Monday, February 9, 2009

Wisdom courtesy of Professor Paul Johnson

This from Alexis de Tocqueville, French writer of the mid 1800s. He was given an unpaid commission by President Jackson to investigate the American condition.

"One of the happiest consequences of the absence of government (when a people is fortunate enough to be able to do without it, which is rare) is the development of individual strength that inevitably follows from it. Each man learns to think, to act for himself, without counting on the support of an outside force which, however vigilant one supposes it to be, can never answer all social needs. Man, thus accustomed to seek his well-being only through his own efforts, raises himself in his own opinion as he does in the opinion of others; his soul becomes larger and stronger at the same time."

Professor Johnson also conveys in his valuable book, A History of the American People,

On his travels to the U.S., de Tocqueville spoke with several Americans to get a more accurate depiction of American life. "The Rev. Louis Dwight said to him (de Tocqueville) that the Americans were the best educated people in the world: "[Here] everyone takes it for granted that education will be moral and religious. There would be a general outcry, a kind of popular uprising, against anyone who tried to introduce a contrary system, and everyone would say it would be better to have no education at all than an education of that sort. It is from the Bible that all our children learn to read."

With how different things seem today, these quotes are interesting. With the coming non-stimulus stimulus plan, the first quote seems particularly relevant.



Anonymous said...

The "stimulus package" is all about liberal democrats trying to lock in positive public opinion for future elections.

Eventually the global economy will again expand, as will the USA's.

When it does, watch for the democrats to take credit for it.

In the Heartland, there are many God fearing people who relish the thought that their children can learn to read from the Bible.

At a paper mill in Duluth today, we were washing up after taking some tests in the plant. A number of workers were doing the same before shift change. One was kidding the man we were working with about his receeding hairline. But ultimately he thought it was an OK hairline because at Church on Ash Wednesday it would be cool as always to see the big ashen cross so boldly made large on the big avaialable forhead of his friend.

Also, high above a hill in central Wisconsin, is a newly lighted, huge white cross to be seen by all from the highway.

A beautiful sight really!!

Jeromeo said...

Bit of a stretch for the Paul Johnson post, but worth sharing I think:

The new administration had a day of great clarity on Thursday (2-12). President Obama had just finished making comments in Peoria, Illinois at the Caterpillar plant, and had quoted the Cat CEO as saying the Obama's stimulus plan "would enable him to re-hire some of the people that they just layed off". Obama jumps in the limo and heads to his next campaign-style speech, and reporters start asking the CEO if this is true, and of course he confirms that no, this is not true, and in fact he'll be laying off more people before anyone comes back to work.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, DC, Obama's Republican appointee to head Commerce, Judd Gregg, was holding his own press conference and declaring that he is withdrawing as nominee, and citing the stimulus bill and the dishonest Democrat handling of the legislation as the primary reason for withdrawing, but also noting that the administration had decided that they want to control the census process from the White House, and diminish the Commerce Secretary's traditional independence on census.

Clarity is more important than agreement. And I now have a clearer understanding of the Obama administration.