Why I love history and think it is so important”

By Richard K. Munro

I love history because history is fascinating and so full of so many dramatic stories. History well told is beautiful and exciting.

And often “truth is stranger than fiction.”

The Roman poet Martial, who traveled to many lands and saw many wonders said, “He who loves history lives twice”. History, I believe, makes us wiser as history offers a multitude of examples about how leaders and societies react in the crises of domestic struggles, economic challenges, and war.

Winston Churchill said “Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft.” History provides essential knowledge about the emergence of our national instructions, our culture, our sports, our constitution, and our democratic values.

History is important because it helps us understand the present so we can analyze events more clearly and make better decisions now and in the future. History also provides all of us an identity as individuals and as a people so as to unify us as Americans.

Lincoln, the president who saved our union, said, “Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history.” We ignore it at our peril. Without history, we could lose our freedom, our national independence and our personal identity leaving us only with disunity, ignorance, and despair.


by Richard K. Munro

College is not for everyone. And College is not for everyone right away. I did not go to college right after high school (unless you count a 10-week summer program with the U. of Northern Iowa) in Spain (I did earn 3 college credits). But then I stayed in Spain for a period of time. I got my BA from NYU. I should have gotten at MA (perhaps) at that time I took many graduate level classes in Spanish, political science and history for undergraduate credit. I commuted so NYU (much cheaper then) was economical (then). But graduate school in the liberal arts seemed then overpriced. I was tired of school (but not reading and learning). So, I served in the Marines and later traveled in Europe and Latin America. I worked in private industry for a period of time but after ten years returned to school to get a Teacher’s Certificate and get into an MA program with the University of Northern Iowa (in Spain). I had only a few marketable skills. One of the best things I did in high school was studying typing (at night school). I became competent and so typed all my own papers in college in English and Spanish. Working at the bank as I did for five years and in the military, it was useful to be able to type. Unfortunately, I came to the computer late but when I did word processing it was a strong skill for me.

Another expertise I had was being bilingual in Spanish and English. Living and studying in Spain greatly strengthened my Spanish (I also studied Portuguese) I worked in Spain as a tutor, translator, and tour guide. I transacted all my business in Spanish.

I do not regret traveling and visiting Portugal, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Germany, Ireland and Britain. I mostly lived in Spain which was relatively inexpensive then. I could not afford to live in NYC in the 1970s but I could live in Madrid and my rent was $100 a month! I had no car but had a EURAIL PASS so I could travel inexpensively all-over Western Europe. In Madrid, Lisbon, Paris, and Barcelona I used the metro and public buses. i had no phone. I had no TV. I did have a radio cassette player. I had a PO box at American Express. I could also cash personal checks at AMEX. Most of my mail was sent to Madrid but I could also pick up mail in Funchal, Lisbon, Barcelona, Rome, Paris if I so desired. I loved living in Europe. I read a lot of books in English, Spanish esp. I went to plays, concerts and opera. I went to soccer games. I visited museums and historical sites all over Western Europe including battlefields. The only reason I came back from Europe, really, was because I wanted to get married and have a family.

I am grateful that America gave me (and my father and grandfather who were immigrants) economic and professional opportunity. I returned to college 2004-2005 on an ISI scholarship at UVA. I earned thirty post graduate credits (and maxed out my pay scale in preparation for my retirement) but cut my losses. I could have academically earned a PhD but to do so I would have had to sell my house cash in my retirement and struggle for years to finish the program and support my family. It just wasn’t in the cards. I had three children to help get through college. I paid my own way for graduate school.

We helped our kids (they worked too) for undergraduate. They paid their own way for graduate degrees which were career specific (engineering, or teaching certificates). If you have a clear career goal college could be a very good choice. If you have no clear goals, then I would suggest

1) working

2) doing 1 tour of service in the military

3) going to a Community College -you can transfer to a four year college later.

My son in law took TEN YEARS to get his BS in Engineering. He started at JC and got his AA degree and then finally went to college full time in Mechanical Engineering. He works for a major Aerospace manufacturer. He is highly skilled and only getting more so as his career progresses. After HS he worked at Sprouts but never gave up his goal. One of the advantages of doing a program over ten years is you can pay as you go. He borrowed no money for living expenses or tuition. My daughter worked on average 35 hours a week at IHOP when she was in college. With her AP credits she graduated in 4 years and gained a K-6 teaching credential with a bilingual certificate. Having her expertise helped her get a job right away. Most of us have to work for living. It is important for young people HS or beyond to GET WORK EXPERIENCE. For too many College is a debilitating hedonistic experience. If you have to work and study you will be more serious. If you are paying your own way and have bills to pay you will be more serioius.

