13 results for author: Rick Lohr


Congress, Not President, Needs to Act on Immigration

Who are the “migrants” coming to our southern border? “Immigrants” is the new scare word of right-wing political extremists. “Vermin,” “rapists,” “pushers,” “invaders.” Can we think of any more dehumanizing names to call this movement of people attempting to cross our borders? Is it a serious issue? Yes, it is. Are the evil stereotypes of the masses of people coming to the border correct? No. First of all, the migrants are people who are making a desperate and dangerous journey. They are leaving everything behind in the hope of finding physical security, or a chance for a better life for themselves and their children. P...

Electronic Screens Have Created a New Version of Plato’s ‘Cave’

The Greek philosopher, Plato, wrote the Allegory of the Cave about the nature of how we perceive reality. In his instructional story, a group of people live their entire lives chained in place and facing a cave wall. Behind them, on a ledge there is a fire casting its light on the cave wall that they can see. People go about their daily activities in front of the fire so that their shadows are cast onto the wall, so the chained people can see them. Plato asks, what will the chained prisoners think of reality? Won’t they think that the shadows are the true nature of reality? Plato’s Allegory of the Cave almost perfectly describes our modern ...

Moderate/Extremist? Left/Right

Words, and their meanings, matter. Words are not vessels that can be filled with whatever meaning one wants. Kung Fu-tzu, who lived 500 years before Christ, said that before a debate begins, the participants should participate in “rectification of terms.” What he meant was that the participants in the debate should agree on the definitions of the key words to be used. After rectification of terms, many points of dispute disappear. In the US today, we need a rectification of terms, especially in politics and media news. Opposing sides use the same words in disputation, but give them very different meanings.   I have been dismayed by the use ...

Funding Public Libraries Crucial to Diverse, Free Society

I am writing this letter in support of, not only maintaining, but increasing, the 2024 budget for the Marathon County Public Library. It seems strange that the budget of such a valued community resource should be threatened. We live in a complicated age where diversity of people and ideas should be celebrated, not condemned. The public library system makes all kinds of books and ideas available to everyone. Public libraries are one of the safe places where people of all backgrounds, economic class, race, gender and ideology can gather and quietly go about their business, enjoyment and research. It is the epitome of community, where people of ...

Ayn Rand, Narcissism and Democracy

Ayn Rand (Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum) was an influential fiction writer. Her best sellers were “The Fountainhead” (1943) and “Atlas Shrugged” (1957). She was a Russian who reacted to the crushing uniformity under communism in Russia. She also saw the same dangers in the right-wing fascism of Hitler’s Nazism in Germany. The protagonists in her novels found freedom through the expression of their individualism. Determined to forge their own way, they not only rejected the conformity of totalitarian regimes, but also, the values of living in a community. If one is to live an “objective” life, one measures events and people by how they ...

Freedom in Autocracy and Democracy

In America, some of us have mistaken autocratic government as freedom. Conservative societies know that true freedom is possible only in well-regulated societies where democratically enacted laws and legal procedures outline acceptable behavior. Without laws that regulate the limits of behavior, societies are at the mercy of the powerful. In extreme dictatorships of the right, or left, autocratic “laws” dictate the lifestyle of their subjects. In autocratic systems, a demagogic leader convinces his followers that they can express their individual freedom by joining his herd of followers. If one crosses the will of the leader, there is no recourse ...

Forcing Religious Beliefs in the Classroom is not Condoned

America is changing and becoming something new. That is the purpose of teaching history. It is important to know what we have been, and, as importantly, what we have not been. With current politicians basing some of their electoral appeal on interpretations of U.S. history, it is more important than ever to teach as accurate and fact-based narrative as possible. That goes for the history of our religious past. as well. Our founding fathers realized that no group is more dangerous to the social fabric of a country than religious extremists who believe they only have the truth. The lesson they learned from European history is that ...

African Americans in the U.S. Society

America has a history problem, especially when dealing with African Americans and slavery. It starts with the myth of Africa being filled with primitive tribes. African slaves came from farming villages, that had their own societies. They were used to farm work. Captured, chained, put on crowded slave ships, they made the voyage across the Atlantic. They were put on auction blocks and sold to their future masters. Separated from their culture, language, support system, and everyone they knew and loved, they were marched to forced labor and torture camps we have euphemistically called “plantations.” There, they were forced to work for the profit of ...

Democracy Can Quell Fake Conspiracy Theories

We live in an uncertain era. Uncertainty breeds a quest for security, a sense of control and meaning in life. That makes all of us marks for people on the make looking for someone to con. The media and internet are filled with all sorts of messages that play to specific vulnerabilities of certain groups of people. There is money to be made and power to be garnered. One of the main techniques is to spawn fake conspiracy theories. How can we tell when we are being subjected to a conspiracy theory? Is it possible to tell what is a real conspiracy and what is a fake one? It takes some effort, but it can be done. It is difficult, mainly because ...

Science

What is science? Science has become a segregated branch of knowledge practiced by those who apply its methods in a systematic way. In reality, we all practice science. It is our method of learning through trial and error. We see a problem, devise a way to solve it, and try various techniques to come to a successful solution. The universe was created by bringing order to the chaos that proceeded it. That order is understandable by humans who have developed critical faculties to pose questions, propose answers and test results. People who are specialized in this technique, we have labeled as scientists, but we all really practice the craft. ...