Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Check out what Ben said

From time to time here on Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty I'll comment on the book I'm reading; sometimes to recount a particularly sound concept or profound idea, sometimes to relay a specific quote that's right on the money, sometimes just to say, "Check out how cool this is!" Right now I'm reading The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates together with The Federalist Papers - they complement each other perfectly and together weave a more complete timeline than they do separate, so I'm bending my rule of concentrating on one book at a time (see this page to see how I'm approaching it).

So here's today's snippet, on the occasion of my 30th birthday:
And of what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable pre-eminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will not be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your Government and be your rulers - and these too will be mistaken in the expected happiness of their situation: For their vanquished competitors of the same spirit, and from the same motives will perpetually be endeavouring to distress their administration, thwart their measures and render them odious to the people.

- Benjamin Franklin, 2 June 1787 speaking to the Constitutional Congress in opposition to the idea of making the presidency a salaried position
Anybody else think maybe Franklin was the most prescient of all the Founders? He was the Grandfather among the Fathers of our country, after all.


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