Student Loans II: The Ombudsman

   NPR has been considering student loans today, and if I were not blocked from commenting by Facebook etc., I would set a few sentences on their webpage. I just heard back from the “ombudsman,” and they basically said that it was just fine that MGA has added 75,000 $ to my loan, already tripled by interest. Congress has given them the authority to collect fees, and so these might be a million dollars if they want. My suspicion is that this is a recent action by the Republican congress that does not, you see, want to encumber these fine businesses with regulations. They interviewed a default that went three years to a university of Phoenix, you know, like a Trump University, and dropped out after three years. By contrast, my degree was from the University of Dallas, and I completed a Ph. D in politics. I may well have been blacklisted by my government and ejected by the Catholics, but what is sure is that for the ten years I applied for full time teaching jobs, they were not hiring white males for union professorships, due to Federal affirmative action. This is of course contrary to Madison and the Fourteenth Amendment, which does not allow them to hire everyone except white males, and we stick by that Fourteenth Amendment. I have called for the statistics on this, but no one collects them. Sue, I could teach in high school, where the unions have made Ph. Ds worthless and “certification” everything. I could go get certification, which they have made a two year fifty thousand dollar program to learn how to set up a classroom and be sensitive to diverse people. But then when I get out- and everyone knows this is true- the schools will not hire me because I already have a ph. D, and the unions will make them pay me more to cover the same number of students, and the quality of a Ph. D is utterly invisible, to people who have never studied education with the greatest minds. This too, everyone knows, that they have ejected the traditional study of education, and cannot even identify the greatest books on education.

   So, I taught for ten years as an adjunct, because I am called “white.” I do have a rather sever insistence upon liberty, but this has not caused me to lose a single job. I did decline to try to teach at Washtenaw Community college for minimum wage with half a mouth of teeth, because they have a smoke fee campus, and we resolve to obey the rules. But this job would not even provide subsistence, let alone the repayment of loans. And by the way, if I were not “white,” and had gotten a full time job (thee are for practical purposes, no non-“white” Ph. Ds in political science that could not get full time union jobs).

   So, I tied to repay my loans with writing and inventions. Thank You, WordPress, for blocking my internet access in hopes of gaining an extortion fee, and thank you to the Republican Congress that took money to allow such a thing. Thanks to the office of Tim Walberg, who cannot even tell me what laws allow MGA to default me surreptitiously and charge me 75,000 $, thee times that borrowed for a Ph. D, to push a paper across a desk and stamp it. Nor can my state representatives or anyone else tell me, o even take up this question: Are they doing this to everyone, or did they just do it to me? Have they added 75,000$ to very many loans, financially enslaving and ruining a whole class of college educated people? Or did they just do this to me? And if so, why? Thanks to the “ombudsman,” for being a yes man to MGS, allowing them to do whatever they want. What is interesting is that if I ever could afford to pay them, I could afford a lawyer, and we would raise these questions in court. I have a bread bag with twelve pieces of junk mail I have still not had time to open, and we will open these and read them and respond on court time. I never got through my IRS paperwork, let alone answer junk mail proliferated when creditors use and sell our prostituted information. Thee is a limit to the paperwork we can be obligated to do, and I know, because I have hit the limit.

Hillsdale College Establishes a Free Classical Academy in Whitmore Lake

Following the experience and example of their Barney school, Hillsdale college has opened a charter school in Livingston county that is tuition free. It will be very interesting to see how they adapt the classics program to the High School and Middle school level. Languages, such as Greek, and Literature, such as Shakespeare, can be done along with drama and  history, in addition to the sciences and mathematics already done in High School. This will be a bit more interesting than the grammar and “English” courses usually taught.

I would advise anyone able to give this program a try. A kind of friendship is possible at these schools, where a common enterprise and classics give the atrophied American intellect and imagination and outlet that makes a kind of happiness available for these students, in contrast with the emptiness left in the souls of the students of programs based on the idea that “jobs” and “technology” ae the goals of education.

Congratulations, Hillsdale!

Surveillance Legislation

Say, why do we not suggest to our legislators a new law giving the FBI and the police the powers to set prostitutes onto the citizens to get the suspicious individuals to fall in love. Then we could be as sure as possible that these odd-balls are not bad actors. And if these targets have a friend, we could give the prostitutes the powers to also “date” the friend, get the two accusing one another, and thereby, for every ten we target, we ought catch at least one spy or mobster? How many such have been missed by our failure to do so?

