What Can One Person Do?

Reading the current issue of Harper’s Washington Babylon by Ken Silverstein, I couldn’t help thinking of the long tenure there of Lewis Lapham, and the lasting effect of his commitment to authentic, probing journalism. I also thought of Lapham’s devoted friendship with the insightful author Walter Karp, and the impact of Karp’s brilliant analysis on Lapham’s perspective.

Karp himself died way too young, but left us several timeless classics like Indispensable Enemies and Buried Alive to inform ourselves on how we arrived at the demise of the humanitarian values people like Lapham’s grandfather instilled in him at the dawning of the era of human rights.

Looking back at the handful of mentors and writers who’ve assisted and guided me at critical junctures in my intellectual development, it’s not hard to see the importance of each individual contribution. Knowing that, how can anyone feel unimportant?

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~ by Jay Taber on April 20, 2007.

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