Category Archives: Essays

My thoughts on social, political, or historical issues, or any other topic on which I feel the need to pontificate.

To Know, or Not To Know?

On what seem to be fairly regular occasions I find myself in a position where I wonder if Hamlet was wrong about his very famous question that surfaced while he reviewed his awful situation and contemplated terrible options for dealing with it.  I occasionally have reason to wonder whether the real question is not “to be, or not to be,” but rather “to know, or not to know.”  The existence and personal acknowledgement of this question is somewhat disturbing to me given that I have spent the vast majority of my life actively seeking for both knowledge and wisdom.  At … Read the rest


When in Rome, do as the Romans
– St. Ambrose

I was pondering some on the nature of the “quote” above and decided to look up it’s history.  Much to my surprise, it is attributed St. Ambrose, a devout Christian.  Given the way this sentiment is used in modern society, I was thunderstruck at the idea it had originated from one of the most influential Christian thinkers of the early Church.  On the surface, it would appear that St. Ambrose is advocating for a form of moral relativism and giving license to abandon morals and standards in order to “fit … Read the rest

In the Wind

Now this was a great trial to those that did stand fast in the faith; nevertheless, they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them.
– Alma 1:25

About twenty years ago I spent several weekends driving chase truck for my neighbor who owned and operated a hot air balloon.  The deal was that if I drove long enough he would take me up on a ride.  My friend Sean and I decided a balloon ride would make an awesome homecoming group date and both of … Read the rest

Through the looking glass

What’s wrong with DC?  How is it that the array of government and our duly elected representatives can be so disconnected from the reality of the majority of American lives?  After spending another several days in the national capitol region, I am reminded of at least one of the reasons.  DC is nothing like the rest of America.  It is a frighteningly distorted fairytale land, and I am convinced that anyone who spends much time there will eventually lose touch with the realities facing most of America.

The fact of the matter is that people are influenced by their environment … Read the rest

The Modern Moral Compass

While our country remains untainted with the principles and manners which are now producing desolation in so many parts of the world; while she continues sincere, and incapable of insidious and impious policy, we shall have the strongest reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned us by Providence. But should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another, and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation while it is practising iniquity and extravagance, and displays in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candor, frankness, and sincerity, while
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Failure – The Forcing Function

‘Some conjurers say that number three is the magic number, and some say number seven. It’s neither, my friend, neither. It’s number one…  Only to show you my meaning clearly,’ said the Jew, raising his eyebrows. ‘To [secure your own prosperity], you depend upon me. To keep my little business all snug, I depend upon you. The first is your number one, the second my number one. The more you value your number one, the more careful you must be of mine; so we come at last to what I told you at first—that a regard for number one holds
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Snake Oil – Thoughts on Temporal Hope

Where do you turn when hope seems lost?

Several years ago, a friend of mine shared his thoughts on this topic.  Jim was probably one of the happiest and kindest men I had ever met.  His whole life had been dedicated to the cheerful service of others, and he was beloved by a great many as a result.   Unfortunately, tragedy doesn’t seem to respect these kinds of distinctions, and struck Jim and his family rather abruptly and harshly.   Several months before the exchange around which this article is based, Jim and his wife Helen had traveled to Europe for the … Read the rest

Flying Solo

Way back in the dark ages when I was single and in college, I seriously contemplated spending the time and money required to get my private pilots’ license.  I even went so far as to get a few hours behind the controls of a Cessna 182.  It was enough to convince me I would love it and that I couldn’t afford to maintain it as a hobby if I was ever going to have a family.   I gave up my quest before my first “solo” flight.  I was disappointed, but accepted my fate with magnanimity; knowing that my first solo … Read the rest