Headmaster’s Thoughts – October 2011

At the beginning of the First World War, Walter A. Raleigh (I added his middle initial to emphasize that he was not the one who placed the cloak in the mud for the first Queen Elizabeth and who acquired tobacco fame) wrote:

I wish I loved the human Race,

I wish I loved its silly face…

Religion urges us to love our neighbor (although the Ten Commandments do not, specifically) and yet, as I read The New York Times, gruesome acts are committed every day in the name of religion. Now before Christians and Jews get too hoity-toity about Muslims (and I am writing this on September 11), they should remember that they (Christians and Jews, that is) have been killing non-Christians and non-Jews for centuries before Mohammed was born.

Maybe this “love” business is taken too far. How about “like?” Could we not at least “like” our neighbor?

When people (note the politically correct lack of specifying sex) jump ahead of us in line at the supermarket check-out, speak on their cell phones while the rest of us are watching movies at the local Cineplex, or negligently run into us with their cars, I understand that “love” might not be the emotion of the moment. But we could try to “like” each other. In fact, maybe the Ten Commandments should have commanded us to do so. Maybe it would have made us nicer.

It would have saved a lot of victims if the Inquisition (I am sorry to pick on the Inquisition crowd but, like the Nazis, they are so easy to pick on) just said to the heretics, “Look, we don’t intrinsically accept your view of our God, but we do like you.” I mean, you don’t start drinking the local wine and having a laugh while setting fire (in huge bonfires) to people you like. You don’t drag them through the streets to an auto-da-fé (which is not a small Italian motor car) if you are commanded to “like” them. You don’t, as the Old Testament tells us the Israelites occasionally did, destroy entire towns with all of their men, women, and children, if you “like” them. (See, I do not just pick on the Catholics.)

How I wished those 19 Jihadists had liked us.

Maybe Mel Brooks had it right when in “History of the World, Part One” Moses dropped five of the 15 Commandments. Whoops! Now we have only Ten! “Like your neighbor” could have been number 11, “Don’t jump in line in a supermarket,” number 12; “Never use a cell phone in a Cineplex,” number 13; and “Drive very carefully,” number 14. Maybe the last one (number 15) was, “Everyone should be nice to teachers!”

One can live and dream!

Ronald P. Stewart, Headmaster
E-mail: rstewart@yorkprep.org

“Headmaster’s Thoughts” for previous months are archived in the section More News. You may access additional months by clicking Headmaster’s Thoughts Archives on the same page.