Tag Archive | history

Hubris of Ignorance

The following link is provided with the permission of Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station:
http://www.stonekettle.com/2017/04/the-hubris-of-ignorance.html

 

This will take a few minutes to read, so get a good cup of coffee, or as Jim might suggest, a beer.  Make yourself comfortable and be prepared to think a bit.

Here are some samples from Jim’s excellent article:

 

“Have  you been following this? All these airplane crashes? And everyone is so confused. Everyone is going, Gosh, how come there are so many airplane crashes? Well, um, I gotta theory here. You remember, what was it? Like, uh, four years ago? The air traffic controllers, they went on strike? And then, um, Ronald Reagan fired ‘em? So then they just hired anyone who was hanging out at the time. And now everyone is going, Geez, how come there are so many airplane crashes? How come there are so many airplane crashes?! I dunno, maybe Walt the janitor isn’t qualified to land a Boeing 707!”
— Bobcat Goldthwait

Maybe Walt the Janitor isn’t qualified to land a Boeing 707.

But then again, in America we’d love to believe Old Wally could maybe pull it off.
Because we Americans, we sure love the heroic myth of the common man.

Oh we do. We prefer myth over reality every time.

We love to tell ourselves that one.

It’s the myth of our country’s birth. We love that myth more than all the others combined.

We tell ourselves with great pride how a bunch of raggedy assed, untrained colonists one day rose up against tyranny.  The Minutemen were roused from their beds in the middle of the night by Paul Revere and they rallied to the Stars and Stripes. They threw all the tea into Boston harbor and sent England a stiff upraised middle finger, up yours, we ain’t paying no taxes no more.  And then a bunch of farmers grabbed up their muskets and formed themselves into a militia under good old George Washington and this army of amateurs chased the Redcoats all the way back to England without any help from anybody except for Jesus.

Because Americans are special. Exceptional.

And when they’d thrown off the yoke of tyranny, well, then a bunch of common men gathered in Philadelphia to receive the Constitution directly from God. They wrote down the sacred words and everybody signed it, especially John Hancock, and America was born.

Amen.

That’s the myth we tell ourselves, we Americans.

We’re special. Exceptional. We pulled ourselves up by our own bootstraps and forged the Republic out of the mud with our own hands.

We’re a nation of amateurs. Bunch of Good Old Boys beat the best army on the planet. Bunch of farmers wrote the Constitution and laid down the foundation for the greatest country in the world. A government of the people, by the people, and for the people. In America, we’re not ruled over by kings. We don’t owe our allegiance to some hereditary weak-chinned inbred royalty.

No, Sir.

In America, why the people are the government and anybody can be president.

Anybody.

We are a nation of amateurs and damned proud of it, aren’t we?
That’s what this election was about.”

“Moreover, we Americans by and large tend to be suspicious of education and experience when it comes to government.

Anywhere else, brain surgeon, airline pilot, corporate CEO, dog trainer, we want the most experienced person we can get. But the President? Not so much. Power corrupts, right? You got to clean house every once in a while. Throw the bums out.

Except…
Except, in retrospect, perhaps ignorance and a suspicion of “elites” isn’t the best way to go about selecting a leader.

The world is a dangerous and complicated place.
Almost unimaginably so.

And nothing is as simple or as straight forward as it seems and as the mob apparently believes.
Foreign nations do not kowtow to the United States.

This is not something new.

This is no weakness of Carter or Clinton or Obama – or Reagan and Bush for that matter. These nations have never bent a knee to us. From Morocco during Roosevelt’s time, to Cuba and Vietnam during Kennedy, to Libya under Reagan to Haiti and Grenada and Panama and all the nations that fill your news feed today.
It is the nature of nations, large and small, to push back – and in fact, like dogs, the smaller a nation is, likely the more fierce and furious its bark.

At home, we Americans face the same problems we’ve always faced, energy and resources, civil rights, race, age, religion, law and order, unrest, left and right, young and old, health care, education, infrastructure, jobs.

It’s complicated and difficult and always on the verge of failure.
This is not a world for a government run by amateurs.”
Jim wrote one thing I especially have to quote…okay, then comment:
“The simpleminded demand simple causes for complex problems.
The simpleminded demand simple solutions.”
****
Fellow Americans..fellow humans, for that matter:
Are we truly simple minded?  Or is it more that we don’t engage our minds to their full capacities?
If the former is true, we are in deep trouble and the situation is hopeless.  If it’s the latter, however, we need to get off our butts, wake up and engage!
I will come back to this quote in a future post:  It’s just too rich to leave.
****

Go read the full article; enjoy.

