America is a land of systemic reform, not systemic racism.

Dr. Carol M. Swain

By Dr. Jim Ferguson

This week it’s hard to know where to begin. There is so much to consider. Admittedly, my essays often present a variety of seemingly unrelated topics. Yet a theme is there even if not initially obvious. I don’t do this to be abstruse, but to challenge the reader. So, I will start with this week’s title which is a synonym for an assortment of things or ideas, and let you discover the theme.

Can you ever have enough word-tools? I once saw a van that advertised tools for mechanics and construction workers. The sides of the van read  “Every man needs a good tool.” It was an eye-catching trope utilizing a double entendre.

As a lifelong teacher of medical students, nurses, colleagues, etc., I can affirm that Socratic teaching is far more effective than lecturing; it’s just much harder to do.

Even most millennials have heard of Socrates who lived in the Athen’s Golden Age of the 5th century BC. His most famous student was Plato, who was the mentor of Aristotle who schooled Alexander the Great. Socrates taught by asking a series of questions challenging his students to discover the answer for themselves. Apparently, Socrates tried the patience of Athenians who finally put him on trial and convicted him of heresy and corrupting the minds of Athenian youth. It cost Socrates his life even though the elitists’ charges were bogus, just like those against President Trump.

Fortunately, I am a small fish and not important enough to be put on trial, excommunicated or censured by the thought police of our government or the Tech Lords of Facebook, Twitter or Google. However, elites don’t like criticism (recall Socrates). On February 8, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security issued a terrorism threat bulletin warning against “the proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sows discord or undermines public trust in U.S. government institutions.”

While Socrates is credited with being the founder of Western philosophy, Thomas Hobbes is considered to be one of the founders of modern political philosophy. In 1651 Hobbes published his book “Leviathan” which explored the notion of the social contract. Hobbes observed that in nature, man was savage and life was often “solitary, nasty, brutish and short.” What he meant was the biggest, strongest or meanest person would rule over the weaker. Hobbes argued that it is necessary to surrender some of our freedom to the collective security of government or (as in America) the rule of law. But what if the government or its agencies become brutish and the tyrant? What if the propaganda ministry of the government (media like the NYT, MSNBC or Google) works in concert with the government to manipulate, marginalize or control We The People?

You doubt my concern? Consider the label “insurrectionist” and “sedition” applied to the Canadian truckers protesting in Ottawa. What about Google’s censorship of Dan Bongino or Facebook’s suppression of the Great Barrington Declaration or the major “news” media’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story just before the presidential election of 2020?

Last week the bishop of my Methodist Church lobbied on Church stationery for so-called election reform. I find the bishop’s use of her office for politics appalling and a violation of the separation of church and state which liberals scream about all the time.

And I find it appalling the GoFundMe platform withheld $10 million from the Canadian truckers, yet allowed funding of the CHOP Zone in Seattle, and Black Lives Matter and Antifa as they protested, rioted and burned cities across America. This same “charitable” platform withheld donations for Kyle Rittenhouse (found innocent) and legal defense funds for police. Fortunately, the comparable GiveSendGo platform stepped up and is collecting money for the Canadian truckers. I have used GoFundMe in the past to donate, but I will never again. GoFundMe is now under investigation by the Attorneys General of at least two states for malfeasance. Being woke, intolerant, manipulative and dishonest must carry a price.

Have you noticed the price of gas has gone up ~$0.90 in the last year? Have you noticed empty shelves at the supermarket or the absence of favorite items? Have you noticed rising prices of just about everything? If you spend more than you have and make production and delivery of products difficult, it produces inflation which is now 7.5%, the highest in 40 years. We have all taken a big pay cut!

I’m just a doctor and do not understand economic theory.  In college, I took an elective quarter of economics and I’m glad that I took it pass-fail or I might not have been admitted to medical school. I do understand if you print money it leads to more dollars chasing fewer products and produces inflation. It takes a year or two before inflation surfaces as a result of poor monetary policy. Unfortunately, history shows that it takes years to correct inflation, which can only occur when the mismanagement that produced the inflationary pressures is corrected. Perhaps we should add Econ 101 to Ol’ Joe’s cognitive testing which Congressional representatives are demanding.

Have you noticed a number of “blue states” like California, Oregon, New Jersey, New York, etc. are eliminating mandatory masks? Folks, science has not changed, just the polling. Cloth masks, in particular, are useless and harmful to children. When I pick up my grandchildren at elementary school, I shudder to think what is on their facial diapers. The movie “Mr. Mom” comes to mind with Michael Keaton using personal protective gear when changing diapers.

Neither Socrates nor Jesus wrote anything. We know of their principles from their disciples. We know about Gandhi (India’s Soul) who championed the notion of nonviolent civil disobedience. Martin Luther King used the same nonviolent disobedience to resist injustice and broke through institutionalized segregation (Jim Crow laws) promulgated by Democrats such as George Wallace, Bull Connor, etc. In fact, the longest Senate filibuster in the history of our country was by Democrats resisting civil rights legislation.

Only in America could Professor Carol Swain or Dr. Ben Carson rise from abject poverty to prominence and notoriety. So I ask some final questions: Who are the enemies of free speech? Who is making money off intolerance and racism? As the X-Files said, “The truth is out there.”