Category Archives: History

We Look Back in Disbelief

We look back in disbelief
At the horror of the sins and errors
Of a generation past,
Shaking our heads
At how anybody could have
Been involved in that,
And glad that we know better ourselves.

But surely our generation
Has its own sins and errors,
And in time,
Others will look back on us
In similar disbelief.

And we will have spent our time
Saying too often,
“We thank you, Lord, that we
are not like those sinners from the past.”

The Grandest Irony

Adolf Hitler

It is the grandest irony,
I think,
That Herr Hitler—
Wicked narcissist that he was—
Was eventually brought down by the decree
That all communiques of the Reich
Should bear the salute, “Heil Hitler”.

It was discovered to be the one thing
Every dispatch would have in common.
And that was the clue that proved sufficient
To decode them all.

That a mortal—
Any mortal—
Would consider his own praise a proper
Prime directive for his people
Is a monument to his twisted heart.
Who could be so deformed of mind?
So misconstructed and dastardly?

The Enigma Machine enabled Germany to encrypt and decrypt messages securely, until the system was cracked by their enemies.

Such hubris is a signal for those who recognize it—
A beacon in the darkness—
A lighthouse on the rocky shore.
Yet, so many see such narcissism without a clue
As to the dangers it signals—
With no idea of the things
That such tyrants tend to do—
Even as they “Heil!” their own Hitlers.

A typical Enigma intercept from the Bletchley Park operation in England. These messages were transmitted in Morse code as groups of five letters, which were easily intercepted — but were impossible to understand without sophisticated decryption. (Photo courtesy Dr. David Hamer)

He Wishes for Better

He wishes for better—
As if in the wishing
He were doing a worthy deed,
Long overdue among the countless
Neglects in this haggard world.

He sets it aright in the vista of his mind,
And manages, when he can,
To feel some satisfaction in it—
For it is his due, he thinks,
For having burst the bonds of convention
In daring to think, for a change,
How things should be.

And he is certain of it—
And of himself—
And of his deftness of conviction.
And he wonders from time to time why they don’t
Ask him to do more such work—
Why he isn’t summoned
To do this more often—
Visionary that he is.

And tomorrow—
Or perhaps the day after—
He will wish about something else.
And so begins a new venture,
The better for which
This world will surely be,
He is certain,
When he has at last
Wished it hard enough
That he can mine from it
That scant morsel of piety
That he is fortunate sometimes
To feel after such great works.

And should someone else
Wish the wish alongside him,
Lauding the greatness of his vision,
He is more sure to sense
The reassuring signal
That he has got it right
Yet once again,
And that his worth
To this world is certain.

And so it goes—
And so go his years,
Until at long last,
He discovers,
Or not,
That he has done little
But to wish things different—
That his life’s great work has consisted in
The slightest of all possible deeds—
In mental child’s play—
And that he has not taken, after all,
What he thought should be
His rightful place
Alongside the champions of the ages
Who, themselves, had forged those
Most precious of moments of history
By daring not merely to wish,
But to make it so.

He may, in fact, never see the difference
Between him and them.
He may never realize that
To a million wishers,
There may be but one
Who dares to do—
And that he has not been that one.

It Shines Even Now

It shines even now—
Though some will not see it—
That holy City,
That dwelling place of God—
Its radiance like the rarest jewel.

It is that Mount Zion of which
The former was but a shadow—
That new Jerusalem of which
The former was but a promise.

It is the city of the living God,
The place of the innumerable angels in festal gathering,
And of the spirits of the righteous mortals, now completed—
Of those having been made like the angels
With their heavenly bodies.
They bring their glory into it—
That heavenly kingdom, not of this world—
Uninheritable by those still in the body—
Still in flesh and blood.

It is that second world of two—
The one made not for the sake of the many
But for the sake of the few.
It is the very goal of their earthly faith—
Their hope—
Their expectation—
Their journey.
It is their complete and unending reward.

It is the eternal world for which even
The Sun and the Moon in all their brilliance
Were early symbols—
Despite their daily work—
Melchizedek, a living forerunner.
In deference, they darkened themselves at the approach
Of the Ancient of Days.

God is that City’s light.
Jesus its lamp.
And the new kings of the earth—
Unlike the old–
Have brought their glory into it—
Those sons of Adam who had shined like stars
Against the blackness—
Against that raging, outer darkness—
Their exploits still lighting the way—
The glory of their faithful sojourn
Through a country not their own
Still gleaming from the ancient books.

This is the Light that the
Darkness could never overcome in the whole of its age.
It is the Light that judged the Waters—
Who took the good ones home and left the rest to rage.
It is the Light who, when the time for Darkness was over,
Put that Sea away forever.

And to this day,
That Light still shines on this Earth.
Some run into it,
And some from it.
And some, afraid to do either,
Just stand there,
Secretly wishing
For some other choice
To come along.

But this is what they have been given.
And so with us all.

Is COVID-19 a Good Reason to Destroy America?

