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Can Trump Actually be Another Hitler ???

April 14th, 2017 by Michael Tabor

Image result for trump hitler comparison 2017

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a very bright young man (pursuing his Ph.D. in Chemistry with a minor in German History, especially WWII, at Brown University) and I asked him pointedly if the Trump comparisons to Hitler were fair or just overblown rhetoric. He stated that not only were the similarities spot on, but the demagoguery is carbon copy. The good news is that for Trump to actually become a “Hitler-type” genocidal maniac would be virtually impossible for these reasons: 1. Though flawed, this country truly is a liberal democracy with all the checks and balances in place (congress, judiciary, media, etc.) 2. The U.S. is basically just too divided for him to pull off some sort of crazy majority rule. 3. Although many think that our economy is bad, Germany’s economy was unfathomably far worse (because instead of rebuilding Germany after WWI, we forced them to pay back reparations).  4. Trump would have to abolish the entire Constitution and establish a dictatorship, which is just not going to happen today in the United States – 2017. But having said that here is an uncanny laundry list of parallels:

1.     Both Trump, now, and Hitler, in the 1930’s, were viewed by most of the world as cartoonish caricatures of buffoonery. Nobody initially took Hitler seriously.  Remember Charlie Chaplain played Hitler in the satirical film ‘The Great Dictator’.  And well we now have SNL’s Alec Baldwin’s Trump impression… German historians still marvel at how Germany could have fallen for such a foolish man with a funny mustache. And we…well

2.     Both have their scapegoats: Hitler – Jews and communists and Trump – Mexicans and Muslims.

3.     Both EXTREME Nationalists i.e. Hitler – restore Germany to its prior greatness and Trump’s “Make America Great Again.’

4.     Both monomaniacally petty and vindictive.

5.     Both obsessed more with perception as opposed to facts and reality. Propaganda and lies are & were essential.

6.     Delusions of grandeur. Hitler believed as Trump now believes that they are the only human beings on the planet who could and would be able to “fix things. “Both demonize[d] “others” i.e. immigrants. (Exception for Trump is beautiful leggy East European super-models).

7.     Both obscenely vain, selfish, self-involved, and narcissistic.

8.     Both pursue[d] their twisted agenda even if it means/meant total self-destruction to themselves and to the nation as a whole.

9.     Both love[d] the maniacal adulation of the fanatics.

So there you go – 9 compelling similarities (I could probably think of more). One may ask – do you think Trump is actually genocidal and homicidal? My personal opinion is that if he’s confronted with an EXTREME situation (say a 9/11 event), I think he’s capable of unspeakable behavior and yes, atrocities.  WhaDaYaThink? What do you think? I pray for impeachment asap.

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My Kingdom For A Car Park

February 5th, 2013 by Magdalena Tabor
Just hours ago, conclusive evidence confirms the remains of King Richard III which were unearthed in September 2012 under (of all places) a car park.  I can’t help but think of the lyrics to Joni Mitchell’s song “they paved paradise, put up a parking lot” and welcome the news with a giddy mix of emotions. Just last winter Michael and I had the good fortune to attend a play at the BAM Harvey Theater in Brooklyn to watch Kevin Spacey’s riveting performance of the ill fated king. If the real King Richard was anything as charismatic as Mr. Spacey, this gooseflesh feeling spans 500 years.
But now that his remains have been identified, there is still the lingering mystery on whether or not Richard was actually the villain that disposed of the two young princes, twelve year old Edward and nine year old Richard. The older brother destined for the throne stood in the way of Plantagenet’s Richard, and was shortly declared illegitimate owing to the invalid marriage of his parents, thereby eliminating the young boy as king. As Lord Protector, Richard had the two boys confined to the Tower where they were often seen playing among the battlements. Then one day they simply disappeared. Richard, though never formally accused, never opened an investigation into the matter of his nephews.  It wasn’t until 1674 that the skeletons of two children were found under the staircase during renovations. They were determined to be that of the two princes and reburied in Westminster Abbey.
Richard is generally believed to be the culprit as reputed by Shakespeare. Yet others insist he was a victim of propaganda and is portrayed as a kindly king with a “greatness of soul”. There’s even a Richard III Society founded in 1924 dedicated to the improvement of his reputation. But it seems they’ve much work to do. After five centuries, poor Richard is still demonized.
Nevertheless, the remains of Richard III will be reburied next year in Leicester’s Anglican cathedral just a stone’s throw from where his bones were found. No doubt, under much pomp and circumstance as befitting an English monarch. I, for one, would like to give Richard the benefit of the doubt and tip my hat to the goodly king. After all, I am American and you wouldn’t have me curtsey, would you?
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Honest, Abe

