Since Jun 8, 2004

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Born and raised in Illinois and lived there for 56 years. Now taking refuge in Indiana.

visited 37 states (74%)
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“So the final conclusion would surely be that whereas other civilizations have been brought down by attacks of barbarians from without, ours had the unique distinction of training its own destroyers at its own educational institutions, and then providing them with facilities for propagating their destructive ideology far and wide, all at the public expense. Thus did Western Man decide to abolish himself, creating his own boredom out of his own affluence, his own vulnerability out of his own strength, his own impotence out of his own erotomania, himself blowing the trumpet that brought the walls of his own city tumbling down, and having convinced himself that he was too numerous, labored with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer. Until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, and polluted and drugged himself into stupefaction, he keeled over--a weary, battered old brontosaurus--and became extinct.” -- Malcolm Muggeridge

"In a democratic society, where every individual opinion counts, and where nothing, finally, is left to some king or group of party elitists, art’s incomparable ability to instruct, to make alternatives intellectually and emotionally clear, to spotlight falsehood, insincerity, foolishness—art’s incomparable ability, that is, to make us understand—ought to be a force bringing people together, breaking down barriers of prejudice and ignorance, and holding up ideals worth pursuing. Literature in America does fulfill these functions some of the time—fulfills them more adequately, I suspect, than does the literature acceptable to the writers’ union in Russia. But that makes the fact no less unfortunate that what we generally get in our books and films is bad instruction: escapist models or else moral evasiveness, or, worse, cynical attacks on traditional values such as honesty, love of country, marital fidelity, work, and moral courage. This is not to imply that such values are absolutes, too holy to attack. But it is dangerous to raise a generation that smiles at such values, or has never heard of them, or dismisses them with indignation, as if they were not relative goods but were absolute evils. The Jeffersonian assumption that truth will emerge where people are free to attack the false becomes empty theory if falsehood is suffered and obliged like an unwelcome—or, worse, an invited—guest " --John Gardner, On Moral Fiction