Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 29, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Thunrfoy, June 9f, 1972 THI UTHMID6I HRMO _ 5 Arnold Toynbee Looking for a ittle gleam of light ARE LIVING through a lime of discord, yet there is one feeling that is shared by all people now alive: we are all acutely anxious about the future. And, since the advance of technology is making this fearsome future rush towards us at a constantly accelerating pace, we arc rightly impelled lo cast up our accounts at shorter and shorter intervals. President Richard Nixon's visit to Moscow was an obvious oc- casion for stock-taking. The outcome of the Moscow meeting is a big item on the credit side of mankind's bal- ance sheet if the risk o[ war be- tween the two nuclear-armed super-powers has truly been eliminated. An agreed limita- tion of armaments even a modest one is a notable feat, considering the dismal list of failures to achieve anything of the kind in the past. Can we lake heart? Well, we could, if the threat of a nuclear world war had been the only form in which war was showing its ghastly face today. But alas there are local non-nuclear wars that are not merely im- pending threats but are current realities, and these actual wars are taking, daily, an appalling toll. A "conventional" civil war is still devastating Vietnam. There is genocide in Burundi. In Northern Ireland and in Palestine, shocking and futile atrocities are being committed by 'self-appointed avengers of grievously wronged communi- ties. Is the total war account yet out of the red? Social justice? In Britain this has made notable progress within my lifetime. Yet the British Welfare State has fail- ed, so far, to salvage the poor- est of the poor, and the condi- tion of these is perhaps even more scandalous in the still more affluent United States. If I were very poor or very old I should envy my opposite num- bers in the so-called "back- ward" countries. Affluence? This, too, within my lifetime, has increased re- markably in the so-called "ad- vanced" countries. But the citi- zens of these are only a small minority of mankind. The gap between rich and poor nations is now yawning as wide as the eulf between the "two nations" within Victorian Britain. More- over, Hie affluence of the now- affluent minority is being out- stripped and eroded by greed. The price of greed is inflation and pollution, and while these two penalties hit everyone in some measure, inflation singles out the weak for the harshest penalization, because it incites the strong to abuse their power by extorting an exorbitant share of the evaporating gross national product. The strong are ruthlessly tak- ing advantage of their strength, whatever their income or class may happen to be. In spile of inflation, some people have won higher real wages, together with non-mone- tary benefils for instance, shorter working hours and longer holidays that inflation cannot stultify. Unhappily, even a real increase in the rewards of work has been accompanied, in all too many cases, by a less conscientious performance of the tasks that are being bet- ter remunerated. And greed itself, not by carrying out bet- ter paid work, but by planning and committing crime, accom- panied by violence. This increase In violent crime has not been among the ultra poor. The present main breed- ing ground of criminals is a class that has recently become better off, but is impatient to get more money more quickly by taking anti-social short-cuts. Why has the performance of work become less conscientious on the average? Partly because most work now is factory work Children's Crusade in year 1212 o NE OF the most familiar events in history, yet one of the least known, is Hie Chil- dren's Crusade, whicli took place during eight months in the year 1212. Nearly children marched through Europe in an attempt to reach Jerusalem, armed only with a pure faith whose power they believed would convert the Moslem in- fidels and liberate the Holy City. Most histories of the Cru- sades give scant mention to this amazing phenomenon, which went almost unrecorded by contemporary chroniclers. Yet so deep a mark did it leave on men's minds, so strong a hold does it still exercise over our -imaginations alter more than 800 years, that we inevitably call a movement of youth a "Children's Cru- sade." Until recently, however, no book about the real Children's Crusade remained in print. Wil- liam Morrow and Co., New York, has just republished one of the best, a history written by a 19th-century New England clergyman, George Zabriskie Gray. Impressed by the fact that no exhaustive treatment of the subject had ever been under- taken, Gray set out "to collect and narrate such details of that story as have been saved from oblivion with regret that they are so few." By Don Oakley, NEA Service The few known details are Iliesc: In the spring of 1212 B French shepherd boy known only as Stephen of Cloyes be- gan preacliing in the town of Saint-Denis. His message quick- ly spread throughout