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The Torch Magazine,  The Journal and Magazine of the
International Association of Torch Clubs
For 89 Years

A Peer-Reviewed
Quality Controlled

ISSN  Print 0040-9440
ISSN Online 2330-9261

  Spring 2016
Volume 89, Issue 3


The great privilege enjoyed by Americans is,
therefore, not only to be more enlightened than other peoples
but also to have the capacity to repair their mistakes.

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (trans. Gerald Bevan)

   Articles in the Spring  2016 Issue
  1. Of Fear and Freedom: A Personal View of Gun Rights and Gun Regulation
    by Kevin D. Cole
      The author was taught how to shoot by his father, and has also taught his children how to shoot.  Yet, given the data on gun homicides in the United States, he finds that gun violence is a serious public health problem.  The USA would be a safer place with strict controls on handguns.  Large-capacity ammunition magazines should be completely banned, because these have featured prominently in many mass shootings.  Generally, long guns are fine even if they are semi-automatic—but no individual needs a fully automatic gun.  Click here for a .pdf version of the article.
  2. Defenders of the Alamo: Who Were They, and Why Did They Do It?
    by Michael E. Anderson
      This article concerns a group of men who, one hundred and seventy seven years after their deaths, still remain worthy of our awe and respect. Finding a match in history equal to their bravery and sacrifice would likely turn up only professional soldiers, which these men were not. I speak of the defenders of the Alamo during Texas's war for independence from Mexico in 1836. Click here for a .pdf version of the article.
  3. The American Creed at Risk: The Clash of Egalitarianism, Community and Individualism
    by William Shendow
      As a people, we have primarily been defined and united by our commitment to political principles. Unlike countries that define themselves in terms of their racial, ethnic, religious, or some other cultural identity, the basis of America's national identity is political ideas, an American Creed that was present at the founding, sustained us through internal and external conflicts, and allowed us to evolve into an exceptional nation defined by principles, not ascription.  Shendow wonders if this concept of national unity is not under grave threat due to the polarized politics which have recently emerged. Click here for a .pdf version of the article.
  4. Optional Reality and American Democracy
    by Roland Moy
      Given the liberal-conservative differences regarding the processing of actual facts and new information, the gerrymandering of congressional districts that locks in Tea Party victories across the country, and the greater convergence between Republican ideology/dogma and the policy interests of big money campaign backers, there is reason to be concerned about the harm done to American democracy by opting for an alternative reality when considering policy.  The country is confronted with real issues that might prove to be remediable by fact-based analysis and timely government attention that seeks to approximate the constitutional goal of a more perfect union.  Click here for a .pdf version of the article.
  5. The Life and Times of the Other Caesar
    by Joseph H. Zerbey IV
      Augustus is the "other Caesar."  He lived in his home on Palatine Hill and avoided any semblance of monarchy. He believed that his personal security, his standing with the masses, benefited from his governing in the public interest. Unlike the latter days of the old Republic, where senators fumed and assassinated one another, stole from the people, and raised their own private legions, the new empire reorganized the lives of the citizens for their betterment. Augustus, along with Agrippa, strengthened and trained a new army and sent the famous Legions of Rome to guard the vast reaches of the empire, insuring open trade routes. He remolded the civil services, rebuilt most of Rome after tearing down the dilapidated slums, and even appointed a 3,500-man fire and police service under a chief officer.  In short, he built the Roman empire as we think of it today.   Click here for a .pdf version of the article.
  6. Playhouse vs. Theatre
    by Stanley Vincent Longman
      "Playhouse" and "Theatre" differ.  The playhouse taps the power of action and imagery to engage the audience's imagination.  Theatre, a word derived from the Greek for a "seeing place," invites the audience to peer through the frame of the proscenium arch into another world richly suggested by scenic elements.  Both require the collaboration of the audience.  Each has its own way of creating illusion and both emerged in the last quarter of the sixteenth century—the 1570s.  Click here for a .pdf version of the article.
  7. Is There an Innate Moral Sense?
    by John Fockler
      The author was challenged to prove that there either is or is not a moral sense built into the human animal.  After looking at both sides of the debate, Fockler concludes that there is excellent evidence on both sides of the question.  Click here for a .pdf version of the article.

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