And, in section 2 of such a law, we could give the CIA power to hire certain professors, so these are wearing two hats, as it were, and are then able to watch the development of the young plants in their crucial phases, looking for any sign of terrorist tendencies, nascent communism or white supremacist? These are fairly inexpensive measures, and one just cannot be too sure now-a-days. We will further authorize any measures at all, from our book on princes, in order to protect these deeds of our intelligence agents from being considered as crimes or in any way brought to light.

Then in section 3 of such a law, we will forbid any looking into these measures if anyone ever figures out what their government has been doing, say, like Snowden with his documents, we will authorizes the agencies to chase them all the way to Moscow to preserve our government secrets and secret methods. Let us, in fact, pass this whole law in secret, and authorize the threatening of anyone who even thinks, say, of having Congress call FBI agents to tell the truth at hearings, or other such measures mortally dangerous to democracy.

You see, just because I am in the CLC does not mean I could not be a legislator in this political climate.

Senators Peters and Stabenow and Representative Walberg Refuse to Oversee the Executive Agencies

For four years, I have requested the assistance of my representatives in the national government in holding the CIA and FBI, or the responsible parties and agencies, accountable for having set my former fiance on me to spy in domestic matters, which is illegal. These senators and representatives can easily establish 1. that our government does do this sort of thing, 2. that the agencies are involved in education in the United States in the way that I suggest, 3. That proximity is entirely likely in my case, and to some extent certain, 4. That my circumstances include some very strange coincidences that indicate that what I suggest is likely, and 5. That my former professor ceased to speak to me immediately following the defense of my dissertation for no manifest reason, and will not give a reason to anyone. This is in complete contrast with the recommendations in my file, so that when they say I cannot spell or am a “gnostic” or somehow a harmful thinker, it is contradicted by the recommendations. The recommendations are public and they can be sued over them, but not responding when universities inquire for applications, this one cannot be sued over.  Such things, 6) would be a blacklisting if he were employed or influenced those or was influenced by those employed by these agencies. I could continue to list reasons that Congress ought ask the questions 1. Was that woman set on me, and 2. Why did that professor cease to speak to me. A third question is whether these two are connected, as a woman seems to have been set on me earlier while I was a student at the University of Dallas. So now I want them to tell absolutely everything they ever did to me throughout the course of my education. My other professor said that the excommunication from my professor was indeed very strange, and should not have occurred, and certainly not for something stupid like pot, or without my having some inkling of a reason. Some persons there were either told something slanderous by government or did not like me, perhaps because I did not apply for certain agency jobs to which I was invited to apply, (and can prove it). Congress should have asked me a few questions related to the persons involved, such as one couple of professors and what extracurricular positions these might have held. Having taken scholarship money in a tuition grant, it was perhaps expected that I would have no choice but to apply to repay the borrowed living expense money- a debt which has ruined my financial life, to go along with my friendship and romantic life. I will have no career and no family, although my failure as a writer might of course have many causes other than blacklisting. My Lear book has sold over 100 copies, but the price is kept so high that no one will buy the e-book, as though it were intentional to sell zero copies. And my search engine access is blocked, so that all my traffic is word of mouth, resulting in the failure of my self published e-book, a seven year project. I applied for full time teaching jobs, though, for ten years without ever gaining a single interview, and there is nothing wrong with my grades or work, except that it is perhaps too philosophical for the contemporary American University.

It is also strange that my academic files have disappeared from the University of Dallas, and that persons connected with the University are angry with me for having my representative ask for an account of the matter, and that the university is anything but forthcoming. An account was given after a year or more of persistent questioning, and after having Representative Walberg ask them directly, about 3 years ago. It is said that the files disappeared along with 19 others when they were sent to be put on microfilm and the originals thrown away, and this story we have in writing, though a FOIA request was ignored. Representative Walberg saw this occur, but as soon as it became clear that there were indeed federal agencies involved, he ceased to be of any assistance, his office referring me instead to try to find a lawyer (there are none accessible to the poor for federal matters) or go yet again to the agencies themselves, who think such practices are just fine and who cannot oversee themselves due to the chain of command. Whomever I speak to, in whatever agency including the Justice department, I am asking that they investigate their superiors.

