R.I.P. - Morton Perry, my favorite college professor; also R.I.P. - Charles Walters, founder of "Acres" magazine

I will be eternally grateful to one of my favorite college teachers, my political science professor, Morton Perry, who recommended that I read a book which led to a major change in my understanding of the moral order of the universe. At one point, Mr. Perry, who I think recognized me as a “true believer,” invited me to his home for supper, and fed gourmet lamb stew to a country-bumpkin lad who had never eaten much of anything but ground beef and chicken. The book Mr. Perry recommended — my personal light on the road to Damascus — which forever set the course of my fate as an indomitable truth-seeker, was "The Life and Death of Sacco and Vanzetti", by Eugene Lyons. I've done quite a bit of soul searching ever since I read the story of Nichola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. I was both puzzled and deeply troubled by the fact two innocent men were murdered on orders of a judge via what was alleged by government at the time to have been "due process of law," and the fact the conspiracy to commit and/or cover up the judicial murders involved the establishment press and numerous such "luminaries" as the governor of Massachusetts the presidents of Harvard and MIT. Sacco's and Vanzetti's only "crimes" were their outspoken political beliefs questioning the authority of government. Judge Webster Thayer's orders were carried out by electrocution on August 23, 1927.

I would see Mr. Perry around town occasionally, here and there at a restaurant. He always recognized me, he looked pretty good, and his mind was sharp, so I always presumed (incorrectly as it turns out) that there would be enough time to get back in closer touch with him after my website was more up to snuff.

I also knew from the story in the Free Press that a book had been compiled about his life. I surely hope to obtain one. I meant to get him to autograph one for me, because I knew he would have something special to say. But thanks to that old nemesis, procrastination, that option is now lost. I regret having not spent more time with him. But on the other hand, he was one of my main inspirations for remaining so steadfast in diligently humping the website construction learning curve. I just didn't seem to have much time for hanging out. I had turned into the hardcore1 lifelong learner I'm sure Mr. Perry would have wanted me to be. Even though I slacked2 through his classes with Bs and Cs, I know he would have been proud of my later accomplishments and proud that he was probably my most important college intellectual inspiration. Such are the little ironies of life.

Mr. Perry was a very special person, a genuinely good, kind-hearted and interesting person. The world is poorer for his passing.

Here is Mr. Perry's obituary as it appeared in the Daily Sentinel:

"Morton Perry July 7, 1920 - February 25, 2009

"Morton Perry passed away at his home in Grand Junction on February 25, 2009. He was 88 years old.

"Mort was born and raised in metropolitan New Jersey, across the Hudson from Manhattan, the child of an interfaith marriage. His father, Philip, immigrated from Memel (now Klaipeda) in Lithuania. Phillip became a citizen, changed his name from Perevoska to Perry, and lived in an Irish neighborhood. During World War I, Philip served in the famous New York 69th Division - the "Fighting Irish" - and saw action in France. He relocated to New Jersey, where he met Nellie Markun, a "gay divorce" from Toronto, and they married in 1919. Mort had two half-sisters, Sarah Fels and Evelyn Licht. His parents and sisters predeceased him. Mort had to work during the Great Depression; consequently, he did not graduate from high school until 19. In 1940, he received a scholarship to Rutgers University. At that time Rutgers was a small liberal arts college with compulsory chapel. Poor as the proverbial mouse, Mort lived in a room slightly larger than a broom closet on the top floor of the oldest dormitory. From 1942-1945, Mort served in the U.S. Army Air Force. Sgt. Perry was a rear-gunner on a B-17 bomber and flew 11 missions, but glasses got him transferred to the Air Transport Command.

