Aphorism of the Week

Moral evil is abrogating the right of others to think for themselves. -- via Lindsay Tornambe

Dedicated to Lindsay Tornambe's and "C's" escape from the Finlayson, Minnesota, religious and child sexual abuse cult that trapped their families; and to Ms. Tornambe's realization that their escape wasn't simply from a religion, but from what traps many people regardless of their worldviews -- a moral evil she herself identified: "We didn't really have a chance to think for ourselves."

Parable of the Week

The Blue Ceiling, The Blue Sky
Grey clouds ushered the new employee into the bank.
His boss welcomed him, saying, "Innovate and you'll get ahead in the world!"
"The sky's the limit!" he exclaimed.
Saying this, the boss gestured up -- at the vaulted, white cloud-painted blue dome above the main lobby.
The employee wracked his brain for weeks to come up with an idea to save the bank money. But when he presented his idea to his coworkers and boss, they frowned and told him that the idea was unworkable.
And that he was a show-off.
He grew sullen, as his best ideas were ignored while the same poor planning that had kept the bank small was all that was permitted.
On his last day at the job, after packing his personal belongings, he overheard the boss tell a young, new worker, "The sky's the limit!"
While the bank guard, dressed in grey, ushered him out the door, cardboard box under one arm, he passed the new guy --who was staring up at the cloud-painted vaulted dome.
He paused and whispered in the new guy's ear.
"It's a ceiling."
Then he walked out into a true blue day.
Thus, make sure your blue sky isn't a blue ceiling.

April 19, 2014, excerpt from The Parables of Reason © 2007-2014 (Chapter2, "Assumption's Denial"), by Frank H. Burton.

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Aphorism of the Week

If you justify violence as the will of Allah, you're remaking Allah in your own image.

Dedicated in admonishment of the aggression and terrorism by Boko Haram. Initiation of violence, and the subsequent undercutting of others' ability to use Reason, is not and can never be a moral political tactic.

Parable of the Week

The Totalitarian, The Free
Twin countries nestled against each other in the womb.
The first country, at the insistence of its army, installed a charismatic dictator.
Garbed in green fatigues, he told the people what kind of work they must do, and who would benefit from it.
He was overthrown and replaced by another dictator, who, regaled in satin robes, told them what kind of belief they must have.
He, too, was overthrown, and replaced by yet a third dictator, who, cloaked in a white hood, told them what kind of color people they must marry.
The country teetered like a refugee dragged on his final, long march.
And in the dark of night, fearing the knock at their door, never did its people know peace in their beds.
But the second country, at the insistence of its own charismatic leader, installed a Constitution of individual, religious, racial, social, and environmental rights, protected by a representational government.
Then the leader hung up his pressed suit and retired to his farm.
This country did not teeter toward enslavement and persecution of its people for what work they did, what belief they held, or what color they were.
It grew innovative, strong and free.
And in the dark of night, fearing no knock at their door, always did its people know peace in their beds.
Thus, one can be chained in many ways, but it is all one chain -- upon reasoned choice.

April 12, 2014, excerpt from The Parables of Reason © 2007-2014 (Chapter 2, "Assumption's Denial"), by Frank H. Burton.

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Aphorism of the Week

The spoils of war and deception spoil with the light of day.

Dedicated in admonishment of Russian President Vladimir Putin's undercutting, both by force and propaganda, of the will of the People of Ukraine toward self-determination.

Parable of the Week

The Powerless, The Powerful
A "right to vote" was enshrined in the Constitution of both neighboring peoples -- but immersed within a tortuous, dark palimpsest of corrupt laws.
In the first country, public officials, even the Presidency itself, were bought. Incumbency of the largest political parties was guaranteed by television ads -- which, through misdirection, calmed the people's concerns. Power, and immense, ill-gotten riches, were held in the grasp of a very few -- while many were poor, cheated of a day's pay for a day's work, and lived on acrid, despoiled land.
Its people stayed home and cursed, come voting day.
The second country, too, had been bought; its people, too, saw the poverty of their hardest workers, tasted acrid air and oily water, and saw the politicians and pundits shun all but the wealthy and a few token poor.
But its people fought back -- writing editorials, publishing alternative newspapers, talking on public television, and blogging on the Internet.
And come voting day all of them -- every one of them -- left their homes to vote.
The people, realizing they had suffered from a mass illusion of powerlessness, never again cursed the government they had themselves permitted all along -- but threw it out and elected true representatives.
Thus, your vote is absolute power incarnated -- or absolute power abdicated.

April 5, 2014, excerpt from The Parables of Reason © 2007-2014 (Chapter 2, "Assumption's Denial"), by Frank H. Burton.

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Aphorism of the Week

Strong cloth is woven from many threads.

Dedicated in admonishment of medically-uninsured young adults of the Millennial Generation who are declining to buy cheap medical insurance by March 31, through the U.S. Affordable Care Act. Taking responsibility for your own healthcare also means not bumming off your fellow citizens' wallets to pay for it after you go bankrupt from unpredicted injury or illness.

Parable of the Week

The Riverbank, The Flood
Fertile delta meandered beneath the feet of two young farmers.
One bought a farm on the green banks of the river, and profited enormously from its cheap cost.
The other visited his friend's sprawling farm. Bare feet on green grass, he walked to the banks of the mighty river, pondering its iron, foam-crested turbulence. Then, lacing on his shoes, he hiked south closer to the city, where the river was channeled through the verdant plains by levees and canals -- and there he bought a small farm, where he barely scraped by due to the farm's expense.
The first farmer chided the second about his expensive, tiny farm.
But then the rains came unceasingly -- and the mighty, life-giving river swelled in its banks. To no avail the first farmer tried to protect his farm and his family from the torrent of rushing, blue-grey water, as it billowed over the low green banks -- and all was swept away to ruin.
So did the first farmer come to fear the river and its surges.
But where the swollen river had been leveed and channeled, the second farmer's land and family remained safe on its banks, and his small farm thrived.
So did the second farmer come to appreciate the river and its levees.
Thus, let joy flow, but not flood.

March 29, 2014, excerpt from The Parables of Reason © 2007-2014 (Chapter 3, "Emotion's Mastery"), by Frank H. Burton.

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