by Reid Fitzsimons

I’m fairly confident I made it through the years of adolescence and young adulthood with just the average amount of obnoxiousness, and that whatever stupidity I committed did did not include “gay bashing.” Perhaps I should be proud of this, but I’m not sure not being a jerk is deserving of pride. Then again, at the time (this being the 1970s) homosexuality wasn’t really The Thing: back then, if you wanted to garner attention and stick it to the MAN, radical hippie chic was more in vogue than “coming out.” Paradoxically, eventually the anti-establishment hippie radical largely became establishment, as did “coming out.”

That’s not to say there wasn’t “gay bashing". People I became friends with decades later admitted they said odious things to homosexuals, and came to regret their behavior. One was (at the time) a young pastor who, with like-minded idiot Christians, drove about the known homosexual areas of Dallas and hurled insults. He quickly realized there was nothing Christian about this activism and, besides being appalling, was counterproductive- the success of convincing a homosexual to say, "Yes, I will now become a heterosexual” upon hearing someone yell, “Queers are going to burn in hell” was about 0%. By the time I met this pastor he was perhaps the most sincere “walk the walk” Christian I ever knew, who dedicated his life to providing a home for abandoned and abused children in Honduras. He was very conservative, with beliefs that would make him an object of scorn among the diversity and inclusion crowd: his theology was God loves the sinner but not the sin, as compared to God loves the sinner and especially loves the sin, with carnal sins being extra sanctified. The latter is the theology of the progressive collection of pretend Christians, often referred to as “mainstream.” To them, self-gratification is the highest calling.

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by Reid Fitzsimons

Every once in a while some hapless Republican is excoriated for suggesting some version of, “Well, Hitler did some good things,” a statement often quoted without context. With the exception of a handful of neo-Nazi morons and a frighteningly larger number of anti-Jew extreme leftists (who do their anti-Jew things with tacit support from establishment leftists), pretty much nobody thinks Hitler did anything overall “good,” but from a historical perspective, it’s not unreasonable to ask, “Did he do anything that could have been perceived as “good” that rallied millions upon millions of people to support his ascendancy and policies?” This is an important question for this moment in time, as there are worrisome indications the world is once again turning to authoritarianism.

So...how did Hitler obtain absolute power in Germany? Undoubtedly there have been innumerable papers and books on this subject, but ultimately the answer is as old as history and is in play to this very moment. For brief background, Germany was in shambles following its utter defeat in WW1. The victorious allies, acting on understandable emotion but with little wisdom, forced upon Germany a repressive and retributive agreement called the Treaty of Versailles (www.britannica.com/event/Treaty-of-Versailles-1919), designed to prevent Germany from ever again becoming a military power. It demanded huge reparations and allotted heretofore chunks of Germany to other nations. Not surprisingly there were wannabe left wing and right wing revolutionary movements and all the chaos they entailed, so the reasonable solution was some form of democracy that came to be called the Weimar Republic (www.britannica.com/place/Weimar-Republic). Nevertheless, great discontent continued and there were vacuums to be filled, and Hitler had the skill to fill the void, and the patience.

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by Reid Fitzsimons

The “Hate Crime and Public Order Act” became effective in Scotland on April 1, 2024. One can intuit the nature of this law, which offers special protections to preferred demographic groups, but the essence of the law can be seen in the March 29th statement of First Minister Humza Yousaf: “I would say to anybody who thinks they are a victim of hatred, we take that seriously, if you felt you are a victim of hatred, then of course reporting that to police is the right thing to do.” In other words, the Act is based on feelings and not objectivity, and is selectively applied.

Prior to law law going into effect, I emailed the Scottish tourist agency, VisitScotland, for reasons explained in the text of the email below. Their response, also below, was prompt and courteous, and can be summarized as, “We don’t know.”

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf on the left. "Hate," of course, is a largely undefinable and subjective word. This is not a great analogy, but imagine a parent who tells the child not to eat candy before dinner, as compared to "don't do anything that upsets me before dinner." The first in objective and can be obeyed, the latter is nebulous and based upon the whim of the parent.

Greetings (or perhaps Latha math) from the US:

My wife and I are long-retired and spent many years living in other countries, but these were always impoverished places in Africa and Central America where we were either volunteering with other organizations or running our own charity project. For quite a while we’ve discussed the time when our life situation would allow us to be regular tourists, and that time has arrived. For years our number one destination desire has been Scotland. I’ve read pretty much every Ian Rankin and Denise Mina book, and almost feel that the fictional character Hamish MacBeth is a distant relative we could visit in The Highlands!