November 22nd, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor

Abraham Lincoln’s Civil War document is up for sale. Dated April 19, 1861, he authorizes the blockade of all Southern ports which was, in fact, a declaration of war. One might say Lincoln fired the first shot initiating the Civil War. Let’s just say,  he called the shots. His signature, firm and resolute as  the man himself, constituted an act of bravery that would haunt him for the rest of his life. Indeed, it would ultimately end it in abrupt violence at Ford’s Theatre almost 4 years to the day, on April 14, 1865.
This important document, currently in private hands, will be sold to the first person offering the $900K price tag attached to what really belongs to all of us. How can a record of such historical significance be up for grabs? Shouldn’t it be protected and housed in a public place of exhibition and not part of someone’s personal trophy room? This is not an autograph of your favorite rock star – it’s ABRAHAM LINCOLN who, in his own words, triggers what was to become the single most terrible act of war this country has realized within its own borders resulting in tragic loss of life – for the sake of Freedom. My hero. And yours.
There is no price one can place on on such a document. $900K, a cool million, two – who’s to say? History, bought and sold. It does not belong to one person. It should be donated, whoever you are.

So……………..whadayathink? What do you think? Maybe you’re the guy with the cash who can buy it and give it back to its rightful owner(s). How ’bout it, Big Shot? Or, maybe no one should step forward and buy it in the first place, forcing Mr. (Mrs.)  Whoever You Are to donate it themselves.
No man resolved to make the most of himself has time to waste on personal contention. – Abraham Lincoln

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All American Anglophile

June 29th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
As any red blooded American should know, July 4th 1776 marks our very first Fourth of July celebration with the signing of the Declaration of Independence – our official break with Great Britain. (Do I hear an audible gasp from all you Anglophiles?) If you’ve ever had the chance to see the film “The Madness of King George” (highly entertaining, at the expense of poor George), you can imagine his utter distress at having lost “the Colonies”. While this is not attributed to what drove him stark raving mad, I surmise it didn’t much help matters. In actuality, he suffered from a blood disease that had gone undetected by the quacks in those days, known as physicians. As a result, history unfairly dubs him “The Mad King” as well as “The King Who Lost America”, as if one dishonorable title were not enough.
There’s an interesting bit of Long Island history known as the  Setauket Spy Ring (sometimes known as the  Culper Spy Ring) which took place during the American Revolution that centered around Nancy’s  “clothesline”, of all things. Talk about American ingenuity. Nancy lived with her husband, Judge Selah Strong, and their eight children on Setaukets Little Bay. Directly across the bay was Abraham Woodhull’s farm. Abe shuttled messages back and forth from his farm to New York City as part of a spy ring for General George Washington to be used against the British. There were many components of this spy ring, but one particular man was chosen for his adeptness in navigating  Long Island’s waters; Caleb Brewster. It was learned that Brewster wasn’t safe landing his boat in the same spot to get his messages to Woodhull for fear of being found out by the British, so they created six different spots for him. But as Woodhull pondered as to how he would know when and where Brewster would arrive, he glimpsed Nancy’s clothesline from across the water. Woodhull and Nancy devised a secret code based on what she hung on her clothesline. If a black petticoat was hanging on the line, it meant  Brewster was in town. The number of handkerchiefs would indicate which location Brewster’s boat could be found. So with guys like Woodhull and his trusty spyglass aimed at Nancy’s clothesline, poor King George didn’t stand a chance.
As “the Colonies” went their merry way (leaving England less so), Congress agreed on an official date to commemorate our new found independence and thus began the festivites. John Adams wrote to his wife: “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations….with pomp and parade, shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires….from this time forward, forever more”. So right, Jack. So right. BBQ’s, picnics, parades, fireworks, and for some…..birthdays. Happy Birthday, Michael, born on the Fourth of July. My idea of fun is a bit more subdued…. Oh, to swing in a hammock on a lazy summer afternoon, book in hand. Which brings me to a bit of a dilemma.  What to get Michael for his birthday? I’d really like to get him that hammock – there are two perfectly spaced trees at our woodsy retreat but his phobia of getting mauled by a bear is not wholly unfounded. I could get him that book instead. Let’s see….”How Not To Arouse The Interest Of A Bear”. Number One – Do not allow yourself to laze idly in a hammock in the midst of bear country. Or if you do, forego that turkey and cheese sandwich smothered with tantalizing condiments. Number Two – Allow your wife to buy you that hammock and let HER swing in it if you promise to keep an eye out for old Sasquatch. She’ll never be able to yell at you if you don’t. Ha! Ha! Wait, what am I saying? That’s ME with my foot dangling from a horribly painful toothy vice! No hammock. And no book for you, birthday boy. We’ll go out to eat. Or shall I say, we’ll dine out?
And so, this July 4th, while you’re grilling those burgers, give a nod to our Founding Fathers, and a wink to good old King George. Had things turned out any other way, we’d be associated with Beef Eaters of another kind. As it is, I rather like mine charbroiled, with the accent on “well done”. BBQ or BBC? Why not both?
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Antiquing – One Piece At A Time

