Alexei Navalny (on NOT GIVING UP)

[2-minute read]

Alexei Navalny died in February. I’m sure somebody knows why and how, but the great WE doesn’t. It is not impossible that nothing acutely nefarious happened in his Russian prison four months back. Maybe his body had just had enough after the earlier poisoning and years spent on the run or in jail. But there is no doubt that, aged 47, he had sacrificed not only his freedom but his life to oppose injustice and to offer hope to the despairing. His death should be remembered. I learned more about him after he left us, and his words and example still work on me.

This is dramatically capsulized in his “final words” to Russian compatriots in the event of his death; they close the Oscar-winning 2022 documentary film Navalny, which chronicles what the dissident lawyer had come to understand following his nearly miraculous recovery from an obviously sinister poisoning in 2020. He is about to return to near-certain imprisonment or even death in his mother country. His interviewer asks him what, in the event of his demise, he would want to say to his fellow Russians. His answer is powerfully simple.

“NOT GIVE UP.” He speaks quietly to the camera, but something in his eyes had me writing it in capital letters. That is his message.

Of course, the film-maker wants more, and Alexei Navalny provides it. He includes a well-known saying, often unattributed or wrongly so¹, but it feels true coming from him. In so doing, he leaves for his countrymen, and for anyone and all peoples facing apparently overwhelming oppression – and hey, even for a Canadian Bahá’í-guy basketball coach with a comfy life and a scribbling itch – these quietly defiant words:

“I have something very obvious to tell you. You’re not allowed to give up. If they decide to kill me, it means that we are incredibly strong. We need to utilize this power, to not give up, to remember we are a huge power that is being oppressed by these bad dudes.

“We don’t realize how strong we actually are.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. SO DON’T DO NOTHING.”

Don’t do nothing, noble reader. And try to do it in ALL-CAPS.

¹ When attributed, it most often goes to the Irish intellectual Edmund Burke, who said something in the same vein but not in these words. Reuters Fact Check has philosopher John Stuart Mill writing a speech saying, “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” (Wasn’t that an enjoyable detour?)

Hazrat Inayat Khan (on suffering)

[1-minute read]

Not long before a Chinese city that most of us had never heard of became Ground Zero for a novel coronavirus – you may have heard of it, and its Greek-lettered children – a small group of Ottawa women decided to raise the level of conversation in their beloved Baha’i community, and beyond it. H.H. and L.O. and some friends began a series of talks they called “Big Ideas: The Baha’i Faith and the Issues of Our Time”, starting with a discussion on climate change and inspired ways to cast light (and a little hope) upon this global crisis.

Now there have been 29 of these presentations, on subjects ranging from education to agriculture, from global governance to personal creativity, from racial justice to marital harmony. I love ‘em. (To be transparent: my bride gave the first one, and several friends have contributed their own. I am proudly and profoundly biased in favour of this project.) A recent BI talk by the intriguingly named Justice St. Rain focussed on human suffering – how we should think about it, and how to respond to it.

Its title – shared with one of his books, which was subtitled “A Spiritual Guide to Growing Through Tests” – was simply Why Me? I wrote a brief summary of the thing; here I will say only that Mr. St. Rain urges us to believe in the basic benevolence of a parent-like Creator, and to seek understanding of the difficulties that life inevitably presents to us. (Simple! But not so easy. Not for me.)

Virtuoso and music scholar, too: The Mysticism of Sound and Music is among his books. (photo from

Almost as a coda to an hour-long seminar, St. Rain introduced me (and perhaps most of his audience) to a Sufi musician and philosopher, the India-born Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1927), and cited the counsel below. It’s gorgeous: simple, persuasive and poetic. I thought you’d want to know.¹





“I asked for strength and God gave me difficulties to make me strong.

“I asked for wisdom and God gave me problems to learn to solve.

“I asked for prosperity and God gave me a brain and brawn to work.

“I asked for courage and God gave me dangers to overcome.

“I asked for love and God gave me people to help.

“I asked for favours and God gave me opportunities.

“I received nothing I wanted.

“I received everything I needed.”


