“I HAVE THE FEELING that the world I’ve known is ending. I have no idea what’s coming next, but on the basis of what we see, it doesn’t look great,” said author Salman Rushdie.

“We’re in an age of ‘Anything Can Happen.’ We can no longer predict the weather, the likelihood of war or the outcome of elections . . . there is a sense that reality has become surreal grim and disjointed . . . nothing goes according to the old rules anymore. We live in a moment in which truth is stranger than fiction and so fiction has to decide how strange it needs to be in order to get close to the truth.”

Rushdie, 72, has a new novel “Quichotte,” now in print. He was born in India, raised in the United Kingdom and has lived in the United States for several decades. Quichotte is a retelling of “Don Quixote,” the 17th-century classic by Miguel de Cervantes.

Some of you may remember that Rushdie wrote “The Satanic Verses,” in 1989 and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s supreme leader, was so disturbed by it that he offered a bounty for the murder of Rushdie.

In a recent interview in the Wall Street Journal Rushdie made this observation “It’s when someone says something you absolutely can’t stand — that’s when you discover if you believe in free speech or not.” It’s no trick to believe in free speech for people you agree with or are indifferent to.

In the interview Rushdie said that he is very annoyed with conservatives who declare themselves silenced when they are disinvited from college campuses. “Free speech doesn’t mean you have a right to walk in anywhere. That’s not an infringement of free speech; it’s an editorial decision about who you want to invite.”

At the same time, he also is irritated with what he sees as the rise of a censorship mentality of the left in the form of trigger warnings or objections to books deemed offensive.

“I do think that young, liberal opinion in this country needs to remember that when you start trying to limit things that you find unpleasant, you put yourself on very shaky ground,” said Rushdie.

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THE SAD STATE of America’s politics has the country on pins and needles. The rancor has divided us and we’re just too stubborn to compromise. I heard this story the other day and it defines our tribal mentality.

Let’s say a stately, fruitful apple tree has grown smack dab on a property line. Each year, the tree drops perfect, delicious apples on the ground; an equal amount on each side of the fence.

The two stubborn property owners contend all the prize-winning apples belong to them. When they can’t settle the dispute, they decide the only solution to the situation is to cut the tree down. 

Come on people, we’re better than this.

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THERE’S ONE ISSUE President Donald Trump seems to be conflicted on. America is very close to being at full employment. Businesses in many parts of the country can’t grow and expand because they can’t find people to work.

America has a very low birth rate. Trump wants to bring low-skill jobs back to America. If that’s the case, he is going to have to allow millions of immigrants into the country to fill those jobs. See the conflict with his immigration policy?

Trump can’t demand that companies like Apple and Nike produce hundreds of millions of their consumer products each year in the United States at cheap prices when low-skill workers make $10 per hour with very few benefits. Workers can’t support their families and contribute to society at those wages.

Millions of workers in the United States illegally work in assembly plants, slaughter houses, doing farm labor, hospitality jobs, home construction and other jobs that domestic workers refuse to do.

Another consequence to consider. Many manufacturing industries require massive amounts of energy to run. They produce lots of dirty-waste products that pollute the air and water. Be careful what you wish for. Let’s focus on clean jobs.

As Henry Ford used to say “You can’t produce products for mass distribution that cost more than your employees can afford to pay.” If you want to keep labor costs as low as possible, companies will be forced to build plants in countries with adequate labor resources.

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ACCORDING TO A History Channel ad “Archaeologists have only discovered about 10% of all past civilizations.” Is there any truth to this?

A Google search has a number of university history and archaeology experts weighing in. Nearly all have little respect for anything the History Channel says as the network is fixated on “ancient alien” theories.

The authorities said it depends on what is meant by civilizations. Prior to 6,000 years ago, people did not build or use things that endured so the chances of finding anything older than this would be small.

The fact is we don’t know what we don’t know. A guess of 10% can’t be proved or disproved, the experts contend. Most archaeologists believe all ancient civilizations that could have been found have been discovered and studied.