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by Reid Fitzsimons

Boston is city where the present, characterized culturally and politically by enormously wealthy progressive elitists, is completely at odds with its past: the birthplace of the idea and ideals of America along with the associated Revolution against the English empire, and traditional Protestant/Yankee concepts of hard work, self-discipline, and frugality; all ideas and standards disparaged and dismissed by the current power base.

A number of years ago I walked about downtown Boston taking in the historic sites and buildings, which included many old churches. Formerly the homes of Reformed and fairly dogmatic Christianity, many of these churches were festooned with “Everyone Is Welcome” signs and the color purple; purple I think at the time being the preferred color of virtue signalers, the “Look at me, I’m fabulous” class (purple has since been replaced by rainbows). The “Everyone Is Welcome” theme is maybe pleasing to some, but is nonsense because 1) there is no place in the temporal world where “everyone is welcome” and 2) by “everyone” what was really meant was certain preferred identity groupings, the demographic groups that made the privileged feel really good about themselves. I seriously doubt some guy wearing jackboots and a Swastika armband would have been welcome, and rightfully so: in your face cultural and political activism perhaps has a place, but not in places like churches, and this applies to all political spectrums.

It's unlikely that people who are vocal in their opposition to the tenets of the Unitarian Church would "fit in."

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by Reid Fitzsimons

“The boogeyman is hiding under your bed” is a way for older siblings to frighten their younger brothers or sisters. Of course, it is extremely unlikely there is boogeyman, but there is just enough basis to make it a possibility: in some cases creeps and perverts do exist who harm children. In our current political and cultural world the equivalent of the boogeyman is the white supremacist, proclaimed from the highest levels of government to be a real and present threat, a means to scare the heck out of a gullible electorate, and to coerce acquiescence to favored policies and prosecutions.

The Bogeyman Narrative

The actual white supremacist

The thing is, the term “white supremacist” is never really defined other than a loose association with people who stand up for what might be termed traditional American and Judeo-Chrisitan values. I suspect most people under 50 have never encountered an actual “white supremacist,” and then even rarely. Having spent some time in the waning days of Jim Crow in the deep South in the late 1970s, I did meet a handful of white people who truly fantasized they were of a superior race and loathed black people simply because they were black; they were an unimpressive lot.

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by Reid Fitzsimons

During much of the Presidential primary season in 2016 I was out of the country in a fairly remote area with little access to news. Upon my return in May, while on a layover at the Atlanta airport and their endless broadcasts of CNN, I learned that Trump has sewn up the Republican nomination. I admit I felt a little queasy the news: I didn’t really know that much about Trump and never watched that show with the tag-line “You’re Fired!,” but I had heard plenty from the establishment news media that he was somehow dangerous and clearly not their guy. In general the other Republican candidates fit the desired mold of being “reasonable,” willing to “cross the aisle” and work with Democrats. I did know Trump was a blowhard.

Donald Trump and Barack Obama post-election Nov. 2016

Over the summer Trump was officially nominated, as was Hillary Clinton (HRC) for the Democrats. The latter, who is a true sociopath, made it easier to vote for Trump despite my severe reservations. Perhaps due to increasing age and cynicism I avoided watching the conventions and speeches, but shortly before the election I was in a cheap motel room in Pensacola, FL, turned on the TV and found Trump at some campaign rally. I girded myself to listen to his shtick, fully expecting him to rant with spittle flying and bark like a seal, this being largely how he was portrayed by the establishment press. What I found instead was a pretty typical political speech with the usual promises of prosperity, jobs, strong military, etc. Part of his rhetoric involved “make America great again (MAGA).

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by Reid Fitzsimons

Back in high school in the mid-1970s there was a student missing a leg. I didn’t know him as he came from a different feeder school, but the word was he had bone cancer. He didn’t seem to be at school much, but I vividly recall the occasional time he was in gym class and played soccer with vigor, running around on his crutches and using them to kick the ball. People at that age tend to be self involved, but I remember somewhere in my thoughts that this was a brave guy. I’m fairly sure he died well before graduation.

