed to a congenital liar, in the White House is just too strong. Now let me see, who is the Libertarian candidate?
The New Yorker ran a piece, "Donald Trump's Ghostwriter Tells All", about Tony Schwartz who helped create the myth that Trump has an unfailing knack for business. When you finish reading the piece you will be persuaded that the Republican nominee should go to the nut house, not the White House.
7/30"He (Trump) is a morally untethered, spiritually vacuous man who appears haunted by multiple personality disorders." -David Brooks, NY Times
Our choice is between a lying cheater and a sociopath. I'll vote for the Libertarian just to send a message to the Republicans to change their platform. My message might be received if a check for five million dollars was attached. Maybe the Republicans will go the way of the Whigs by becoming irrelevant and a new party based on civility and pragmatism will emerge from the ashes.Fat chance.
It has been well said that “sooner or later, we all sit down to a banquet of consequences.” Our first course will be served a few months after the November election. My guess is chitlins with ghost peppers.
Both Clinton and Trump have deeply flawed personalities and their individual shortcomings will damage the nation whichever becomes president. The question is which candidate will do the lest damage to the nation and the world? Lancelot said to Arthur, "You lack a knight's humility." Arthur found humility only after the sword of destiny was broken by his rage. Achilles never found humility and dragged the corpse around the walls of Troy. I fear neither presidential candidate is capable of humility and thus embracing their humanness. Like McNamara they will defend their mistakes to the grave; many corpse will be drug about.
Even if my a single vote decided how the six electoral votes allotted to Arkansas would be cast, that would not be enough to put either candidate over the top, but my vote nevertheless is dear to me and I agonize how to caste the silly thing. Here is my reasoning as of today;
The infantile left and the biased media outlets supporting their agenda are the enemies of western civilization and, ipso facto, my enemy. Moreover, the Democrats have nominated a person, supported by the New York Times and their ilk, who will continue the welfare state and all other lame brained liberal causes. Further, their candidate is personally flawed and used political office to accumulate 200 million dollars in bribes under the aegis of a "foundation".
The Republican nominee may or may not be even more flawed than the criminal Democratic nominee. But that is unknown to all of us.
If the choice is between a know looser and an unknown entity, the better bet is with the unknown entity. Even if he is deeply flawed he will not further the liberal agenda.
Colin Powell in his leaked emails calls Trump "a national disgrace and an international pariah". And he says that he resented Clinton's dragging him into her email problems and that "everything [she] touches she kind of screws up with hubris." So one of the few trustworthy figures in Washington dismisses both candidates. Can I do any less? Let me see now, is that Libertarian dude named Gary Johnson.....?
Our choices for the next president of the United States are: 1) a National Socialist masquerading as a Liberal Democratic, 2) a Rogue Capitalist as himself, and 3) an ignorant pot head. Each represents one of the three most destructive aspects of American culture. Our only hope is a deus ex machina to arrive in a space ship and spare us the fate we have so obviously prepared for ourselves, otherwise we will be hoist on our own petard.
The liberal new outlets (almost all) have sunk even lower in their attacks on the right. Disgusting, nauseating, and revolting; this is no longer a civil society.
Heraclitus became so unhinged by the Athenians and his fellow Ephesians, wishing the latter wealth in punishment for their wickedness, that he wandered the mountains subsisting on grass and herbs. I'll certainly not go that far, but retribution will come, if the righteous eat grass or not.
|Weeping Heraclitus by Utrecht Moreelse|
November 1, 2016Crunch time. One week until the election and I have made my decision: Evan McMullin for President of the USA. He can not win, but he is a man of principle and if neither Trump or Clinton can get 270 Electoral votes let the House decide.
So we close with Trump the Opera without permission from the WSJ.
HRC described Trump supporters as a basket of deplorables and they have responded. The good news is that she is not president and the Republicans control Congress, the bad news is the Donald is president. This will be interesting.
There are two questions to be answered, 1) will Trump appoint level headed individuals and listen to their advice, and 2) will the closed minded liberals, who think their opinions make them virtuous, act with civility towards the red state citizens. I have hope for Trump, but I have no faith that the closed minded will change much.
Trump seems to be assembling a responsible transition team. However, the liberal media outlets, especially the NY Times staff, continue venting their spleen; pathetically pointing fingers and calling names.
"misogynist, homophobe, bigot, racist, dodo"|
For such tactics, the only remedy is the defense we used in
the third grade:
"I'm rubber and you're glue, everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you."
The Tao Reverses
The Republican party was in disarray, progressivism was on the upswing, HRC was headed for four long dreadful years in the White House, and more unraveling of the social fabric was coming. Then the voters halted the slide into darkness and muffled the shrill voices of identity politics. The sun just may shine again this Thursday, this truly Thanksgiving.
