Four Seeds for Thought

The staff of The Contrary Perspective would like to plant the following seeds for your consideration. Seed 1. A respected former Republican Senator from New Hampshire, Gordon Humphrey, recently came out publicly in full support of Edward Snowden’s actions. Snowden issued a thoughtful response that showed that his understanding of the political and technical implications…

The Zimmerman Mindset

Richard Sahn I believe the jury in the George Zimmerman case (its “not guilty” verdict having been rendered a few days ago) did have a choice.  They didn’t have to adhere to the judge’s restriction to only regard the immediate confrontation between Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin as the basis for their deliberation.  Had they wanted…

George Bernard Shaw’s Warning from History

  In the preface (dated 1907) to the first German edition of The Perfect Wagnerite, George Bernard Shaw issued a warning about trends that he saw in German character and culture.  What struck me upon reading them was not just their insight into the Second Reich (1871-1918) and their prescience about the Third Reich to…

Yes, Education is about Social Control

W.J. Astore Education in my sense of liberating and strengthening (making articulate and uncompromising) the intellect is of course antithetical to much of what is going on in our schools and universities, which I would rather refer to by such terms as training, molding, socialization, mystification, memorizing of facts, obfuscation of meaning–all processes designed to…

Forgotten Are the Peacemakers

Being Catholic, I’m a big fan of the Sermon on the Mount and Christ’s teaching that “blessed are the peacemakers.”  Yet in American history it seems that “forgotten are the peacemakers” would be a more accurate lesson.  We’re much more likely to remember “great” generals, even vainglorious ones like George S. Patton or Douglas MacArthur,…

Dueling Bumper Stickers

I occasionally travel from north central Pennsylvania, a mostly rural, generally conservative, area to Amherst, Massachusetts, home of generally liberal colleges like Amherst and Smith.  It’s an adventure in dueling bumper stickers. In Amherst, I’m told to “coexist” with my neighbors, to “enlighten up,” to seek “peace.”  I’m told to go organic and to support…

Finding Inner Peace

There’s a wonderful little scene in Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, in which she talks to her priest about finding inner peace.  As Anne strives for a sense of serenity in the world, her interlocutor gives her some sage advice: The world can’t give that serenity. The world…