The Optimist, Pessimist and Opportunist Square Off Again

Saw this quote from Christian inspirational writer William Arthur Ward on, of all places, Foreign Policy’s website:

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.

In the spirit of what I’ve been seeing on Facebook lately, we should want to know what the opportunist would do.  That’s easy: get a power boat!

(One of my family’s yachts; click on the image for more about that.)

Of course, if we get the French involved in this discussion, we have this:

(French Premier Edgar) Faure, a witty and prolific writer, was accused to being a “weathercock,” changing his direction with the flow of public opinion.  According to legend, his response was that “it is not the weathercock which turns; it is the wind!”

Just to Reiterate: My Thoughts on Women in Ministry, and About Being a Snob

I received an intriguing comment from Desmond on my 1662 Book of Common Prayer page.  He was taking issue with my comments about women in ministry, but he did so in a odd way.  Since he hit on subjects that I have talked about before and probably need repeating for newer visitors, I’ll take his comments as opportunity to do so.

First: his gratitude at my posting the 1662 Book is welcome, as I’ve said before, gratitude is a scare commodity these days.  But then he makes the following statement:

I believe that women and men have different roles as God sees it.
However those of us who, as President Barak Obama stated, “cling to their Bibles and their guns,” have an outlook on life that is considered in ill-favor with those of power, well we look at the world as it is and as it is becoming and we ask, is this what you wanted?

Barack Obama’s comment along these lines is the most important (but not the only) reason why this website is the online perch of an elitist snob.  There was a time when anyone making a high-handed remark like this would have been hooted out of the public square as having insulted the American people, but same American people have so little pride in themselves anymore (in large measure due to so many of them becoming clients of a patron state) that they take insults like this and still vote him into office.  It is this phenomenon which is why it will be difficult to unseat him from his own elitist perch.

In the meanwhile, however, it hit me: if same American people, who used to bristle at such characterisations, don’t do this anymore, why not come out of the closet on this?  Why not just proclaim to the world that you were raised in Palm Beach to stick your nose up at everyone else with comments like “…you’re not on this earth to conform to the conventional wisdom of the unwashed.”  So, Americans, if this angers you, don’t just sit there, do something: quit voting people in who really think you’re dirt, and quit taking their money so freely.  As I like to say, it’s your move, make it…

But getting back to Desmond, he goes on as follows:

Truly we have come so very far from this:

First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.

Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s body.

Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.

I realize that I speak in antiquated terms of extinct values, please indulge me.

This–which comes from the 1662 Book’s rite of Holy Matrimony–is as succinct statement as one could want of the purpose of Christian marriage.  It’s interesting to note, however, that it takes a broader view of marriage than we see in other Christian “traditions.”  For example, in Roman Catholicism procreation and what follows is the sole end game in marriage.  (That’s true of evolutionists as well, and it extends to sex in general, but most haven’t thought their own philosophy through well enough to realise it.)

What that has to do with women in ministry is hard for me to understand, but having considered this issue at length, there are three necessary prerequisites for women to be in Christian ministry.

The first is that the Pentecostal gifts be operational in the church.  This is because, as Peter repeated Joel’s prophecy, “‘It shall come about in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour out my Spirit on all mankind; your sons and your daughters shall become Prophets, your young men shall see visions, and your old men dream dreams;” (Acts 2:17.)  Prophecy is a high gift, but if it and the other charismatic gifts are not working in the church, then the daughters are in trouble.

The second is that the church abrogates the whole idea of its magisterial authority.  That leaves out Roman Catholicism, which is based on that magisterial authority.  It’s amusing, however, that Evangelicals, who object to the whole idea of women in ministry on the basis of headship and authority, have themselves abrogated the authority of the church through their own institutionalised rebellion, as I discuss in Authority and Evangelical Churches.

And the third is like unto the second: the ministers of the church must renounce careerism.  It can be shown the Jesus Christ came to abolish, amongst other things, careerism.  If there’s one thing that I learned the hard way in my 13 1/2 years of working for the Church of God, it’s that too many of the actions of our ministers are driven by their careerist ambitions, and that they rationalise same ambitions–and the need of others to support same–as of divine origin.  And, sad to say, we see some women going down the same road, i.e., the whole rationale behind their ordination as a necessary prerequisite to their career.  You want to lead?  Do it as a servant.  That’s the example Jesus Christ left us, and both men and women would do well to emulate Our Lord’s example.

