A People's History
(In response to "When Ford Snubbed Solzhenitsyn" in the Sept. 16-22 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly.)
It is disappointing (but not surprising, given his Conservative Christian viewpoint) that someone of Dr. Paul Kengor's scholarly background and primary research experience is content to endorse an "official press release" version of history and put forth an argument laced with sloganeering clichés like "liberal (New York) Times." To view history, as Dr. Kengor appears to, as a battle between good and evil is so utterly simplistic as to be non-sensical.
"Kremlin thugs, repulsed as they were by decency . . ." as opposed to what? CIA angels fighting the good fight for God and the USA? Come on, man.
Again the weakness of Conservativism is betrayed by the necessity of even its most informed adherents to A) stuff history through the narrow filter of their ideology, and B) cherry pick facts to suit their argument.
This is not surprising from block-heads like Glenn Beck et al; but from someone that calls himself a historian it is at best weak, and at worst reprehensible.
-Jeffrey T. Cumpston
(In response to "Choose to Be Unique" in the Sept. 16-22 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly.)
Pastor Costanzo, your argument makes sense to you because you are human. It is a bit self-serving to believe you are more important than anything, or anyone for any reason. Even more so to believe that you are so special as to be the very image of the creator of the universe. Herein lies the essential arrogance of religion: From your limited perspective, with limited information, you are willing to claim certain knowledge of the fundamental substance of the universe and of existence.
I prefer to choose humility; the humility of acknowledging first and foremost my own ignorance. Compared to the rarity of any kind of life, in any form, at least in the neighborhood of the universe of which we have knowledge, human life is not so special. Only when you view yourself, your species, your tribe as the center of creation do you succumb this (arrogant) notion of specialness.
Try surviving without plankton or bacteria.
-Jeffrey T. Cumpston
A People's History, Part Two
(In response to "Revolution B Gon" in the Sept. 16-22 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly.)
I just finished reading Ted Rall's "Rant n' Rall" for this week, and must correct some historical facts. Margaret Thatcher was not Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1977. She did not take office until May, 1979 following a near economic meltdown known as the "winter of discontent." The generous array of social benefits for the "permanently" unemployed in Britain during the 1970s was expanded under her predecessors Labour Prime Ministers Harold Wilson and James Callaghan.
While it is true that unemployment soared during the first part of Thatcher's premiership, once needed economic reforms took hold it fell to a lower level than before she took office. To say that she did not invest in the economy and paid the "dole" to prevent social unrest is incorrect. Rather, she was more than willing to challenge the status quo and deal with whatever unrest resulted knowing that it would pay off in the long run. Her economic policies of fiscal restraint, privatization, encouraging private business, reforming the trade unions, personal responsibility and reducing the role of the welfare state in Britain revitalized an economy that had been known as the "sick man of Europe" in the 1970s.
We need more "Thatcherite" political leaders today who will stand for their convictions and not just do what is politically expedient in the short-term but will do what is right for the country.
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