"Thanks to the G.I. Bill, mort returned to Rutgers and to his B.A. in history (1947) and B.S. in education (1949). He then taught in two rural high schools for eight years and became fond of country kids. He remembered three former students killed in the Korean War. In 1961, Mort was hired by the late Horace Wubben to teach in Mesa Junior College. He considered Wubben to be outstanding as both an educator and person. Despite a rough teaching load, Mort enjoyed his work, colleagues and students. He helped set up a Forum and U.N. Model Assembly. During 1968-70, Mort was on Sabbatical to study for a Ph.D. in Political science. He matriculated in the prestigious Maxwell Graduate School at Syracuse University. (Time ranked Maxwell as one of the best ten graduate schools in social science).

"Mort felt challenged by a first-rate faculty, and focused on the relationships between religion and politics. He passed both oral and written exams, completed his research, and began a doctoral dissertation. However, a war-time accident resulted in the loss of one kidney and, after a semester's sick leave, the degree was abandoned. He returned to Mesa and eventually became a professor of political science.

"Although a competent scholar and researcher, Mort was foremost a teacher. He had rapport with teachers on all levels. He could be hard on those students who tried their high school tricks, but for most he was enthusiastic and accepting. Mort was creative in both starting new courses from scratch and presenting his material. With his respected colleague, Louis Morton, a Washington intern program was set up. Some interns went on to work for former Sen. Bill Armstrong; one, Greg Walcher, became a member of Gov. Bill Owens' cabinet.

"Mort was a strong supporter of teacher unions. He believed that teachers as individuals lacked real bargaining power. At various times he belonged to the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and American Association of University Professors.

"Mort retired from Mesa State College in 1986. He then taught part-time at Metropolitan State College and Regis University. In 1996, he held the COSMOCOS Chair in Religion.

"Like his father, Mort was a life-long Democrat. In 1956, he ran for the New York State Legislature and went down to defeat with Stevenson. He subscribed to the Economist (London) and remained an avid reader. He could often be found in the Mesa County Library or Barnes and Noble. He enjoyed appearing before college classes and discussion groups, and never came unprepared. He disliked talking-off-the-top-of-head. His background made him sympathetic to different religions.

"There were many facets for Mort's personality. He had a great sense of humor and could laugh at his own tendency to be a prima donna. He drove a Trans-Am Pontiac. He adored children and was ardently pro-cat. In fact, there were four cats in his life. He could discuss Dostoevsky one moment and the Three Stooges the next. He enjoyed friends of differing backgrounds. He could be a formidable Trivia Pursuit player.

"He was more of a classical than a contemporary liberal. He was saddened by the tendencies of liberals to think with their emotions rather their heads. He was also saddened by local conservatives and their continuing sexism, racism and homophobia4. Although he valued pacifism, he was proud to have worn his country's uniform.

"Mort's life was full of meaning. He influenced many to think critically. He will be greatly missed.

"Cremation has taken place. There will be a memorial service at Callahan-Edfast Mortuary, 2515 Patterson Road, on Monday, March 9, at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Catholic Outreach."

Charles Walters

It was only with the arrival of the March edition of Acres magazine that I learned of the January 14, 2009 passing of Charles Walters, founder of Acres magazine and "The Voice of Eco-Agriculture". Here is the tribute titled, "Remembering Charles Walters", found on page 50 of the March Acres. And here is the interview titled "A Voice for Eco-Agriculture - Charles Walters Remembers", found on page 53.

I especially loved this quote: "And I tend to scoff at academia and its dishonesty and distorted science. The farmer doesn’t care about
what these schoolmen think — that is, the farmers who are accustomed to thinking for themselves. Many farmers are good naturalists, and they make their own observations. Reductionist science is too weak for objective analysis, espe-
cially when there are many variables. Needless to say, billions of cells impose billions of variables. Besides, too much science now suffers from the defect Bill Albrecht saw in economics — so much that he could hardly stand the tribe —
namely, cheating. The fact is radionics works. Dowsing works. As Hamlet put it, “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.”

"ACRES U.S.A. After a long 25 years, how much have you accomplished?

