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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

Immanuel Kant/The Categorical Imperative

July 12th, 2019

A major philosopher of the Enlightenment, Immanuel Kant , was born in Königsberg, Prussia in 1724. During Kant’s lifetime Königsberg, near the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, was the capital of East Prussia, and its dominant language was German. Altho’ geographically remote from the rest of Prussia and other German cities, Königsberg was then a major commercial center, an important military port, and a relatively cosmopolitan university town. Today Königsberg has been renamed Kaliningrad and is part of Russia.

Kant’s father was a saddle maker, but the son was a serious student. He studied theology, physics, mathematics, and philosophy at university, and worked for a time as a private tutor; he made very little money, but it gave him plenty of time for his own work. He lectured at the University of Königsberg for 15 years until he was eventually given a tenured position as professor of logic and metaphysics in 1770. Though he enjoyed hearing travel stories, he never ventured more than 50 miles from his hometown, believing that travel was not necessary to solve the problems of philosophy.

In his most influential work, The Critique of Pure Reason (1781), he argued against Empiricism, which held that the mind was a blank slate to be filled with observations of the physical world, and Rationalism, which held that it was possible to experience the world objectively without the interference of the mind; instead, he synthesized the two schools of thought, added that the conscious mind must process and organize our perceptions, and made a distinction between the natural world as we observe it and the natural world as it really is. He viewed morality as something that arises from human reason, and maintained that an action of morality is determined not by the outcome of the action, but by the motive behind it. He is also famous for his single moral obligation, the Categorical Imperative: namely, that we should judge our actions by whether or not we would want everyone else to act the same way.

He wrote, “Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe…the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.

William Shakespeare

July 10th, 2019

T.S. Eliot opened his magnum opus, The Wasteland” with the following words: ”April Is the cruelest month . . . .” Well, perhaps. But I believe April is a wonderful month ­­­­––– Shakespeare, Immanuel Kant, and Ella Fitzgerald were all  born in April. And, often overlooked is the freeing of Dachau, that pit of evil, by the American army, on April 29, 1945. So, in the next 4 posts are a few words about all four of these April miracles.

April 23,1564, was probably the actual birthday of William Shakespeare, the greatest writer in the English language, who was baptized on April 26, in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. Unfortunately, he left behind no personal papers; so much of what we know, or think we know, about him comes to us from public and court documents, with a fair measure of inference and speculation. We do know that his father, John, was a glove maker and alderman, and his mother, Mary Arden, was a landed heiress. William’s extensive knowledge of Latin and Greek likely came from his education at the well-respected local grammar school. That was the extent of his formal education, which has led to hundreds of years of conspiracy theories disputing the authorship of his plays, since many found it unbelievable that he could have written so knowledgeably about history, politics, royalty, and foreign lands on a grammar school education. Various figures, such as Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, the 17th Earl of Oxford, and even Queen Elizabeth I, have been put forward as possible — though unproven — ghost writers.

We know that he married the older — and pregnant — Anne Hathaway when he was 18 and she was 26, and she gave birth to a daughter, Susanna, six months later. Twins Hamnet and Judith followed two years after that, and son Hamnet died at age 11. It’s speculated that his son’s death hit Shakespeare hard, because he began to write Hamlet soon afterward.

He moved to London around 1588 — possibly to escape deer-poaching charges in Stratford — and began a career as an actor and a playwright. By 1594, he was also managing partner of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a popular London theater troupe. He was popular in his lifetime, but his popularity didn’t rise to the level that George Bernard Shaw referred to as “bardolatry” until the 19th century.

In 1611, he retired to Stratford and made out his will, leaving to his wife, Anne, his “second-best bed.” He died on or around his birthday in 1616, and was buried in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford, leaving a last verse behind as his epitaph: “Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbeare / to dig the dust enclosed here. / Blessed be the man who spares these stones, / and cursed be he who moves my bones.”

