Dean Clough

October 20, 2021

Portico Darwin: It's Time for A Statue of Responsibility

Santa Fe is proceeding as planned, big-time.  Weather?  Perfect.  Condo and its location?  Perfect.  Every meal?  Perfect.  Halloween spirit?  Also perfect.


P.S.  We had dinner last night at a trick Japanese resort in the foothills outside of Santa Fe proper.  As we were leaving, Julie flirted innocently (as only she can) with the two guys next to us about wearing a skirt to a tatami room.  I didn't pay much attention, until I turned to one of them, instantly recognized him, and blurted out "You're Alec Baldwin!"  Super fun and he was great, if not shaggy.

Along with my next chile (or maybe sushi) fix, liberty and freedom have been on my mind a lot lately, especially since I read George Packer's incredible "The Four Americas" a while back.  But also, as I've witnessed the actions Texas Governor Greg Abbott has taken in the name of liberty.  And as former Trump officials have chosen to ignore the rule of law, by ignoring the subpoenas issued by the congressional committee investigating the January 6th insurrection.

In light of all of this, I believe the time has come to erect a Statue of Responsibility just outside the Golden Gate Bridge, in the Pacific Ocean.  I wish I could claim responsibility for this brilliant idea, but I cannot.  It originated with Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, in 1946.  Here are his own words:

Freedom, however, is not the last word.  Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth.  Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness.  In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness.  That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.” 

Some have witnessed the state of our nation in recent years and are making renewed and serious proposals for a Statue of Responsibility.  I hope you'll take the time to read this recent excellent and short essay by Brent Cooper:  Why We Must Build The Statue of Responsibility.  Here are some compelling drawings of the idea.

SoR Coasts.jpeg


SoR Deck.jpeg

Some personal comments.  

  • This seems just so damned right.  We must remind every citizen in our nation that with freedom, comes responsibility and accountability.
  • I advocate it being in the Pacific Ocean off the Golden Gate, vs. in the more protected San Francisco Bay.  In the Pacific, it can be foggy, cold, and nasty, but at times sunny, warm and gorgeous.  Good.  Going there will be more than just a touristy day out, but an accomplishment.
  • It was really the Olympian-level mental gymnastics of Governor Greg Abbott in Texas that set me off.  Let me be sure I understand this:  he wants total and complete personal liberty, but he has banned private business owners from deciding how they want to run their own businesses (mask and vax requirements)?  And could there be anything less liberating than having the government control a woman's reproductive choices to the extent done in Texas?
  • I love the proposed statue itself, of an outreach by someone to another below.  I am reading the very powerful book "Caste" by Isabel Wilkerson and I will say, yes, those above need to reach down and pull up those below.  
  • To my right-leaning friends:  I also love this because it advocates personal responsibility.  Don't trash the planet.  Get educated.  Don't have babies you can't afford.  Vote.  Pay your fair share.  Be informed.  Do unto others.
  • Personal responsibility combined with justice equality equals peace. 

And lastly:  We live in a society, not just an economy.  A Statue of Responsibility would remind us of that in vivid fashion.  Liberty and freedom must be met with a sense of duty.

Via Arthur, this came in from Ralph Plummer, a friend of ours from Germany.  If you'd like to better understand the recent German elections, and the German political scene in general, Mr. Plummer (a favorite houseguest of Arthur and Mrs. Crup) wrote up this excellent summation.  I publish it here for general info, but also because it shows the necessity of multi-party coalitions, which would happen here, too, if we implemented Ranked Choice Voting, as I've advocated.

It appears, based on a wonderfully detailed email I received, complete with photos, from Hunter Deuce, that he and Fi not only had a great time here, but also that he has aspirations for writing a blog or newsletter or travel guide or something.  Stay in your lane, punk, but a tip of my cap for the effort.  And I will acknowledge seeing Yo La Tengo at a Killer winery in Sonoma doesn't sound too bad!

On just a slightly lighter note, we'd like to welcome our new neighbor Louie, the new puppy of the proud pseudo-parents Laura Gonzalez and Andrew Whistler. 


Thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.

In honor of the monumental nature of today's post, here is a monumental band with a monumental sound, with a greatest hits collection whose name fits my point today.  Here is Manchester's groundbreaking Joy Division and what I want more of in America, "Substance".


About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.