Europe, and that summer three separ- ate armies of children, each numbering about boys and girls, with adult hangers- on, began marching. One, led by Stephen, proceed- ed through France to the Medi- terranean, which the children were confident would open a path for them, even as the Red Sea had parted for Moses. A second crusade led by a boy named Nicholas left Cologne, Germany, and crossed the Alps into Italy. For some reason, the German children had divided into a third army under an unknown leader. "These boys shame said Pope Innocent III, who had been trying unsuccessfully to whip up adult enthusiasm for a Fifth Crusade. At Marseilles, two local mer- chants offered the French chil- dren free passage to the Holy Land. Perhaps embarked on seven ships. Their fate was not known for 18 years, when a priest who had accompanied them returned with word that two ships had gone down at sea; the rest of the children had been delivered into slavery in Egypt. The sea did not part for the German children, either. Some remained in Italy. The others, disillusioned, began retracing their weary steps. Along the routes of all three armies, thou- sands perished from hunger and disease and accidents, were forced into prostitution or crime, or simply dropped out to be lost to history. Gray estimates that at least a third of the children never saw their homes again. In an introduction to the re- issue of Gray's history, Thom- as Powers, author of "Diana: The Making of a draws a parallel between the Children's Crusade and youth- ful involvement in civil rights sit-ins, anti-war movements and political campaigns of the last decade. Both the old and the recent events were in the name of ideals which adults are more inclined to preach than to prac- tice, he writes. In both cases, the young set off with an un- shakeable faith in the right- ness of their cause and a con- viction that the strength of their commitment was enough to overcome all difficulties. But there is really no com- parison. The original clu'ld cru- saders were literally children; thci- average age was only about 12. The Children's Cru- sade remains a unique and in- expressibly tragic event which the world, thankfully, has wit- nessed but once. Melchers has an for beauty and a reputation for quality Melchers IKStHiMBS.lMIK' Melchers; RHOM I BUM Melchers Melchers Distilleries Limited, Montreal, Quebec .CABANA SUPERIOR and office work, and much of this is boring. The minority that still works with a will is to be found among the farm- ers, who can see and enjoy the fruits of their labors, and also non agricultural workers in dangerous and responsible trades. Miners and railwaymen may be tempted to abuse their power of holding the commun- ity to ransom, but when (hey are doing their jobs they do them well. Miners risk their own lives; railwaymen are re- sponsible for the lives of their passengers. Both danger and responsibility give zest. However, the dullness of the majority's present kind of work merely explains the decline in conscientiousness; it does not excuse it. Conscience ought to move a human being to give a fair return for his pay, even if the work for which he is paid is dull or is positively repul- sive. The claim of conscience is absolute, because conscience is the imperative voice of the ultimate spiritual reality to which every human being is accountable. "Ultimate spiritual Why this rigmarole? Why not just say "God" and then we cau also say (can't God's in Us heaven, All's right with the world. Robert Browning published those lines in 1841. The fic- titious character who speaks them is a girl in a textile fac- tory in an Italian townlel under an oppressive Austrian military occupation. The British occupa- tion of Ireland at that time was still more oppressive. Pippa, with her one day's holiday in the year, was happier at Asolo than she would have been in contemporary Lancashire. The index of misery in Britain has the rise of 'Chartism. In Afghan- istan, far away from Deny and Manchester and also alike, a British army had got itself an- nihilated in a grim, yet de- served, retribution for an un- provoked act of aggression. So, in truth, all was not right with the world in 1841. What was wrong? Not Pippa. The decisive effect of her sing- ing as she passes is credible. Pippa's unconscious power comes from her faith; for faith can and does move mountains. Faith's strength u'es in its single-mindedness; yet just be- cause this is the source of faith's potency faith can be, and often has been, both irra- tional and intolerant. Such mis- guided faith can move the mountains the wrong way, and then faith will be a destruc- tive, not a liberating, spiritual force. Can faith co-exist effectively with loving kindness and with clarity of mind? If'it can, we can look forward to further statements of our account less apprehensively. A charitable and enlightened faith will be on the watch for signs of grace with eyes that are not blinded by prejudice. "Each only as God wills can work." So Christian Pippa sings; but, as the