¹ Wonderful, even in spite of my distaste for its wide popularity and commercialization and careless quotation. When I first looked up this quote, I think I remember finding a source for this. I think it might have been Khan’s Pearls From the Ocean Unseen. Sadly, in typical Quotable Quotes on the InterWebs form, my search for its origins today went everywhere and nowhere. It was quoted on Christian wisdom sites (boy, are THEY going to be surprised to find a Muslim in their heads!), personal coaches’ and bloggers’ pages, all without sourcing and sometimes quoting an “author unknown”. The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist is the closest I could find to a source; she uses the poem but apparently doesn’t attribute it to a specific book of Khan’s, of which there were many.

The Universal House of Justice (on crisis and resilience)

The seat of its deliberations: the Universal House of Justice, evening on Mount Carmel.

[2-minute read]

This is a “They Said” entry. They speak with one voice. None asserts individual privilege or claims personal credit. When they write, as with the samples below, one of them signs “The Universal House of Justice” for the group. This is no cultivated mysteriousness, no marketing shtick; it is just that their function as a body is all that matters, and their avoidance of egotism and arrogance is as complete as can be imagined…

The House of Justice, an elected council which directs the affairs of the Baha’i Faith, is an astonishing institution, though it remains unknown to most people. (I wrote about it on this site before, a long-ish read right about here.) Elected without fanfare or campaigning every five years by the global Baha’i community, it is beloved. It guides and inspires the Baha’is, and an increasingly large number of its allies and friends who admire the Universal House of Justice’s approach to the task of building global peace, unity and progress. I will not go on and on. Let me say only this: against the backdrop of the “furious storms lashing humanity” in November of 2020, what follows is part of this institution’s advice and counsel during the various ongoing crises of that time (and this). [I have italicized passages that ring the loudest in my mind.]

Your resilience and your unwavering commitment to the well-being of those around you, persistent through all difficulties, have filled us with tremendous hope. But it is no wonder that, in some other quarters, hope has become a depleted resource. There is a mounting realization on the part of the world’s people that the decades ahead are set to bring with them challenges among the most daunting that the human family has ever had to face. The current global health crisis is but one such challenge, the ultimate severity of whose cost, both to lives and livelihoods, is yet unknown; your efforts to succour and support one another as well as your sisters and brothers in society at large will certainly need to be sustained…

As usual, the House praises our community’s efforts in helping to build a new civilization — for that *IS* the call of Baha’u’llah, the Author of the Baha’i teachings and practices — and urges us to stay the patient yet urgent course that it prescribes. There are no rash promises or threats, yet the language of their diagnoses and prescriptions is uncompromising.

The following spring (April, 2021), the Universal House of Justice sent its annual “Ridvan Message”, a much-anticipated highlight of the community’s greatest festival, the 12 days of Ridvan (Arabic for “paradise”). We read it eagerly, and shared it with friends. The following extract is a small part of its assessment of the world’s condition, along with a brief reminder of Baha’u’llah’s central remedy: the overarching need for planetary unity.

[H]umanity, chastened by the exposure of its vulnerability, seems more conscious of the need for collaboration to address global challenges. Yet, lingering habits of contest, self-interest, prejudice and closed-mindedness continue to hinder the movement towards unity, despite growing numbers in society who are showing in words and deeds how they, too, yearn for greater acceptance of humanity’s inherent oneness. We pray that the family of nations may succeed in putting aside its differences in the interests of the common good.

I love to share and explore quotations that seize and galvanize me. It is amazing that I cite the Universal House of Justice here for the first time, for nothing provokes hope and purpose in me more than a letter from Mount Carmel.

Carlo Rovelli: On Science (what it is, what it does)

Rovelli, a book, and a blackboard covered with inscrutability. He’s great with words, too.

[3-minute read]

Rovelli is a physicist who inhabits a realm of thought I couldn’t find with any GPS. Grade 12 physics had already left me behind. But Rovelli is an intellectual star, with a degree of celebrity from a series of articles he’d written for an Italian newspaper; Seven Brief Lessons on Physics became a slow-moving international sensation. It has been on my vague gotta get around to that sometime list for about five years. I was surprised and impressed to find Rovelli’s Reality is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity among the books I picked up from the library for my enterprising life partner, who is even less science-literate than I am. (N.K. Jemisin’s fantasy novel The City We Became was a choice she struggled even more to explain; knowing a bit more about quantum physics suits her pragmatism better than fantastical battles between eccentric good and brooding, yucky evil, even though she loves New York City. Yup, I’m reading that one, too.)

