Like anyone else, it makes me feel good when readers say my ideas are absolutely original. But a CS Lewis said, "Prophets come along, not to declare new truths, but to remind us of the old ones.

In this vein, it comforts me when what I have worked hard to explain something that is going on and I end up running into some old saying. In fact, what I say, if I am working it right, ends up going back to an old truth.

I keep explaining how things work in terms of normal human action. I introduced a careful going-over of people's motivations in ALL cases. We all know we should "Follow the money," but until I wrote my first book, no one even THOUGHT of doing that in the case of the Human Betterment Industry as well as"the military-industrial complex."

You might think it would bother me that I think hard about something, put a LOT of hard intellectual work into it, and end up with a piece of common sense someone expressed better two centuries ago. But that is really all that prophets do.

Everybody knows how awful anyone can get if they are not called on it. But it is only a prophet who looks the King straight in the eye and tells HIM he is violating basic decency like any other human being. Only a prophet will go into a Sodom or Gomorrah and tell them what they are doing wrong.

They had people Beyond Criticism back then, too. They had Authorities in Robes like our Supreme Court who were not to be questioned. One man did that and he was lynched for it. He was nailed up by the Romans, but only the Guys in Robes gave them no choice.

So when I say you should always ask "Why is this information being produced?" it is clear that every conservative politician's credibility is tested by this standard all the time. Many times a commentator will simply explain that a politician gets so many tens of thousands of dollars a year from the NRA. He leaves the implication that only conservatives get contributions.

They almost never say where liberal contributions come from, thought the Democrats recently got a hell of a lot more money than the Republicans.

And it was in huge chunks. Foundations, unions half of whose voters vote the other way, and groups as activist as the NRA give money to them. But until 1976 no one ever "followed the money" on the LEFT. They don't now, because conservatives never challenge on this, either.

So what strikes a lot of people as pure genius in BUGS is really just applying one's THINKING in all areas.

This doesn't hurt my ego a bit. I am trading in genius for the title of Prophet.

I'll take that deal!

The title of Prophet has several big advantages over that of Genius. First of all, you don't have to be smarter than everybody else to be a prophet. I am sure someone has made an IQ estimate of each Biblical prophet, but it is not among the foremost considerations.

Jesus went out of his way to tell stories based on what everybody KNEW.

A prophet does not need to know everything. No one can say whether Socrates, Plato or Aristotle was the smartest. But Socrates would have been forgotten without Plato.

Those who insist that Jesus was "a good man" don't like to remember that that was not what he claimed. Yes, he was a prophet, but said he is THE Savior. Back to CS Lewis, "Jesus IS God or he WAS a madman." Modern Religion HATES that idea.

Even if the tale of the young Jesus in the Temple is literally true, it would be a toss-up whether he had more actual book learning than Paul. With Peter versus Paul it is not even close. A prophet is not made by book-learning and he is not made by his IQ.

What a prophet does is to apply simple truth to ALL realities. There are at least ten million people who are convinced they are Intellectuals and Idealist. Maybe it's my Bible Belt background, but just a suspicion that I may an actual PROPHET beats the hell out of any such claim for me.

It should be remembered that when Moses gave the Ten Commandments out, he did NOT say that he, Moses, was doing anything original. The actual rules came from God, not from a prophet. He was not even able to get the Tablets down to the people without breaking them the first time, which sounds a lot like Ole Bob to me.

Modern Religionists who quote Christ and Buddha have not the slightest idea where either of them was coming from. Buddha, like Christ, may have claimed to be prophet, but that was his LESSER claim. After his Enlightenment, Gautama declared that he was "a perfect Buddha." This is far above a human being, prophet or not.

Even The Prophet only claimed, like Moses, to be God's writer. I don't know whether they called him The Prophet, putting him above Moses, but he made it very clear that he was a prophet.

Buddhism has no God. Buddha, one in whom the Truth dwells, is as high as that hierarchy gets. Neither Jesus nor The Prophet nor Buddha worried about whether they knew more facts or had a higher IQ than those around them. Each of them delivered what he insisted was the truth, not because they were at the head of the Smart Table in school, but because they were repeating the truth as they, and ONLY they, knew it from a higher authority.

Neither Jesus nor Buddha not The Prophet every claimed to be ONLY prophet. Nor did every prophet say exactly what they revealed to be Final Truth.

As I say, none of the Great Religious Founders said that a prophet had to be smart or knowledgeable or, for that matter, even religious. Jews recognize Jesus as a prophet, at least publicly, and the Catholic Church declared Buddha, despite the fact that it looked at him as an adherent to that strange "religion without God" as a prophet.

But NOT as a Saint.

Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, the Hellenic Trio were recognized by the Hellenic Church as prophets, but definitely not saints.

A prophet does not ORDAIN other prophets. Like the Wizard of Oz said, Intellectuals ordain Intellectuals with a piece of paper. If you have a doctorate who you are or how smart you REALLY are makes no difference whatsoever.

But there is no paper one can carry to make a person a prophet in his own time. He must apply the rigid truth as he sees it fearlessly in his own time. He has a lot of foresight, but not necessarily because he is holy. He APPLIES what I see as the simple truth rigidly and insists that others do the same:

"Prophets do not come among us to declare NEW truths. They come to remind us of the old ones."

I am not the smartest. I am not the most informed. What I do claim is that I always try to start out right back at the simple truth and go on from there. A prophet teaches others to do the same thing.

Nothing else.

Am I a prophet? Unfortunately, like artists, real prophets are seldom recognized in their own time.

But for an old Bible Belter, it's a title to shoot for.

Besides, what other title is there for me to shoot for? If the Intellectuals or the Idealists were to claim me as one of their own, I would be shamed.