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NMMI pecans need no policing


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The website of the New Mexico Military Institute tells us NMMI is creating leaders for the future and doing this through the three standards of Duty-Honor-Achievement.

At passing, this triumvirate of values conjures up a vision of dependable, scholarly performing young men and women at the ready to help old women carry their groceries to the car.

However, after some thought, one realizes that without a moral framework, life by the standards Duty-Honor-Achievement in no way guarantees a stand-up individual of any value to anyone but him or herself.

Duty — to whom? To society in general or just to yours truly?

Honor — the word utterly lacks meaning in isolation. One might claim that it relates to truthfulness. However, the same objection applies here as with Duty.

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Achievement — what is deemed worthy of our struggle to achievement? Without an associated moral, there is a perfectly acceptable parity between making a fortune by cheating poor people making pay-day loans or making the same kind of money developing a cure for some form of cancer.

Unfortunately, the NMMI vision and mission statements provide no hint of the teaching of this moral framework that I am looking for. The reader might then interject: Just because a framework is not explicitly formulated, one could still be taught. Why would the teaching of morally desirable principles be kept on the low-low? On the contrary, organizations rather tend to proudly advertise these sort of things.

The reason I got to thinking about these things is that the other day I was witness to a rather apparent manifestation of this lack of moral framework. Coming down Main Street, I saw the police ticketing a man who had been trying to salvage the pecan nuts on the ground underneath the NMMI pecan trees.

Telling people of my observation, I got to hear that this would not have been the first time people were punished for trying to making use of the nuts. To every person with some moral sensibility, the less-than-Christian-behavior of the NMMI asking the police to protect their “property” is rather striking.

What aggravates the whole situation is that no one with the means to actually pay the imposed fine would be caught dead scavenging nuts along the roadside. Where this leaves the fined party is with an outstanding fine, possibly leading to further trouble with the law.

Quite honestly the whole situation brings to mind the medieval laws of hunting larger game, where commoners found guilty of such an offense could hang. Maybe it is in the medieval society that NMMI is finding their moral framework. If so, I understand them: I wouldn’t either broadcast it in the vision statement.

Karl Holmgren

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