Curtis Dahlgren
The thinker and the firefly; Freedom was their flight plan
By Curtis Dahlgren
June 18, 2016

"He discounted the thin veneer of scholastic training that is sometimes mistaken for culture. He held that many college graduates are merely drugged with small doses of intellectual laudanum and that, until such time as its influence wears off, they are unable to adjust themselves to the ordinary duties and responsibilities of life." – George Rankin in "The Life of William Dempster Hoard" (governor of Wisconsin)

"YOU'RE WASTING YOUR TIME," it has been said, "if you're trying to help people [because this is Satan's world]." Yes, if the people who are called by God's name would repent, He would help us, but "that'll never happen" they say. Don't you hate it when people miss the point? That "old" testament "cliche" didn't say everyone must repent – mainly just the people who bear his name! Unto whom much is given, much is required (sometimes their lives, and every five minutes, it is said, another "Christian" is martyred – whether they're in the Pure Church or not).

I went outside in the middle of the night the other night, and saw a silent satellite going north to south. And then it glowed for a second like a lightning bug. Two nights later I went outside after midnight and saw an actual lightning bug. Despite being a "single solitary" lightning bug and despite a light drizzle falling, I think it was the brightest firefly I've ever seen in my life, brighter than the man-made satellite I saw.

And now that word picture is fixed in the mind of my readers, so he didn't live in vain (whether he found a mate or not). We seem to have a shortage of those fireflies, but we also have a shortage of Christians who are on fire for the Truth. We need a few.

I'm reading two biographies right now; the other one is "Barry Goldwater; Freedom Is His Flight Plan." Stephen Shadegg, the biographer, quotes Barry's opening speech for office in 1952:

"Now is the time to reaffirm our devotion to those moral principles of honesty, integrity, and justice. Now is the time for faith; faith in our own ability; faith in the power of truth; faith in Almighty God; and faith in man's destiny as a child of freedom with God-given freedom of choice; free to choose good over evil, truth over falsehood and peace over war."

In the same speech, Barry talked about his opponent – who claimed to be one of the top four men in Washington: "In Coolidge, Arizona, [McFarland] described our Korean War as a cheap war. Cheap, he said, because we're killing nine Chinese for every American boy. And then to justify his participation in this blunder of the Truman Administration, he added to his statement these words: 'It is the Korean War which is making us prosperous.'

"I challenge him to find anywhere within the borders of this state, or within the borders of the United States, a single mother or father who counts our casualties as cheap – who'd be willing to exchange the life of one American boy for the nine Communists . . . "

Barry said that McFarland was one of the "top 4" men in Washington, he was 25 percent responsible for the 50,000+ American deaths. Barry was elected to the Senate. He proved to be that rare individual who was secretly admired by even his most vociferous critics. In his July 1960 SUGGESTED DECLARATION OF REPUBLICAN PRINCIPLES, among other things he said:

"We declare it is the first responsibility of the federal government to protect the freedoms of citizens equally against attack and tyranny from without or within . . . Excessive spending is the historical prelude to the disintegration of national existence . . . We must proclaim for victory in the cold war. We denounce and condemn those who would, by practicing appeasement, lead us to piecemeal surrender of the rights and the dignity of free men. Victory must be our goal . . We hold that our nation can survive only by the united efforts of free men – supported by religious faith – practicing fidelity to our traditions – exhibiting integrity in public office – and displaying an unwavering love of country."

The victory in the cold war was a delayed one, but it was won without firing a shot. In 1964 though, the flyer who couldn't be shot down by the enemy in World War II was shot down by a public relations campaign. A word-picture involving one daisy and a mushroom cloud. The conventional wisdom of the intellectual "laudanum" was that Barry might "start a war over there" (elect Barry and it's all over for civilization).

I discovered in the Goldwater book a column I had saved. "Shattering the consensus" by Charley Reese of Orlando, Florida, copyright 2007. Michael Crichton vs. pseudoscience. Fear-mongering vs. facts and climate change. Reese said:

"[Crichton] doesn't buy all the catastrophic predictions that have even filtered down to my 7-year-old grandson, who casually informed me that New York would soon be underwater. . . Charlie Rose recently showed dismay that Crichton would stand alone against the great consensus. Thinkers have been doing that for millennia . . The history of science – and medicine in particular – is a history of the consensus being shattered by individual thinkers . . As anyone familiar with fundraising can tell you, pending catastrophes and crises sell; reason doesn't.

" . . Global warming is taking on the aspect of a religious belief rather than science . . . And, like the Darwinians, the global warming folks treat dissenters as if they were evil heretics."

P.S. Saving dissent may be even bigger than "Saving the planet" in the long run. I must cut this short though, with a quote from one of our presidents:

"Utterly, indeed, should I despair did not the presence of many whom I here see remind me that in the other high authorities provided by our Constitution I shall find resources of wisdom, of virtue, and of zeal on which to rely under all difficulties. To you, then, gentlemen, who are charged with the sovereign functions of legislation, and to those associated with you, I look with encouragement for that guidance and support which may enable us to steer with safety the vessel in which we are all embarked amidst the conflicting elements of a troubled world." – Thomas Jefferson (1st inaugural, 1801)

Yes, the world is still troubled, even more so as evil men wax worse and worse. Evils happen in threes sometimes. Orlando had the assassination of a singer, a mass shooting, and death-by-crocodile.

I don't know which would be the worst way to go. The only question is whether the Pulse shooting will be called "workplace violence." There was some "work" going on there.

PPS: Final answer. Noah Webster said:

"The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible."


© Curtis Dahlgren


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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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