Caleb North, R.I.P.

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My son, the
youngest of my four children, age 24, died sometime in the last
two weeks. His body was found on Sunday, February 4 in his apartment,
which is 250 miles from my home. He died of natural causes — very
strange natural causes. If anyone you know suffers from the following
symptoms, that person should take this very seriously.

He suffered
from an affliction that was not able to be diagnosed during his
lifetime. (I await the coroner’s report.) We took him to neurologists,
chiropractors, standard physicians, and alternative health care
physicians. There were blood tests. Nothing. No one had seen anything
like his affliction.

About four
years ago, he complained of a tingling sensation in the back of
his heels. Month by month, the tingling spread up the back of his
legs. Within a year, he began suffering terrible upper body spasms.
He could control them to some degree by sticking his fist in the
small of his back and pressing against a chair. He also fought the
spasms constantly by contracting his back muscles before the spasms
occurred. By the end of his life, he was sleeping only 3 to 4 hours
a night.

When a physician
or chiropractor would put him on a diagnostic table, the upper half
of his body would sometimes snap upright. In every case, the health
care practitioner said, "I have never seen anything like this."

The spasms
continued upward to his neck-head area last year.

In November,
he was at the library. He collapsed. He had spasms on the floor,
unconscious. They called the paramedics, who took him to the hospital.
It is a large, regional facility. They ran a CT-scan and other diagnostics.
They found nothing. They sent him home.

He could not
eat much. At six feet three, he weighed about 140 pounds — sometimes
less. He had wasted away.

He did not
complain at any time during these years. He tried to stay in college,
despite the fact that he could not sleep well and would miss his
scheduled assignments. He was very smart. He finally gave up last
semester, acknowledging that he could no longer function physically
in that schedule-intensive environment. He conducted himself well,
although at the end, he did not want to see any more physicians.

A month ago,
he was on a bus where the driver had a seizure and collapsed. My
son got to the steering wheel, guided the bus to the curb, and called
9-11 on his cell phone to summon the paramedics. A local TV station
wanted to interview him. He declined. I thought that was the right
decision at the time. Now, I wish he had. I would like a copy of
the tape.

I named him
Caleb because in the book of Joshua, Caleb lived to a ripe old age
and remained on the job. Such was not to be in his life.

On my 25th
birthday, my grandmother told me, “You’ll be 30 before you know
it.” I knew this was true even then. I will turn 65 on Sunday. On
his 25th birthday, I had planned to tell Caleb what my grandmother
told me. Such was not to be in his life.


If anyone ever
asks you "What’s so good about capitalism?" tell him this:
Capitalism has made it possible for most of our children to survive
the killer diseases and accidents that two centuries ago killed
30% or more of all children before they reached adulthood.

Our children
bury us. Most of us do not bury our children. I know of no greater
blessing in the modern world. It is a blessing not known throughout
most of man’s history. Be grateful for it. We take it for granted.

My former pastor,
novelist Henry Coray, who died in his nineties a few years ago,
over 40 years ago said this in a sermon. "Until the day that
God has pre-ordained before history began that we are to die, we
are immortal. On that special day, we are inescapably dead."
He said this to increase our courage under fire.

It also helps
cut off that inevitable but unanswerable question: "Why?"
The correct answer is: "That’s My exclusive business."

The secret
things belong unto the LORD our God: but
those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children
for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy

This leads
me to my final four points, which I offer for your careful consideration.

But God commendeth
his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us (Paul’s epistle to the Romans, chapter 5, verse 8).

For the wages
of sin [are] death; but the gift of God is eternal life through
Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).

And we know
that all things work together for good to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

So when this
corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall
have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying
that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where
is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Corinthians 15:54—55)

of sending an email of condolence to me, call your kids and tell
them you think they are terrific. Be specific as to why. It will
help them work on their good points. The older they are, the less
you can do about their bad points. Put your effort where it counts.)

6, 2007

North [send him mail] is the
author of Mises
on Money
. Visit
He is also the author of a free 19-volume series, An
Economic Commentary on the Bible

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