Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."

– Plato


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Special note: “A Celebration of Life” for Dick Whitaker is planned for 1 pm, March 16th at the Toll House in Los Gatos.
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Peace through Power

     If you go way back in your memory to your school days, you may remember that the toughest guy in the school yard seemed to get the most respect.  Maybe the respect was based on fear, but the other boys wanted to be friends with the tough guy.   Kind of like a wolf pack responds to the alpha male.  Aggressive impulses by lesser fighters were turned against the weaker kids; the kids who were safe to bully.  There’s an important point here. 

            President Ronald Reagan forced the Soviet Union to back down, not because America was weak, but because we were strong.  President Reagan said, “Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.”  Reagan used intimidation based on America’s strength to dismantle the Soviet Union by putting them in an untenable economic position militarily.  They knew we had the upper hand in weaponry and they didn’t have the financial ability to catch up. President Reagan also had their trust and respect.  Very important.

            But look at us today.  We are disarming and weakening our military and disarming our citizens. We have destroyed our economy, and our president apologizes for our former strength.  Consequently, we are no longer respected. We can’t even intimidate Mexico, for Pete’s sake.  

            America has become feminized. Nothing against women, but we don’t live in a woman’s world.  Arab nations have no respect for women.  Machismo dominates Latino cultures and many others.  Yet we expect these countries to respect and give credence to our female Secretary’s of State, Hillary Clinton or Madeleine Albright.  We are dealing with cultures that only respect strength and masculinity, but we send them women …  and John Kerry. 

            Peace through strength is exemplified by one of the best stories in our history. The source for this is Phil Schreier of the National Firearms Museum. This goes back to the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804 when a small group of men changed the history of America. Their strategy demonstrates how lives can be saved and conflicts avoided through a perception of strength.

            It was a long forgotten air rifle that changed history.  This weapon was used against Napoleon in 1790 and came to America in 1803.  It was called the Girandoni air rifle. Only one of these rifles was carried by Lewis and Clark.  Just one. This innovative rifle had a butt stock of cast iron that held 800 pounds of air pressure per square inch.  Your car tires hold roughly 35. 

            The gun barreled was rifled for accuracy.  The gun held 22 rounds of 46 caliber balls and was extremely accurate and very powerful.  It was also silent and didn’t release smoke when fired.  It could shoot all 22 rounds in less than 30 seconds.

            Lewis and Clark’s small group of men encountered numerous bands of hostile Indians in their journey west, but were never attacked after they demonstrated the fire power of this magnificent gun. They demonstrated the gun for each tribe along the way.

            The power of this gun so intimidated the natives that word spread and conflicts were avoided throughout their entire trip.  Not a single life was lost by Lewis and the boys nor were any natives killed, all due to the perception of strength.  That’s the point.

            Fear and respect can avoid confrontations and the loss of life. Our country has lost that respect and we see the results around the world.  Small nations ignore us.  They attack us at home and our embassies abroad with impunity.  They burn our flag and laugh at us. They no longer respect the America that was once the tough kid on the playground.  We are now the wimp on the playground; the wimp that other wimps push around. Our leader bows, apologizes, and meekly hands over our lunch money to the bullies. Ever wonder which side he’s on?

            In a previous blog, I mentioned the brilliant men – the giants – who founded our country.  Look at our leadership in this country today. I’ll repeat an ancient Chinese proverb: “When small men cast large shadows the sun is about to set.”


  1. Hi Ralph....
    I love the quote by Clint Eastwood. So true
    I thought I would include this link for you to chew over.


    1. Bob - I read the article. Man - Los Gatos ain't what it used to be. Maybe the traffic on Santa Cruz Avenue is driving up the suicide rate. I was surprised at the statement re: suicides in L.G. When people are crowded together, they go nuts. I remember the studies of rats in psychology classes. That's a plus for living in the mountains.

    2. Yeah, they are beginning to act like this is Beverly Hills and Santa Cruz Ave is Rodeo drive.

    3. Big changes since we were kids. I liked Los Gatos better back then.