I thought I’d try to be pragmatic. I would read the introduction to Reality is Not What It Seems during a half-hour walk to the library. That would do it: grasp the basic outlines of the physicist’s thinking, pop the thing in the Return slot, and bypass the thornier bits to come. Good plan! It didn’t work, because Rovelli writes with grace and conviction as he outlines the ancient roots of the bewildering investigations of modern physics. Reality is Not What It Seems, written before Seven Lessons, has been widely translated after the success of the Seven Brief Lessons that followed it. It is profoundly engaging. I was all the way in after reading this portion of “Walking Along the Shore”, Rovelli’s introduction to the Reality of quantum gravity. (Yes, I’m going to be reading about quantum gravity. I’m 70 pages in, have winged from Democritus to Newton and am now beginning the summary on our dear 20th-century friend Albert. My brain has not yet been broken.¹ It’s a wonderful read.)

In his introduction, Rovelli recalls Plato’s allegory of The Cave. Remember? One man escapes his chains, leaves the cave and encounters initially blinding new vistas, a sequence of approaches to “reality” he couldn’t have imagined from the cave’s shadowy depths. He “returns excitedly to his companions, to tell them what he has seen. They find it hard to believe.” Plato’s philosopher-king, the one who transcends the limited understandings of his benighted companions,  is Rovelli’s image of the scientist:

“We are all in the depths of a cave, chained by our ignorance….If we try to see further, we are confused; we are unaccustomed. But we try. This is science. Scientific thinking explores and redraws the world, gradually offering us better and better images of it, teaching us to think in ever more effective ways. Science is a continual exploration of ways of thinking. Its strength is its visionary capacity to demolish preconceived ideas, to reveal new regions of reality, and to construct new and more effective images of the world. This adventure rests upon the entirety of past knowledge, but at its heart is change. The world is boundless and iridescent….We are immersed in its mystery and in its beauty, and over the horizon there is unexplored territory….[O]ur precariousness, suspended over the abyss of the immensity of what we don’t know, does not render life meaningless: it makes it interesting and precious.”

Carlo Rovelli, Reality is Not What It Seems, p. 8

To think in progressively more useful ways. To refine our perception of what truly is. To refuse to be bound by traditional constraints on understanding. I love this poetic description of science.

I infer from much of his commentary that Rovelli is firmly anti-religion in his views, seeing the impulse toward faith as necessarily a reinforcement of tradition, authoritarianism and reason-held-hostage. I do think he’s mistaken in this, falling into the same trap religionists have, all too often; dogmatism among scientists has a long rap sheet of its own, some of which Rovelli recounts. However, I am no less attracted by his excellent, accessible explanations. I am also confirmed in my own unsystematic, accidentalist approach to deciding what I’ll read next. Good to meet you, sir.

¹ I spoke too soon. My brain pan started to leak noticeably last night, around page 72, as Rovelli explained Einstein’s special relativity to me. I’m not giving up yet, but it appears that my ability to roughly grasp physics ended in 1904. (Einstein was twenty-five in 1905, when he submitted three journal articles “each…worthy of a Nobel Prize”, according to Rovelli.)

A.O. Scott (on writers, on Mank)

Gary Oldman in the title role, and Amanda Seyfried as a muse-buddy. It’s an interesting film, best viewed after Citizen Kane (the Howdy formula).

                                                                        [2-minute read]


Anthony Oliver Scott is best known as a movie reviewer for the New York Times. He is a superb writer, enjoyably read even when he’s figuring out what he thinks about a movie I’ve never seen. I’m also excited about his recent bookBetter Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth, especially after reading a series of his essays, called The Americans. Rather than film, here he offers a fresh look at living writers who are under-read and overlooked – Wallace Stegner, Edward P. Jones (a fascinating oeuvre and a real revelation to me ) and Joy Williams. It’s eye-opening, a real service to someone who wants to better know a work, an author, a nation’s literature. These essays belie the common idea of “criticism”, that it must be acid-flavoured and archly (or furiously) dismissive. They are also wonderfully crafted in themselves, and refute the lazy notion that a critic must be a bitterly disappointed artist.