By Jack Pelham

I won’t venture to make any predictions about the medical side of things, because I’m not even remotely educated in epidemiology.  But when it comes to the political and financial “remedies” that have been enacted in the name of saving us from COVID-19, I think that some Reality-Based Thinking is in order.  It seems to me that a soft coup is in play, using the crisis as cover for quickly and permanently transforming America into something she would never legally vote herself into being. 

Now, you should know that I don’t belong to any political party.  Rather, I’m with George Washington when it comes to “the baneful effects of the spirit of party.1  No, I’m talking about something much worse than that; I’m talking about the sinister undermining of our fundamental principles by people who lust after money and power that is not rightfully theirs.

I don’t have room in this present article to give you a detailed list of the lying, cheating, and stealing that’s been going on, but I’ve detailed it in a separate article here.  It discusses many sinister developments, including, of course, the unfolding unconstitutional bailouts that’ll likely end up to be nine times bigger than the one that got so many people picketing on the statehouse and courthouse lawns all across the US in 2008/2009.  So, if you’re not already familiar with these issues, please take a few minutes to read about them.

If COVID-19 really necessitates all this, then where’s the rush to amend the federal and state constitutions to allow for this kind of governmental power?  I think it shows our society’s prevailing unruly and undisciplined attitude toward the Rule of Law and our preference for the more-carefree Rule of Man.

Millions will argue, of course, that the “general welfare” language in the Constitution solidly authorizes these COVID-19 efforts, along with anything else we might deem to be good and useful.  But how does, say, funding a bridge in Pittsburgh serve the general welfare of the Union?  That’s specific welfare, not general welfare!  The very notion that the term “general welfare” entitles Congress to do anything it likes would mean the framers were wasting their time to enumerate all of Congress’s powers in Article I, Section 8!  But the liars never seem to tire of the game—excusing most every transgression by this frayed and irrational argument.

In my novel, The Extraordinary Visit of Benjamin True:  The State of the Union as no one else would tell it, the protagonist locks horns with a moral-relativist senator who talks big about dealing squarely in general, but who frequently cheats in order to get his way.  He stings the senator with this rebuke: 

“One big difference between you and me, Senator, is that I think that wrongdoing is wrong even when you do it.” 

~Benjamin True

Watch closely for yourself and see whether those who cry “Foul!” in government don’t frequently commit the same transgressions themselves.  We call this hypocrisy, of course.  It is run-of-the-mill cognitive and moral corruption.  Yet we allow it to be common practice in our governments—and that’s our fault.  And we’re about to pay the price for it in a bigger way than ever before.

Many politicians, of course, would think I’m being ridiculous, and that in light of the danger of COVID-19, the notion of following arcane constitutional rules is just stupid.  For them, I have some questions:

  1. If you think that following the Constitution is sometimes stupid, why did you take the oath to protect and defend it?  Does your word count for nothing?  Did you lie under oath just to keep the job?
  2. If you can violate the Constitution anytime you think you have a “good cause”, then is there really any limit whatsoever to the powers of the government?
  3. If the Constitution is such a hindrance to good government, why don’t you amend it legally, rather than trying to cheat your way around it?

Sadly, few American citizens understand the Constitution well enough to be alarmed.  And that’s worse than it was in the beginning, when more of us cared about it.  What’s also worse is that so few Americans today know what their legal rights are, or how the political process operates.  But this was not always so.  In the 1830s, about one generation into the life of our Constitution, a French writer visited to survey American life.  He complained that the Americans’ knowledge of European affairs was fuzzy, …

“…But interrogate him about his country, and you will see the cloud that enveloped his mind suddenly dissipate; his language will become clear, plain and precise, like his thought. He will teach you what his rights are and what means he must use to exercise them; he will know by what practices the political world operates. 2  (Emphasis added)

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Why did we ever let this knowledge go?  Did you know that it only takes about 45 minutes to read the US Constitution?  You could read it once a year and get a great return on the investment of those few minutes.

There were times in the beginning when we needed those “Minutemen” to be ready with their guns in order to fight off the tyranny of the British Crown.  And if we needed men and women with guns today, we could probably get them.  But the need of the moment is a few million exceptional patriots who are well-versed in the Constitution and who will raise a fuss sufficient to put the government back on its leash.  

As my character, Benjamin True, says to the people: 

“Life is short; why not be something extraordinary while we are here?”

~Benjamin True
  1. George Washington.  Farewell Address.  17 September 1796.
  2. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America. English Edition. Edited by Eduardo Nolla. Translated from the French by James T. Schleifer. (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2012). Vol. 1. 3/30/2020. <>

What is My “World View”?

Every once in a while, someone inquires about my “world view”.   Here it is:

  1. There is nothing unreal in the entire known Universe, with the one exception of what happens in the imaginations of humans.
  2. Humans often get trapped in the unrealities that they (or others) have imagined, and attempt to practice or to adhere to those unrealities in the real world.  This is and has always been, in every known case, bad. Continue reading What is My “World View”?