The Time Must Come

The time must come when men will understand that the highest function of government is not to legislate but to educate, to make not laws but schools.  The greatest statesman, like the subtlest teacher, will guide and suggest through information, rather than invite pugnacity with prohibitions and commands; his motto will be, Millions for education, not one cent for compulsion.  The state, which began as the conquest and taxation of peaceful peasants by marauding herdsman, will become, again, as it was for a moment under the Antonines, the leadership of a great nation by great men.  We need not so despair of our race as to believe that government will be in the hands of politicians forever.  Day by day a hoard of knowledge rises; generation after generation the heritage of culture grows, and finds transmission to a larger minority of mankind; soon men will not tolerate the charlatans that we have suffered so patiently and so long.  Our children’s children, lifted up by our care, will choose their rulers more wisely than we chose.  They will not ask for lawmakers but for creative teachers; they will submit not to regimentation but to knowledge; they will achieve peace and order not through violence and compulsion, but through the advance and spread and organization of intelligence.

Will Durant, The Pleasures of Philosophy, Chapter XVII, In Praise of Freedom, Simon and Schuster, New York, Fifth Cloth Edition 1964, pg. 287

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/03 at 09:00 AM
  1. You’re one of my favorite raindrops, & I hope Bill Whittle changes your mind:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPjBXufufUU&feature=player_embedded

    Posted by jeff  on  11/03  at  09:24 AM
  2. Jeff, I watched Bill Whittle’s “Falling on Principle” yesterday.  Bill’s argument for voting, for Romney and Ryan, is eloquently stated, but not convincingly stated.

    As Bill notes, it is difficult to live one’s life according to principle, and I have as difficult a time living my life to my principles as Mr. Whittle does, but Whittle is incorrect when he states that it is unprincipled to vote.  I also think it profane when Whittle references the sacrifices of United States military men and and women as a compelling reason to vote.

    Every statement Whittle makes in regards to Obama and the democratic machine, i.e. “this administration,” Obamacare, etc., within the video rings true, and there is a distinct possibility, as Whittle also points out, that if Obama wins this presidential election that corruption will become so prevalent that any future election will be unwinnable by any individual of the conservative bent.  If so, the Rubicon may be crossed in 2016.

    Whittle is going to take a chance on Romney and Ryan, and I will not belittle him, or any other individual who does so in the polling booth.  That is your free choice, but it is not your duty.

    I also, in not voting, can be counted as taking a chance.  So be it, but I will not vote, not only because of my principles, but because I think it immoral, as I’ve previously mentioned here.

    I am a raindrop, but there are other rivers to plenish.  While my position on voting may disappoint, I would hope that it does not lead to detestation.

    Apparently it is not democracy alone that is a failure; it is ourselves.  We forgot to make ourselves intelligent when we made ourselves sovereign.  We thought there was power in numbers, and we found only mediocrity.  The larger the number of voters, the more ordinary must be the man or the qualities that will appeal to them.  We do not demand greatness or foresight in elected officials, but only bare-toothed oratory and something this side of starvation.  According to Bacon, “the ancient politicians said of democracies that ‘the people were like the sea, and the orators like the wind.’”  Indeed, we do not much care who governs us; we hardly realize that we are being governed, just as formerly we thought we paid no taxes because we paid them through the landlord or the tariff.

    Will Durant

    Posted by John Venlet  on  11/03  at  02:13 PM
  3. Thanks for the reply, John.

    I had recalled your essay that you linked to, and thought of it when I watched the Firewall piece.  That too, was eloquent, but unconvincing.  Or, shall I say, less-than convincing.

    I could defend your point.  And if the Republic is indeed lost, then voting is no different than choosing between PAIN and SUFFERING.  And so, the only reason I would support your point is if I thought that we’d lost, already.

    But, I don’t think that…not quite. Or, not yet.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think your statement above, was intended to say, “...when he states that it is unprincipled to (NOT) vote.”  But then, I don’t think he said or meant that.  What he means, I believe, is while abstaining is a valid and principled position to take, doing so violates (or at least subjugates) other principles.  Namely, the principle to speak your mind and affect your world in a certain peaceful way.

