Your Opinion: Fanciful ideas in current discourse

Dear Editor:

The Book of Haggai is a two chapter book in the Old Testament. Is it obscure? Does this mean it is without meaning? A recent writer alleged that my quote from Plutarch comes from an obscure Greek writer. I quoted Plutarch who said, “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” That was 2,000 years ago. I guess you could say it was outdated or not. Many find the Bible to have timely advice regardless of age or obscurity.

If something seems obscure, does it mean that it is without merit? This seems to be a symptom of many current discourses. Al Gore was dismissed because he was overweight. He said we were acting irresponsibly towards the environment. Critics said he lied about creating the Internet. But, he did not say that. Bogus side-issues divert attention away from Gore’s sober but unwelcome issues.

Swift-boaters claimed John Kerry took on shrapnel 40 years before in Viet Nam to later get votes when he ran for president. Barack Obama was born in Kenya, is Muslim and has a secret mission to enact Sharia law. And Michelle Obama is trying to tell us what to eat.

Our particular critic went on to share with us his novel ideas about the course of history. It was a conflict between capitalism and socialism. Right there it sounds like this is a person steeped in Marxist philosophy. But probably not. But he told us that socialism destroyed Rome and Greece. Now he alleged it was destroying modern Europe.

Review Edward Gibbon’s seven volumes of the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” Among his many reasons social programs did not seem to be prevalent. He did blame Christianity for robbing Romans of their patriotism. He noted that Roman citizens had become self-indulgent and “outsourced” their duties to outsiders. Gibbons assessments have never been superseded by subsequent historians. Where did our local writer get his novel ideas?

Every week we see simplistic ideas about our world expressed in letters here. These ideas mostly come from billionaire sponsored think tanks. Then the ideas move to Fox and talk radio. Then “true believers” add these fanciful ideas in letters to the editor. I suspect these writers are working-class citizens like most of us. It is sad they are unwitting tools of America’s power elites.

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com

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