It is very unseemly to discuss such things in public, but that is why 1. Congress should respond to complaints of this sort immediately to settle the matters, 2. We ought think twice about covert government involvement in education, and 3. We ought think twice too about setting women on people without warrant. You see, if a professor irrationally excommunicates a student and thereby destroys his career, that is part of education, and professors can do that, though their bosses might want an account of the matter. But if these professors are acting as government agents, the Constitution of the United States that they are sworn to uphold is seriously violated. I believe that it is extremely important that the citizens do something about this when it occurs, even if it is difficult to do so in a responsible manner. But one certainly does not want a circumstance like that of Mr. Snowden, where he tried every way imaginable to get Congress to do their job, and finally went to the Guardian newspaper and ended up in Moscow! Such irresponsible stonewalling by Congress and government is indeed a threat to national security, if we would remain a free people. The alternative is to have agencies without oversight, incompatible with a free people, the contradiction of liberty, which is in fact what we have now, due especially to the failure of Congress persons to do their jobs. It is in absolute frustration with government, as well as the assurance that such things ought not be done and cannot continue, that I appeal to the people through the press, again that fourth branch of the U. S. government that sometimes kicks in when the other three fail.

There is a no way to communicate this circumstance to anyone who does not care, at least enough to hear the points of the explanation. But what it means is that a terrible error was made and there is no way to correct it: The citizen must simply be destroyed because congress and the Senate Intelligence Committee cannot ask a few simple and direct questions and the agencies be bound or ordered by the President, if necessary, to tell the truth.

One cannot imagine what it means to fall in love with someone who was set upon you as a spy. Nor can one imagine the psychic confusion and romantic torture that results from their apparent M.O., which is to set these women between two friends. Police at all levels of government use women to spy on male targets, from small operations and “Confidential Informants” to prostitutes paid or rewarded to inform and spy, to serious foreign policy matters. Every Senator should know this. As the Sixty Minutes special on Confidential Informants demonstrates, there is great need for the oversight of the police in the use of civilians who have no lawyers. That show focused on two deaths that were caused when, for example, a petty weed dealing sophomore woman was sent to wear a wire to spy on heroin dealers, buying guns and heroin. To capture the love of a person and to cause friends to accuse one another would be a very effective method of spying, and this is in fact what seems to have occurred. If I were correct, it is clear that nothing at all would be done in the current illiberal system where there is no oversight. The CIA is free to suspect a student, set women on them, receive slanderous accounts drawn from misinterpreted phone taps by State or local police, in effect blacklist a PhD, effect something like rape, in a bizzare violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments so unique it has no name, and that is just fine with government: Nothing can or will be done about this, again because it is the job of congress and they will not do their jobs. I want the President to order the agencies to tell at least my representatives the truth about these matters, since it has been demonstrated that the agencies will lie to Congress. I want government to hold the bad actors accountable and set the damages straight before worse consequences result, as I will continue to press this issue in every political way, including publicizing enough of the matter to get something done about it. Or do you think one in my circumstance should allow what again is like rape for the purposes of spying, and like blacklisting to destroy a career?

Just a bit to add: It is also fine with Congress and the agencies if one receive death threats to prevent holding some powerful persons accountable, or for government bad actors to use such measures to cover up their crimes and errors. They might carry out or subcontract the carrying out of such threats, and Congress must admit that there is nothing our government is set up to do about it. They might also simply leave a person exposed or expose them, without doing another thing, allowing others to carry out such a threat for them. They are not stupid. And like the fellow killed lately by the Russians in London, they are sure to make it look like a natural death or accident. That nothing would be done about such a thing, characteristic of Russian tyranny but not free government, is agreed by all and just fine, apparently, with Congress and the President. That is a result of these sorts of matters, and is again why Congress needs to do its job from the beginning, or why we cannot have a tyranny of the unelected executive agencies justified by our terror or by the nuclear age. We must remain free regardless of these perils, and in truth, contrary to what most think, it is the only safe course, as tyranny would expose us to disaster far sooner than liberty.

Congress also does not seem to understand its own powers if it denies itself the right and duty to oversee and hold accountable these agencies. Every cent of American money spent, and that means every single thing the American government does, requires in principle an account to Congress.