 

 

A LONG, RICH HISTORY

Eastern Oregon and the surrounding areas were havens for Native Americans. Many of these tribes, including the Nez Perce, Cayuse, Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Shoshone, would spend their summers in the bountiful Grande Ronde Valley, where they would forage, hunt, fish, and bathe in hot springs. Tribes that may have been hostile toward each other would live together harmoniously in the “Valley of Peace”.

 

The Astor Expedition passed through the valley in 1811; then it became a waypoint along the Oregon Trail for people headed to the Willamette Valley.  Every traveler who left a record of passing through the area spoke about it with favor.
Well, almost…

 

This lovely place was also the home of the largest “Used Oxen Dealership” on the Oregon trail.

It was an especially important part of that historic route, from the 1840s up until the Civil War broke out. Once an emigrant party had made it to the Grande Ronde Valley, it had straggled across hundreds of miles of the Great Plains, crossed the Continental Divide in Wyoming and thrashed through hundreds more miles of the Rocky Mountains and the blistering, arid Snake River Desert in Idaho – throughout which they were constantly fighting off attacks by hostile native tribes. By the time a party got to this tiny, fertile valley, it was typically pretty played-out.

 

This was more applicable to the animals than the people. After all, the people could rest when they needed to, sitting on the wagon while the oxen dragged it up yet another mountain pass. Exhausted from their ordeal, severely under weight and unhealthy from lack of suitable food, the oxen could not be helped by the pioneers.  What they needed was a long period of pasturing and rest.  That’s where the Native Americans in the region could help … for a fee.

 

The Nez Pierce, Cayuse, Walla Walla and Umatilla tribes had no use for oxen, except maybe for the occasional bad winter when better meats were unavailable. But they quickly figured out that they could make a lot of money on them.

 

These tribes would take skinny, exhausted draft animals off the emigrants’ hands for, basically, 50 percent of their value. Then they’d equip the party with fresh draft animals, ones purchased from immigrants during the previous travel season, and send them on their way to the Willamette Valley another 300 miles or so of Blue Mountains, Cascade Range and terrifying river voyages still ahead before the parties would get there.

 

The Native Americans made good money with his business venture.  Pioneers didn’t always like it, but they needed the fresh animals and the Grande Ronde Used Oxen Dealership” was the only shop in town.

“The Nez Pierce can beat a Yankee peddler in a trade,” one exasperated – and out-of-pocket – emigrant groused.

 

Early pioneers chose not to settle in Eastern Oregon, perhaps because they were intent upon reaching the Willamette Valley, it was too far from a supply base, or they feared the Native Americans in the area.

 

The first permanent settlement in the Grande Ronde Valley was established in 1861 byBenjamin Brown, an Englishman who had originally settled in Michigan.
Not long after, the Leasey family and about 20 others settled there. Serving as a travelers inn, the settlement was originally named Brown’s Fort, and then Browns Town or Brownsville.  Since there was already a Brownsville in Linn County, the name was changed to La Grande.

 

Early settlements were in the more arable northern parts of the valley, because the southern end had more alkaline soil.  It was also often swampy and subject to flooding. In 1862, Conrad Miller settled the opposite side of the valley. This settlement grew into the city of Union, the second largest community in the Grande Ronde Valley.  Island City, Cove, and Summerville were not far behind.

 

Many factors contributed to the growth of the valley. Some of these were the continuing presence of emigrants from the Oregon Trail, and the discovery of gold mines in the surrounding area:  Baker in 1861 and the Powder River Mines in 1862.

 

The name Grande Ronde means “great circle,” and this productive area, the second largest enclosed valley in the world, does indeed contain much of Union County’s economy, including nearly $100 million in annual agricultural sales, a figure that has doubled since 2001. Small towns like Cove, Island City, and Union, and the county seat, La Grande, depend on this economy to support local businesses, while visitors since the days of the Oregon Trail have marveled at the valley’s unique beauty.

 

In honor of this long, rich heritage, I offer this poem:

 

Great and lovely valley,
Filled with so much life:
Cougars, deer, elk, eagles
Crops, forest, livestock;
Place of fullness.

 

Seasons chase each other,
From hottest to cold:
Summer heat to bright fall;
Snow to rains in spring;
Ever changing.

 

Small towns, farms and woodlands
Make a giant quilt,
Looking down from high peaks,
Surrounding the land
Where quiet lives.

 

Place where native peoples
Hunted and foraged;
Laid down hostilities,
Lived in harmony;
Valley of peace.
(First posted on September 3, 2014)
REFERENCES:
1.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grande_Ronde_Valley
2.  https://www.friends.org/trail/granderonde
3.  http://www.offbeatoregon.com/H0912d_GrandRonde.htm

WHAT DID HIPPOCRATES KNOW!