At my distressingly soon-to-be-departed Ottawa treasure, the ByTowne Cinema, I saw Mank in November. It’s the modern, black-and-white biopic in which Gary Oldman plays the legendary Hollywood screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, who more or less wrote the 1940 classic  Citizen Kane. (Mank argues that it was his baby entirely, which is an old and highly debatable statement; director/star Orson Welles shared the screenwriting credit with Mankiewicz.) I liked the movie and planned to see it again. And I did, in a way, reading Scott’s recent review in the Times. In it were exactly zero stars, no thumbs, not a single tossed tomato, whether rotten or beautifully seasoned, but only well-crafted prose that deepened my understanding and regard for a film, and strengthened my commitment to seeing it again. This is all fine.

But Scott finished with a flourish. In the review’s final paragraph, he describes Mankiewicz, by all accounts a brilliant writer and wit, and his turbulent relationship with Hollywood. He hates and loves the life. He knows he’s a small player in the industry yet feels himself above it. Mankiewicz was striving to bring a higher literary sensibility to the work, and meanwhile was drinking himself into highly public embarrassments and a premature grave. (Pauline Kael once described him as “Hollywood’s loser-genius”.) Scott ends with this dazzling turn, which I keep re-reading:

Neither a maverick nor a visionary, he’s an alienated insider, a participant observer, a kibitzer at the table where the big guys make the big bets. Which may just be a verbose way of saying that he’s a writer. I’ll drink to that.

Kurt Vonnegut (on what to pitch, and some things to keep)

I’m still listening, Kurt. Still moved. (Photo from Wikipedia.)

When I write about something I’ve learned from the Baha’i system of knowledge and practice – or rather, in trying to understand it better – it sometimes appears at the Baha’i Teachings website. I also go there for small doses of perspective, wisdom and hope, and find them. David Langness is one of my favourite writers at BT, not least because on what Canucks call Remembrance Day, he posted a piece called “Veterans’ Day: Let’s Call It Armistice Day Again”. Although short, it was weighty, since Langness is himself a veteran of what the Vietnamese people don’t call the Vietnam War. Yes, and he also led off with a passage from Kurt Vonnegut’s 1973 Breakfast of Champions. Vonnegut is a hero to me.

I just re-read KV’s preface to that famous American novel. My vision blurred and I commenced breathing like a beat-up old machine. (This often happens when I read Vonnegut. He murders me, when I’m apparently supposed to laughing like a loon at his satire. ) He calls Breakfast a 50th-birthday present to himself, a mid-life attempt “to clear my head of all the junk in there….I think I am trying to make my head as empty as it was when I was born onto this damaged planet….I suspect that this is something most white Americans, and non-white Americans who imitate white Americans, should do…” (Sheesh. 1973!)

David Langness, in his argument for re-naming Veterans’ Day, goes on to cite his reasons: the growth of jingoism, hero-worship and militarism associated with November 11 in his country. “Perversely, we’ve turned the day into a recruiting tool for further war instead of a celebration of peace.” It’s well worth a read. But thanks to Mr. Langness, I’m pleasantly obsessing today over the incredible Kurt Vonnegut (how I miss him!) and these closing words of his preface to Breakfast of Champions. He explains why Armistice Day – from the Latin for “a cessation of arms” – is a holy concept that he will hang on to:


“So this book is a sidewalk strewn with junk, trash which I throw over my shoulders as I travel in time back to November eleventh, nineteen hundred and twenty-two.

“I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy … all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

“Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.

“So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.

“What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance.

“And all music is.”

Jennifer Croft (on where she came from, in three words)

A portrait of genius: the author and translator Jennifer Croft.

[Two-minute read.]

