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Rational Inquiry -Volume 6 Number 4

President's Comments on this and that

By Keith Taylor

Wanted! Urgent! New president effective January 1st. The old one is worn out and the warranty has expired. Sorry folks, I really have to go. Itís been fun and rewarding. Few things have given me more satisfaction. Believe me I have got more from it than I have given. You canít imagine how much confidence being associated with you folks gave me in confronting those who peddle nonsense or insist that I believe in something because "everybody does."

Fortunately SDARI is in great shape. Our membership is up. Our attendance is up. Thanks to the large turnouts for our last two speakers we have escaped the "dire" financial condition, so that more money can be transferred to the science fair project. We have speakers through January and another committed to February. Weíve received more publicity than ever. We have the nucleus of a board of directors, one of the best ever assembled. Now we must have someone else at the top of the masthead. Iíll guarantee you the old president will do all he can to help any new president get started.

Inquire within.

***

Itís on the news. Itís in the papers. Itís on the Internet. Folks on the street say it. We have to come together in times of national crisis. Crises bring out the best in us. When a great nation like ours is threatened we tend to band together to defeat the common enemy; all of us in step. Thatís probably as it should be. This place is worth saving, especially given the mind set of those who would replace our way of life.

And that is the paradox and the problem. We must conform a lot to avoid having to conform too much. After all if the current bad guys have their way the American way of life will be gone. Conforming to the likes of bin Laden would be unthinkable.

Still, how can marching lock-step with everybody else sit with rational thinkers, or even most Americans? We are not a nation of conformists. Look at the past eight years. About half of us wanted to oust a president weíd collectively sent to Washington. The other half wanted to keep him. Again, in the election to replace him the electorate split almost right down the middle.

Now we are asked to wave the flag, give unquestioned support to the commander in chief, invoke the wrath of our god to beat their god (our godís not neutral weíre told), give up any rights to keep our e-mail private, ignore the right to habeas corpus, and sing God Bless America about a dozen times a day. Thatís a tough assignment for a group of people who consider themselves rational thinkers, certainly for this one. As an old military man with twenty-three years service I feel the same passion generated by the jingoism. On the other hand, as president of SDARI, and as a firm believer in the idea of free speech I cringe at the idea of extending authority to a government that through the years has a history of abusing authority.

Nor does it help that we do not have clear cut answers to questions. People I didnít like hitherto now seem to be making sense. Actions that seem outrageous are being done in the name of national unity and theyíre looking completely justified.

Perhaps our best bet is to remember the danger we are in and make every effort to keep thinking rationally. Itís our job and itís exactly what we ought to be doing.

***

Coming up next, Joe Nickell.



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