Though biographical details may be sketchy, his literary legacy is certain. He wrote 38 plays: including the great tragedies Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth and Othello. He also wrote 154 sonnets, and several epic narrative poems. He created some of the most unforgettable characters ever written for the stage, and shifted effortlessly between formal court language and coarse vernacular. The Oxford English Dictionary credits him with coining 3,000 new words, and has contributed more phrases and sayings to the English language than any other individual. His idioms have woven themselves so snugly into our daily conversations that we aren’t even aware of them most of the time, phrases such as “a fool’s paradise,” “a sorry sight,” “dead as a doornail,” “Greek to me,” “come what may,” “eaten out of house and home,” “forever and a day,” “heart’s content,” “slept a wink,” “love is blind,” “night owl,” “wild goose chase,” and “into thin air.”

Though we have no way of knowing whether the Bard of Avon was writing of his own impending retirement when he wrote Prospero’s soliloquy from The Tempest in about 1610, it’s satisfying to think so:

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

 

Dachau

July 7th, 2019

On this 75th anniversary of d-Day and the beginning of the destruction of the German war machine, it should be remembered that in less then a year, on Aril 29, 1945, American soldiers liberated 30,000 prisoners from a concentration camp in Dachau, Germany . The camp had been established in March 1933, just five weeks after Hitler rose to power as German chancellor; it was the first concentration camp the Nazis established. Originally it held political prisoners, unionists, and other opponents of the Nazis, but by 1945, most of the prisoners were Jews. The camp also held communists, homosexuals, Roma Gypsies, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was a labor camp and a training ground for SS camp guards. Nazi scientists carried out experiments on the prisoners, which crippled or killed hundreds of them. Thousands more were executed or died of typhus, which was rampant. When the Americans arrived, they found 30 railroad cars filled with bodies, and the survivors were on the brink of starvation. Some of the American soldiers were so shocked and horrified by what they saw that they opened fire on their German prisoners of war, killing as many as 50 Nazi guards.

The gates of Dachau proclaim, in wrought iron, “Arbeit macht frei” — work sets you free. There is a memorial inside those gates now, which reads: “May the example of those who were exterminated here between 1933 and 1945 … unite the living in their defense of peace and freedom and in reverence of human dignity.”

 

Colin Kaepernick Falls Flat on Face Again

July 7th, 2019

The Western Journal

CT Conservative Tribune

KAEP  humiliated as public learns Betsy Ross was part of masses anti-slavery group

Ryan Ledendecker

July 5, 2019

 

Former quarterback-turned-social-justice-warrior Colin Kaepernick caused a stir right before the July Fourth holiday after somehow convincing Nike’s top brass that a patriotic shoe it was set to release represented slavery.

In a last-minute move as the Air Max 1 Quick Strike “Betsy Ross flag” shoes were hitting store shelves, Nike pulled its release and immediately made national headlines.

And Ross’ name was subsequently dragged through the mud.

But before Kaepernick — a man who once donned socks that depicted police officers as “pigs” — continues to push the narrative that Ross’ 13-star flag somehow connects connects her to slavery, he might consider a quick lesson in U.S. history.

According to Biography, Ross was born as Elizabeth Griscom in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in January 1752, and grew up as a Quaker — a religious group also known as the Society of Friends.

What social justice warriors like Kaepernick are unaware of is that the Quakers were one of the first religious groups in America to condemn slavery both in the U.S. and abroad.

According to a history of Quakers and Slavery by Bryn Mawr College, “The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) was the first corporate body in Britain and North America to fully condemn slavery as both ethically and religiously wrong in all circumstances.”

The Quakers also spent considerable time attempting to sway public opinion on the evils of slavery. They even provided education and resources for formerly slaves.

How much more anti-slavery can a group possibly be?

It’s unfortunate that no one at Nike did their homework before the company kowtowed to Kaepernick’s demands. It could have saved everyone else a lot of time.

