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Photo by Maksim Shutov on Unsplash

I was a child when I first learned about power.

Almost automatically, you, the reader, are expecting me to tell about some horror that happened to me, some wound I received at someone else’s hands: something that left a lifelong scar on my soul.

But you don’t learn about power by experiencing the lash of someone else’s power. No, when you have no power, you experience only fear. To experience power you must have it.

My older cousin once showed me that you can take a magnifying glass (like the one that came for free as a Cracker Jack toy) and use it to focus sunlight. Find just the right distance between the glass and a surface and you could light fires. Which I did, of course. It was late fall, and I took a few russet leaves, arranged them on the sidewalk, and started to subject their dry surfaces to my death ray. I focused the sun into a tiny orb of fire, and traced the fiery lines from one leaf to the other, creating a small fire. …


A new leader emerged in Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s. A man who fought in the trenches in World War I, and was awarded the Iron Cross. He survived the horrors that claimed millions of his countrymen. He suffered long bouts of homelessness and unemployment. Driven by the suffering he saw among his fellow Germans, he joined a political party and spoke out about the evil and unfairness of Versailles. He led an abortive coup attempt in 1923. As the 1930’s dawned, he led his party to an increasing share of the vote, and his party’s paramilitary arm of over 100,000 uniformed streetfighters were a growing presence in the streets. …


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Photo by yue su on Unsplash

There is a great divide between life as it is experienced, and life as it is remembered. Vast stretches of my days are indistinguishable from each other. These are the common days: days spent getting up, going to work, and meeting the demands to make a living and provide for my family. Even without working, there were thousands of weekend days of chores, visits with others, relaxing in the yard, and watching ballgames. …


Nearly 50 years ago, the much younger me noticed that quite a few black woman on the subway were reading a book called “Pimp” — the autobiography of Iceberg Slim. At the same time, at my job I overheard an older black coworker tell her friend on the phone how good the book was. I remember a curiosity about it, and I recall wondering why, if it was so popular, it was never assigned in my Catholic High School social studies class? They assigned plenty of black authors, from Richard Wright, to James Baldwin, to Alex Haley’s Malcolm X autobiography. …


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Photo by Koshu Kunii on Unsplash

The dream is dead. Not for everyone, of course. Some of those who consider themselves oppressed will still demand equality, because they’ve been convinced that inspiring oratory, fervent marching and occasional outbreaks of looting can move mountains. That’s what the history books and media narratives tell them. “The arc of history is long but it bends towards justice.” The oratory and the marches are really just religious devotions — very satisfying emotionally, but, like religion, too often smothered under the truth of human nature.

It’s all an empty lie. Any mechanism we’ve adopted as the means for equality is really just bait and switch. We’re told it’s all for noble and altruistic purposes. Civil Rights laws, hate crime legislation and Federal government orders are really made to benefit the lawyer and lobbyist class. Who benefits from college diversity, inclusion and equity directives? Administrators. Who benefits from Civil Rights laws and regulations? Lawyers. The Americans with Disability Act? The stated beneficiaries are the persons with disabilities, but the real windfalls go to . . . you guessed it . . . lawyers. Obamacare was advertised as “equal access to healthcare” but it was really designed to subsidize mental health professionals, and provide guaranteed profits to the health insurance industry. …


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Photo by Alex on Unsplash

During the past few months, more and more “Dear White People” stories have started appearing on my Medium home page. Quite often that phrase appears verbatim in the title, but even when those words don’t appear, the phrase accurately captures the haughty, condescending tone of the essays. The essays pretend that they are written to educate white people like me about some injustice they’ve profited from, some microaggression that white people routinely commit, or some burden placed on non-white people that white people are oblivious to. They all have the same arrogant lecturing tone. They all use the same arguments. …


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Still from Netflix: “Unorthodox” TV series

I’ve always been fascinated with subcultures — like the Hasidim, Amish and Gypsies — that stubbornly maintain their separation from modern life. I find them inspiring, because they demonstrate that there remain ways to leave modern life behind, and live another way. To submerge ourselves once again in the way of life our ancestors lived in for millennia, where tradition, and our elders, ruled all. Until foreign armies came, anyway.

I watch every drama and documentary I can about these groups. I found the Netflix limited series “Unorthodox“ to be one of the best, and I liked it enough to go and read the autobiography it was based on. …


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Looking towards Moriches Inlet, photo by author

Early last spring I took a walk along Westhampton Beach, heading west from Cupsogue State Park towards the Moriches Bay Inlet. It was early in the year, the park was only sparsely populated, and as I got closer to the inlet I found myself totally alone, even though as the crow flies I was less than 60 miles from New York City. …


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Nothing exposes the contradictions of leftism more than the growing demands that municipalities refrain from using facial recognition technology to monitor public spaces, record activity and identify lawbreakers. The same people that want to give government the power to bankrupt a business because of because of a pattern of discrimination claim that the government cannot be trusted with accurate information on exactly what transpired in public spaces. They believe government should be starved of information, crippling it’s ability to identify violent criminals, while at the same time every single business transaction must be scrutinized to identify patterns of discrimination against protected individuals. …


There have been two experiences in my life when I felt utterly and completely free. To outward appearances, they may seem completely different, but the internal experience was really the same.

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Photo by Katerina Kerdi on Unsplash

The most recent was the first time I went parachuting, beginning with the moment when my jump master pointed at me, signifying that it was my turn to step out the door of the small Cessna. I leaned forward on my left knee and I pushed my right foot out through the open door of the plane, into the 80 MPH wind stream. My foot felt for the step beneath the door. …

About

Brian C

Retired software developer, husband, father. Student of history. Met Fan

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