Paul’s Perambulations

December 21, 2006

Pacifism and Socialism

Filed under: Peace,Politics — admin @ 3:50 pm

The following was published in The People, the oldest socialist paper in the world and the official publication of the Socialist Labor Party.  The Socialist Labor Party is the third oldest extant political party in the United States.  It is an Americanized and modernized form of Marxism, working to change the government of the United States through education and the ballot box.  The Socialist Labor Party never recognized the legitimacy of the Soviet Union, which falsely used the name of socialism in an attempt to disguise its authoritarian nature.  They are an interesting and idealistic group of people, offering much that is relevant to today’s world.  Unfortunately, the world does not seem to be listening at the moment, and in some ways the group is a living historical relic.  At Villanova some years ago I met their candidate for Vice-President of the United States, George Taylor.  You can check their website if you’re interested.  They are not antithetical to religion.

p.s.  I am also a subscriber to the group/journal Religious Socialism.  The book Christian Socialism (by John Cort…I treasure my inscribed copy) is relevant.  Particularly interesting is the material on the early Christian church.

To the Editor of The People:

As a long-time reader of The People, I must take exception to an item in your July-August 2006 issue in which you equate pacifists with capitalists (“pacifists…pretend that capitalism can one day provide peace, justice, or equality”).  In fact, pacifism refers to an attitude about war, and says nothing about one’s particular political sentiment.   I feel certain that you would find a much higher percentage of people sympathetic to your cause among pacifists, than you would find among the general public.  Personally, I identify myself as a Quaker pacifist revolutionary socialist.

December 20, 2006

What is the meaning of marriage?

Filed under: Love — admin @ 10:10 pm

Here is my letter published in the August 2005 issue of Friends Journal:

I found your recent material on marriage to be particuarly relevant for me.  I am getting married this fall under the care of Lansdowne (PA) Meeting, and this has sent me on a journey to consider the spiritual meaning of marriage and its relationship (if any) to the state’s concept of marriage (defined strictly as a legal contract).  I had intended to be married under the care of the meeting but to not apply for a license, and then ask to have the marriage recognized by Pennsylvania. But Pennsylvania abolished common law marriage as of January 1, 2005.  So I will be getting a license to get married, just like folks have to get a dog license or a driver’s license.  But at least for a driver’s license, the state requires some exhibition of capability with respect to what it is allowing.  How can the state “allow” marriage at all?  Governmental history in this regard is abysmal — less than half a century ago, interracial marriage was still illegal in Virginia (until this was oveturned by the U.S. Supreme Court).  In the first half of the 20th century, many states (not just in the south) had miscegenation laws regarding marriage.

Musical interlude: Too late for our October 8 Quaker wedding

Filed under: Love — admin @ 9:22 pm

Our Quaker Meeting for Marriage was unusual in a number of ways, even for a Quaker marriage (ask me about it).  One idea came too late for incorporation into the Meeting ceremony.  At the start of Meeting (there was no wedding march) I spoke about how I first met Fran on the proverbial “dark and stormy night” in the woods, and how that set in motion the most significant change in my life.   After a pause for reflection, Chopin’s Revolution Etude bursts forth from our Meeting’s fine old grand piano. If you’re familiar with the piece (very difficult to play), you can image jaws dropping.  But, musically, it perfectly reflects our first meeting.  Well, I wasn’t able to set it up in time with Curtis, but I still smile to think of it.  You don’t hear THAT very often at a wedding.  But there’s still a chance, at the 10th anniversary repetition of our vows. If you want to hear what I’m talking about… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Frederic_Chopin_-_Opus_10_-_Twelve_Grand_Etudes_-_c_minor.ogg

Does the Constitution protect us from presidential abuse of power?

Filed under: Politics — admin @ 9:03 pm

The Nixon Tapes give us a classic example of abuse of power, as demonstrated by the following examples.  The scary thing is, he almost got away with it.  In the political circles of Washington, this was seen as fairly normal behavior until it was brought to public attention.

June 30, 1971

Nixon wants to get the goods on Ellsberg, to stop publication of the Pentagon Papers.

Nixon: “The way I want that handled, Bob, is.. just to break in.  Break in and take it out!  You understand!
Haldeman:  But who do we have to do it?
Nixon:  Well, don’t discuss it here.  You talk to… You’re to break into the place, rifle the files, and bring me….
Haldeman:  I don’t have any problem with breaking in. This isn’t a domestic.  This isn’t a foreign, approved security.
Nixon: Just go in and take it.  Go in around eight nine o’clock and clean it up.”

September 8, 1971.

Nixon wants to loose the IRS on his major opponents.

Nixon: (more…)

December 18, 2006

Our President — Do we laugh or cry?

Filed under: Politics — admin @ 12:33 am

“I thought we would succeed quicker than we did, and I am disappointed by the pace of success.”

President George W. Bush, at a press conference with Tony Blair, in response to a question about whether he would acknowledge his failures and change course in Iraq (quoted in Time Magazine, December 18, 2006).

I am reminded of my father’s description of the news in Nazi Germany when he was an American graduate student at the University of Berlin.  So much of the “news” simply made no sense to an informed person.

p.s.  Our president speaks (again):  “The legislature’s job is to write law.  It’s the executive branch’s job to interpret law.”   Austin, TX, November 22, 2000.

December 16, 2006

Chance ??

Filed under: General — admin @ 7:01 pm

Chance favors the prepared mind.

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