Saturday, December 15, 2007

Merry Christmas from Ben Stein

November 25, 2006

Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart:

I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they so important? I don’t know who Lindsay Lohan is, either, and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise’s wife.
Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are. Is this what it means to be no longer young. It’s not so bad.

Next confession: I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him?

I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Saturday, August 4, 2007


I am a minor student of World War I. I wish Hollywood would make more films on this almost forgotten war.

Though the air war is not my primary interest, I did recently watch Flyboys. Here is a trailer for those interested.

Education, Discipline, Moral Character

Reading Will and Ariel Durant's The Story of Civilization: Part VIII - The Age of Louis XIV, page 217, speaking of John Milton, I read:

"The first task of the teacher is to form moral character in the student, "to repair the ruins of our first parents"--i.e., to overcome the natural wickedness of man ("original sin")-- or (as we should now say) to readjust to the needs of civilized life the native character formed by the needs of the hunting stage."

I must agree. Though I am not an educator nor a parent, I have witnessed plenty the loss of youth a good education because of their lack of discipline and displaying a moral character. The blame must lie with the parents and teachers. I do not think that will be found in schools the discipline necessary to obtain an education.

A philosophical question will be, since we have thrown God out of our schools, can there be an instilling of moral character?

The Durants quote Milton a little later, page 221:

"There is not that thing in the world of more grave and urgent importance throughout the whole life of man than discipline. What need I instance? He that hath read with judgement of nations and commonwealths...will readily agree that the flourishing and decaying of all civil societies, all the movements and turnings of human occasions, are moved to and fro as upon the axle of discipline.... Nor is there any sociable perfection in this life, civil or sacred, that can be above Discipline; but she is that which with her musical cords preserves and holds all the parts thereof together."

And so I worry about this country, and for the world at large, because I have seen the steady decline of discipline and moral character.

I don't know how we will recover, but it must start with parents and teachers.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

2008 Presidential Election

I am deeply worried about the upcoming presidential elections. I fear the election of a democrat. The last two presidential elections showed that our country is split about evenly. Most news stories focus on the democrat campaigns. Little attention is given to republican candidates. And that includes Fox News.

There is no strong republican candidate at this time. I hope one does percolate up in the months to come.

I like Senator Sam Brownback. I made a contribution to his campaign. But I don't see him strong enough. He is not getting enough national attention. It is a shame that someone like him, principled, moral and conservative can't capture national attention.

If a democrat gets in, God help us. Our troops will be pulled out of Iraq and we will have terrorists in our streets. We will have socialized medicine and our waits for medical care will be long as they are now in Canada.

I can only hope and pray that republicans and conservatives step up. I hope that all Americans will see the damage a democrat president will do to this country.

Remember always the words of Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I didn't mention in my introduction that I am firmly and strongly pro-life.

My position coalesced many years ago when I was at my cousins house, we were watching TV and a news story was on about abortion. We started to talk about it. I knew in my heart it was very wrong. But I never addressed the subject before - it never touched my life - I didn't have the facts to argue my position.

So I started reading about it. My conviction became stronger and stronger. Soon I had the facts and my cousin would no longer talk to me about the subject because she couldn't argue the facts I presented.

I eventually started a pro-life group in my parish. And yes I did protest and pray at abortion mills - peaceably.

Has abortion since touched my life? Yes. I learned a female friend had an abortion when she was sixteen; her parents took her to the mill. Eventually her marriage failed. I had noted during my friendship with her that she didn't show love to her children, not did she love herself very much. I blame this on post-abortion syndrome.

At another time I had read a letter to the editor in my local diocesan newspaper. A girl had relayed her horrible experience and after effects of her abortion. As I read this story tears fell from my eyes. I wrote to the editor of my reaction to her letter. She contacted me through the newspaper and we had a long telephone conversation. She still remains in my prayers.

Abortion not only has a devastating effect on the baby - death, but on the mother as well. There are so many walking wounded out there.

To close this subject let me just say that a baby in the womb is not just a mass of tissue - ultrasound proves that. It is not a part of the mother's body, it resides in the mothers body - it has different DNA. There is no miracle that occurs in the passage through the birth canal. If it is a baby after birth, it is a baby before birth.


O.K. so I have to add my two cents to this blog craze.

To introduce myself I am Catholic, Conservative, Republican, and a Secular Franciscan. That should say a lot about me. Oh, I should also add that I just turned 59.

That done, now let me see how this blogger works...