Jon Reisman

Four years ago, I returned to regular weekly punditry with Freedom Studies in the Machias Valley News Observer and The Calais Advertiser. Freedom Studies was born after a year of post cancer surgery recovery and more than 25 years after I retired “Poli-Sigh” in the old Downeast Coastal Press to pursue political and policy passions in Augusta. That journey gave me practical experience and a greater appreciation for the benefits of academia- Gubernatorial aides work longer and more grueling hours than professors. I returned to UMM and climbed the academic ladder, but my government experience modified my politics and ideology, and created conflict with my more progressive colleagues.

UMM got a new and decidedly left-leaning President as the 21st century commenced, and he and I were in increasing conflict over environmental and education policy matters. He was especially unhappy with my writing for a conservative national web site on climate change policy-having a faculty member criticize progressive sustainability dogma was not consistent with his views of academic freedom or his vision for UMM. Amidst increasing unpleasantness, I took my one and only sabbatical in the spring of 2003 and investigated possible career and job changes. I chose not to attend graduation, and was shocked when a phone call informed me that the President had died at the commencement ceremonies.

I returned to UMM and never took another sabbatical. That sabbatical break did allow to me examine and assess, and to recharge my somewhat depreciated intellectual capital. It is time for another.

Professionally, as an economist and policy analyst, I am deeply worried about the country. The national debt, identity politics, wokeness, climate alarmism, eco-fascism, creeping socialism, cultural Marxism, partisan division, BidenJustice and incipient banana republic status do not augur a promising future for the republic or freedom. Personally, as our 44th anniversary beckons, I am faced with agonizing decisions about caring for my wife. It is a depressing scenario, and one that impairs my ability to trust my judgement and competently and honestly analyze and write. Mindful of my post- surgery opiate induced conversation with the late Charles Krauthammer directing me to speak and write clearly and honestly, I am going to take a sabbatical to tend to business and clear my mind. I am not sure if and/or when I will return. Providence will decide. I thank my publisher for the four years he has given me, and my readers, both supporters and critics.  

Jon Reisman is an economist and policy analyst who retired from the University of Maine at Machias after 38 years. He resides on Cathance Lake in Cooper, where he is a Selectman and a Statler and Waldorf intern. Mr. Reisman’s views are his own and he welcomes comments as letters to the editor here, or to him directly via email at [email protected].

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