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Monday, December 05, 2016
Wednesday, February 03, 2016 5:24 PM
There has been a disturbing authoritarian trend in Rockland city government. Deliberations have increasingly been secret, speakers have been cut off at public meetings . . .
  • The greatest threat to world peace today is the conflict in Ukraine. The Russians are supporting rebels in the east, we are supporting the Western . . .
  • Is it better for schools to be managed by professionals who are responsible to a government bureau, or is it better for them to be managed by unprofessional citizens who are responsible only to each other in their own towns and cities? The idea that it is best to have independent local schools under local citizen . . .
  • For many people today, change is a scary thing. There was a time in the history of our country, and in the history of our little city of Rockland, when we looked at change, and growth, as exciting and rewarding. The future was bright, progress was a good thing. Now we have become frightened . . .
  • I saw agents provocateurs in action in Paris, in 1980. Medical students had been marching for something. There were also many young people walking and running this way and that, seemingly just for excitement. Then we saw the police marching in formation, looking very tough. . . .
  • In the primitive conditions in which our species evolved many dangerous substances were unavailable in quantities that could be injurious. Today, many of these dangerous substances are widely available and plentiful. We use our knowledge and intelligence to avoid substances that might harm us . . .
  • It takes only a look at the map of Europe to understand the importance of the Ukraine, especially of the eastern portion of it, to Russia. Access from the Eurasian hinterland to the Mediterranean has been contested throughout history. Control of the Crimea, the strategic peninsula . . .
  • What is today called economics is a subject that may be useful for those who control the government, but it is not very useful for the rest of us. Most of us do not make decisions about how to regulate the production and trade of our nation. We are busy dealing with the management of our own personal affairs. . . .
  • I received the news this week that Rockland's Strand Theatre is being given by the heirs of Matt Simmons to a new non-profit organization called the Friends of the Strand Theatre. The movie theater, which was magnificently restored by Matt at great expense a few years ago, will now be supported . . .
  • What's in a word? Some meaning, presumably, but often that meaning is elusive. Right now our American political spectrum is defined as reaching from liberal, at one end, to libertarian at the other. Does it not seem odd that these supposed opposites are spelled with the same first five letters? . . .
  • From the point of view of the average American, politics is a sectarian struggle. The Republicans and Democrats are like the Shiites and Sunnis in the Middle East. Here, neither party calls its sect a religion, but both believe that God is on their side. . . .
  • This essay is being composed on my computer screen. When I was a young man I did my writing on a typewriter. No one in his right mind would use a typewriter today. I remember the misery of composing the complaints and answers and briefs for my law practice on a typewriter . . .
  • Our moment in history has both its troubles and its blessings. Our troubles are, in this column and elsewhere, often lamented - our depleting fossil fuel reserves, global warming, the poverty of much of the world, our economic difficulties, violence, high taxes, incompetent government . . .
  • In my last column I proposed that a competent and hard-working young person who does not go to college can look forward to a good life in Rockland - if he makes himself useful, is careful how he spends his money, and does not too much conform to the norm. . . .
  • Suppose you are 18 years old. You have finished high school and have decided that college is not for you, at least not for now. You would like to live here in Rockland and work part-time so that you will have time to pursue your interest in music and photography. . . .
  • Those of us who had hopes that President Obama could repair our broken health care system have had further disappointment these last days. Obama is not smart enough, apparently, to overcome the entrenched institutions that continue to fatten themselves at our expense. . . .
  • When I look back on what I have written over the years, it seems there is a common theme. It is a call to reject our extreme materialism and suggestions for how, with a different emphasis, we might make the world a happier place. It is our lot, and our nature, to be in competition with each other. . . .
  • For my son Takuma, Halloween is the most exciting day of the year. It was for me too, when I was 6 years old. For me now, it is a reminder of how much our culture has evolved from one based on popular tradition and neighborly comity to one based on commercial exploitation, and fear. I still remember the little treats my mother made with squares of homemade cake wrapped in . . .
  • I am in the midst of an experiment in education. It is a collaboration in the creation of a school in which students have the opportunity to become knowledgeable in a wide variety of disciplines in the arts and sciences, and pay no tuition. We call it The Old School, and it is a non-profit educational organization. . . .
  • If you have seen me wandering about town lately, stooped over and looking at the ground with a frown on my face, I have been thinking, trying to answer the question that is the title of this column. Even as I write, I am still trying to work it out. Perhaps there is no one underlying cause of our malaise. I have a sense, though, that there is, that we have a problem at the root level of our . . .
  • "They only understand force." This is an idea I remember from my youth. "They" were the Commies. This idea has not gone away. It's still applied to the Russians, but also to all nationalities of "Wily Oriental Gentlemen," as the British imperialists called them. Our prejudice cannot be so openly expressed now - it is politically incorrect - but the sentiment remains in full force. . . .