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    "The slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts" ~ George Orwell





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    Thursday, August 19, 2004

    Hand me down my walkin' cane


    I have no car for the next day or so. I used to walk a whole lot more before I was driving and I kind of enjoy having to. I am not against cars in any way but having one is an expensive pain in the ass. Not having one is only a pain in the ass. It's tempting. This is tempting too, to be fair.

    I started (as if I were going to keep going until I finished, but ha-ha) reading the Federalist Papers, which is one of those things it is nice to have online. I began, of course, at #1. Alexander Hamilton is writing the State of New York urging them to keep cool heads during the coming constitutional debating and ratifying. It struck me that you could read the whole thing as an admonishment of people today if only you ignored that it was written in the late 1700s and you changed the word 'Constitution' with 'President'. I'm sure this isn't the first time someone stumbled on how relevant the Federalist papers are to things going on today, but it was uncanny. I had checked out a little about Hamilton this year on the anniversary of the Hamilton-Burr duel, and it's a shame he considered participating a shootout a matter of honor but not shooting to win. Ah well, at least he wrote and said all kinds of well reasoned things in the meantime. I could have posted the whole thing here, but this was the most clearly relevant to me:

    And yet, however just these sentiments will be allowed to be, we have already sufficient indications that it will happen in this as in all former cases of great national discussion. A torrent of angry and malignant passions will be let loose. To judge from the conduct of the opposite parties, we shall be led to conclude that they will mutually hope to evince the justness of their opinions, and to increase the number of their converts by the loudness of their declamations and the bitterness of their invectives. An enlightened zeal for the energy and efficiency of government will be stigmatized as the offspring of a temper fond of despotic power and hostile to the principles of liberty. An over-scrupulous jealousy of danger to the rights of the people, which is more commonly the fault of the head than of the heart, will be represented as mere pretense and artifice, the stale bait for popularity at the expense of the public good. It will be forgotten, on the one hand, that jealousy is the usual concomitant of love, and that the noble enthusiasm of liberty is apt to be infected with a spirit of narrow and illiberal distrust. On the other hand, it will be equally forgotten that the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.


    Wow...I'm sure that speaks for itself, but go read or reread the whole thing if you're interested.
    more later, i have to walk to the store and see what the crime is really like on my streets at almost 2am. Wish me luck!

    M@







    posted by M@ at 1:40 AM   0 comments links to this post

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