If we do that, the church will be more Christlike.  And isn’t that the point for everyone?

Curtailing Internet Freedom: I Guess it’s Back to the Telex

Robert McDowell is right about the threat to internet freedom:

On Feb. 27, a diplomatic process will begin in Geneva that could result in a new treaty giving the United Nations unprecedented powers over the Internet. Dozens of countries, including Russia and China, are pushing hard to reach this goal by year’s end. As Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last June, his goal and that of his allies is to establish “international control over the Internet” through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a treaty-based organization under U.N. auspices.

If successful, these new regulatory proposals would upend the Internet’s flourishing regime, which has been in place since 1988. That year, delegates from 114 countries gathered in Australia to agree to a treaty that set the stage for dramatic liberalization of international telecommunications. This insulated the Internet from economic and technical regulation and quickly became the greatest deregulatory success story of all time.

Real time data communications across borders isn’t the invention of the Internet.  Before that we had the telex (see right.)  But think about it: the telex was…

  • …the purview of the few.  How many of you remember having one? (No, I’m not trying to be unfair to my younger readers, I’m talking to you, control-freak Boomers.)
  • …slow, so slow it travelled over telephone lines with ease.
  • …expensive (see bill below from the early 1970’s, then do some inflation calculations.)
  • …incapable of graphics or any other binary data transfer and storage.  (You could store the results other than on paper, mostly with paper tape.)

For those of us who had access to such a thing, and the international business and dealings that went with it, it was a broadening experience.  But we were definitely in the minority.

I know I exaggerate somewhat in saying we’ll go back to the telex for international communication and data transfer.  But we’ll be much the poorer if we allow the Internet to be choked by those who seek to control it–and us–above all else.

One more thing: McDowell notes the following:

While precious time ticks away, the U.S. has not named a leader for the treaty negotiation. We must awake from our slumber and engage before it is too late. Not only do these developments have the potential to affect the daily lives of all Americans, they also threaten freedom and prosperity across the globe.

Is this an accident?  Or is this one of those “action through inaction” kind of things?

Obama's Modest American Dream Has a Soviet Ring

He may not have thought of that, or perhaps he did

What Obama describes as the American Dream can seem a spare, fundamental aspiration, tailored for a campaign that looks to be fought over who is best equipped to safeguard the interests of middle-class Americans…

“If you’re willing to put in the work, the idea is that you should be able to raise a family and own a home; not go bankrupt because you got sick, because you’ve got some health insurance that helps you deal with those difficult times; that you can send your kids to college; that you can put some money away for retirement,” Obama said recently in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“That’s all most people want,” he said. “Folks don’t have unrealistic ambitions. They do believe that if they work hard they should be able to achieve that small measure of an American Dream.”

Exposure to the old Soviet Union is something that changed one’s perceptions of things, and that’s certainly the case here.  My Russian rep remarked one time that it was possible to make a reasonable living in the old Soviet system, and that’s what came to mind when I heard about this speech.  Of course, having a small business, to say nothing of a large one, was out of the question…until the system collapsed.

In some ways, the old Soviet system had one advantage.  In the late years, Soviet people said that “we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.”  In our corporatist system, there won’t be any pretending to work on our part, although there could certainly be a pretending to pay.  That’s where this debt-driven “servile state” (HT to Hillaire Belloc) is going.

Paul Krugman’s Hard Lesson in Ingratitude

Krugman’s the one who’s scratching his head here:

Many readers of The Times were, therefore, surprised to learn, from an excellent article published last weekend, that the regions of America most hooked on Mr. Santorum’s narcotic — the regions in which government programs account for the largest share of personal income — are precisely the regions electing those severe conservatives. Wasn’t Red America supposed to be the land of traditional values, where people don’t eat Thai food and don’t rely on handouts?

The article made its case with maps showing the distribution of dependency, but you get the same story from a more formal comparison. Aaron Carroll of Indiana University tells us that in 2010, residents of the 10 states Gallup ranks as “most conservative” received 21.2 percent of their income in government transfers, while the number for the 10 most liberal states was only 17.1 percent.