June 6th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
I have a passion for old things. I’m not sure where it came from, whether it was something instilled in me long ago or just intrinsically part of my make up. There is no doubt that whenever crossing the threshold of an antique shop or any historical structure, every fiber of my being is attune to what I might find and you will probably see the glimmer of a smile beginning to form at the thrill of the hunt. Yet, there are so many mixed emotions when embarking on these excursions; one of reverence for the very thing itself that has survived the years, of sadness at the passing of time, and for the things held in limbo now. It’s an ever present reminder that everything is so temporary. That nothing truly belongs to us. All our earthly possessions outlive us and pass into other hands. And so, it’s rather sobering, this trip through time, found in a jumble of assorted treasures which brings me back to my senses, enjoying the hunt after all.
Ever notice that there’s a certain odor attached to old things? The minute you walk through the door. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it’s a medley of the smell of old books, furniture that has warped and aged, the mouldering of things that have passed hands and centuries, not altogether unpleasant. On the contrary, it stimulates the imagination. That odor is unmistakable and ever present in all things old. If history had a smell, that would be it. The very essence of Lincoln conjured through one’s nostrils. If you’re an antique buff, you know what I mean.
I was once a great collector of things, of anything old, and through the years amassed a good deal, holding onto much of it. And since I’ve no desire to rid myself of any of it and have  no available space to acquire any more, I’ve come to a crossroads in my quest to quench my passion. But search I must, if only to cast a wistful eye. Every now and again I’ll come across something unique to add to my collection but those days are rare, and things of that nature are becoming more scarce. Instead, I reminisce on all the country auctions I religiously attended, and can recall the occasion I won the old duck decoy for practically nothing – $17.50 to be exact – it’s worth hundreds and I once had a notable dealer in the area ask to purchase it from me. Then there’s one of my many china dolls from the Civil War era, found hidden away in the cellar of an old parsonage down a lonely country road, with a wisp of a smile as though she’d finally been rescued. Each item has a story to tell of my own recent past but mute to its origin leaving me to imagine what once was. Whose was it? How did it end up here? What happened during its span of 150  years?
Antiques. They aren’t just things. They speak to us. It’s not just a chair with its arms worn smooth – it was a favorite. Not just a table with its nicks and dings – it saw many evenings of home cooked suppers with family and freinds. Not just a chest with a groove in one place just the size of my hand where you open the lid – it was opened and closed so many times to get that extra blanket or linen for an unexpected overnight guest. They are the untold stories of people’s lives, that have heired their most prized possessions to the next generation to care for, and we in our turn will do the same. In the meantime, I will do the honor of enjoying them each day, one piece at a time.
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9/11 – A City Silenced