I’m glad to know you, Eleanor Wachtel. I’ve been within a few feet of Ms. Wachtel, but never met her. Through her cool, superbly researched interviews on Writers and Company, though, I’ve spent sweet hours in the presence of such brilliant folk, and Eleanor did it for me again the other day. That time, it was a writer and translator, from languages I can’t speak, of books I hadn’t heard of. More homework for Howdy.

Jennifer Croft is a shockingly young person to have shared a Booker Prize, for translating Polish author Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights. She is a startlingly Oklahoman person to be a celebrated English-language conduit for literature in Russian, Polish, Ukrainian and Spanish, including her own novel-memoir Homesick, which she wrote in Spanish before translating it — mainly so her younger sister could read it. She is smarter than you and WAY smarter than me, and sports a childhood far more interesting, too, not that any of us would dial up that ordeal on some Alternative Life Choice-meter. I’ll admit, though: I envy her obsession and isolation, along with her intellect. This is not wise, I know.

I’m quoting Ms. Croft today for a tiny thing she said in the interview, not some intricate, gorgeous sentence-making she has spun. She is telling the story of the oddball manner in which an eccentric young girl from Oklahoma, and her desperately ill younger sister, came to immerse themselves in Russian and Ukrainian, respectively. Unusually for their family, the home-schooled sisters were watching television during the Lillehammer Olympics. The younger one idolized Oksana Baiul, the gold medal-winning figure skater from Ukraine. Jennifer, perhaps 12 or 13, was wowed by the brilliant Russian pairs skaters, Gordeeva and Grinkov, and did what any no typical American kid would do: she immediately went to the library for books on Russian grammar. “I wanted to do something obsessively and alone.” I was moved and intrigued by this recollection, but it was something she said later that still rings in my mind.

I remember Kurt Vonnegut’s comment on James Joyce, that the great Irish writer could spin the most dazzling, intricate sentences “but my favorite sentence in his short story Eveline is this one: ‘She was tired.’ At that point in the story, no other words could break the heart of a reader as those three words do.” This is how Croft hit me. For a similar reason, I’m quoting a simple statement that, in the context of the childhood story she was telling and the remarkable literary figure she has become, strangled me a little. She continues telling Ms. Wachtel what amounts to her Origin Story, the haphazard introductions to Ukrainian and Russian that a family acquaintance, who spoke some of both, gave to Croft and her sister, and the feverish six-hour forays that the former made into the system and the irregularities of a Russian language not even sharing an alphabet with English.

And then she said, slowly but undramatically,

“Eventually my sister moved on to other interests…

and I didn’t.

It was that simple. Humble, diffident. And she didn’t.

Guest Post: MP Freeman Reacts to “Silver Linings”

MP Freeman is *none* of these things, but I do like the image. Clashing (or gently bumping?) opinions produce the spark of truth…?

[4-minute read. An old friend of my site sent a reaction to this piece, which was both too long, too smart and too well-written to stay in the Comment section. Mr. Freeman agreed to my posting it instead as a guest article.]



So what are silver linings? Are they anything like gratitude? I’ve never thought of silver linings and gratitude as being the same things. Silver linings are nuggets of good that you can extract from the crap heap of something that has happened. A team loses a game. What do they look at as a silver lining? Maybe their defence played well; maybe somebody made a good shot. Maybe they drew a big crowd. Those would be examples of gold that they can extract out of the pain of defeat.

This pandemic isn’t the same as losing a game. There’s something drastically different about this, compared to other situations where we might search for a silver lining. And there’s nothing like praising the defence for playing well. This pandemic doesn’t have a foreseeable end; a game would. This pandemic, much the same as other crises over the ages, has set the world into a tailspin. The best that we can say about the situation is that we’re holding on for dear life. And we don’t even know whether we’re doing that well. Sorry, but to say that we’re looking for a silver lining amongst all of that might be a bit of a misnomer.

The old age home where my mother is housed right now has been under lockdown since about a week and a half before the country shut down. Contacting my mom in any way is very difficult. I used to see her all the time; we would sit and talk over supper at least three times a week. And one night a week I would stay for the entertainment and sit and enjoy the time with her. But since the pandemic all of that has stopped. Calling the home to see how my mother is doing burns up valuable phone time that they can’t afford to give each patient staying there. I have an old school friend staying there and he has a cell phone. His sister told me to phone him and that he would find my mom and put her on the phone. But I can’t do that, because that would put him in jeopardy because of violating the social distancing instructions. And I can’t go into the Lodge to see my mother because that isn’t allowed right now. Where is the silver lining in that?

