City Journal Autumn 2014

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Autumn 2014
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Benjamin A. Plotinsky
Readiness Is All « Back to Story

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Helping the man is what welfare is alabout, not giving money to people that do not want to work and find it easier to live off from free handout of the government.
Well, Lake Worth's comment is a close variation on the template that has been used by all the destroyers of the past 200 years or so: self-righteousness, hatred and vulgarity. My advise is to examine your own life.

But what a beautiful essay on this Conrad passage. For your pleasure, I quote the last paragraph of 'Youth':

And we all nodded at him: the man of finance, the man of accounts, the man of law, we all nodded at him over the polished table that like a still sheet of brown water reflected our faces, lined, wrinkled; our faces marked by toil, by deceptions, by success, by love; our weary eyes looking still, looking always, looking anxiously for something out of life, that while it is expected is already gone--has passed unseen, in a sigh, in a flash--together with the youth, with the strength, with the romance of illusions.

Excellent, as usual
You still don't get it.

"...the federal program that spent over $2 billion last year to bestow cell phones on the poor, or the public housing that traps... in dependency...."

The cell phones are an investment that started paying off immediately in better security for our underclass. And without public housing, heavily subsidized, the prime alternative is that they would go homeless.

Faith, hope and charity.

"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." 1st Corinthians 13:13.

When you sat on your ass, you chose to sin. You knew what you were doing. You were not blind. You were following the sociopathic no-feeling selfishness of your materialist culture. Change yourself, change your life.

What else ?
Dr. Deborah Hall July 13, 2013 at 6:50 AM
Mr. Plotinsky,

Your essay is deeply moving. Thank you for brilliantly connecting your own moral self-questioning with Lord Jim's. You verify the immortality of Conrad's work as you raise these same profound questions to each of us today. They shake me to the core.

Readiness is indeed all, and moral strength is the foundation of readiness.

I am reminded of the words of Lisa Beamer, speaking of her husband after September 11:

"Todd was able to make a wise choice at the end of his life because he made wise choices throughout his life. It really comes down to how we live every day...
Life is every little second now. And all those things we want to be, we either are right now, or we're not."


Charles Mueller July 13, 2013 at 5:26 AM
Hi Ben,

...you may recall our past correspondence re an IU English honors class I once took with an older man we both know.

This was so incisive and well-done. No self-righteousness but plenty of self-examination.

...wish our elected leaders were less bloody-minded and better acquainted with seers like Conrad (and [faux shudder] Kipling, and [later] Orwell), in order to bring even a smidgen of your moral compass and history into the public debate.

Hope you and yours are all well and happy. Celebrate summer.