Buddhist ma- jority of mankind interprets the same mystery, human life is governed not by the dispensa- tion of a human-like omnipotent person, but by Karma, the im- personal recording of an ever- open current account of the inevitable consequences of a human being's acts. "God's in his heaven." In Buddhist be- lief, not heaven, the Christian's ardently-desired Other World, but Nirvana, a state in which all greedy cravings have been extinguished, is the objective of the Buddha himself and of all sentient beings who succeed in following to the end the way that the Buddha has explored for them. If without blinkers we now look around us, we may per- haps perceive signs of grace where our traditional preju- dices might hinder us from de- tecting them, A Buddhist, for instance, will perhaps wait sympathetically to see what comes of the ex-Christian "Jesus children's" frolic, with- out dismissing this out of hand as a childish escape. A tradi- tional minded Christian will perhaps take note that the creed of the Nichircn Shoshu school of Buddhism as in- spired Soka Gakkai "the Society for the Creation of Spiritual Value" which is mak- ing so remarkable an impact on the life of post-war Japan. And both Japanese and Westerners may perhaps recognize that under Chairman Mao's regime the Chinese people one quar- (er of mankind have found a zest in sociality which the other three-quarters of our race might admire and might seek lo emulate. In each of these very diverse cases the account is still open and so, therefore, must be an unprejudiced observer's mind. For an observer who is impli- cated, as we all are, in the common destiny of mankind, even a gleam of light is wel- come. He will watch the light's flickerings without illusion, but not without sympathy and not without hope. JIM FISHBOURNE On spilling of beans, oil, etc. A year or so ago, there was quite a fur- ore in Washinton over the publication by several newspapers of what soon be- came known as the Pentagon Papers. More recently, another fuss occurred when a re- porter named Anderson exposed a shady political deal between the TJ.S Administra- tion and a giant corporation best known as ITT. Even in staid old Ottawa, the normal- ly sunny visage of our revered prime min- ister has been clouded from time to time by leakage of information the government would prefer to keep under wraps. The regularity with which government cats are let out of government bags by disaffected individuals, political opponents or enterprising reporters establishes one tiling, in my estimation, and that is that there must be an awful lot of cats in those bags. Does I his not strike you as a bit odd? According to theory, governments are el- ected by the people, and civil servants (even Mandarins) are employed by the people, "presumably to do the people's busi- ness, hi ways consistent with the interests and intentions of those same people. Yet those .elected, hired or appointed officials seem terrified that the people who elected, hired or appointed them might find out what they are doing. If there was one thing that was never challenged, in all of the fussing and wailing over these disclosures, or breeches of con- fidence, or breaking of security, or what- ever, it was that governments, whoever and wherever they may be, simply must conduct business in secrecy. I wonder, sometimes, if that is really true. For a long time the big auto makers, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, fought like tigers to prevent word of any minor imperfections wheels falling off, engines dropping out, etc. known to the general public. Then, with a gentle as- sist from Ralph Nader, word leaked out that now and then a slightly less than per- fect model might appear, and the sky didn't fall. Soon auto makers were calling press conferences to announce recalls, al- most bragging about them, and they be- came so frequent you somehow feel dis- criminated against if your car hadn't been called in for some adjustment or other. And sales continued lo soar. Oil spills, too, which occur regularly and frequently, were carefully concealed by the nil companies until recently. Spilled and waste oil gushed from wells, pipelines and tankers in incredible quantities, ruining land and killing birds and animals, and everybody prudently kept quiet about it. Then, a very few years ago, environment- alists, conservationists or whatever you call the nuts who object to the earth being destroeyd, started protesting. Oil spills be- came news, and we started to hear about them, including some pretty spectacular ones. At first the oil companies were pretty furtive about the whole thir.g. Not that they had much to worry about really, as they are all pretty adroit at getting govern- ments to pay for cleaning up the messes they make: they were just a bit image-con- scious. But, as in the case of car recalls, it wasn't long before the public learned to take oil spills in slride, and regard Clem as just so much more news, like forest fires in the next province, epidemics'or floods in