Sunday, June 20, 2010


Wisdom of Old Age

Having achieved the age of 87 years and 3 months, I can claim that I have reached "old age." I look at news accounts of prominent people who have died and notice that many of them are younger than I. I have outlived both of my parents, all of my grandparents, and probably all of my great-grandparents. With all this living I must have learned something about life. What I have learned includes a belief that one must be very tolerant and laid-back in relations with other people. Make new acquaintances, but let the friendships develop on their own. Don't try to force things. Don't try to control what happens. Let what's going to happen happen.

This wisdom, if you permit me the use of the word, sounds like that of a conservative libertarian. Let people do whatever they want. Let government do as little as possible in controlling or restricting the lives of people. Within limits I agree with these simple, tolerant rules.

However, there are limits to tolerance. In personal relations, I will not take part in any activity that I believe may be harmful to others. Just as I limit my own behavior and that of my friends and close acquaintances, so also I would have government limit the behavior of the people. The people must be restrained from doing harm to each other. We have laws in Los Angeles prohibiting the firing of guns into the air with live ammunition because the bullets will eventually fall back to earth and may hit and injure some person or creature or object. We have laws limiting the rate of emission of pollutants from a power plant. We are debating laws to impose a cost on the emission of such greenhouse gases as CO-2. Some conservatives and libertarians oppose such laws. I do not share that opposition.

I tell myself that I have gained wisdom with age. I hope so.


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