Two Wealthy, One Good

It’s been a year since my fund-raising campaign. Some readers probably remember Frank Friedrich Kling offering to match donations up to $2,500. The target was met within a few days, with my profound thanks. I’ve written to Mr. Kling a few times, and initially I expected him to pony up the promised $2,500. In yet another example that my idealism is often misguided, Mr. Kling has reneged. I no longer expect him to cough up the money, but I still write him every now and then. I like to afflict the comfortable.

Lest this short essay elicit unwanted response, I’m focusing on the principle. Or, rather, the lack of principles demonstrated by a couple of men. Financially, I’ll be fine, and I’m not using this essay to ask for money.

Mr. Kling was one of two memorable wealthy men I’ve encountered in my travels. The other, a cardiologist from Australia by the name of Dr. Geoffrey Chia, paid for my flight to San Francisco many months ago. We talked for an hour or two, and I returned to Tucson without even stepping outside the airport in San Francisco. Dr. Chia wanted me to oversee the development of his homestead on an Australian island. He figured my academic credentials would attract other academic friends of his. I declined, after considerable thought. I do not know the status of the homesteading project.

Dr. Chia used to write essays in this space. In one of them, he libeled Mr. Kling. I pointed out the error and asked for an apology from Dr. Chia, and he obliged. I don’t visit the Doomstead Diner, or many other websites, but apparently Dr. Chia is busily trashing my name in that space while blaming me for his libel. Apparently wealthy men are not to blame for their own words.

My point — and I do have one — is to illustrate the behavior of people who ought to know better. Genteel upbringing and the privileges attendant to monetary riches don’t guarantee an outcome fittingly called gentle, manly, or gentlemanly.

John B. McLemore was a friend of mine, although we never met. Perhaps Mr. Kling and Dr. Chia would’ve remained friends, had we not met.

John McLemore called me on the telephone every week or two. By his account, he was living in Little Shittown, Alabama. And although he was poor, he sent money in support of my work. He didn’t care for Mr. Kling, based strictly on the latter’s online persona. If he had an opinion about Dr. Chia, he didn’t reveal it to me.

Each time John sent money, he’d write a short note: “Make sure the old coot pays up.” John wanted my assurance that Mr. Kling would match his donation, as promised.

A few attentive readers might remember John’s essay, “Death of a Giant.” It was a fine and sad story about the death of one of the dogs John took into his care. John was caring for his ailing mother, along with a plethora of dogs. He knew about hospice. Based on my conversations with him, John was kind and compassionate. Small wonder he didn’t quite fit into this culture, as he mentioned repeatedly to me.

John’s essay was excellent. Indeed, a publisher asked me to contact him within minutes of its posting in this space. The publisher wanted to include the essay within a forthcoming collection. The next day, John asked me to remove his essay because he was upset by the ignorant and hateful comments so typical of this website. Like the rest of us, John was fragile.

I wondered why John hadn’t been responding to my email messages lately. He died last June at the age of 49 years.

With the death of John B. McLemore, the world lost a good man. I’d like to believe examples are useful, and the positive ones will be followed by others. But today I’m not at all sure such an assertion is supported by evidence.

I was interviewed 2 February 2016 by Gary Null of the Progressive Radio Network. The show is described and embedded here.

On the topic of monetary wealth, David Suzuki mentions me without saying my name in an interview with Rolling Stone published 2 February 2016. The multimillionaire and five-time father is a fan of hope (i.e., wishful thinking).

Ivey Cone interviewed McPherson for Episode 44 of Extinction Radio, which aired 22 January 2016. It’s embedded below.

Comments 108


  • WAR is always a very good business for the 1%, but not that good for those who lose their lifes at the frontline. And war will be an even better business, when war will be privatized worldwide.

  • I sometimes say war when what I mean is using any means necessary to achieve a desired goal. Certain wrongs are best addressed with wrath and vengeance. War can mean many things. For me, killing off the last of Africa’s megafauna so that fucking stupid Chinese people can get their ivory is a case for wrath and vengeance. Turn the whole world upside down if necessary.


  • Yes, some say, the 3. Worldwar is already happening, the war against Mother Nature. War against Nature in China, Africa, USA, Europe, Russia, Australia and all over the globe. It is a war of the financially and military strong ones against the weak ones. Phytoplankton, trees, plants, the megafauna of Africa does have no claws, no teath, no money, no killing machines, but is essential for all life on Earth.

    That which shrinks
    Must first expand.
    That which fails
    Must first be strong.
    That which is cast down
    Must first be raised.
    Before receiving
    There must be giving.

    This is called perception of the nature of things.
    Soft and weak overcome hard and strong.

    Fish cannot leave deep waters,
    And a country’s weapons should not be displayed.

    Tao Te King


  • I met a great black celebrity a very long time ago, and this is what she said to me (I paraphrase): Freedom first, and *then* peace.


  • When a *then* comes, it will be a *now*. When a *now* goes, it will be a *then*.

    Man is small, compared to the Universe. What might go wrong from a human perspective, is just the flow of Evolution form a cosmic perspective. Whatever I see, is impermanence.

  • “Man is small, compared to the Universe. What might go wrong from a human perspective, is just the flow of Evolution form a cosmic perspective. Whatever I see, is impermanence.”

    How do you know? :-)


  • Through a strict Teacher, who never spoke a single word, but everybody follows him, silenced.

  • Dear Nemisis,

    Your recent quotes of Herman Hesse and the Buddha were quite wonderful. So you say and post many things that are instructive and inspiring. But what gives me joy and meaning is to be constructive and to struggle for continuation of a living planet. That will never change. So we just have to agree to disagree.