"WALTERS. That’s not for me to say. The inevitable seldom happens, the unexpected does. The fact is the human population is being compromised by toxic technology. The male sperm count is down tremendously. The health pro-
file of the nation is going south in a handbasket. Even a Congress with its wits gone or a scientific community on the take will come to its senses one day. Certainly we’ve laid out the details. It will be up to society to correctly assess the facts and come to the appropriate conclusion. In the meantime the editorial job at Acres U.S.A. has been a rewarding one. The torch has been passed to a new generation."

Mr. Walters was a great man who, along with Ralph Borsodi3, did much to cultivate my interest in sustainable agriculture. He also understood sustainable economics and had a very clear vision of exactly what is wrong that caused America's economic meltdown, as I pointed out in a previous blog titled, "Understanding the 'Financial Tsunami' - The Natural Laws of Economics".

FOOTNOTES:

1. Before I am finished with it, if one takes into account the learning curve of such as HTML, CSS, Java, PHP, SQL, etc, this website will probably realistically contain a graduate degree's worth of work, research, and user-friendly information on the subject of individualism and a sustainable "life style" and philosophy which will hopefully atone for a mediocre GPA in my youth. So, thanks again for the intellectual inspiration, Mr. Perry!

2. Because I wasn't considered one of the "cool" kids in high school and college who was popular and could dance, I guess I was just too distracted by my socially-challenged underachiever status to work seriously for top grades. At the right is the "country bumpkin" skull full of mush Mr. Perry did his best to teach. Sorry, Mr. Perry!

The following video demonstrates what I was young enough and stupid enough to feel like I was missing out on. It was posted on my high school class' webpage. Not to worry, the video is an illusion. To the best of my recollection, none of the kids in my class could dance or play remotely as well as the kids in the video. Also, the video was not made by the kids at my school, Grand Junction High. My guess is that it was posted primarily for the purpose of recalling the "Happy Days" feelings of those "Glory Days". I see no harm in that, but thank God I don't have to live through them again! I'm feeling MUCH better now!

DANCING THE BOOGIE:


3. Here is a video tour of Ralph Borsodi's School of Living, a sustainable living community. In it is a referral to the fascinating subject of an evapotranspiration wastewater disposal system.

RALPH BORSODI SCHOOL OF LIVING '08:


4. I seriously doubt the veracity of the above footnoted sentence. I knew Mort Perry pretty well, and I have always believed he was more intellectually honest and open minded than to have wanted this lame and divisive sentence put into his obituary. Whoever wrote the sentence appears to be promoting a definite manipulation-based anti-free-speech agenda I believe Mr. Perry did not have. I can bear first-hand witness that you could talk with Mr. Perry about anything, whereas the writer of the sentence would most likely try to demonize the anti-socialist views advanced in this website and even the opinions of brilliant homosexual writers, such as the openly lesbian humanities professor, Camille Paglia, who disagree with their intellectually unsustainable "born gay" opinions. Quoting Wikipedia, "Paglia called the idea that people are born gay 'ridiculous,' adding that 'it is symptomatic of our overpoliticized climate that such assertions are given instant credence by gay activists and their media partisans.'" I used a number of quotes by Paglia in a blog titled "Is Boortz a pseudo-intellectual weeny on 'gay marriage' issue?". I feel quite certain that Mr. Perry would have been an admirer of Ms. Paglia's intellect and writing skills. To understand the agenda behind the sentence, it might be helpful to understand "How Modern Liberals Think", keeping in mind that the obituary writer correctly wrote of Mr. Perry, "He was more of a classical [e.g. John Stuart Mill's 'On Liberty' — JRW] than a contemporary liberal."

ShareThis
AttachmentSize
Mort Perry 1.jpg46.56 KB
Mort Perry 2.jpg42.08 KB
A JRW high school 1 120.jpg34.45 KB
Charles Walters memorial.pdf288.55 KB
Charles Walters interview.pdf285.11 KB
Charles Walters 1.jpg33.08 KB