First, a personal note: I have relatives who live in the same area as Paul Krugman does.  Each time I read a column of his, I think of this place, their misfortune, and paraphrase what they used to say about Mexico: “So far from God, so close to Paul Krugman…”

With that out of the way, Krugman struggles to find an explanation for this.  Why, with all of this government money thrown at them, don’t these people express some gratitude for all of this largesse, especially at the ballot box?  There is a simpler answer than he proposes (and he proposes more than one,) and it starts with the observation that at the core of the Red States are the Scots-Irish, whose wayward ways I’ve documented numerous times on this blog.  And they are, in turn, the descendants of Europe’s most inveterate ingrates.

One thing that Krugman and other liberals don’t understand (or do and are loathe to admit) is that the goal of Barack Obama and those of his idea is to transform American politics into a giant patron-client system, where the patrons dispense the centrally located largesse and the clients fawn in praise of its reception, especially at election time.  Students of Roman history understand this idea completely; it drove the whole Roman system.  It can be argued that the Christian Church’s biggest challenge in its growth and ultimate legalisation was to avoid the corrupting influence of the patron-client system, and the history of the church–especially towards the end of the Roman Empire and beyond–isn’t encouraging in that regard.  As William Simmons pointed out in Peoples of the New Testament World: An Illustrated Guide:

The rules governing the patron-client relationship were part and parcel with the social fabric of the day.  The patron granted charites, “graces,” to the client, who in turn was to be “grateful,” eucharistos, towards the patron. (p. 275)

Some of the most fervid resisters of this system were in the British Isles.  Ireland was never conquered by the Romans, who were also ultimately unsuccessful in subduing the Scots.  But there were rumblings on the southern side of Hadrian’s Wall as well.  It can be argued that the popularity of Pelegianism in Britain was related to its reaction to Augustine’s single-minded focus on gratia (grace.) For a people who understood this concept all too well on a secular level, the appeal of Augustinian theology to Pelagius and other Brits was understandably lacking.  (The British were eventually to cut the cord on the Romans, but ultimately with disastrous results.)

On this side of the Atlantic, we’ve seen the same thing.  Liberals have forgotten this, but for many years Southern legislators (Democrats almost to the man) were successful in getting large government projects in their states, mostly public improvements like dams and lakes (TVA is the single largest example of this) to say nothing of the military installations.  But when the racial and other policies of their patrons changed, the South executed a volte-face that would still be amazing if we had better political memories.

The simplest way for people who are receiving graces to conceal the nature of the patron-client relationship is to adopt an entitlement mentality, i.e., they owe it to me.  We’re seeing this in Europe and especially Greece over the bailout mess they’re in.  The difference, however, between people who take patronage the Roman way and those who don’t is that the latter have convinced themselves that they have what they have as a matter of right.  Once you have that ingrained into your psyche, there’s no problem turning on your patrons like a snake when the occasion calls for it.  And no people have a stronger sense of their own rights than the Scots-Irish; it’s their contribution to making this country what it has been.

As long as we refuse to see what the real objectives are, we will never have rational political discourse in this country.

New Orleans Mardi Gras, Sixty Years Ago

As we approach Mardi Gras and the beginning of Lent next week, I thought I’d post these photos of the New Orleans Mardi Gras from around 1950.  That date is approximate; the slides that either my father or mother (or both) took were undated.  Nevertheless they show a New Orleans that was, in many ways, long gone before Katrina struck.

Anyone who has any reminisces of this particular Mardi Gras (and especially if they can date these) I would love to hear from.

Update: I think I have dated these photos to 1952.  The Krewe of Rex had as their theme that year “Panoramas of the Magic Sugar Egg,” (see this page) and same egg is shown in the fourth photo below.  That would mean that these are exactly sixty years old, which vindicates the title.

Two Visions of the End, Both From Iran

The flexing of national muscle–military, political and economic–we are seeing in the Middle East regarding the Islamic Republic’s aspirations makes as good a backdrop as any to consider how things will wind up.  In this post we will show it’s possible to get a glimpse of two visions of the end, and both in an Iranian context, one however that is relevant to us as well.