September 9th, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years. We had been living in our new home for

just a year. Taking the Long Island Railroad into Manhattan each day was still

a relatively new experience for me. Prior to then, I spent years riding the

subway into work. I guess you can say I’m a seasoned New Yorker. September

11th, 2001. It was the most beautiful September day. Noticeably so. I know it

sounds like a cliche but it was the kind of day that made you feel alive.

People still talk about how beautiful the day was. Picture the perfect day.

That was it.

 

 

I was sitting at my desk working (or about to. God, it was early) when I
got a phone call from my husband Michael. He said a plane had just crashed into

the World Trade Center. My initial

assumption was that a pilot of a small aircraft lost his bearings, making a

grave miscalculation in altitude. This was no accident, Michael replied. Call

it a gut feeling. Leave work, he said. Leave now. I didn’t. My office is in

midtown Manhattan. A few of us opened a window and if you leaned ever so

slightly in the direction of downtown, you could see it. A big gaping hole in

the tower. I remember thinking, “How are they ever going to fix

that?” Crowds began to gather outside. We walked up to the corner where a

clear cut view offered a broader perspective on the damage. There was billowing

smoke emanating from the hole. By the time we got back to the office, a second

plane had hit the other tower. By this time we knew the horror of it. We were

under attack. The city shut down. There was no way in. No way out. It was then

I realized that Manhattan is actually an island – that I was trapped – cut off

from the rest of the world. And all I wanted to do was get home. If only for

the last time.

 

 

One by one the towers collapsed. One minute they were there. We saw them.

Then they were gone. It seemed inconceivable. How could this happen? This was

the United States of America. New York City. Dangerous as it may seem at times,

things like this just didn’t happen. Oddly enough, I had always felt safe and

secure nestled within the cluster of tall buildings. Like familiar friends. My

home away from home. On the whole, New Yorkers are a tough bunch. You

inevitably become so. It’s fast paced. You need to keep up. But that day was

different. What struck me most about that day was experiencing the city as

never before. The city emptied its people out of every building, spilling them

out into the street. People everywhere, just standing. Enveloped in a kind of

shell shock. We were not so much individual persons, but a single living

organism brought together in solidarity. Were we scared? Very much so. Yet not

a syllable was spoken. What was heard was only the sound of sirens; scores of

fire trucks and police cars racing down 7th Avenue toward doom. Racing to their

deaths. I was witnessing their final frantic moments.

 

 

I made my way out of the city that day; several of us piling into a

co-worker’s brand new car. How he B&M’d (bitched and moaned) about it until

we all threatened to buy dripping ice cream cones. Finding levity even in the

face of disaster. A kind of balm. An equilibrium on our sanity. His was our

Army Jeep. Our ticket out. Intent on leaving war torn Manhattan behind.

Seemingly, incredibly, ours was the first vehicle to enter and leave the

Midtown Tunnel. There was absolutely no one on the road. Just us. Like

Armageddon. I turned to look back at the skyline behind us. At the empty sky

where the towers stood. There was billowing black smoke. Smoke that used to be

people. In the foreground was a huge billboard. The word P E A C E

spelled out in big block letters. That, the word “peace”, and the

eerie aftermath of silence, is most prevalent in my mind. That, and the empty

September sky.

 

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Osama Bin Laden, Thankfully is With the Virgins !