A lot of people have been left at home not going into work every day. You would think that that has all kinds of silver lining tucked into it. But that just doesn’t seem to be the case. People like their routines in the morning; they might even need them. Getting going these days where we’re stuck at home during the pandemic is not easy for everybody. Getting up is a step in the process that is delayed. Some people, I would even say most people, don’t keep their routines in the morning which includes showering, getting dressed for work, having breakfast, brewing coffee, driving to work. People have been knocked off balance by this. Where is the silver lining in that?

Getting food is an adventure. Finding the things that you actually want to cook is sometimes problematic. Being able to go to the store to pick up that item that you missed or don’t have in the pantry is nonexistent at this time. So you’re trying to plan ahead for your meals but it’s not the same as it used to be. I’m finding that the meals I thought I would want aren’t the meals that I thought I would have on a given day. Everything is closed during the pandemic. People aren’t traveling, people aren’t going to museums or to parks or beaches or the boardwalk. People are being told to stay, to self-isolate and to maintain social distance. Many don’t leave their homes for days. Where is the silver lining in that?

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James Naismith (on the Requirements)

Linus is probably over-thinking this.

I stumbled, in a long-familiar and typically random way, on a reference to The Inventor and First Coach’s 12-part prescription. It was a hand-written guide for how to be an effective participant in his as-yet unbranded off-season training game for the more dedicated rugby players, this at a YMCA International Training School in Massachusetts. This new sport was being played exactly nowhere other than a Springfield barn at this time in 1892, but The Young Men’s Christian Association had been around for nearly 50 years by then, and already had a strong international presence. James Naismith couldn’t have devised this odd, indoor game in a better place for it to become the world-wide phenomenon it is today. But this document, “The Physical and Mental Requirements of Basket-Ball”, was an effort by the muscular Christian Phys. Ed. teacher to get  his muscular young Christian students to think the game. (This is still a hard sell with players –except for the very best ones — but I admire his pure-hearted drive to make the game MEAN something, right from the start.)


A copy of the “Requirements” hangs in a museum in The Inventor and First Coach’s hometown of Almonte, near Ottawa. It is so quaint, quirky and remains true:


“Agility, accuracy, alertness, cooperation, initiative, skill, reflex judgment, speed, self-sacrifice,

self-confidence, self-control and sportsmanship.”

Go ahead.

Break it down. Think them through.

I did. I like this list. The many words that ensued can be found up there in It’s All About Sports!, although it actually isn’t. (All about sports, that is, though my wife and mother-in-law are overwhelmed by eye-rolling when I say this. “There’s more to life than basketball,” I insist, “but there’s more to basketball than basketball, too!” They reply, “Mmm, not so much…”) But you may want to read my ruminations on each requirement.

Marilynne Robinson (on civilization)

May she keep on teaching and writing. Marilynne Robinson, photo from an article in The Guardian newspaper.

[3-minute read]

We hear it all the time. Human beings are naturally aggressive. We have always had wars, and we always will. Some of the more pessimistic among us – and listen, such people are not deranged; there are reasons aplenty to cast a stink-eye on our history  – go so far as to suggest that war is the natural condition of human societies, and that peace is an intermittent and temporary reprieve. This is nonsense.

Among many other reasons, it is foolish to think this way because, first, it is too easy, and second, it is too damned discouraging. Third, and most important, to consider warfare as our default mode is slippery and false because it allows us to excuse and even justify  (to ourselves, to our fellow foreign policy analysts, to our tough-on-crime cronies, to any of our partners-in-expediency) the use of brutal methods to address problems. Meanwhile, we routinely fall into the lazy assumption that human beings have hair-trigger predispositions towards violence or other anti-social qualities, yet most of us wouldn’t say this about the people that we actually know and interact with. (“People are AWFUL! Well, not my people, they’re mostly pretty great but, you know, those people out there…”)     

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