Most people who follow these things seriously are aware that one thing that drives Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (who are currently in a political tug of war for control of the country) is their idea of how things will end.  Shi’a Islam in Iran is the Shi’a of the “Twelvers,” i.e. the twelve imams that succeeded Muhammad on the Shi’ite side.  The last of these is purported to be in hiding and is scheduled to emerge from a well in the city of Qom sometime in the future.  At this point or before all hell is supposed to break loose at which point the enemies of Islam are to be defeated and the world becomes Islamic.

There are two interesting things to note about this.

The first is the idea that, somehow, human effort of some kind can expedite this process.  Iran’s current leadership, to varying degrees, believes that this can be done.  The idea that the end of history can be accelerated by human effort is more of a novelty in Islam than in Christianity.  Islam is the religion of “if Allah wills it”; fatalism has been more the order of the day.  In these times, with the uncertainty that goes with them, the idea that things like wiping Israel off of the map would bring the end closer resonates with many, which is the main reason why the Islamic Republic makes such a big deal out of it.

But that in turn leads to the second thing: which Islam will triumph?  Like communism in the last century, Islam is best seen in the plural.  Will it be the “Twelvers” to triumph or the Ismailis, the “Seveners”?  Or the far more numerous Sunnis?  The very Sunni keepers of the holy places sit nervously across the Gulf hoping the hated Israelis will do what they feel they cannot and Barack Obama will not.  They do this because they know that they are the chief targets of any Iranian military progress.  Wiping Israel off of the map would, in reality, accomplish nothing but generate a large cloud of nuclear fallout.  Getting control of both sides of the Gulf would have an entirely different result.

This is the vision of the end that one usually associates with Iran.  There is another one, and it’s a lot happier in every respect.

Oblivious to accelerating decrepitude, I have started my journey towards a PhD.  In the course of this I have gotten to know several Iranians.  The first thing I have found is that they are some of the most charming and intelligent people I have ever run across.  They are certainly capable of the technological achievements that are reported in the news.  In studying with them, I have had many “aha” moments, where obscure things suddenly became clear.

But there are other things at work:

One afternoon two of our friends wanted to show their wedding video.  Since they were only married last summer (and then off to the U.S.) it wasn’t “old news” by any definition.   In watching this I had one more of those “aha” moments, but this time it concerned the Bible.

In one segment of the video, the handsome groom arrives in his white car at an imposing looking building.  Alighting from the car, he walks up a long staircase and knocks on the door.  Inside his lovely bride has been in preparation for his arrival: hair, (un-Islamic) dress, and so on.  She comes through the door, they descend the staircase together, get in the car, and head to the second celebration of their marriage.

Because the Islamic Republic wants to underscore the religious aspect of marriage, it follows the lead of secular bastions like France and the old Soviet Union and basically obligates people to be married twice.  With Part I behind them, they head off to a place festooned with images of Persian emperors familiar to Old Testament readers: Darius, Cyrus and the like, and have their big party and celebration of their new life together.  (Islamic scholars refer to the era when these great kings ruled the Middle East as al-jahiliya.)

With this the moment of clarity came for me.  There’s a great deal of discussion regarding wedding customs in both Old and New Testament times.  Understanding these completely would clear up passages like the parable of the ten virgins.  But one thing is clear: for lay people, many current Western customs obscure the Scriptures as much as variant Biblical scholarship.  In this case, for years American grooms have entered the church and stood at the front looking stupid while waiting for the bride to enter.  But in the Middle East of the Bible, as in Iran today, the groom comes to the bride and gets her.  Although I suspect than in years past both bride and groom had entourages involved in the process, watching this unfold in high definition brought similar clarity to a very profound idea which Our Lord was trying to get across.

I like to remind people that, each time a man and a woman are married, it is a dress rehearsal for the marriage of the Groom (Jesus Christ) and the Bride (his church).  Although many Christians do not understand the meaning of this, the Scriptures taken in their totality are a love story between God and man, that love being brought to its fullest expression when Jesus Christ came, became one of us, and ultimately offered himself up for our salvation so we would not have to.  When Jesus described his return in terms of his return and a wedding, his hearers had a far more vivid–and accurate–concept of what he was talking about.  It throws into question the sense of a great deal of what has passed for “prophecy preaching” that we have been regaled with all of these years, especially regarding the whole business of the “Rapture.”  Anglicans will doubtless think of N.T. Wright’s fulminations on this subject, but be assured that this Iranian couple’s following of their wedding custom is a lot better description of what is really going on than anything N.T. Wright can come up with.

