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January 8, 2013
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Guest column: A plea for common sense

Recent articles in The News-Review are the catalyst for this piece. The views given are from an octogenarian who began life early in the Great Depression as an Iowa farm boy, followed by careers in the U.S. Navy and as a pastor/college instructor. Three items are considered.

The first item concerns using science for political purposes.

Good science is observable, measurable and repeatable. “Global warming” is currently being used, at least it seems that way, for political gain.

A recent piece by two opposing politicians touted the fact they both believed in global warming. Sound scientific evidence was never produced.

The last 600 years saw the Little Ice Age, in which Europe was devastated. Starvation abounded. Potatoes were one sustaining crop because they grew underground.

Thankfully about 170 years ago a warming cycle began. (One wonders if the two politicians want a return to that cold period). And then we have gasoline laced with 10 percent ethanol producing a 10 percent reduction in mpg; must be subsidized with tax monies; and removes corn from the food chain, increasing food prices. Good thinking!

Man is responsible for husbandry on this earth. However, when the stewardship is politicized, he has not done well. The Dust Bowl in the 1930s was politically motivated when government encouraged breaking up the prairies and planting wheat in the exposed dirt (now a lot of it in the New Orleans delta).

Trees are a renewable crop and need husbandry, but one wonders when politicians are in charge of trees. Please understand, however, our resources are to be managed, not raped. In Palestine, prior to Israel becoming a nation, political leadership decided to tax based on the number of trees found on a person’s property. You guessed it — people cut down their trees to reduce taxes.

Israel has, since becoming a nation in May 1948, encouraged tree planting. The results are amazing in climate change in that land. An interesting note: Stradivarius violins (late 17th and early 18th century) have never been duplicated. Wood from the trees growing in the Little Ice Age used by Antonio Stradivari had extremely tight growth rings, thus producing a unique sound.

A second item is politicized economics.

King Solomon wrote, “The borrower becomes a slave to the lender.” Well said. Our country currently has a 16+ (and going up) trillion dollar debt.

Unpaid debt usually becomes bankruptcy or default of some kind or more money is printed, reducing the value of that country’s currency.

In 1952, I was en route from the Mediterranean for assignment in the Pentagon. I had a remaining 500 drachma note (Greek money). I found it to be insufficient while trying to purchase a Coke at the Rome, Italy, airport. So much for “printing money.”

Frenchmen before World War II retired on 100 franc per month. In Toulon, France, in 1952, I got 300 franc for one American dollar. Those poor, retired older French people. How sad. Redistribution of wealth is nice when on the receiving end. But when a limited few control the redistribution, problems are bound to happen.

Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville, observing the “Democratic Experiment” in 1840, noted our wonderful land resources, our harbors, and our churches with “good” people, and made the comment, “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”

I remember well the fall of 1944, when my farmer father announced to the family, “Well, we made $500 this year.” At Christmas the three children each received one present; birthdays were not celebrated. We survived. How about our country?

The third item is our obsession with doomsday predictions. Dates for end of the world proclaimed by Harold Camping and the Mayan Calendar affair are recent examples.

The past 25 years have seen enough end-of-the-world predictions to last me for the rest of my lifetime. It is true, biblically speaking, that Jesus Christ announced he would return to this earth for judgment purposes. However, he also made it very clear that the timing was not known to man. Only his heavenly Father knows the “when.”

His admonition however was clear: So live your life as to be ready at any time for his return.

Jared Jenkins of Roseburg is a retired Navy officer, pastor and college instructor. He can be reached at 541-673-2023.

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The News-Review Updated Jan 8, 2013 10:34AM Published Jan 8, 2013 10:34AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.