Saturday, February 18, 2006

At Least We Do Agree To Disagree

(Often letters to The Editor of the Independent Coast Observer (ICO), our Gualala, California weekly newspaper, are very personal, and I am pleased to be able to share some of the letters and my responses. The Wise but wrong letter below was in the 17 February 2006 ICO, and was in response to a letter Alice wrote in response to an earlier letter to me. I also responded to that earlier letter, but my response did not run in the ICO. Pity. My attempt at poetry wasted.)

Wise but wrong


While suffering through the winter here on the Big Island of Hawaii, I was amused, when catching up on the home news in the ICO, to read Alice Combs' letter complaining of the ignorance of some readers to her husbands' mental capacities. Now, I don't know Mr. Combs personally, but from reading his contributions to the letters depart­ment in the ICO over these past years I am highly im­pressed that such a wise and learned man could produce such wrong thinking.

That someone with such vast learning experience, not to mention a Lions Club vol­unteer, and a lover of chil­dren, could be incorrect in his vision of the world is, of course, not unusual. One could find countless ex­amples on both sides of the fence (post).

Conversely, the inverse also applies. Many of the world's best thinkers and leaders had little for­mal education, not to men­tion the fact that they never read Time magazine or picked up papers along Highway 1.

As soon as I get home in March, just in case, I plan to go out to the Stornetta Park, pick up some trash, and then get some serious reading done. Then maybe I'll have some credibility around here (there).


Steve, thank you for your courageous stand for press freedom, and thanks to Steve Finz for inviting me to make a joint statement for freedom.

I lived on Oahu through four winters myself, so I can just imagine Rickey Wasserman’s suffering through this winter on the Big Island. From Mr. Wasserman’s observation about how impressed he is about how a person of my abilities could produce so much wrong thinking and incorrect world vision, I must assume that Mr. Wasserman does not agree with most or all of my beliefs. Since Mr. Wasserman did not mention any specific issues, I am left to speculate about areas of disagreement. From what he has gleaned from my letters, Mr. Wasserman must object to a strong national defense, and must favor higher taxes and larger government. He must also applaud hypocritical Democratic leaders, because I frequently write about how Democrats oppose President Bush when he does things for which they applauded Bill Clinton. For examples, attacks on nations like Iraq and Bosnia that didn’t attack us first, and doing it without forming a United Nations coalition. Or warrantless wiretaps.

Of course Mr. Wasserman would oppose winning the war on terrorism. Or reauthorizing the Patriot Act, just cleared by a 96-3 vote for Senate approval. Since I am for them, he must also be against the Free Trade agreements. I believe in personal freedom and responsibility – I wonder if Mr. Wasserman thinks that is mistaken too?

He probably does, since the positions I attribute to him mark Mr. Wasserman as a liberal Democrat. Perhaps I have been unfair to Mr. Wasserman. I certainly know very little about him, obviously less than he knows of me. But logically, if he thinks me a “wrong thinker,” then he must disagree with my beliefs. Or maybe he just thinks I’m wrong, and takes no position himself. That approach could go a long way towards explaining the incoherence of Democrats.

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