But this also brings up another thought: how should the Bride of Christ prepare herself for the Groom’s arrival?  Usually people speak in terms of what the Church should be doing outside of its confines, i.e., evangelism, benevolence and the like.  But before all that what I saw drove home another point: the first preparation of the church needs to be on herself, i.e., discipleship.  The whole concept of being “born again” means that the truth and presence of God is profoundly internalised in his people, both an event and a process that Jesus exemplified in the way he led his disciples.  Once we do that the rest comes a lot easier and has better results.

Christians and secularists alike focus too much attention on the tumultuous events that precede the end.  But change is never easy.  In the meanwhile we need to be more focused on the objective, and that isn’t destruction and doom but a wedding.

Obama and the Catholics: It May Be a Kulturkampf, but He's No Otto von Bismarck

The Catholic League is prepared for war:

Catholic leaders are furious and determined to harness the voting power of the nation’s 70 million Catholic voters to stop a provision of President Barack Obama’s new heath car reform bill that will force Catholic schools, hospitals and charities to buy birth control pills, abortion-producing drugs and sterilization coverage for their employees.

“Never before, unprecedented in American history, for the federal government to line up against the Roman Catholic Church,” said Catholic League head Bill Donohue.

There’s never been any doubt in my mind that our secularist (yes, secularist) chief executive had something of a “kulturkampf” in mind when he made this decision.  And, yes, it’s the same Catholic Church that Otto von Bismarck launched his against in the wake of the unification of the Reich.  And, finally, it’s pretty much for the same reason: both Obama and von Bismarck wanted to make a show of force against a powerful institution that represented a challenge, implicit or explicit, to their authority.

But that’s where the similarity ends.  One of von Bismarck’s accomplishments was the institution of the comprehensive social safety net that is a hallmark of German society and has been widely admired and imitated elsewhere.  To say, however, that the complex, expensive plan widely called ObamaCare is a worthy successor to what von Bismarck did–and what the Germans do today–is laughable.  What we’ve got is so bad that, as I’ve said before, it makes a single-payer plan look good.  Had Obama adopted that, he wouldn’t be in federal court defending the mandate.

And, of course, Barack Obama, with his due obeisance to his environmentalist fans, would never countenance the development of the wealth-creating industrial base that von Bismarck did (witness the Keystone pipeline fiasco) or for that matter the broad-based (and upward mobility encouraging) educational system, both of which became the envy of the world.

In his day Otto von Bismarck was referred to as the “Iron Chancellor.”  But things have changed.  Maybe what we have now is the “Plastic President.”

Social Conservatism is a Hard Sell in the Upper Reaches

As this Shiny Sheet editorial/article (the way it’s placed, it’s hard to tell) illustrates vividly:

It’s unfortunate it took this long for officials at Susan G. Komen for the Cure to reverse last week’s wayward decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.

It’s unfathomable that it took the charity three days from when the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars became public to restore the funding, which went to breast-cancer screening and other breast-health services. Why did it take the charity giant — which was founded by part-time Palm Beach resident Nancy Brinker — numerous denials, futile explanations and a public-relations firestorm to make an about-face from a decision that shouldn’t have been made in the first place?

One of the things that I’ve always found strange in my wanderings in Evangelical Christianity in this country is the juxtaposition of social conservatism with prosperity teaching.  That’s because, as a product of long-term success and having the historical memory that goes with it, the two in my view mix about as well as oil and water without an emulsifier.  In saying that, I’m making the assumption that prosperity teaching and its related lines of thinking have as their endgame placing at least some of its people at the very top of the society and not just to get their house paid off in time for the next major offering.