Hippocrates was born c. 460 bc , island of Cos, Greece.  He died c. 375 , Larissa, Thessaly.  He was the most famous ancient Greek physician who lived during Greece’s Classical period and is traditionally regarded as the father of medicin.
Here are some quotes from him.  Given our current knowledge, how would you say he did?

 

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.
Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm.
Walking is man’s best medicine.
Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease.
Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.
It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.
There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance.
Life is short, the art long.
Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.
Everything in excess is opposed to nature.
%%%%%%%%%%%%

I’d say he did quite well.
It’s amazing, how ancient wisdom turns out to be right on!

BUILD YOUR NATION

A nation is constantly being built, regardless of how long it has existed.  That is a different thought for most of us, who want to point to the founders and say that they did the whole job.  Unfortunately, that is like saying that a house is complete as soon as the foundation is laid.

Such a perspective is important:  If we are building, what kind of quality control do we want to have?  What is each person doing to see that the nation is built with excellence?

 

When you think of the strengths and qualities you want your nation to have?

Would you accept a list like:
Angry
Violent
Afraid
Self absorbed
Greedy
Apathetic
Complacent
Lazy
Corrupt
Isolationistic

 

OR
Would you prefer a list like:
Courageous
Noble
Generous
Respectful
Compassionate
Peaceful
Productive
Industrious
Honoring
Diligent

 

It would be tempting to lay the responsibility for the outcome on politicians, the media, corporations and government,
BUT,
You guessed it:  The real choice is in the hands of each voting citizen.

How will you vote?

THE FIRST THANKSGIVING MENU

Are any of these on your Thanksgiving menu this year?
They were in 1621, when the Pilgrims held their first feast, which lasted for three days:
cod
bass
Lobster
seal
swans
wild turkey
venison
corn
squash
other vegetables
wild roots
herbs and spices introduced by the Wampanoag
They might have had honey or maple sap for sweeteners.
———————
No sweets, such as pies, cakes and other desserts – no sugar available for that.

 

Some of this was recorded in journals written by people who were there; some of it is conjecture, based on general information about the time period and location.

 

So what’s on your shopping list?

Bon Appetit!

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S FIRST THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION

November 23, 2009

Presidential Proclamation — Thanksgiving Day

What began as a harvest celebration between European settlers and indigenous communities nearly four centuries ago has become our cherished tradition of
Thanksgiving. This day’s roots are intertwined with those of our Nation, and its history traces the American narrative.

Today, we recall President George Washington, who proclaimed our first national day of public thanksgiving to be observed “by acknowledging with grateful
hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God,” and President Abraham Lincoln, who established our annual Thanksgiving Day to help mend a fractured
Nation in the midst of civil war. We also recognize the contributions of Native Americans, who helped the early colonists survive their first harsh winter
and continue to strengthen our Nation. From our earliest days of independence, and in times of tragedy and triumph, Americans have come together to celebrate
Thanksgiving.

As Americans, we hail from every part of the world. While we observe traditions from every culture, Thanksgiving Day is a unique national tradition we
all share. Its spirit binds us together as one people, each of us thankful for our common blessings.

As we gather once again among loved ones, let us also reach out to our neighbors and fellow citizens in need of a helping hand. This is a time for us to
renew our bonds with one another, and we can fulfill that commitment by serving our communities and our Nation throughout the year. In doing so, we pay
tribute to our country’s men and women in uniform who set an example of service that inspires us all. Let us be guided by the legacy of those who have
fought for the freedoms for which we give thanks, and be worthy heirs to the noble tradition of goodwill shown on this day.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of
the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 26, 2009, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all the people of the United States to
come together, whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place where family, friends and neighbors may gather, with gratitude
for all we have received in the past year; to express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own; and to share our bounty with others.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the
United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

BARACK OBAMA

PROCLAMATIONS

WHEREAS, It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to
implore His protection and favor;
WHEREAS, Both the houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving
and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity
peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great
and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our
sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold
mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and
plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our
safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted’ for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means
we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon
our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and
punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly
and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have show kindness to us), and to bless them with
good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us;
and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
–George Washington – October 3, 1789

Abraham Lincoln

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so
constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they
cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil
war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved
with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military
conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength
from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of
our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily
increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of
augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing
with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully
acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.
I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands,
to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.
And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble
penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in
the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the
nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence
of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln