Mike Kueber's Blog

July 7, 2015

Sexism (and racism) – part 2

Filed under: Biography,Culture,Philosophy — Mike Kueber @ 5:59 pm
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Yesterday, I posted about the definition of sexism and how most people could easily stumble into so-called sexist statements.  No sooner had I blogged about that sentiment than I commented as follows on Facebook about people ridiculing a dead young man who had jumped into a lake even though he knew an alligator was in the area:

  • “Young men often do stupid, dangerous, risky stunts. No need to disparage him with a racial epithet (cracker) or hyperbolize about him being eaten.”

Upon further reflection, however, I elaborated as follows on the racism and sexism:

  • Of course, it’s OK to use racial epithets if you are one of its victims. So perhaps Ted Wood [the person who made the cracker comment] is a cracker, which makes his comment politically correct. Also, I perhaps said something sexist when I said young men often do stupid, dangerous, risky things, but that has been my life experience. Young women don’t do those things nearly as often.

Because I believe the charge of sexism and racism is too casually bandied about, and because I believe people are too easily offended, I accept the mission of pointing out how unreasonable these standards are when applied to situations that are not politically correct.

p.s., on reflecting on this issue, I believe I acted badly in shunning the Dixie Chicks after their lead singer Natalie Maines said those mean things about George W.

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May 16, 2015

Jeb Bush and Ivy Ziedrich

Filed under: Biography,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 12:22 am
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Jeb Bush is not my favorite Floridian running for the Republican nomination (Marco Rubio is), so his troubles this week are not totally unpleasant to me. But many in the media have taken a cheap shot at him for his dust-up a few days ago with erstwhile high school debater, current Nevada college student Ivy Ziedrich.  Liberals are characterizing her as a hero, akin to birth-control’s Sandra Fluke.

So what brilliant thing did Ziedrich do?  She confronted Jeb Bush after a town-hall forum, and according to a transcript in USA Today, she ask him if he would take a question from a college student about ISIS.  When Bush generously accepted, he harangued him with the following:

  • Ziedrich: The threat of ISIS was created by the Iraqi Coalition Authority which ousted the entire government of Iraq. It was when 30,000 individuals who were part of the Iraqi military, they were forced out, they had no employment, they had no income. Yet they were left with access to all of the same arms and weapons. Your brother created ISIS.

After the soliloquy, Bush asked the obvious – “Is that a question?”

To which Ziedrich proffered an ad hominem non sequitur – “You don’t need to be pedantic to me, sir.”

Pedantic?  Pedantic means someone who is showing off their knowledge.  If anyone was being pedantic, it was Ziedrich showing off by using a term even without knowing its meaning, which Bush pointed out – “Pedantic? Wow.”

Amazingly, Ziedrich asserted – “You could just answer my question.”

Bush’s obvious response – “So what is the question?”

This finally elicited a semblance of a question from Ziedrich – “My question is why are you saying that ISIS was created by us not having a presence in the Middle East when it’s pointless wars, when we sent young men to die for the idea of American exceptionalism? It’s this idea – like, why are you spouting nationalistic rhetoric to get us involved in more wars?”

Jeb Bush ended the confrontation by giving Ziedrich a thoughtful answer to her incoherent ramblings – “We respectfully disagree… Al Qaeda had been taken out, there was a fraudulent system that could have been brought up to create, to eliminate the sectarian violence and we had an agreement that the president could have signed, it would have kept 10,000 troops, which is less than what we have in Korea. It could have created the stability that would have allow for Iraq to progress. The net result was, the opposite occurred because immediately that void was filled. And so, look, you can rewrite history all you want but the simple fact is that we’re in a much more unstable place because America pulled back.

Jeb Bush handled Ziedrich wonderfully. It’s sad that 15 minutes of fame, instead of infamy, go to a college student for being impudent.

May 15, 2015

My kidney

Filed under: Biography,Medical,Philosophy — Mike Kueber @ 5:50 pm
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A couple of weeks ago, NY Times columnist David Brooks proposed that his readers write their personal eulogy and submit it to him for a project he is working. He thinks that the process of writing a eulogy may cause participants to recognize what is meaningful to their lives and to shift away from things that are unimportant.  It might also prompt participants to get after things they have been putting off.

As I started writing my eulogy, I was immediately prompted by something I had been putting off for months – namely, donating a kidney.

I’ve heard of thousands of people dying each year or living a debilitating life because they couldn’t receive a kidney transplant.  Then last year, I read an article in the Express-News about a donor who started a chain of transplants by agreeing to give her kidney to a stranger, who in-turn had a relative who would donate a kidney to another stranger.  The first donor, called the altruistic donor, triggered a chain of 17 relative-friend donations.

That sounded amazing.  Why shouldn’t I become an altruistic donor by donating my kidney, especially since medical advances made the donation relatively safe and pain free?

I’ve casually mentioned this possibility to friends and family, and my M.D. son later informed me that he did some research that indicated my life expectancy would not be shortened because of the donation.

That was comforting, but due to my dawdling retirement lifestyle, I didn’t make a lot of progress toward getting this done, other than a few phone calls, until I started working on my eulogy.  My eulogy made me realize that a kidney transplant would be one of those meaningful things that I wanted to include in my eulogy.

So I went back to work on this project and made contact with a local hospital in town that specializes in transplants.  The process is underway.

In an amazing coincidence, two days after getting in contact with the hospital, I started reading a new book called The Most Good You Can Do by Peter Singer.  In the book, which describes becoming an effective altruist, donating a kidney is listed as the gold standard of altruists.

My patron saint, Ayn Rand, is probably turning over in her grave.

http://theroadtocharacter.com/#section-share-the-roadx

November 16, 2014

Bush-43 on Bush-41

Filed under: Biography,People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 9:04 pm
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George W. Bush has been making the rounds in the media this week to promote his new book, 41: A Portrait of My Father. “41” of course is a reference to his father, George H.W. Bush, being the 41st president of the United States. W. is known as Bush-43.

As part of the media promotion, Parade magazine this week published an excerpt from the first chapter of the book, dealing with Bush-41 parachuting on his 90th birthday.

But in addition to the excerpt, Parade published a brief interview of Bush-43 that, although directed at Bush-41, says a lot about Bush-43.

Two of the Q&As were as follows:

  • Your book proves that your father is different from the stiff, blue-blooded image that many have of him.
    • He is a blue blood in the sense that he was raised up in the East. But what people don’t realize is that his parents were from the Midwest, so there was inculcated in him some midwestern values. This is a man who worked incredibly hard in anything he did. In this case, he was selling oilfield supplies. As I put in the book, there were no trust funds; there were no guarantees. [I love how Bush-43 accepts the premise that Northeastern bluebloods are a unique breed, but then ameliorates that trait in his father due to some Midwestern roots.]
  • Your father has been a tremendous risk taker. Where do you think that came from?
    • I think it came from the early experiences. This is a man who at age 17 decides to join the navy and not go to college, against the advice of his father and [Secretary of War] Henry Stimson, for example. He wanted to serve. Then he gets shot down—and by the way, flying off of carriers was very risky—and survives. To me, the rest of the risks that he took in his life were minor compared to that. [I love how Bush-43 placed in proper context the difference between business and political risks as compared to life-or-death risks.]

March 9, 2014

Sunday Book Review #124 – Writing from Left to Right by Michael Novak

Filed under: Biography,Culture,Philosophy,Politics,Relationships,Religion — Mike Kueber @ 2:19 pm
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Michael Novak reminds me of Forrest Gump – i.e., his obscure life, starting in a dying steel-mill town of Johnsville, PA, seems to have fortuitously involved him in many of the most interesting events of the past few decades.  He also reminds me of my best friend Mike Callen because he studied to become a priest before deciding he preferred to remain in the lay world as a lifelong philosophical theologian or a theological philosopher.  Although I had never heard of Novak before stumbling across this book, Callen told me that Novak cast a big shadow in the Jesuit/theological world back when Callen was studying at Fordham to be a priest.

After leaving his priestly studies, Novak studied philosophy and theology at Harvard and came under the influence of two great men – French philosopher Gabriel Marcel and Protestant theological ethicist Reinhold Niebuhr:

  • Gabriel Marcel – “Marcel brought new light to daily experiences, such as recognizing the ‘presence’ of other persons and ‘encounter’ with another person – in other words, not just a passing, inattentive moment with another human being, but something more.  He drew attention to the difference between sitting between two people on the subway for an hour – treating them without recognition or interest or attention – and the act of having a memorable exchange of personal qualities.”

That reminds me of my dad, who “never met a stranger.”  The first night that Novak met Marcel, the philosopher generously spent much of the evening talking to Novak and even read to him extensively from a favorite play, The Funeral Pyre.  At the end of the evening, Marcel said to Novak – “Tonight, I think we had an encounter.  I think so.  Don’t you?”

  • Reinhold Niebuhr – In 1937 he coined The Serenity Prayer.  (Original version by Niebuhr – “Father, give us courage to change what must be altered, serenity to accept what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other.”  It was later revised to read by an unknown person to read – “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can change, And wisdom to know the difference.”)

Novak was most impressed by Niebuhr’s moral axioms:

  1. Expect that every man sometimes sins.
  2. Expect that every man has the capacity to act virtuously (and that the power of God might prompt man to rise to the occasion.
  3. Expect the laws of irony to operate – i.e., one’s stated motives are not always one’s unexamined, baser aims and there are almost always unintended consequences.
  4. Expect to feel the bite of tragedy – i.e., tragedy flows from overlooked human weaknesses that turn high hopes upside down.
  5. Know that decision-makers for social and political bodies must take into account factors that individuals do not.
  6. Know that in social and political actions by decision-makers, the difference between public duties and personal inclination is often keenly felt by the decision-maker.
  7. Know that our actions in history seldom work out as we hope, but even so we are responsible for protecting our actions from unanticipated ill effects as best we can.

There is an old saying that an old liberal has no brain, while a young conservative has no heart.  Well, Novak fits that mold perfectly, as his book is subtitled, “My journey from liberal to conservative.”  As a brilliant young man, he was drawn to the left and Humphrey, McCarthy, the Kennedys, and McGovern, with a special place in his heart for Sergeant Shriver.

But as he got older, he realized that liberal policies didn’t work – “Where has socialism ever worked?”  The war of poverty, welfare, and socialism corrupted people while capitalism caused them to flourish.  Similarly, military weakness brought out the worst in other countries.  Although Novak remained a Democrat, he worked for Reagan and became a big fan of the Bushes.

Like his hero Niebuhr, Novak attempted to balance idealism and realism, as reflected in his statement – “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.”  President Obama also is impressed with Niebuhr, calling him his favorite philosopher and theologian.

Fascinating guy, with a rare combination of intellectualism and down-to-earthness.  And his description of Marcel’s “encounters” is something that I plan to apply to the rest of my life.

Incidentally, Novak loved President Kennedy, but his recollection of Kennedy’s time seems inaccurate:

  • Both us had rejoiced in the subsequent celebrations of ‘Camelot’; ironic and silly as the idea was, it was contagious.  Now we felt only the senselessness of the television set in front of us, one scene being played over and over again, as the open convertible pulled slowly around the circle in Dealy Plaza in Dallas.  The head of the president snapping forward, his collapse, and Jacqueline Kennedy bending over him.  This squalid killing.”

The pre-assassination reference to Camelot is false because the use of term to describe the Kennedy administration originated with Jackie Kennedy talking to Theodore White after the assassination.  And regarding the film showing Kennedy being shot – the Zapruder film – Life magazine outbid CBC for the film and it was released a few days later in the magazine, not on TV.

March 1, 2014

Sunday Book Review #123 – Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell

Filed under: Biography,Military — Mike Kueber @ 2:08 pm
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Lone Survivor, the movie, came out several months ago to mixed reviews (Rotten Tomato critics at 75%, but the audience at 90% approval).  But several of my friends who watched it claimed that it was one of the most gut-wrenching, emotionally-exhausting movies they had ever seen.  Although one friend recommended seeing the movie first, I decided to read the book first because I still don’t have a girlfriend to take to a movie.

Much like the book Fearless, Lone Survivor includes a vivid description of the grueling process to become a Navy Seal.    And both books have similar protagonists – Adam Brown in Fearless is a country boy from Arkansas, while Marcus Luttrell in Lone Survivor is a country boy from east Texas.  These guys and their friends/family/communities are red-state to the core, and Marcus repeatedly reveals his dislike of liberals and the media.

But Marcus’s feelings go beyond the typical red-state dislike.  According to Marcus, liberals and the media are responsible for the Rules of Engagement that resulted in the death of his three comrades in arms.

Specifically, the Rules of Engagement prohibited SEALs from killing unarmed civilians, so Marcus and his three comrades were faced with the dilemma of either (a) killing some unarmed civilians in the mountains of Afghanistan and be prosecuted for murder, or (b) letting the civilians go and have them reveal the SEAL location to Taliban fighters in the area, which would likely result in the death of the SEALs.  Marcus cast the deciding vote (to his everlasting regret and against his better judgment) to let the civilians go, and that decision resulted in his three comrades being killed and in him being the lone survivor (ironically, through the help of some other Afghan civilians).

Although it is not typical for military teams to decide things by democratic vote, the SEALs are different because most SEALs are college grads and the distinction between officer and soldier/sailor is not stark.  The vote on whether to kill the civilians had one SEAL in favor of killing them, one deferring to the others, and the third (the officer technically in charge) deferring to Marcus.  Thus, Marcus essentially made the call, and the call resulted in everyone being killed except for Marcus.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Excellent book.  Time well spent.  Can’t wait to see the movie.

p.s., while promoting the movie’s release, Marcus challenged media-guy Jake Tapper for characterizing the battle as “hopeless” and the loss of life as “senseless.”  I first saw the interview before reading the book, and thought Marcus was prickly and irritable.  After reading the book, I watched the interview again, and agreed 100% with Marcus’s reaction.

February 17, 2014

Sunday Book Review #124 – Unintimidated by Scott Walker

Filed under: Biography,People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 3:18 pm
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Scott Walker is the governor of Wisconsin who became famous for presiding over the state when it took away collective bargaining from public-employee unions in 2011.  Unintimidated recounts that story from the genesis of the policy in Walker’s mind through the legislature’s adoption of it and finally to its ultimate survival despite several recall efforts.

According to Walker, this policy change ultimately prevailed, not because Wisconsinites disliked unions, but because the change enabled cash-strapped local government to effect billions of dollars of savings without any substantive reductions in services.  The book is replete with examples of wasteful spending and inefficiencies mandated by union contracts.

Although I followed the Wisconsin story as it occurred, it is easy to miss the forest for the trees, and a book like this is an excellent way to put things in a better perspective.

Of course, the book has a secondary purpose of depicting Walker as presidential timber, and in that sense, the book failed with me.  Although Walker appears competent, he comes across as simple-minded and lacking in charisma.  And his gratuitous criticism of the Romney campaign is irritating.

Scott Walker, you are no Mitt Romney.

January 22, 2014

Wendy Davis’s story is complicated by stubborn facts

Filed under: Biography,People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 12:40 pm
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Several months ago, Express-News reporter Peggy Fikac warned that a harsh spotlight awaited Wendy Davis, who had been trying to present her life as an “up from her bootstraps” story.  According to Fikac, the story of Davis’s life was “complicated…. a more nuanced story when you learn that she didn’t make the whole journey alone.”  The man behind her success was lawyer, former Ft. Worth councilman Jeff Davis.  Coincidentally, Davis, who was a single mother in a trailer park for only a few months, was matched with Jeff Davis by Davis’s father, another man who played a significant role in her life, but doesn’t fit with the single-mother storyline that she is trying to sell.

This past Sunday, the Dallas Morning News published an article by Wayne Slater that further put the lie to Wendy’s propaganda.  The article was headlined – “As Wendy Davis touts life story in race for governor, key facts blurred.”  The article, as presaged by Fikac, revealed that Davis’s advancement was not as a single mother, but rather as the wife of a successful Fort Worth lawyer, Jeff Davis, who put her through college and law school and was primarily responsible for raising both her child and their child.  Just as significantly, when they moved for divorce in 2003, he alleged her adultery and was awarded custody not only of their kid but also of hers.  The article noted the following:

  • A former colleague and political supporter who worked closely with Davis when she was on the council said the body’s work was very time-consuming.  “Wendy is tremendously ambitious,” he said, speaking only on condition of anonymity in order to give what he called an honest assessment. “She’s not going to let family or raising children or anything else get in her way.”

Following publication of the article, Davis attempted to clarify her rags-to-riches story, while admitting that some of her facts were in error.  The facts are a stubborn thing.

June 23, 2013

Paul Lee – reflections from another perspective

Filed under: Biography,Culture,History,Philosophy — Mike Kueber @ 4:04 am
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Paul Lee was an old friend from Aneta who died on April 13, 2013 at the age of 64.  While I was visiting Aneta last week for the city’s annual turkey bar-b-que, I came across a letter-to-the-editor in the Aneta Star reflecting on Paul’s life.  The letter was written by Paul’s younger cousin, Greg Lee, who grew up with Paul in Aneta before moving away while Paul stayed at home.

Greg’s letter seemed to have two themes – (1) Paul was an incredibly talented young athlete, and (2) because Paul clung to his youthful athletic stardom, he failed to realize his potential.  The letter concluded with a lengthy quote from Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 song, Glory Days.  The song’s lyrics describe a high school baseball star who wasted everyone’s time by incessantly telling boring stories of his glory days and who never amounted to anything.

According to Wikipedia, Springsteen wrote the lyrics to Glory Days based on a real-life encounter with a former high school friend.  Springsteen was not an accomplished athlete in high school (see the video on You Tube; he throws a baseball like a girl in the 60s) and he admits to hating high school, so the song seems an obvious attempt to mock the athletes who were popular and successful in high school.  Springsteen would do well to remember that Envy is one of the seven deadly sins.

As Greg’s letter indicated, Paul loved to talk about his glory days, and all of Paul’s friends will agree on that point.  But, although Springsteen was clearly mocking high school athletes, I’m sure Greg did not intend to be critical of Paul.  Rather, that part of the letter was probably intended to be a cautionary tale.

But if the letter contained cautionary words of wisdom for small-town kids, you might wonder if Paul would have agreed.  Fortunately, I know the answer.  A few years ago, while perched on a barstool in Aneta’s Whitetail Bar, I enjoyed a long conversation with Paul about glory days before I broached the subject of Springsteen’s song Glory Days.

Paul thought Springsteen’s song had it all wrong.  Most people, according to Paul, have a brief opportunity to do something really dramatic and memorable, and that opportunity is most likely to occur with high school sports.  That is when everyone’s attention is focused and everyone wants the same thing.  Paul mocked the frustrated high school athletes who later attempt to find glory by competitively running a 10k or endlessly practicing golf.  As he said, who cares then?

But everyone cares about athletic success in high school.  It is a defining moment that lasts forever.  I just watched a movie about high school football in Texas – Friday Night Lights – and the most inspirational point of the movie occurs near the end when the coach gives a stirring halftime speech – “I want you to put each other in your hearts forever because forever is about to happen here in just a few minutes.”  Paul understood and appreciated the way Texans feel about high school football (Odessa Permian HS) and college football (UT Longhorns).

First Lady Barbara Bush once noted at a college commencement address that material success in life is relatively unimportant.  As evidence of that, she said you’ll never hear of individuals on their death bed lamenting that they failed to achieve one more promotion up the corporate ladder.  That would be chasing fool’s gold.  But you can’t say the same thing about making or missing an important free throw in a District Championship game.  That result will stick with you forever.

On a different level, Springsteen’s criticism of nostalgic reminiscences seems petty.  I am reminded of the sage advice given by cowboy philosopher Gus McCrae to Lorena Wood in Lonesome Dove:

  • “Lorie darlin’, life in San Francisco, you see, is still just life. If you want any one thing too badly, it’s likely to turn out to be a disappointment. The only healthy way to live life is to learn to like all the little everyday things, like a sip of good whiskey in the evening, a soft bed, a glass of buttermilk, or a feisty gentleman like myself.”

Nostalgic reminiscing provides a simple, accessible joy to people who are not preoccupied with future objectives.  Intense, never-ending ambition is fine for some people, but it is not for everyone.  The crux of the matter is whether reminiscing prevents an individual from achieving things in life.  People who believe that are guilty, I believe, of the logical fallacy that correlation implies causation (cum hoc ergo propter hoc, which is Latin for “with this, therefore because of this.”)  I think it is more accurate to conclude that individuals who aren’t predisposed to forward thinking are more likely to enjoy looking back.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

The solution is simple – Glory Days are worth remembering, but shouldn’t be shared with those who aren’t interested in them.