May 2nd, 2011 by Michael Tabor

This is a great day for the U.S.A. and for the rest of the world –Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind 9/11, has finally been killed by our best – the elite Navy Seals Special Forces.  Wouldn’t it be great if we had the ability to take out all the “monsters” in the world without resorting to full-scale modern warfare?
There is great unrest in the Middle East, Africa and around the world because ordinary civilians want a better life. For hundreds of years average citizens have been brainwashed and oppressed by dictatorial and very often (but not always; some tyrants are secular) religious fanatics. Women have especially been victims of mistreatment in the Middle East; being forced to wear burkas and not allowed to show any flesh in public – not to mention the plethora of other indignities through which they have had to suffer; too numerous to cite here.
It took more than 10 years to kill Osama Bin Laden despite what the republicans assert about Bill Clinton not trying to get him. The very same republicans, who were clamoring about how Clinton was spending so much time on killing Bin Laden, are the ones now claiming Clinton did not do enough. That is politics – whatever one does, the opposing party will come up with something to complain about.  Nevertheless, never mind that now, the bottom line is Osama Bin Laden, whose name is as horrifyingly synonymous with Adolph Hitler, is dead.
Someone suggested that it was too bad that we did not bring him in alive and had we done so, we might learn more about Al-Qaeda and its operations. I, personally think it would be a waste of time and money; he would not talk (unless we tortured him and we cannot do that) and besides we now have access to the compound in which he was residing. In the coming days I am certain we will retrieve reams of information from that compound.
I will be writing more about this unbelievable story but for now we know little except that Osama Bin Laden is dead!
Now it is your turn WHADAWETHINK ? Do you think Al-Qaeda is likely to strike soon as a result of killing it’s leader? Was Bin Laden just a symbol or was he actually involved in orchestrating the terrorists attacks? I, personally believe this is a big win for everyone and the world can feel a little bit safer now that our worst enemy is dead. Furthermore, this just goes to show that NO ONE attacks our country and gets away with it. We will learn so much more over the next few days and weeks but open this up. There is so much to talk about.
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Royal Ties – Taking Care of Business

April 17th, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor
With the Royal Wedding less than two weeks away, you may be wondering what all the hype is about. Why this media frenzy to fuel the fascination we Americans seem to hold for Britain’s monarchy? Assuming you are entirely ignorant of the event about to unfold on an international scale (perhaps having newly arrived from planet Mars), it involves the marriage of Prince William, the eldest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, and second in line to the English throne. Handsome, charming and, as some members of the media have been quick to point out, balding. Leave it to the media to throw a spotlight on a sore spot. The beautiful, pillar of patience Catherine Middleton is the lucky Royal Bride-to-be, dubbed by the ever clever media as Waity Katie due to their lengthy courtship having spanned an entire decade. Together they make a winsome pair and it seems the public can’t  get enough as attested to the sheer volume of Royal Wedding Souvenirs one may purchase on-line. Everything from Royal Wedding China, approved  by the monarchy itself, to condoms labeled The Crown Jewels, not given the official stamp of approval for obvious reasons. Among the other sundried goods available are KaTea & William, tea bags bearing the likeness of each to be steeped in hot water much like real life marriage. (What have they gotten themselves into?) Maybe you’d like to invest in a practical durable item such as a mug boldly proclaiming “I Could Care Less About The Royal Wedding”. There’s something for everyone even if you’re not into it.
Not going to the wedding? Not to worry. CNN has launched a contest, the winner securing two tickets to London to act as anchor covering the wedding to be televised on April 29th at 11 am UK time. That’s 6 am NY time which means if your Royal invite from the Lord Chamberlain’s office went missing, you can watch it from the comfort of your living room wearing nothing but your skivvies enjoying a proper English breakfast consisting of tea and scones with clotted creme. So forgo the dresscode and the awkward embarrassment to bow or curtsey as the Royal Brigade winds its way to Westminster Abbey and onward to Buckingham Palace for refreshments. This means even the Duchess of York gets in. Not familiar with the Black Sheep of the family who was royally snubbed of her invitation? Ah, well that’s another story you might reference on one of the many gossip sites available.
In my quest to quench my thirst of all things British or Royal, I came across the ultimate site which is the Official Website of The British Monarchy. Did you know that the Royal Family does not just sit around on their laurels? In fact, they frown upon those that do. Each member of the Royal family has many specific duties to carry out on a daily basis and their agenda, I was astonished to learn, is quite full. The Queen herself, soon to be 86 years of age on April 21st, engages in many official duties in the course of just one day beginning at a desk like any other office worker, even if hers is a much more elaborate example of my own. After scanning the British news, she turns her attention toward the monumental task of tackeling her daily correspondence ranging from 200 to 300 pieces of mail. She doesn’t read them all of course but someone assigned to the process does and they are all acknowledged by members of her staff. The Queen does however, select a few to read herself and then advises someone on how she would like them answered. There is an actual address where one may  write to the Queen or other members of the Royal family should one be so inclined. My, what could I possibly say to the Queen to be of any interest? “How are your corgis?” (the Queen has several) “And dorgis?” (a corgi/dachshund mix with which the Queen also amuses herself).
Much of the work the Royal family attends to is philanthropic, and Miss Middleton has already had her taste of official duties alongside Prince William. It is known that some years earlier the Royal Family frowned upon her lack of an actual job title. Nightclubbing didn’t seem to fit the description and so Katie found (ugh!) work as an accessory buyer with a clothing chain called Jigsaw. She also worked  at the Middleton family business known as “Party Pieces”. Yes, the Middletons are (OMG) “common” hailing from working class laborers and miners but have since claimed millionaire status as the word “party” attests to.
But what of Miss Middleton’s actual lineage? The New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston states that Catherine Middleton is an eighth cousin eight times removed to George Washington. Prince William’s mother, Princess Diana, and great grandmother, the Queen Mother, were also cousins to Washington. That means the Prince and his future bride are distant relations. Does anyone hear Twilight Zone music?
So, before you envy the role of the future Queen, remember, she has her work cut out. Take a look at “A day in the life” of a Royal family memeber on the official website and learn a thing or two about public service, royal or otherwise. Are you surprised to learn that the Royal Family actually works for a living? Why shouldn’t they? Whada ya think?