An example of a truly courageous person

Growing up in the post-WW2era just about every time and cultural reference pertained to The War: What did your father do in The War? Where were you when The War ended? Back during The War… Even from a young age, I knew that a lot of people did some very courageous things, and a lot of them died doing so. Perhaps because of the era in which I was raised, throughout my life I’ve pondered the meaning of courage and bravery, and asked if I have it in me. I’ve come to conclusions of the former but, at 65, I have to admit “I don’t know” about the latter. I’ve done a handful of things that might be confused with a low-level degree of courage, but certainly nothing like throwing myself on the grenade to save the other guys in the platoon. The only scenario in life I am certain I would have passed that test would have been as a father, to save my son.

by Reid Fitzsimons

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)” is a cultural fad that is mostly a thing of the elite, especially but not exclusively of the progressive and privileged white elite. It possesses all of the characteristics of really bad religions: dogma and doctrine that must be embraced without question for fear of banishment and accusations of heresy and blasphemy, everyone but the elite are grave sinners and forgiveness is rare...and expensive. A wealthy person- a corporate CEO, a media figure, a celebrity, an academician, a politician- can obtain an “indulgence” with money and chanting the catechism of DEI, but the riff-raff of society, i.e. regular people, are generally viewed with scorn as hopelessly ignorant deplorables.

Brian Moynihan, a prototypical privileged and enormously wealthy white corporate CEO (Bank of America). He is among the multitude of this elite caste who pretend to embrace DEI, but with the primary goal of maintaining privilege and feeling good about greed.

While this is a nationwide phenomenon it has tentacles into even out of the way places such as Susquehanna County, PA This is evident in the controversy with the library system, which has membership and affiliations with the DEI obsessed Pennsylvania Library Association and the American Library Association, organizations for whom libraries, books, etc are simply a basis for activism, with dreams of leading to the imposition of their elite-controlled DEI Utopia. From the PLA opening page banner:

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: “The Pennsylvania Library Association will actively and intentionally pursue, promote and champion equity, diversity, and inclusion within the organization and within the profession so that our association, libraries, librarians, and library staff will all thrive.”

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by Reid Fitzsimons

The Establishment, with it’s associated power, is neither inherently good nor bad, but when it’s the latter and omnipotent, it can result in global catastrophes; when it’s petty, it can harm just a few. Below are a few examples of the petty taken from my own experiences, when small minded people were given just enough authority to do the wrong thing, varying from the silly to the damaging.

The Federal Prison

The experiences I had when I worked at a Federal prison from 1982-1986 could fill a book, but I’ll limit it to one. The warden, to be kind, was prissy and fastidious. For example, when an IMPORTANT person was coming to visit he would actually use tax dollars to rent flowers and place them at the entrance, to make it seem like a walk through an English garden or something. Apparently this would curry favor with important people.

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by Reid Fitzsimons

The Gaza Strip is a piece of land in the Southwest corner of Israel mostly occupied by Muslim Arabs. It was under the control of Egypt until the “Six-Day War” in 1967, when Israel defeated the surrounding hostile Arab countries. In subsequent agreements and accords, Israel agreed to give up control of both Gaza and the area usually called The West Bank, and in 2005 Israel completely withdrew from Gaza, giving autonomy to people referred to as Palestinians. In the subsequent two years, a group called Hamas, dedicated to the annihilation of Israel, wrested control of Gaza from another group- Fatah- that had agreed to the idea of peaceful co-existence with Israel, in a conflict sometimes referred to as the Palestinian Civil War. Hamas has long been classified as a terrorist organization, yet has the legitimacy of being the established government of Gaza, beating out Fatah in elections in 2006 44 to 41%; no elections have been held since. On Oct. 7th of this year, well-armed Palestinians (reasonably called terrorists) attacked Israel at the direction of Hamas, and a slaughter of over 1,000 Israeli civilians ensued.

A Brief History of an Enormously Complex Situation

The first issue is: who exactly are the Palestinians? My historical understanding is that they were basically hapless Arabs who found themselves living in an area contested for centuries, a land controlled by empire after empire, especially the Muslim Ottomans into the modern era. Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after WW1, decisions about the area called Palestine (from the Biblical Philistines) were made by an array of international bodies and powerful countries- especially Britain- often with conflicting interests. Post WW2, in light of the Holocaust, the newly created UN came up with a division of the the area called Palestine, about half to be Jewish and half Arab. When the British, who maintained a modicum of peace, bailed out on May 14th, 1948, the independent nation of Israel was declared within the boundaries set forth by the UN, and on May 15th it was attacked on all sides by Arab/Muslim controlled countries (a war the Arabs thought would be “A parade without any risks" and last about 2 weeks, considering their combined militaries had vastly superior armament).