I have of course taken the stigma of madness for trying to do something about these things. I will add the inconveniences of this, the social effect of saying something no one wants to hear or can believe, to my list of damages for which I would charge them, about 57 million dollars minimum, should there ever be oversight, accountability and meaningful recourse in such matters. Everyone agrees that if these things did occur much as I say they sure seem to have, absolutely nothing would be done about it, so that all things are just as if I were seeing quite clearly. But, needing the help of fellow citizens and friends, absolutely no one has offered to help, but it has been suggested of course that I “get help.” As I have told my father, I do indeed need help, but not that kind! I rather need the help of fellow free citizens, to insist that Congress do their job an inquire when there is so much reason to do so, and see to it that these things do not continue to occur. What if they did that to your son or daughter? Tim Walberg, when asked that, would not answer. I could get their psychodope even without saying such things, and I know the system would just love to drug me for saying things no one can think let alone believe, except for those who have for themselves seen these things done, and know well that I tell the truth about this sort of thing having become rather routine. But among the things no one can explain to me are why the simplest questions cannot be asked and honest answers required when I have already presented plenty of reason to raise the questions, and to present more reason will be harmful. It is objectively obvious that something strange did indeed occur, and the silence is more evidence that there is indeed a problem here.

One final point: Machiavelli indeed seems to us to teach the folly of the use of love and women in spying, since he has that wonderful teaching about how a tyrant can do anything to the liberty of men so long as he does not touch their patrimony. For this reason it does seem to me that Machiavellians would understand that if one prostitutes or rapes or tortures wrongly in the mistaken service of national security, the truth will come out. Machiavelli probably does not mention love, unless it is in the Mandragola, I’ll have to check. Or perhaps it is with his true teaching, in The Art of War. But Machiavelli also has that nice teaching about how many can see what one appears to be, but none can touch what you are, from The Prince. Once Machiavellianism enters American politics, the genuine or Socratic philosophers are called to counter its effects. For this, we must somehow “speak to the mariners,” as the boatswain says in The Tempest, “or we run ourselves aground.We must show the people to stand upright, and these forces- even the seven dark powers or a “seven nation army” of Russia, ISIS, the mob, the Colombian type cartels, the Nazis and the Klan- can be beaten, along with the prescription drug and other huge transnational money interests. The Internet billionairs, who are decent and very powerful indeed, might be persuaded to help, while they are looking for philanthropic causes in their retirement. We, the American people, are like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, and Machiavelli is wrong in general, if he does have a point about how difficult it is to make these covert matters evident. No one will listen, and no one will believe you. Indeed, swept along by appearance and self-interest, no one will even ask the simplest questions.

Lets Put Fire Extinguishers At Bad Intersections, on the Phone Poles

I keep saying that as soon as I get ten dollars, I’m going to buy a fire extinguisher and nail it to the pole out on our intersection. I would call the city and suggest it, but I have called them for about ten years now telling them to move the hill back 30 feet so that when it is icy, people are not trying to get up the hill and pull out onto the busy road at the same time. But people can burn to death, and we will just bury them, clean up the mess, and go back to making money before we will listen to a good idea- it is just so painful to think or learn something new! We should of course start with the worst intersections and expand as tax dollars allow. At our intersection, too, when people are trying to go South and make a right turn, the left turning cars block their view, and once a day everyone gets stuck and traffic freezes. I would call, but maybe I’ll spend my Obama phone minutes on something likely to be productive. That problem has caused three accidents in the past year. but no one will fix it anyway. We insist upon responsive government, especially when they are getting paid and the idea people are working for free. Must be just me! Everyone knows there is something wrong with people who see things and make suggestions that might save lives. When I get 10$, I will do it myself. I already have an extinguisher in my truck in case upon an accident with fire, and someone on the radio, a state representative, just figured out that we can teach CPR in gym class along with kickball and volleyball, so that the student who graduate are able to help their felloqw citizens.

The Centrist Libertarian Constitutionalist Party

Lets let the Republican party divide, rather than follow a tyrant based upon some vague party allegiance. The CLC is a new political party, right in the center, between the Left and Right of both parties. The common good has often been the mean between the two positions, and our political system is a way of hashing out this balance. There is a mean in many political questions, just as in the ethical questions, so let us go straight to this, and save some time and money.

The CLC upholds Liberty as our nation has upheld equality. Common opinion has made great progress regarding equality, though the excesses occur when we sacrifice liberty to common opinion, and this is called “political correctness.”