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The Insanity of War

March 21st, 2011 by Michael Tabor

How can we as a species even conceive of ourselves as a civilized animal when there is a thing that still exists and in which we partake called warfare?  George Carlin summed it up best when he stated, “we Homo sapiens like to think of ourselves as civilized, yet we’re barely out of the jungle folks (the primordial side of humans still triumphs) all we are is animals with computers, machine guns and baseball caps.”

War has always been with us (even when we were ape-like toolmakers some 2.5 million years ago to the 1st so-called civilization, the Sumerians 8000 years ago to the Civil War (Carlin has a funny bit re: the term civil – “Pardon me sir please allow me to  – boom ! you’re dead; to the front page of the New York Times today 3/21/2011.

Even when it seems perhaps we are  more than amply justified when for example today, we see the allies intensifying air assaults in Libya as we attempt to depose the brutal dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi who has been brutalizing and killing his own civilians for decades. There just seems something wrong with resolving something unspeakably horrible by dropping bombs. I was struck by the incisive remarks made by the former chairman of the Arab league, Amr Moussa, when he said we’re trying to protect the civilians of Libya by dropping more bombs on parts of Libya where we think Qaddafi is and in the process killing more civilians. Just think of the absolute insanity of this!

As I am writing this, I’m glancing at the front page of The New York Times (the so snobby and refined paper that only prints the news that’s fit to print) with a an image of a massive fireball in color, covering half of the front page. It’s such a harrowing picture that I can practically smell the gasoline and the corpses of civilians and soldiers burning flesh. Furthermore, does it really matter anyway in terms of human life – a human being is a human being; so it makes it okay to burn to a crisp a young man who happens to be wearing a military uniform and who happens to be on the wrong side. I also cringe at the armchair generals who declare that we are only targeting the military and we are careful not to put civilians in harm’s way but collateral damage (nice euphemism for innocent men, women, and children) is a sad fact of war.

