ERROL CASTENS: Reform, restraint and a mash of miscellany



I’ve had some fantastic, revolutionary, mind-blowing, world-changing ideas for a column this week. Unfortunately, I can’t remember a single one of them, so you’re stuck with these codgertations instead:

• Many a would-be reformer has gone to Washington and developed Stockholm syndrome.

• Some of us would benefit from having fitter bodies and fatter bank accounts, more friends and more accomplishments, but if our lives are aimed primarily at any of those things, we will ultimately be disappointed.

• The warning “For mature audiences only” too often is followed by something that only immature people would relish.

• On the other hand, it’s easy for an advanced degree of fastidiousness to get in the way of helping.

A Christian who’s hyper-vigilant never to be seen in a bad part of town or with people of questionable character or who won’t read or watch anything that isn’t G-rated (spoiler alert: The Bible is not G-rated) is about as useful as a physician who can’t stand being around sick people.

• Contentment and complacency may seem different only by a matter of degrees at first listen, but they’re not even passing acquaintances, much less kissing cousins.

• Similarly, there’s an ocean of difference in restraint and constraint.

• One big question is, “What possessions, activities, habits and commitments enhance my mission?” Another big question, in the spirit of Hebrews 12:1, is, “What possessions, activities, habits and commitments hold me back from my mission?”

• Want to see something funnier than someone trying to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon?

Ask a liberal to explain the Tenth Amendment and watch his head explode.

• Most farmers I know are politically conservative. If they want to help make the case for a less-invasive, more free-market-oriented nation, they can start with supporting the abolition of farm subsidies – including the indirect corn subsidy known as the “renewable fuels” mandate.

• Friends who are attracted to us by our stuff are not actual friends. (See Proverbs 19:4.)

• After studying the issue for 22-plus years, I think I’ve finally figured out why a wife will continue to attempt communicating with her husband in hints and intimations rather than straightforwardly despite his only occasionally picking up on her indirect clues.

Maybe it’s that for a wife to speak in subtleties and have her husband actually understand and respond even occasionally – whether it’s about intimacy, financial goals or just taking out the trash – gives her the same satisfaction that her husband gets from telling her a joke and not having to explain it.

My wife gets more of my jokes than she did 20 years ago. I get more of her hints than I did 20 years ago.

That makes both of us happier creatures.

Contact Daily Journal reporter Errol Castens at (662) 816-1282 or

Click video to hear audio

  • Slim Smith

    Errol, Errol, Errol. I was embarrassed (for you) to see the line in your column, “Ask a liberal to explain the 10th Amendment and watch his head explode.” I assure you that no explosion is likely for anyone with even a passing knowledge of the Constitution. Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution is all that is necessary. Warning: Reading this may cause YOUR head to explode.I would further state that any Mississippian who gets all warm and fuzzy about the 10th Amendment has either an ignorance of, or indifference to, Mississippi’s sorry history of relying on the 10th amendment to propogate slavery and hinder civil rights.

    • guest

      It is not the 10th Amendment that causes our head to explode it is the fact that Tea Partiers like Mr. Casteen fail to acknowledge the 14th and the 16th amendments. For some reason normal people develop a headache when people want to selectively use laws and bible quotes while ignoring the context.

      • Slim Smith

        Think he’ll even be curious enough to read to Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2)? Nah. Of course not…Dude still thinks nullification is constitutional. Mississippi forever. Forever Mississippi. Sigh.

        • guest

          One would think that the matter was settled after the Civil War. Of course that mind set wants to selectively follow law and science – why should basic American History be any different.

    • Kevin

      i have to say that reading the DJs comments is much better and much more informed than reading comments on Clarion-Ledger articles.

      Now we can’t entirely blame Castens. He’s so old he grew up learning (probably in public schools in Mississippi) that the 10th Amendment was the end-all, be-all of the U.S. Constitution. For years, Mississippi students learned history from state-sanctioned textbooks and poorly trained teachers and it was state law that required these state-approved textbooks to tell a southern-fried version of the Civil War and Reconstruction (and avoid civil rights altogether). So Castens learned bad history–or heritage in the guise of history. But we can fault him for not investigating things on his own.

      Based on this diatribe and the one on not paying college athletes by John L. Pitts, I think the DJ will put just any kind of drivel on their website.


    Thou shalt not covet. Desire is the root of all evil. Kind of like the GOP’s desire that they’d actually tried to do something about the rising crush of health care cost before the DEM’s did. Their desire is so overwhelming now they’ll break every other commandment to get their way.
    Just checked – – head still intact.

  • Kevin

    What the heck?


    Actually this is really great to go back and read original Articles of Confederation, Bill of Rights, etc. Love this one – from the Articles of Confederation

    Only the central government is allowed to conduct foreign political or
    commercial relations and to declare war. No state or official may accept
    foreign gifts or titles, and granting any title of nobility is
    forbidden to all. States are restrained from forming sub-national
    groups. No state may tax or interfere with treaty stipulations already proposed.
    No state may engage in war, without permission of Congress, unless
    invaded or that is imminent on the frontier; no state may maintain a
    peace-time standing army or navy, unless infested by pirates, but every
    State is required to keep ready, a well-regulated (meaning well
    trained), disciplined, and equipped militia, with sufficient public
    stores of a due number of field pieces, tents, a proper quantity of
    arms, ammunition and camp equipage.

    HMMMM – – kinda puts a new perspective on that 2nd Amendment in the Bill of Rights