The CLC insists upon the Constitution of the United States. The Bill of Rights is a part of the Constitution- all ten amendments, and not only the Second Amendment.

Hence, the CLC has opposed property seizures, which have occurred by setting aside the Fifth Amendment, seizing property contrary to the Fifth Amendment, without due process of law. The judicial decision allowing this because “property is guilty” is a corrupt decision.

The CLC opposes the surveillance state, which has occurred by setting aside the Fourth Amendment. In order to amend our Constitution, we require a super-majority of 2/3 to propose and 3/4 to ratify. This is what would be necessary to end the Fourth Amendment. But we have ended the limitations on search and seizure not by a super-majority, but by the excesses of the executive agencies and the corruption of Congress. This is illegal.

The CLC opposes the rigged game economy, where billionaires and millionaires make even more money by controlling Congress with the power their wealth can give them. The rules are then set according to their self interest, destroying the middle class, as the value of enterprise is devoured by these. We uphold true free enterprise against the tyranny of money, which is not free enterprise at all. Innovation and the spirit of invention can be crushed if the poor cannot advance because the rich have set the rules to take the value of their products.

The CLC has an answer to reform campaign finance. We will take goods used for our campaigns, and no money. The voters must require that legalized bribery end. We must do this voluntarily, because of the First Amendment. John Adams said this constitution is meant for a people of virtue, and will work for no other. Hence, we will end laminated junk mail and T.V. attack adds that insult the intelligence of the American voter. We will speak to the people directly, through the internet, and let the media follow if they want news.

The CLC will enact tax reform and simplify the tax process, saving billions for the GNP. We preach tax honesty, but must insist that government make tax honesty possible and not foolish. We spend too much of the GNP on filing taxes and filling out forms, and this is not necessary.

The CLC will insist upon the integrity of the large internet companies, both toward one another and toward their customers. Examples are that we insist upon true searches, upon not making a commodity of our liberty, privacy and security, nor forcing us to go shopping when they want. Where these have prevailed upon congress to allow their interests to become law, we will expose the corruption. The marketing of information must stop, for security reasons.

The CLC will end the abuse of health care by the prescription drug industry, the corruption of doctors in prescribing drugs for profit and the milking of the national health care system by insurance companies, doctors and organized crime that makes this project difficult if not impossible. The Oxy-heroin scam is the best example. And we will check to see whether antidepressants are the cause of the epidemic of public shootings, and end the corruption of psychiatry by the profits made by drugging people.

We will not raise taxes, but end welfare fraud in order to pay for infrastructure investment and reasonable social programs. The food stamp fraud rate is about fifty percent.

We must apologize to organized crime, but insist that both blue and white collar gangsters get jobs that produce real value.

We support prison and justice reform, the prosecution of the abuse of power in judicial and executive offices, and insist upon the immediate end to police shooting civilians without warrant or reason. We ask, “What is the difference between policing a free people and policing in a tyranny?” Those who cannot answer cannot hold police power over us. We remind these too that under our constitution, punishments are determined by the legislative and judicial branches: the executive has no power to determine punishment, and commits a crime by violating the constitution when it punishes.

We favor responsive government, rather than at present, where the citizens cry out and nothing is done until the issue enters the media.

We support a liberal arts based curriculum of genuine education, not only the current system of trade schools promoting only jobs, technology and popular opinion. We invite you to fill out this questionnaire: The goal of education is_____________.

We support the legalization of Marijuana, as the law forbidding it is unconstitutional. We insist upon the legislative regulation of commerce, but for the common good rather than for special interests.

Find another candidate with more substantive policy in a single page! We are in error to hire businessmen to run government: witness the Flint water crisis. I am Mark A. McDonald, a life long student of politics, former teacher of American government, and student of the human sciences, attempting to run for Congress in the Seventh House District of Michigan (until I find a better candidate), and am the founder of the CLC. I am running because my current representative would not support John McCain regarding torture, nor question the executive agencies in his position of supposed oversight, nor insist upon internet integrity.

Transgender Bathrooms: Some Thoughts

Some people are of course born with unspecified genders, and this point ought settle the religious background of this question. As said before, the attempt of doctors to choose a gender for these people for social reasons led to an occasional atrocity. Presently, the radio says that LGTB people are 41/2 times more likely to commit suicide, and if the Christians want to add to this, well, we ought be ashamed of ourselves.