I know that war is unavoidable because there are very bad people in the world who are sadistic and have an unquenchable thirst for power. They take advantage of a weak nation or a country in trouble (like Hitler did after WWI; the 2nd world war was partially our fault because of the Treaty of Versailles – another blog) they rise to power and wreak havoc.

I would hope that someday we would, I am not going to be Pollyannaish, and say someday there will be no war, but just pray that we resort to military action only if necessary and only if all other non-military tactics and negotiations have failed.

Now it’s your turn WHADAWETHINK ? There is military conflict all over the world – we are ensnared in two wars, the Middle East and Africa are always killing each other and it is a hive for dictators. What are your thoughts on the wars we’re fighting (the U.S.)? Is there a way out? In fact, we have been in Iraq and Afghanistan longer than we fought in Vietnam – astounding but true. Hey George Carlin I love you, I miss you and yes you were right – we are animals with computers, machine guns and baseball caps.

I am interested in what people have to say about this Op-ed blog. I hate war and it’s the sickest thing we humans do. Open this up and create substantive dialogue.

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Life is Nasty, Brutish, and Short

February 11th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

The actual full Quotation is “Life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” By Thomas Hobbes – 1651 from perhaps the most profound philosophical book ever written – ‘Leviathan’. 

I have thousands of great books in my library, one of which is the aforementioned – ‘Leviathan’. I remember reading this in my 20’s and being astonished at how penetrating, profound and insightful and apropos the themes regarding the human condition were stated regardless of the fact that the book was written 325 years ago. There are eternal truths and there is an old adage that proclaims that Plato has written everything there is to know about life and the human condition and any other thing written or said is merely a footnote. So if you believe in this then even this masterpiece, ‘Leviathan’, is just another footnote to the great works of Plato. 

One can argue that ‘Leviathan’ is a treatise on political theory and Hobbes was writing about the state of affairs in England, circa 1588-1679 during the English Civil War. Hobbes believed in a powerful monarch and an absolute authority and therefore he supported King Charles I and was against the forces led by Oliver Cromwell.

 To put Hobbes’ convictions and conclusions into a neat nutshell it goes as follows: He believed that life was a constant struggle and there would always be war inasmuch as man was continually at odds with each other because we are all pursuing the same things – food, shelter, wealth, safety and security. (It’s the old argument that there are too many people and not enough natural resources; I personally think this is not in fact the case, I believe there is enough to go around for everyone and it’s really just an issue of greed. People think that they are special and therefore are entitled to more than their share. Go ahead call me a Socialist.) So not unlike Darwin’s ‘Survival of the Fittest’ (Darwin actually stated it was not so much the strongest who survived but one who was the best at adapting to one’s environment) and of course Karl Marx, Hobbes believed in the Common wealth.   

So if you accept the premise that man is a greedy, primal species, Hobbes viewed Commonwealth as a social contract analogous to a giant social organism. He concluded that if we didn’t have this contract and if we didn’t have an absolute authority and a powerful monarch we would have total chaos and individuals would not attain the shared goals of safety and security. The human species would be no different from any other animal. 

I’ve attempted to give a synopsis of this very complex concept of Thomas Hobbes and it’s impossible to not to sound somewhat facile but I strongly recommend everyone to read ‘Leviathan’ and just read the classics period. I love current events and I read the newspaper, magazines, surf the net, read other blogs (btw – if you’re not familiar with  Arts and Letters Daily you should check it out, it is probably one the best sites on the Web  http://www.aldaily.com/   but don’t forget to come back here) However I do read the classics as well and I go back to the original source. So read Plato and instead of reading a book about Charles Darwin, why not just read Darwin – read ‘The Origin of Species’. There is nothing wrong with criticism and I love Harold Bloom and Clifton Fadiman but there is nothing like reading the real thing; it’s like going back in time and getting into the mind of the greatest thinkers who ever lived. 

So WHADAWETHINK ? Have you read Leviathan ? Do you read the classics? Have you read Plato ? What are your favorite books of all time? Do you prefer modern literature? This blog could be 1000 pages long.

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