Happy New Year everyone!

I'm responding to a letter from Jacob Zellmer today. Mr. Zellmer was good enough to send his first letter two weeks ago and I enjoy the dialogue. My response to his letter is separate from this column.


The number of important issues, local, state, and national, is so great today that it's a challenge to provide even a paragraph for some of them. But, I'll give it a shot.

It is sad for me to see the rejoicing in California over the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes. I see this as a major indicator of social degeneration and a direct threat to the health and safety of our children. This alters in significant ways the peace and welfare that every citizen has the right to expect.

Marijuana has proven to have important medical values worth more scientific study. However, it has always been, and will always remain, generally uncontrollable and accessible to our youth. This new law, ironically, enhances that threat. I have a particular hatred for all illegal drugs, those deemed destructive to members of our society after decades of study. The hugely increased potency of today's marijuana and its offerings in so many different varieties should set off alarm bells to thoughtful citizens. Instead, it is setting off dinner bells.

The magnitude of this collapse in traditional moral standards will gradually seep into the fabric of our entire social network - we have deliberately released control. I dread the profound loss of respect our youth will eventually have for the law, and our obvious hypocrisy. Law enforcement agencies will now face a nightmare of novel and complex issues. A great deal of time and money will be wasted on these new challenges.


I have another, local, gripe. Why did the post office remove the two drive-through mail containers? Now everyone must park and enter the post office. The containers were relocated to the front of the P.O. building. This will increase parking problems significantly on Central Avenue and greatly inconvenience customers.

Talk to the Postmaster.


Governor Jerry Brown is a dangerous fool.

I've suffered through four Jerry Brown administrations, going back to his "Governor Moonbeam" days, when he frolicked with Linda Ronstadt at the Sacramento pad. A glance at his official capital portrait tells the story - sort of a fake Picasso in bilious colors.

He has managed to commandeer the State of California from its once rational citizens, making it an "Official Sanctuary City", beyond the reach of federal law, a state unto itself- for now.

"Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan said California "better hold on tight" after its liberal Democratic governor allowed a sanctuary state law to take effect this week."

I hope the Feds crush California and Brown. What a cesspool he's made of the state. My children are 5th generation Californians but I now wish I could leave. Brown has inflicted a torrent of unconstitutional infringements on our Second Amendment rights, then dumps recreational marijuana on everyone, and opens the door to all illegal aliens, especially those convicted of serious crimes. California is now just one big fun bag of social instability.

What's worse, after another year of Brown we can expect his probable successor will intensify the curse of a super majority of liberal Democrats.

I watch his obviously unconstitutional new draconian firearms regulations and can only hope Trump manages to secure a few more conservative justices on our Supreme Court and save the rest of us from his wild foray into the Deep State.

I think the year 2018 will continue to be politically unstable in the extreme.


A response to Mr. Zellmer's letter:

Hello again Jacob. Thank you for another challenge.

Getting right to the point, you address the issue of America's alleged exceptionalism, but you misconstrue my statement. I did not rely only upon our Civil War as an example of America's exceptional status among nations. It's only one example among countless others which demonstrates that our fundamental Judeo-Christian moral base provides unprecedented civil blessings. I think all nations are bad in similar ways; but I believe America is good in many unique ways. Those ways, in my opinion, begin with the solid defense of freedom.

Your dissent to my argument seems based upon an apparent disappointment in the fact that America is less than perfect. But we are arguing, all else being equal, whether America is demonstrably exceptional among nations, not whether it is perfect. Since mankind is inherently imperfect that point seems moot.

That you "don't view this fact [emancipation of slaves] as evidence, alone, of America's moral exceptionalism" is perfectly reasonable, otherwise we would be dealing with an illogical universal conclusion.

But that was not my point. I merely sought to say that fighting such a horrendous war to end slavery in America, was, in itself, a very good thing. A reasonable conclusion on the 600,000 war dead would be to at least praise half, the 300,000 Union soldiers who gave their lives to end slavery. And, I don't mean to ignore the hundreds of thousands of black soldiers who also fought.

The other, Confederate, half you characterize as a "counterbalance" were convincingly defeated despite their extraordinary efforts - thank God. Again, in a perfect world of peace and love we wouldn't have to worry about people trying to kill us. Our best option seems to be "peace through strength" and constant vigilance - in the real world.

Your observation that no compensation was afforded to emancipated slaves and, therefore, this fact should deny any claim to American exceptionalism seems weak. Some efforts were made.

I'm trying to think of a way this might work to achieve the justice you seek. Those millions who were enslaved and their "owners" have long since passed away. Who should pay, and who should benefit under such a plan? Would it be just to force the ancestors of slave owners to make restitution? Would it be just to make those whose ancestors had nothing to do with this terrible time in our history provide compensation? Would it be any more just or reasonable to compel both groups to pool compensation for this cause? Would it be rational or fair to make compensation to the present day relations of past slaves? I think the reasonable answer is "no".

I don't believe that prostitution is the oldest profession, as Rudyard Kipling first described it. I believe slavery was the first profession, for two reasons: slaves, since time immemorial, provided work and produced tangible value for ancient tribes. This has continued to this day, in northern Africa, especially among Muslim peoples. Secondly, in those times women could not readily defend themselves against sexual assault; and mankind, prior to the Judeo-Christian era, was rarely concerned about sexual morals. Neither were they concerned about personal freedom. A club-bearing Neanderthal just took what he could to improve his condition or for amusement. A slave provided both.

America followed British cultural norms (slavery) until the 19th century, though Britain ended slavery before we did. So, ending slavery, upon which most of America depended to sustain its agricultural commerce, was much more than "merely" a step in the right direction. To say otherwise demeans the brave efforts of good men to halt the murderous efforts of bad men.

Today, it is not possible to cure the evils of historical American slavery, any more than we can compensate the innocent peoples who suffered in the genocides of Germany, Russia, China, Cambodia, Turkey, Rwanda, etc., or the hundreds of millions in the ancient past.

Without the moral and material exceptionalism of America, as determined by our Constitution and Bill of Rights, the western world would certainly live in the slavery of communism or religious totalitarian chains.

If no other nation today can duplicate America's proven moral power, generosity and freedom, America is exceptionally good among nations.