But the truth is that, although there are exceptions, on the whole people at the top of our society have attitudes on typical social conservative stances that range from indifference to rabid hostility.  There are a long list of reasons for this, but the central one is simple: people who have resources find it easier to throw money at the problems that result than to either restrict or redirect behaviour.  That’s not an option for people without these resources for events like unplanned pregnancies–unless, of course, there’s a well-funded organisation out there like Planned Parenthood to cover the cost.

In the past, it was fairly simple for a society to have a legal system with all kinds of restrictions for the many while the few took care of the results of such behaviour “on the side.”  But in these times such “on the side” solutions are more difficult to conceal, and so the impulse to remove the restrictions for everyone becomes stronger.  The results of this are a large reason for the social collapse–and subsequent impoverishment–of the lower reaches of our society these past fifty years.  Yet the results of reversing are so distasteful to contemplate for the well-heeled “beneficiaries” of the changes we have experienced that they’ll do what it takes to at least keep things the way they are, and the blowback to Komen’s decision to cut Planned Parenthood loose is a good example of this.

The sooner that Christian leaders wake up to this “cost of discipleship” regarding social issues (and a wide variety of other things) and level with themselves and everyone else, the better.  It would not only revolutionise the church, it would even affect the way we approach our political involvement.  We’ve seen evidence of this in the current presidential nominating campaign and doubtless there’s more to come.

The Reason General John Pershing Was Called "Black Jack"

February is Black History Month in the United States.  I have never done a specifically black history piece on this site, although I have from time to time suggested, for example, that Anglicans realise that the “Anglican Communion” is now and should be the “African Communion” with the centre of authority appropriately relocated.

But I also have a major interest in World War I, whose centennial is coming up in a couple of years.  Combining the two makes for an interesting discovery: the real reason the main U.S. land commander in that war, General John Pershing, was referred to as “Black Jack.”  Until recently I always thought, for example, that it was his favourite card game (that gives you an idea of the background I come from!) but the truth is different and much more interesting.

Pershing was born and raised in Laclede, MO.  As a young man he taught a group of African-American children.  That experience must have had an impact on him because, in his subsequent duty, much of his command was over black soldiers, who had served in the Union army during the Civil War.

In 1892 he took command of the 10th Cavalry Regiment, the so-called “Buffalo Soldiers,” made up of black soldiers.  He commanded this regiment in Montana, rounding up Cree Indians and deporting them to Canada (that creates a serious politically incorrect problem which is beyond the scope of this post.)  Evidently he was satisfied with his service, but many of his white counterparts were not: as a result of this command, he got the nickname of “N—– Jack,” which was softened to “Black Jack,” probably as his rank rose.

With the Spanish-American War Pershing and the Buffalo Soldiers acquitted themselves with valour on San Juan Hill in Cuba.  In a battle better known for Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, the 10th Cavalry took much of the brunt of the fighting.  It’s interesting to think that Roosevelt, who witnessed the Buffalo Soldiers in action, had that in mind when he invited Booker T. Washington to the White House during his presidency.

Pershing and his cavalry parted company, the former serving in the Philippines and latter hunting for Pancho Villa in northern Mexico.  But his most illustrious command was as Commander of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in France.  Pershing would doubtless have been happy to have Buffalo Soldiers (maybe not a cavalry unit, cavalry did poorly in the trenches of Belgium and France) in the AEF.  But President Woodrow Wilson, academic Ivy Leaguer though he was, was still very Southern in his attitude towards black people.  One of Pershing’s standing objectives was to keep American forces together under American command, but in the end black units were peeled off to serve under the French, as had many aviators done already.

And the Europeans had no problem with black soldiers in their military forces.  The French had many who came from their African colonies serving on the front.  And in East Africa, the black troops under German Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck were becoming a military legend that eclipsed the accomplishments of Pershing and the Buffalo Soldiers.  But it would take another war (or two or three) before it became conventional wisdom in the U.S. that all who are willing to take lead for Old Glory deserve their rightful place in the most powerful armed force the world has ever known.

But such are the hard lessons of history.  The nation which can successfully mobilise the God-given talents and abilities of the widest spectrum of its population will achieve its destiny.  In a culture where it’s so easy for one portion of the population to denigrate another, losing sight of that lesson will blunt that goal.  And at this point we cannot afford to throw any portion away, now can we?