Returning to Greg Lee’s letter, he said that Paul had big ideas and plans that went beyond Aneta and North Dakota, and that, although Paul failed to leave Aneta, Greg was inspired by Paul’s dreams and left Aneta.  This comment reminds me of some additional wisdom by Gus McCrae, who scolded Woodrow Call for disparaging a woman who didn’t get out of Lonesome Dove and instead died there:

  • It ain’t dying I’m talking about, it’s living. I doubt it matters where you die, but it matters where you live.”

Gus’s point was that an individual can lead a satisfying life, regardless of where.  I believe Paul’s life in Aneta, not in San Francisco or New York, was satisfying.  He managed the family farm and started three successful businesses, even though he never made it to Yankee Stadium.  He once told me that if my brother Kelly, Jim Kleven, and he could attend a game in Yankee Stadium, they might as well die and go directly to heaven because they would have nothing more to look forward to in this life.  That sounds like a man with sound priorities and one who is comfortable in his own skin.  He lived his dream, not someone else’s.

Coincidentally, Time magazine had an article this week on the exploding interest in cremation, with almost 50% of the deceased people in America currently being cremated.  One of the explanations proffered by the article is that, because of the baby boomers’ geographical mobility, they don’t have a single hometown to be buried in.  Rather, they are born in one place, educated in another, work in several, and finally retire to die somewhere else.  That is not true of Paul.  He was a son of Aneta, and the people of Aneta will favorably remember him for many ears.

RIP, Paul.

p.s., although Paul didn’t agree with the Glory Days lyrics, he was a Springsteen fan.  My brother Kelly informed me that Paul’s three favorite songs were Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark (1984) along with the Doors’ Light My Fire (1967) and Jefferson Airplane’s Somebody to Love (1967).

I had a friend was a big baseball player back in high school

He could throw that speedball by you

Make you look like a fool boy

Saw him the other night at this roadside bar

I was walking in, he was walking out

We went back inside sat down had a few drinks

but all he kept talking about was

Chorus:

Glory days well they’ll pass you by

Glory days in the wink of a young girl’s eye

Glory days, glory days

Now I think I’m going down to the well tonight

and I’m going to drink till I get my fill

And I hope when I get old I don’t sit around thinking about it

but I probably will

Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture

a little of the glory of, well time slips away

and leaves you with nothing mister but

boring stories of glory days

February 6, 2013

Sunday Book Review #97 – The Patriarch

Filed under: Biography,Book reviews — Mike Kueber @ 12:54 pm
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Seven hundred and eighty-seven formidable pages on an über-impressive man.  Before reading The Patriarch by David Nasaw, my impression of Joseph P. Kennedy was that he was an egocentric, eccentric misanthrope who attempted to redeem his evil existence by pushing his kids into politics.  Since reading The Patriarch, my impression is that Kennedy, as much as any man, lived his life according to the principles and priorities that I admire.         

Although Kennedy was born into an Irish Catholic family in Boston that was able to give him some modest advantages, including an education at Boston Latin and Harvard, his early financial success in banking and the nascent motion-picture industry can be characterized as self-made.  And although much of that success was due to insider trading and stock manipulation, that sort of behavior was commonplace and not illegal until the establishment of the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1934, with Kennedy as its first chairman.

Kennedy had a gift for making money, but he saw money as only a means to an end.  As soon as he had enough money to provide financial security to his kids and grandkids via trusts, he turned to public service, first as SEC chairman and then as the ambassador to Great Britain prior to and during WWII.  Because of his isolationist beliefs, he was eventually squeezed out of the political mainstream.

The title of the book, The Patriarch, comes from the fact that Kennedy put so much emphasis on the development of his nine kids – four boys and five girls.  But my impression was that he was more focused on helping the kids to do “good” as opposed to doing “well.”  Yes, the grunt work of raising the kids was often done by non-family members, but both he and his wife Rose were heavily involved in each kid’s personal development.  Even when his financial and public-service activities were in full bloom, Kennedy gave his highest priority to his kids.   

In addition to his devotion to his family, his belief in public service, and his proclivity for using money instead of loving it, I was most impressed with Kennedy’s firm commitment to Catholicism.  Both Joe and Rose believed so strongly in the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church that the biggest threat to family unity occurred when one of their daughters fell in love with and married an Anglican nobleman. 

Author Nasaw has won all sorts of awards for The Patriarch, with his research described as Caro-esque.  I think he did a wonderful job of describing the good and the bad of this man, and from my perspective, the good is immense and the bad is minimal. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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