foreign countries, and all that sort of thing, of only passing interest (like when the news is So maybe governments could take a chance and tell us the truth now and then, without damaging their prospects of re-el- ection. Unsafe cars kill off quite a few of us individually, and unrestricted pollution could wipe us all out. If we shrug off things like that, there can't be much our various governments are concealing that would bother us a great deal. I hope. On of words Theodore Bernstein Ain't no good. There are no two ways about it; ain't is out in reputable speech and writing (except in the reproduction of dialogue or'for humorous or shock value) and there are no acceptable substitutes in sight. The British find aren't not too bad in spoken language, as in- "I'm holding my liquor pretty well tonight, aren't 17" But people on this side of the ocean don't seem to fancy it, partly because it Is ungram- matical (in the full form one doesn't say, "Are I but mostly because it sounds a little coy. The way the British pronounce it out or aunt it could almost be a contraction of amn't, which at least would be grammatical. But, much as such a word is needed in the language, it shows no sign of finding favor over here. In short, it ain't, i.e., has not, got a chance. based or made impure. It is not difficult to skip from there to adultery, which is a kind of adulteration, a debasement or corrup- tion or a making impure of the marriage connection. .Mr. Borrellie had a final ques- tion: Does everyone who becomes an adult also become adulterated? The answer to that one is, "Ugh." Make worse. It is not uncommon to hear someone say, "He aggravated me to no end." But common or no, that use of the word Is frowned upon by many authorities on English. Aggravate comes from a Latin word meaning to make heavier or worst. Therefore, it should apply to 'a trouble- some situation already in existence; it de- notes making that situation worse. It is proper to say, "His continual arguing ag- gravated my nervous but those many authorities declare it improper to say, "He aggravated me." Some authorit- late, nettle, provoke, vex. Let's hold the word to its primary meaning, but there seems to be no reason for such a retreat since synonyms for the secondary meaning are ample: annoy, anger, exasperate. Irri- tate, nettle, provoke, vex. Let's hold the line and not aggravate the deterioration of the language. Word oddltica. A reader, Ralph Bonelli of Ambler, Pa., wants to know how word adult got mixed into such words as adultery and adulterated. The short answer is that it didn't. But let's dig out a slightly longer answer. Two different roots are involved. Adult comes from the same Latin word as adolescent and the word Is adolescere, meaning to grow up. Adulterate comes from the Latin adulterant, meaning to falsify, debase, cor- rupt. Something that U adulterated is de- QUESTION BEGGING. One frequent mis- use of the phrase beg the question is illus- trated by this sentence from a news dis- patch: "These events beg the question whether as American ground forces in South Vietnam become less and less power- ful, there will not be a growing necessity for wider ah- strikes at the north." To beg the question is to assume as true the very point that is under discussion; thus phrase designates a fallacy. Here is an ex- ample of begging the question: "Smoking is bad for you because it injures your health." Most often the phrase is misused as if it meant the evading of a direct answer. But the writer of the news dis- patch apparently meant no more than "raise the question." He was just trying to be a little fancy. Cases alter circumstances. Which is more grammatically correct, asks Mrs. M. Bascy of Toronto, in the circumslances or under Hie circumstances? One group of grammarians once condemned under the circumstances on the ground that circum- stances are things that arc around us and thus could not be above us. But, of course, the idea of "around" can be in a vertical direction as well as a horizontal one. Leaving that nonsense aside, authorities agree that both phrases are correct, but that they don't mean exactly the samo thing. In the circumstances refers lo ex- isting conditions and suggests a continuing state of affairs rolls have been rising for years and In the taxes have been going up, Under taxes have been going up, Under circumstances suggests a more transient situation and refers to conditions that cause or block action dog barked menacingly and antler circumstances the postman A rather fine dis- tinction, but under the circumstances the reader's question had to be answered. Memorable event By Dong Walket WHEN Father's Day came to my atten- tion I was reminded of Mother's Day. That's when George Chessor accompanied his wife Ruth to church. I don't know how I could have forgotten such a memorable event especially when I had been keeping walch for him for scv-' eral weeks. Actually, George probably doesn't mind that I didn't make a big thing of it at thi time. Enough was made of it then, as I recall.