The Electors assemble on Monday. The liberal establishment has launched a two prong attack to steal the election: 1. They are bombarding the Electors with emails to coerce them with bribes or death threats to get them to change their votes. 2. On the national level the media is carrying various messages based on this syllogism:
The Electoral College has given Trump enough votes to make him POTUS. The whiners will now hush, but the media will continue to use images of Trump with his mouth open and to slant reports on all his actions. The voters who put him in office will shake their heads at the likes of Paul Krugman and move on. The effete is in retreat but will mount rear guard attacks. The Republicans have both houses and the White House, we will see what they can do. Fending off liberals and moderating Trump will only be two of their problems.
The NY Times ran this on the front page today:" As Donald Trump Denies Climate Change, These Kids Die of It" by Nicholas Kristof, followed by a picture of a pitiful African boy.
Well, the inauguration came off without a hitch. Protesters continue to fill the streets, seemingly protesting the democratic process. The likes of Michael Moore encouraging the misguided. Surprising how much that revolting man resembles a jelly fish - neither has a brain nor is encumbered by the lack thereof.
The Roman month Febrkuarius was time of the purification ritual Februa held on this date because of the full moon. A purification ritual is exactly what the nation needs. The liberals and their spokesmen of the main stream media have fouled the very soul, or what's left of it, of this nation.
June 17, 2017Four more days until summer. The economy is strong, we are not in a major war and you would think the country would be at rest, but instead we seem to be unraveling. The liberals begin a new witch hunt as soon as the old one fails and the media continues to pour fuel on every fire, fires that they themselves start. The left is suffering from political disorder syndrome for which there seems to be no remedy.
July 3, 2017
Rain all night and rain continues this morning. All those holiday campers will probably be cooking burgers under tarps.
Houston is becoming the Gulf of Houston. Recovery will be long and expensive. Now for more political ramblings.
Rereading this entry, which seems to date back to early 2016, my prognosis appears to be about as good as the national pundits... which is nothing to brag about. The body politic is splitting, or has split, and the lunatic fringe is moving to occupy the gap. Both houses, unable to act in concert, are failing to address the nations problems, much less actually solve any problems. Members of Congress and members of the Senate are all busy doing selfies; that is, focused on their private interest instead of the public interest. I fear they are unable to distinguish between the two.
Where vanity ascends, reason slips away, and evil rears it ugly head.
September 4, Labor Day
After reading Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism,” an exposition of progressivism and its subsequent effects on liberalism, perhaps we should stop lumping all liberals together. We should start using “liberal” to designate the semi-rational folks of the left and label “progressive” for those who 1) seek an unrestrained regulatory state, 2) think it’s just fine to curb the interests of individuals to do social engineering, 3) support a president’s abuse of executive power for liberal causes, and 4) see no problem in stifling dissent.
September 21With the polarization and politicization of everything there is, seemingly, nowhere to hide. The TV is unplugged, subscriptions to newspapers cancelled, so the only outlet remaining is the computer, but when the Internet is activated Microsoft has usurped my screen and presents a daily image of the President with his mouth wide open and a caption announcing his latest, in their view, travesty.
October 27, 2017
Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez incorrectly stated "the Electoral College is not a creation of the Constitution" during a Tuesday night speech. "The Electoral College is not a creation of the Constitution," Perez said during a lecture at Indiana University Law School. "It doesn’t have to be there." Yet another example of liberal delusion. Perez is a graduate of Brown University, Harvard Law School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government.
For some time I have been on the verge of concluding that liberalism is a form of insanity. There seemed to be no other explanation for well educated intelligent persons embracing the liberal party line; especially after every attempt at socialism around the world has ended in catastrophe. Even proponents of popular culture ridicule the dupes that fall for the socialist lies.....the Coen Brothers movie "Hail, Caesar!" comes to mine. Venezuela, in the news today, is a woeful reminder that no country is so rich that it can’t be driven into the ground by revolutionary socialism. Then I remembered when I was in college a movie I saw, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers".
The storyline of 1956 movie concerns an extraterrestrial invasion that begins with alien plant spores that fall from space and grow into large seed pods, each one capable of reproducing a duplicate replacement copy of each human. As each pod reaches full development, it assimilates the physical characteristics, memories, and personalities of each sleeping person placed near it, these duplicates, however, are not rational human beings, but space aliens!
Now, half a century later, no clumsy pods are necessary. The aliens in the form of an extraterrestrial virus have cleverly taken over the minds of the liberal arts and social sciences faculty of all institutions of higher education. From those classrooms hundreds of thousands of our best and brightest are infected each year. Not only is this less troublesome than the old fashion pods, parents actually pay for the procedure. Moreover, if parents lack the necessary funds, the Federal Government will provide quick easy student loans. How will it all end? To answer that question we must turn to the 1978 remake of the movie staring Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, et al.
Matthew, the hero, watches dozens of children being led into a theater to be replaced, and pods being distributed from a truck in an alley. At work he sees Elizabeth, the heroine, but she is completely oblivious to him. While walking towards City Hall, he is spotted by Nancy, who has remained human. She calls to him, but he responds by pointing to her and emitting the piercing pod scream. Realizing that Matthew is now a pod person, Nancy, now the only human left in the city, screams in helpless terror.