That said, there are some interesting points not being made about the transgender bathroom issue, not being made because common opinion, or fashionable opinion, does not have access to the nature behind the points. Genders are separated in bathrooms, and people allowed privacy, because men abuse women. There is no equality here, just as in the question of older women hitting on younger men: the men do not mind, if they are 16 and hook up with a hot 24 year old teacher, but for men to hit on 16 year old girls is a crime. Even on the rare chance that it were a genuine love, they would be obligated to wait for the girl to reach majority, and if it were a genuine love, this would be possible. But to treat the cases equally is a joke, and all 16 year old boys know it! We had this Social Studies teacher in High School, and me and my friend Jamie P. would sit in the front row and just swoon. We set off firecrackers on her window ledge to impress her, and got hauled away by the “principle in charge of vice,” (Credit Jack M.), Mr. M, who used to be a Dallas football player, and could lift the whole weight room with his legs.

So, separate bathrooms are especially to preserve the privacy of women, because they are vulnerable and endangered, whereas men care much less. The first suggestion, then, is that transgender people use the male restroom, unless a third restroom especially for transgender people is initiated. We already go to the trouble to have two, male and female, and perhaps we should have a third. But we cannot allow transgender men to use the women’s restroom, regardless of their past or current biological gender. When I was in about eighth grade, I had very long hair and no beard yet, and so looked like a little girl. I once mistook an eighth grade picture of me in an old yearbook as manager of the basketball team, I myself thought “who is that girl?” We knew this fact back then, and so devised a plot, with my friend L.- one of those plots one would not carry out but would think out for fun- to use our effeminate appearance to sneak into the woman’s locker room at a college, and scope it out!

Some young men are very shy about using the locker room at all, especially between the ages of 12 and 16, and more provision might have been made in the past for this modesty or shame, although it is perhaps also good for young men to get used to the locker room thing, so long as whose that fellow from Penn State is not around.

With the truly tragic things, comedy is our only salvation. The truly tragic things can be funny because they are so serious, and there is almost nothing so macabre that the human mind cannot make fun of it, since it deserves not only ridicule but armed opposition. Gender issues are not very serious in light of the truly tragic things, and whatever might be said of our ethical degeneration- no one wants to speak against, or even rationally consider, sodomy and gammory- it is a great advance of civilization that transgender people might escape the social pressure that contributes, or once contributed, to their suicides.

Philosophic Fish ?

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“…For if someone should go to its surface or become winged and fly up, he’d leap up and take a look- just as fish here leap up out of the sea, and see what’s here, that’s also how someone might take a look at what’s there.”

Socrates, to Simmias in Plato’s Phaedo, (109e)

   My sister found this great invention on the internet, and has it in her fish and frog pond in the yard. It is a vase suspended on bricks, with water trapped because no air can get in to displace it. The fish just swim right in the bottom, and so do the frogs. I made sure an air bubble was also trapped, in case the frogs became confused and didn’t think to swim down to get out. Here, one of my six fish is viewing one of the frogs from a unique perspective. I wanted the fish to see what it’s like in the air-world. Socrates says: “For although we dwell in some hollow of the earth, we think we dwell up on topp of it, and we call the air “heaven, thinking that because the stars travel in it, it’s heaven…”

Translation by Eva Brann, Peter Kalkavage and Eric Salem


So you see, fish can provide a demonstration of Plato’s Allegory of the cave in drama, and are therefore philosophic! Having thus demonstrated my thesis, I leave you thus.

Rock Commentaries First Draft Finished!

Do You ever wonder about the meaning of songs? The last three Chapters of the Rock Commentaries were set here on WordPress today, and will be available free for a limited time. The list of Songs that are good to play at weddings should be helpful for DJ’s and those getting married, and the essay on Bloom should be helpful to philosophers. The articles on Aqualung, Quadrophenia, Ziggy Stardust and Creed I think are among the best things written on these, but writers always think that the day they print, till they get home and see all the errors! As said before, it’s because if we could think of anything better, we would include it! I expect to learn more soon from Sean Wilentz and Greil Marcus. But I still think I’m right about Sad Eyed Lady, and don’t want to hear that its about his wife instead, even from Dylan- ok, maybe both. Come visit!

Conversations with Famous Persons: Rich DeVos Sr.

