The news media is so quick to pick up tragic stories of imperiled children that it seems like there are more terrible events today than ever before - when in fact it's quite the opposite. It is, in all manners possible to calculate, the safest time in the history of civilization to be a kid.
This is, in theory, still a free country, but our politically correct, censorious times are such that many of us tremble to give vent to perfectly acceptable views for fear of condemnation. Freedom of speech is thereby imperiled, big questions go undebated, and great lies become accepted, unequivocally as great truths.
Bad facts make bad law, and people who write bad laws are in my opinion more dangerous than songwriters who celebrate sexuality. Freedom of speech, freedom of religious thought, and the right to due process for composers, performers and retailers are imperiled if the PMRC and the major labels consummate this nasty bargain.
I have long admired the visceral storytelling and moral complexity of John Vaillant's brilliant non-fiction about humankind's tragically ambivalent relationship with the natural world. Now he brings his abundant literary gifts to a debut novel set in a very real borderland in which human beings are themselves treated like animals. The Jaguar's Children is a beautifully rendered lament for an imperiled culture and the brave lives that would preserve it. You should read it.
John Burnham Schwartz
Fear comes from uncertainty; we can eliminate the fear within us when we know ourselves better. As the great Sun Tzu said: "When you know yourself and your opponent, you will win every time. When you know yourself but not your opponent, you will win one and lose one. However, when you do not know yourself or your opponent, you will be imperiled every time.
Some suffering is given in order to chastise and correct a person for wrongful patterns of life (as in the case of Jonah imperiled by the storm), some suffering is given not to correct past wrongs but to prevent future ones (as in the case of Joseph sold into slavery), and some suffering has no purpose other than to lead a person to love God more ardently for himself alone and so discover the ultimate peace and freedom.
Like some homeopathic cure, our very sense of imprisonment can be a step toward liberation. We need not rebel against our temporally determined roles. Merely to recognize them is to limit their power over us. The liberation implied by such awareness is threefold. To understand one's own temporal determinism is to establish, above and beyond what one says and does, an analytic posture toward the present as history; it is to achieve, amid the earnest vanities of contemporary society, an easing humility; it is to mark off, as territory precious and imperiled, the moments and pursuits that are left to our choice.
The New START accord cuts the strategic nuclear arsenals on each side to 1, 550 warheads. Can any of its critics make a case that our security would be imperiled if, the very next day, Obama and Medvedev made moves to take the levels down to 1, 000-then to 500? If so, come show us the math. If not, it may be time to stop making arms control so politically complicated-time to stop letting arms control get in the way of disarmament.
There is nothing puzzling ... about America's gratuitously aggressive foreign policy or about the oligarchs' successful efforts to drag the Republic into five wars. What an aggressive foreign policy accomplishes by slow degrees, a state of war accomplishes in a trice. Overnight [war] kills reform, overnight it transforms insurgents into traitors and the Republic into an imperiled realm. Overnight it strangles free politics, distracts and overawes the citizenry. Overnight it blasts public hope.
He had chosen to spend his days in the world of men. Life was what mattered, its slow, priceless pulse, its burning fragility; his debt lay with those importunate Flanders echoes that had never really left him. The private could aspire to be a general because both general and private, at their best, recognized the dire importance of strategy, fortitude, the value of their imperiled existence; but when the machinist became the executive he left the world of tangibles and human conjugacy and entered a shadow world of credits and consols - a world that seemed to reward nothing so much as irresponsibility and boundless greed. And when the thunder rolled down upon them - as he knew it would - how would he feel, playing with paper, striving to outwit his fellows, drinking imported Scotch evenings and listening to the brittle parade of comedians on radio... ?
You will not find Jesus in heaven, reclining on a cloud. He isn't in church on Sunday morning, sitting in the pews. He isn't locked away in the Vatican or held hostage by a denominational seminary. Rather, Jesus is sitting in the Emergency Room, an uninsured, undocumented immigrant needing healing. He is behind bars, so far from his parole date he can't think that far into the future. He is homeless, evicted from his apartment, waiting in line at the shelter for a bed and a cup of soup. He is the poor child living in government housing with lice in his hair, the stripes of abuse on his body and a growl in his stomach. He is an old forgotten woman in a roach infested apartment who no one thinks of anymore. He is a refugee in Sudan, living in squalor. He is the abused and molested child who falsely feels responsible for the evil that is perpetrated against her. He is the young woman who hates herself for the decisions she has made, decisions that have imperiled her life, but did the best she could, torn between impossible choices. Jesus is anyone without power, ability or the means to help themselves, and he beckons us to come to him; not on a do-gooding crusade, but in solidarity and embrace.