Nike issued a ridiculous statement concerning the decision to cancel the shoe’s release, according to ESPN.

“We regularly make business decisions to withdraw initiatives, products and services. NIKE made the decision to halt distribution of the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday.”

Ironically, the company went against its own intentions of not detracting from July Fourth by making such a poor decision that caused a national stir.

Nike sure doesn’t seem proud of its American heritage, given the fact the company pulled a shoe that had no connection to slavery whatsoever.

If Kaepernick hadn’t told his followers to be offended by the shoe, they wouldn’t have been. It was just another attempt to create division in America — something Kaepernick’s proven to be a master at.

The 13-star flag represents the Revolutionary War and the courage it took for people in that era to give us the freedoms we currently enjoy.

Ross was an anti-slavery Quaker who should be respected by all Americans, politics aside. I won’t hold my breath waiting for an apology from the washed-up former football player, but he certainly owes one to Ross and every other American.

 

Trump on July 4, 2019

July 7th, 2019

BREITBART

Joel B. Pollak

July 4, 2019

President Donald Trump did more than defy his critics with his memorable Fourth of July address from the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday evening.

He likely established what will become an annual tradition —  one later presidents, decades from now, will continue to observe.

And he gave the American people the tribute that we have long deserved, but which we have somehow been unable, until now, to give ourselves, too afraid to pass along to the next generation.

The president’s opponents said that his revamped Fourth of July celebrations smacked of authoritarianism. They said that the ceremonial use of tanks in a parade, as well as the flyovers from every branch of the U.S. armed forces, were somehow un-American — even though they had certainly been used before.

They said it was the height of narcissism for Trump to deliver a speech on Independence Day, that he would be turning the day into campaign commercial.

Former vice president Joe Biden said, prior to the speech, that the event had been “designed more to stroke Trump’s ego than celebrate American ideals.” (This from a politician who served under Barack Obama, who not only made virtually every speech about himself, but dared to re-design the presidential seal in his own image.)

Biden could not have been more wrong. Trump’s speech was all about the country — its heroes, its people, and its democratic ideals.

Trump, in the rain, addressed the nation and re-told the heroic story of its founding. “With a single sheet of parchment, and 56 signatures, America began the greatest political journey in human history,” Trump said, recalling the battles that followed to secure the freedom for which the Founders had fought.

He went on to tell the story of American success — not just in politics and war, but also in science, medicine, technology, industry, exploration, culture, and civil rights.

Trump boldly spoke the truths that have been suppressed in our media and on our campuses. His speech was not only moving, but necessary. The history he related, and the achievements he celebrated, are unknown to a generation raised to see our country as flawed, if not evil.

The New York Times declares today that America is not the “greatest,” but “just OK”; Vice tells readers America “has always been bad.” That is the new poisonous orthodoxy; Trump provided the antidote.

More than that, Trump celebrated the ordinary people who constantly renew our country’s potential.

He acknowledged Tina “Angel” Belcher, who “turns her tiny kitchen into a disaster relief center” for hurricane victims; he thanked Sister Deidre Byrne for aiding the wounded on September 11, 2001; he honored Clarence Henderson, who led the historic sit-in at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1960; he also praised the suffragette movement.

Trump thanked the military, and law enforcement, and Gold Star families. And he offered a moving tribute to each of the five branches of the armed forces, recounting the history of each, noting its greatest deeds.

The military band sang and played the song of each branch as its aircraft flew overhead. Trump used the opportunity to urge young Americans to join the armed forces: how often has any president made such a direct appeal, against such a moving backdrop?

This was not a political speech: it was a patriotic milestone. Trump invited us to celebrate our country — boldly and explicitly. It was, somehow, something previous presidents were too timid to do.

When Navy SEALS killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, it took a visiting leader, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to urge us to celebrate, weeks later.

No longer. This is the greatness Donald Trump promised to restore. Future presidents will bear a duty to do the same.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

 


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