Sunday, December 14, 2008

An autobiographical response (re Ludwik's book)

From: Susan Hussein
Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 1:40 PM

To: Lawrence Helm
Subject: Re: Am I a Right Winger? [Re Ludwik's book about Stalinism]

I don't give a hoot who you are, and saying that I do smacks of jumping to conclusions. As I happens, I'm not even particularly interested in dialectic materialism. You quite clearly have no idea of the original context of all this, what I actually wrote to Ludwik, and why. And I don't have time to go through the whole long history with you. Sorry.

In a certain sense, you are an innocent bystander.

--Susan H

Well Susan Hussein doesn’t seem to want to have a discussion with me , and I probably don’t want to have one with her. Nevertheless I’m not done analyzing certain matters; so I shall continue without her.

In her above note, she says writes, “I don’t give a hoot who you are, and saying that I do smacks of jumping to conclusions.” The following contradict her statement: 1) Susan H tried to find me on the internet, mistaking me for the fellow who wrote a book on Science and Religion. 2) She determined that I was an opinionated fellow who wanted to celebrate his own personal opinions. 3) She determined that I was a hard-line rightist. 4) She determined that I was not objective about Communism. 5) She determined that I was not a professional scholar. I offer this merely to show that I was not “jumping to conclusions” to imagine an interest in who I am.

She is here exhibiting another of the Leftist characteristics I’ve grown to find so annoying: Writing an overly brief abusive note and then when I try to make sense of it faulting me for not figuring it out quite the way she intended in her own mind. Possible she only gave “a hoot” who I was to the extent of abusing poor Ludwik. Poor fellow thought he was getting a peer review when all he got was mere opinionated Lawrence. As to that, Professor Kowalski isn’t writing in his field so could hardly be expecting a peer review. He read one of my blog articles and concluded I had some knowledge of Stalinism and asked that I review his book based on that. I do have some knowledge on that subject, more, I expect than Susan Hussein, but I shall never know.

I do tend to go overboard on study. At one time I was studying medieval history and was using a couple of Norman Cantor bibliographies to accumulate a library to study . . . everything. I was in the midst of that when 9/11 occurred. At that point I switched over to Islam, Islamism, Arabic and Persian history, etc. I recall one fellow joining a discussion group I was in. He followed his name with “PhD.” He had launched a study of the same thing I had, started his own discussion group on the subject, and wanted to recruit me as one of his followers. His degree was in something like economics and he hadn’t studied Islamic subjects as much as I had. I mentioned this to him and he responded by referring me to his degree. Also, we had several debates and he came off second best because he hadn’t studied this subject as much as I had. Was Susan Hussein doing something like that. I thought at first she might be, but as she said, she wasn’t trying to trash me. I suspect she was attempting to trash Professor Kowalaski through me.

So now that she has abandoned this discussion and can’t use my academic qualifications to launch off on another patented Leftist tangent, I will say a little about them. I was interested in Literature, History and Philosophy, but narrowed it down to Literature believing I could study History and Philosophy as subsets. I was from a working blue-collar family, always working while I was going to school; so even though I got my B.A. using the G.I. Bill (I was in the USMC during Korean War), I was in graduate school on my own. I was most interested in literary research. But two things occurred relatively close together to spoil that for me. 1) my study habits put me rather ahead of what I was encountering in school. The professor of the last seminar I attended apologized for not challenging me. 2) My favorite professor went into a rage when I told him that I didn’t consider Alexander Pope one of the top 5 poets in the English Language. Since he had been the example of what I thought I was striving to be, I decided to give that up.

The part time job I had taken while continuing my education was as a Technical Writer in the Engineering Department of Douglas Aircraft Company. I can’t explain why study is easy for me, but that held true with Engineering as well. I became a self-educated engineer. When I retired from Boeing (which had absorbed McDonnell Douglas by that time) I held the highest non-management classification in Engineering. My job at the time was to represent engineering at a C-17 board set up to evaluate all proposed design changes. Others on the board represented other departments. I made the engineers proposing changes 1) provide adequate evidence that the changes were required and 2) provide an analysis of the implications for the fleet. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that I was curmudgeonly in fulfilling those tasks. Engineers rather quickly learned that they needed to be well prepared. Should I now treat the ill-prepared sloppy notes of Leftists any less seriously? I would find it difficult to do so.

During my 39 years in aerospace I worked on many programs and in many capacities, but it was never forgotten that I was a writer who understood engineering and could make sense of technical matters. I analyzed and explained RFP’s and government regulations. I rewrote proposals written by our own engineers. I’d like to think I went about these tasks in a scholarly fashion. Was I a “professional scholar”? Susan Hussein probably meant “professional academic.” No I wasn’t that.

While Susan Hussein triggered this in me, I’m sure she would deny that she wanted to do any more than discredit me in order to discredit Ludwik, but let’s consider another scholar. Let’s take a look at Noam Chomsky. His PhD is in Linguistics. Is he “scholarly” when he writes on politics or foreign affairs. I don’t believe he is, but it isn’t because his degree doesn’t qualify him for it. His arguments aren’t based upon solid evidence, in my opinion. I marvel that so many Leftists uncritically accept what he writes, Why aren’t they more scholarly in considering his arguments? Don’t they realize that he is being illogical? Haven’t they studied Logic?

Okay, there we have it, Susan Hussein might say if she were interested in this discussion; which she isn’t. He has some skills in literary research. He understands engineering and technical matters. He has studied Communism. He has studied Medieval History and Islamic issues. Is that it?

No, no, no. I once engaged in a serious study of theology. That went on for several years. Then after an acrimonious debate with a Lutheran who called himself a Pastor/Theologian and a Baptist, an auditor of that discussion, a professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary contacted me privately and asked me what I was up to. He said he was expert at evaluating his students and I was at a point where he would advise me, if I were his student, to teach, but since I didn’t have a seminary degree and wasn’t going to be a pastor, he advised me to write.

Well, yes. Susan Hussein might think that I am following that suggestion on my blog, but not so. I only began that in August 2008 because some angry lady on a Ridgeback discussion group turned me in to the Anti-Terrorist task force for carrying a gun while walking my dogs in a coyote and feral-dog-invested river bottom. Since I retired I have written 7 novels. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending upon how you look at it, my success in Engineering resulted in such a nice retirement package that I don’t need any additional income. In other words I don’t have to sell any of my novels. Novelists who started out starving describe sending their novels out 50 or 60 times before getting them accepted. A modern novelist Vince Flynn sent his off that many times and never got accepted; so he published his first novel himself. But I don’t have that incentive. I’ve sent most of my novels off a couple and then lost interest.

But before that I wrote poetry. I’ve posted a few poems on the blog. A knowledgeable friend took it upon herself to get some of my poetry published and failed. I expected failure. Left-wing college professors definitely have the inside track in getting their Left-wing poetry published in Left-Wing poetry journals. My friend, however, is Left Wing herself and didn’t see the problem.

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