Aliens In America



Aliens in AmericaFred B., an alert reader, commented on more Christmas cannings:

Sixty veteran clerical employees of the NYSE were laid off yesterday in the traditional way; With no warning, their badges were confiscated and they were marched out of the building under escort.

How is it done on your planet?

Indeed. Fred’s observation is humourous, to be sure. And ironic.

But I think Fred is on to much more: His comment helps us to see through the dark glass of this world into the Truth.

On what planet do people — even bad people — get fired at Christmas?

If this earthly logic makes no sense, then you might be (an) alien to this world.

My good friend, Peter Lawler writes to Fred’s point in his book Aliens In America: The Strange Truth about Our Souls. We are merely “pilgrims or aliens in this world.”

We are just passing through. For a short time.

Professor Lawler serves on President Bush’s Council on Bioethics and teaches at Berry College.

Lord only knows how he got a job in academia.

Firing employees at Christmas makes no sense if you have an eternal perspective.

So who would fire people at Christmas? An earth-bound man.

With a heart of stone.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

A thoughtful review of Aliens can be found in First Things.

Dr. Peter Augustine Lawler, Dana Professor of Government and Chair, Berry College:

Peter Augustine Lawler is Dana Professor and Chair of the Department of Government and International Studies at Berry College. He teaches courses in political philosophy and American politics and has won several awards from Berry for doing so.

He is executive editor of the acclaimed quarterly journal, Perspectives on Political Science and has been chair of the politics and literature section of the American Political Science Association. He also serves on the editorial board of the new bilingual critical edition of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America and on the editorial boards of several journals. He is a member of the Society of Scholars at the Madison Center at Princeton University, the George Washington Professor on the American founding for the Society of Cincinnati for the state of Georgia, and he is a member of President Bush’s Council on Bioethics.

See La Nouvelle Theologie for more.

Revenge of the Syndicate has links.


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5 Responses

  1. It is very sad that scoundrels like to fire people at Christmas..true, but I have to share…mainly because I can.. 😉 that even some Christians fire people during the Christmas season…how do I know….it happened to me years and years ago…

    The day before I was hung out to dry, I was told by the manager of the company and the Christian owner how great I was and what a great job I was doing. The next day…”Off with my head!” They let me go…so I feel for these people because after all of these years, I’m still traumatized…maybe I should do EMDR on myself 🙂

    So yes, it was helpful…in bringing back all the painful memories from 1985 🙂

    Seriously, it is a serious issue and I agree…hearts of stone abound. How’s that for a longwinded vulnerable answer 🙂

  2. Fred says:

    I was playing backgammon at the yacht club Thursday (not as grand as it sounds but, I like that it sounds grand). One of our group is a prison psychologist. If you think you have had a bad day, his day will recalibrate your meter.

    We ended up talking about psychological testing and some of the classes he had with other people who were in the prison system. The class would take one of the various tests and then the instructor would show how to score and evaluate the test. He noted that some in his class got a little discomfitted when it was explained why some reults meant sociopath. They were managers.

    His view was that a little sociopath in a manager wasn’t that bad because it meant they could carry out logical decisions with some emotional detachment.

    Carried too far, “Nothing personal, just business” isn’t the philosophy of someone detached. It’s the philosophy of someone disconnected from humanity. Nothing is ever personal. Yet somehow these people are valued in business and politics for what is seen as their rational detachment. Big mistake in my view but, that’s the world we live in. A world run by high functioning sociopaths.

    In related news, Chuck Chvala, former state of Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader, was sentenced to nine months in jail by Judge Flanagan. The prosecution had asked for six months. This is after nineteen charges had been plea bargained to two. I don’t think the judge liked Chvala’s attitude: “Nothing personal, just politics.” The URL points to a news article about the Chvala case.

    Go fight the good fight but, watch your back.

  3. Jack Yoest says:

    Stacy, A number of readers are writing in about similar terrible seasons’ terminations.

    I am so sorry to hear of your ordeal. Even after 20 years and it can still hurt.

    Goodness, I hope your former, and now older (wiser?) boss is reading this.

    Thanks for commenting,


  4. Zendo Deb says:

    I recommend any biography of Jack Welsh – except one written by him.

    Do you remember the name “Neutron Jack” – he kills the people and leaves the businesses standing? The man who wiped out entire towns. Who made the initials GE stand for “the Godless Enterprise?” I guess you don’t remember.

    Why would anyone lay people off in Decemeber? For the same reasons that they get laid off in any other month of they year.

  5. Jack Yoest says:

    Zendo Deb, Jack Welsh’s job was to maximize shareholder wealth. He did his job well.

    And he was not well liked by all.

    Especially his two ex-wives.

    I would submit Jack Welsh is very much a man of this world.

    Thanks for commenting,