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Haken Announces New Studio Album

HAKEN announce release of seventh studio album ‘Fauna’; new single ‘The Alphabet of Me’Following weeks of teasing, progressive rockers HAKEN are pleased to announce their seventh studio album ‘Fauna’, their most genre-busting and conceptually fascinating album to date. The album will be released on March 3rd, 2023, and following the release of ‘Nightingale’ earlier this year, they are pleased to present “The Alphabet of Me”, the second track taken from the record.
Watch the video for ‘The Alphabet of Me’, directed by Crystal Spotlight, here: https://youtu.be/LQJ-e75ZSj8Vocalist Ross Jennings comments: “When composing and presenting initial song sketches, we very much had an “anything goes” mentality, and whilst sounding atypically Haken, it was a piece that was all exciting us to explore and integrate into our song canon.
Where the lyrics are concerned, I leant heavily on one of my favourite writers Philip K Dick, for inspiration. Keeping our loose concept of spirit animals in mind, I re-read ‘Do androids dream of electric sheep?’ (Which would later be adapted into the 1982 film ’Blade Runner’) knowing symbolically that animals played a key role in the story. This, along with revisiting both movies from the Blade Runner franchise, opened up some deeper philosophical topics about the nature of identity which have served as a backbone for the lyrical content”
‘Fauna’ sees the band exploring new ideas conceptually as Ross continues. “The premise of the album when we started writing it was that every song would have an animal assigned to it. They all have something related to the animal kingdom that we could write about, but they also connect to the human world. Each track has layers, and some of them are more obvious than others.”
“It reminds me of ‘The Mountain’,” adds guitarist and fellow founder Richard Henshall. “There, we had the idea of not really a narrative-based album, but more the concept of climbing a mountain and overcoming the obstacles along the way. Then we took that and thought about how it could relate to our everyday lives. All of Fauna’s animals relate to us, personally.”
‘Fauna’ also marks the return of keyboard player Peter Jones, whose sounds can be heard permeating the entire album. “What Pete’s brought sonically to the band has played a massive role in why we do have a lot of new sounds on this record,” says Ross. “It’s always a new dynamic when there’s a change in personnel, and this is a fresh and reviving one. It’s certainly helped proximity-wise, with Pete being in the country: Pete and Ray [Hearne, Haken’s drummer] would be at Rich’s place and they’d just start jamming. That’s really key to how the songs start.”
‘Fauna’ will be available on several formats, including Ltd 2CD (incl. instrumentals), Standard CD, Gatefold 2LP & as Digital Album. The albums stunningly detailed artwork was created by Dan Goldsworthy (Charlie Griffiths, Sylosis).
Pre-order now here: https://haken.lnk.to/FaunaThe tracklisting is as follows:1.     Taurus 04:49
2.     Nightingale 07:24
3.     The Alphabet of Me 05:33
4.     Sempiternal Beings 08:23
5.     Beneath The White Rainbow 06:45
6.     Island In The Clouds 05:45
7.     Lovebite 03:49
8.     Elephants Never Forget 11:07
9.     Eyes Of Ebony 08:32Haken recently announced a co-headline tour with Between The Buried & Me in Europe for early 2023, with support from Cryptodira. These will be the first dates in support of ‘Fauna’, find the full list of dates here: https://hakenmusic.com/tour/ HAKEN are:Ross Jennings
Richard Henshall
Charlie Griffiths
Pete Jones
Conner Green
Ray HearneHAKEN online:
https://www.instagram.com/haken_official/INSIDEOUT MUSIC online:
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Meritocracy Vs. Affirmative Action (“Equity”)



“To the extent their grades and scores reflect hard work, maybe. But grades and test scores are at least equally reflective of innate abilities and early opportunities, for which the students themselves deserve no credit. They simply won the genetic and socio-economic lottery.”

TRUE to a certain extent.  If one’s parents are well-educated, economically successful, and cosmopolitan the children MAY have an advantage IF they are not slackers.   But sometimes they are and so crash and burn.

There is no question if you have money and connections, you have an advantage in an acting career for example but in classical music I think talent, training and natural ability make the classical music world more of a meritocracy.   More Asians per capita are successful in the classical music field because they come from a culture that has emulated the high musical culture of the West more than other groups. Similarly the Italians seem to produce the best tenors and sopranos because singing is so deeply part of their musical tradition.  The idea of having quotas for minorities is silly and harmful for classical music, medical school, engineering school the sciences etc.

And when it comes to piping it is just a cognate fact the very best pipers are Scottish or Irish then British then English speaking (Canadian/Australian/USA etc) of Celtic origin. 

There may be a few great Israeli or African American pipers but I haven’t heard or seen any.    

On the other hand I HAVE heard and seen great Indian and Gurkha pipers because those groups have many generations of close contact with Highland Regiments and so it is an integral part of its military culture.  Piping and Pipe bands have public competitions and so are highly meritocratic.