The liberals and progressives control the media, the colleges, major cities on either coast, and the minority vote. How can western civilization survive in a country of pod people?
December 21, 2017
Trump's first year gets a B from this old professor: He put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, added lots of rational judges on the appellate courts, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, withdrew from the Paris climate accord, killed the mandate forcing Catholic nuns to provide employees with contraceptives, opened up drilling oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, initiated a deregulatory assault on the administrative state, and finished off the year by giving us a major overhaul of the tax code. If he continues this kind of work, and stops tweeting, next year I will award him an A. The Empire of Evil will continue to set bear traps for him in the year to come and we can only hope he listens to the cool heads on his team and avoids putting his foot in one (or in his mouth, as he is prone to do).
January 21, 2018
The cold has relented. The temp reached 70 degrees today and if this continues there just may be enough fire wood in the shed to see us through 'til spring. Everybody is ill, the preacher has the flue and cancelled services today. I see folks wearing face coverings to ward off bugs and the head cold I picked up around Christmas hangs on like a mild curse.
On the political front not much has changed. The liberals continue to act like spoiled brats, shutting down the government for no good reason while they cling to the illusion that Trump will disappear if they can spew enough venom. They remind me of one of Giotto's seven deadly sins.
February 10, 2018
The long hard winter has much time remaining and so do the bugs. A don't know a single family around here unaffected by one malady or another...not to mention death from the flu. The wood supply is so low I have been hauling in rotting logs; they are easy to saw but burn much too quickly. Just now the cows are complaining about the lack of hay in the racks. They remind me of the liberals complaining of Trump's continuing occupancy of the White House. Like winter, he is just hanging around much too long. Sorry liberals, your winter will last three more years.
Also, Harvard professors, Levitsky and Ziblatt, new book "How Democracies Die" think Trump will lead the US to Italy's 1920's style fascism. This is just another feeble attempt to attempt by the left to paint opponents as treasonous. This deflection technique avoid what should be our true concern: the radically diverse political forces pulling the nation apart. Democracy dies when one side loses respect for electoral outcomes and considers the other side illegitimate. Polemic exercises such as this only exacerbate the problem.
"To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think Conservatives are evil." --Charles Krauthammer
Somebody named Bret Stephens had a op-ed piece, Free Speech and the Necessity of Discomfort, in the NY Times that I found amusing. His theme seemed to be open mindedness, but as the piece unfolded he only wanted the conservatives to open their minds to liberal arguments. He even used another story about some benighted Nazi sympathizer, as if this poor fellow was cut from the same bolt of cloth of all conservatives. Like many liberals he can spot a closed mind on the right, but is blind to his his own blindness.
This point is made by J. Churton Collins in his, The Ethics of Antigone. Which can be summarized as:
Both Antigone and Creon claim divine sanction for their actions; but Tiresias the prophet supports Antigone's claim that the gods demand Polyneices' burial. It is not until the interview with Tiresias that Creon transgresses
in act and is guilty of sin. He had had no divine intimation before that his edict was displeasing to the Gods and against their will. He is here warned that it is, but he defends it and insults the prophet of the Gods. This is his sin, and it is this which leads to his punishment. The terrible calamities, then, which overtake Creon are not the result of his exalting the law of the state over the unwritten and divine law which Antigone vindicates, but his intemperance which led him to disregard the warnings of Tiresias until it was too late. This is emphasized by the Chorus in the lines which conclude the play.
However, since the Gods have been removed from the modern ethical and moral equation, then both the liberal and the conservative points of view are equally valid and equally invalid. If there is no ethical high ground or deus ex machina, the only solution is for both sides to seek compromise.
March 9, 2018
Can the NY Times maintain a constant sense of outrage for the remaining three years of the Trump administration without becoming unhinged? Or will they, like the wicked witch, melt into a smoking pile of harmless residue.
April 13, 2018
Not too long ago my grasp of our nation's problems and their probable solutions was somewhat firm, but my grip is gone. Paul Ryan's departure from Congress coincides with my on disillusionment. Ryan showed integrity, civility and decency— rare qualities in today’s coarse ugly political culture. When you realize the fight can not be won, leaving the battlefield becomes the only reasonable option. The spiraling national debt, the entitlement mess, the lack of social cohesiveness, the nasty political infighting, the never ending wars are, I now think, intractable problems that we either can not or will not even address, much less solve. Our situation seems dark, but then I was today reading about the early first millennium BC Neo-Assyrian Empire communication system that allowed the Assyrian king and his officials to send and receive messages across the empire quickly and reliably. Messages were sent using a relay system which messages were carried by riders who travelled on mules. At intervals the riders stopped at relay stations and the message was passed to another rider with fresh mounts. A system like the pony express of the American 19th century, but on a much larger scale. Perhaps taking a longer view of human history provides an impression a bit less gloomy. We are a resilient species.