When in school in Grand Rapids, I was reading in a used book store, a book by Richard DeVos, the founder of Amway. Basically, the book said that wealth is a sign of divine favor, very near to saying that if God likes you, you will be rich. After all, is it not written, “…all these things will be yours as well?”

We were hippies back at Grand Valley, and all the radical types were our social group, the SDS guys and such. At Grand Valley, there were then three colleges, one for the hippies, called Thomas Jefferson college, one for the middle guys, called William James, and the usual sort of small college, called the College of Arts and Sciences. Because my major was Psychology, I was in the C.A.S., though as said, my friends and cohorts were of the more colorful sort. These were very much opposed to Mr. DeVos and the Amway view of life, and American “capitalism.” These had adopted and set the new opinions of the activist left, and called Amway “Scamway.” Now, even though I was a hippie, sporting long blond hair(people said I looked like  Greg Allman, though I see myself looking more like Edgar Winter. The truth is probably that I looked a lot like Shawn Phillips, and women who would seek him if they could would sometimes settle for me, so I was introduced to his fine work, and once took a girl to meet him.)

I was always a fan of good soap, and never quite into the things the T. J. C. people were in to: I was not an artist, but rather more of a scientist. But we loved things like romping in the woods and ravines around the college, smoking pot and watching sunsets. But I was too busy pursuing the mysteries of love, Psychology and Biology to join in much political activity. I was also beginning to discover philosophy, and had taken summer Independent Studies to read the scriptures.

We had heard that Mr. DeVos had taken control of the school board, and would soon eliminate some of the programs of which we were fond. One day I was working with a friend in the theater shop, for badly needed pay, just helping with some carpentry and manual labor, so I had on my holiest old jeans, even from high school, and probably a rough T-shirt. Mr. Devos had flown his personal Helicopter to attend a board meeting, and it was there parked outside the Campus Center building.

I had begun to read the introductory Platonic dialogues, and as is well known, one of the first effects of Socrates on the young pups is that they tend to go about questioning famous people, as Socrates did, to try to show that they do not know what people think they must know if they hold such positions. So, being a courageous type, I went and sat, cross-legged, right on the side of the sidewalk where Mr. DeVos would have to pass on his way to his helicopter, and waited. Soon he came along, attended by two burly bodyguards, who did seem a bit agitated to find me there. When He approached, I asked him,

Mr DeVos, how can a camel fit through the eye of a needle?

He answered, again, a bit agitated, “That’s not what that passage means…” He went on to explain. Later in the discussion, he would say, “You don’t have to dress like a bum.” But soon I was questioning him about the programs we feared he would destroy. He said that the marketplace must decide which programs would be kept, the ones that turned the biggest profit. I asked him if this principle was not the same as that of Thomas Jefferson College, and had the same problem with it: prior to education, the students do not know what is best to choose. The purpose of education is to uncover the true hierarchy of the priorities, but prior to education, we will not have this very clearly as a basis on which to consider each choice life sets before us, to know when we are sacrificing the higher to the lower things, ruining our lives and our society as well. At T. J. C., there were silly things like college credit for basket weaving, but also some avaunt-guard though very serious things, like the mime class of Tom Lubhart, a student of the teacher of the famous Marcel Marceau, who had continued a tradition of corporeal mime, less flashy but more artistic than pantomime. After demonstrating that the market idea of education curriculum and the Hippies idea of doing whatever one feels are not much different, we shook hands, and he flew off, again after telling me I did not have to dress like such a bum.

Years later, I had a conversation at the counter of a coffee shop with an Amway salesman, who was using the opportunity of our chance encounter to market his product, in the compulsive attempt to move on up the pyramid. Amway salesman have a bit of the evangelical method of sales that has become a part of American ministry and culture. This of course annoys everyone who is not a brick moving up in the pyramid, though we are not quite sure why we are annoyed. I pointed out to this man that in order to sell soap, he had subjected all his filial relations, to friends and brothers in law and even people he chanced to meet, to his own personal enterprise and hopes regarding this pyramid. It is in a similar way that education in America has been subjected.

We believed, and still do, that our wise professor knew what programs should be offered in a college, and in general would be the best at the superintendence of education. He had Allan Bloom out there once to consider having a St. John’s college in the Midwest. We always marveled that he did not go get a prestigious job at Princeton or Harvard. But he barely made it through his career without being cancelled on the priorities set by the marketplace.