I think the biggest difference is students from poor families or modest families have less of margin of error for failure.   Students from upper class or upper middle-class families can start over at age 30 or 35 and still hope to have decent job or career.   IF the are not hopelessly alcoholic or drug addicted.  

You speak of STUDENTS but when I think of meritocracy I also think of ATHLETES, FIRST RESPONDERS and the MILITARY.   Both these fields favor , generally speaking, true meritocracy.  

No team wants to lower standards and so be a losing team.   They may have female batting coaches or even female managers but unless a female can find a way to compete on the field successfully (always a possibility) teams will not have quotas for their starting lineups.    

If one does not have a mediocratic approach (fitness, strength, health, sight, hearing etc)  for FIRST RESPONDERS or the MILITARY one threatens public safety and national security. 

When I was a young Marine everyone and I mean everyone knew the Marines were tougher, fitter and more highly motivated than the Army because they had higher standards and a strong ethos of training, pride of unit and identity.    We were all volunteers and tended to be healthier, more motivated, and more physically fit than your average American. It meant something to be a MARINE and it still does to have been a US Marine just like it means something to be a Ranger or Navy SEAL.  

If one lowers the standards (and I think the Marines have lowered standards to   certain extent then man for man (or Marine for Marine) preparedness is someone lessened.   One of the reasons the Marines held on at the Chosin Reservoir and at Guadalcanal is because the Marines were deep in soldiers trained as infantrymen.  When down to the last platoon every Marine was a trained infantryman and familiar with small arms and unit defense.

  Even Marine mechanics, cooks and pilots are trained as infantrymen.  More recently we have the example of the Battle of Bastion in Afghanistan.    Marine pilots, navigators and mechanics quickly and efficiently sallied out as INFANTRY to fight of terrorist infiltrators. 

Enemy Inside the Wire: The Untold Story of the Battle of Bastion | GQ

“Perhaps this is all a waste of breath. Elites have historically devised schemes for reproducing themselves. Sometimes the reproduction is literal, as when the children of elites are introduced to each other and pair off and have children. College selection serves this purpose very effectively, given that college is a time and place when many young people find their mates or at least figure out what they are looking for in a mate.

Whatever system is established for handing out scarce goods—prestigious diplomas, for instance—the smart and the rich will find ways to game the system. That’s what brains and money do. And they’ll end up with the prize.  

But, please, don’t make us pretend they deserve it. “


NO IT IS NOT A WASTE OF BREATH.  It is a very important topic.  Society has to decide how much it is going to invest in EDUCATION,   ATHLETICS and the MILITARY and who is going to get the “glittering prizes”.    Scarcity is a universal law. We have scarce slots and scarce resources.  We have to invest wisely so as to have the best engineers, best scientists,  foreign language teachers, doctors,  soldiers, Airmen, Marines, sailors, firefighters etc.   For the sake of social harmony and societal peace when may have to address diversity issues but having AUTHENTIC HIGH STANDARDS IS GOOD FOR INSTITUTIONS AND SOCIETY.   HAVING LOW STANDARDS OR OPEN ADMISSION IS BAD FOR INSTITUTIONS AND FOR SOCEITY IN THE LONG RUN.

I am glad you pointed out LEGACY entrances into universities.  That is the OLD AFFIRMATIVE ACTION.   Everybody knows it.      But one wonders how small the number of White Males at university would be WITHOUT LEGACY Admissions.   The number of males and White Males particularly had precipitously declined in the USA (and other places) And of course under the strictures of Affirmative Action schools and individuals were tempted to fiddle with the system by finding alternative paths of entry to select schools via athletics sometimes via obscure sports.    In some cases we know these athletic CV’s were falsified or exaggerated.  Sometimes the students athletes never even played a single game. The whole charade was to get INTO the college.   And there is no question that CHILDREN of ELITES may intermarry and so maintain family wealth.   

Some individuals will always have the edge over other individuals due differences in WEALTH,  SOCIETAL CLASS,   BEAUTY and YOUTH.   It is of course, better to be YOUNG, BEAUTIFUL, HEALTHY and RICH than to be OLD, UGLY and SICK.   It is better to KNOW PEOPLE and have connections than to be an isolated newcomer without a reputation or connections.     I will say this, however, there is ALWAYS CHALLENGE and RESPONSE.    Men and women who come up the hard way gain  wisdom, strength and confidence that cannot be gained any other way.   In other words there is no Royal Road to Geometry or Marine Corps OCS at Quantico.

A Generation of American Men Give Up on College: ‘I Just Feel Lost’ – WSJ


White men are now almost extinct on university campuses – and that’s exactly what feminists want — RT Op-ed