    Which is what those servicemen fought for, at least in part.  They voted with their bullets, because over that hill were other folks, likewise voting with bullets, who despise our self-annointed right to choose the lessers of evils.  Or, more specifically, that the leaders of those others despised our freedoms.

    But I don’t vote because I’m indebted to those heroes (although I am so indebted).  I vote because of those other men two centuries plus ago who risked their lives and fortunes to craft a new form of representative government.  I believe they were right to do so.  And I don’t lament the shortage of intelligence in the “democracy”, just the shortage of good fortune, combined with the preponderance of unrelenting evil.

    If we are already at that point where democracy became tyranny, then the shooting should have long since commenced.  And those who think we’ve gone beyond redemption should feel free to start the shooting.  I’m right behind you!

    When it becomes necessary to vote with our bullets, I’ll gladly fight to restore our Republic.  It was right to declare our independence and fight that battle once, and certainly worth doing again, if necessary.  I did, however, vote at least once more with my pen.

    Don’t think for a minute that your position makes you detestable.  Quite the contrary.  Our similarities are so many, that our differences are marginal.

    Lastly, I don’t believe in Durant’s power of numbers, or of democracy.  In fact, and correct me again if I am wrong, but the quantity of citizens who do NOT vote (for whatever reason) is the true majority.  And in that manner, isn’t the anti-votist undifferentiated from the person who simply does not care?

    Posted by jeff  on  11/03  at  04:43 PM
  4. Morning, Jeff.

    I think the actual United States Republic has been lost for sometime, but the ember of the idea of Republic still retains heat, which I think we would both agree on.

    Sorry for not paying closer attention to what I wrote in regards to Bill’s point on voting.  I did mean NOT voting, though I do not, at least at this time, agree that not voting subjugates other principles.  I speak my mind frequently, sometimes forcefully, but most often peacefully, in attempting to affect the world.  It must be noted, though, that I fully realize that I must change myself first.

    I think you know that I have only the highest respect for the members of the military, the boots on the ground so to speak, and I am thankful that individuals volunteer to serve, just as I did in the past.  But, I still do not think it appropriate to allude to the job they do as a valid reason to enter the voting booth.  The men who fought in the Revolutionary war did not fight and die for the right to vote, for their personal suffrage, they fought to be freed from the chains of overreaching government.  Voting, in large part, has brought us to where we are today.

    Like you, if it comes time for bullets to be used to protect my freedom, and possibly end my life, I’ll be there.  My voting with my pen takes place, in large part, here on these pages.

    Our similarities are so many, that our differences are marginal.

    Very true indeed, Jeff, and I’ll add, that based on the few words we have exchanged here, that I fully trust that you, as an individual, would never attempt to compel me do one thing or another at the point of the gun.

    In fact, and correct me again if I am wrong, but the quantity of citizens who do NOT vote (for whatever reason) is the true majority.

    I don’t know the actual numerics of that, but it could possibly be correct, and could also be what Bill was referring to when he stated that conservatives outnumber liberals 2 to 1.  I think this also is a point to consider more deeply, if true.  Why do conservatives, if there is such a majority, not vote?  In my opinion it is because conservative individuals actually do value freedom and realize that voting, in large part, whether for presidents, politicians in general, or laws, tends to result in loss of freedom rather than an increase in freedom.

    And in that manner, isn’t the anti-votist undifferentiated from the person who simply does not care?

    I don’t agree that the anti-votist is undifferentiated from the person who simply does not care.  Most individuals who I know, or am aware of, who consciously do not vote, care deeply about America, individualism and freedom.  Those who actually do not care at all, well, they don’t care, and so I have no need to be concerned with them.

    Posted by John Venlet  on  11/04  at  12:02 PM
  5. “I don’t agree that the anti-votist is undifferentiated from the person who simply does not care.”

    I’m with you on this, John; the two are entirely different.  I don’t vote because I DO care, and I specifically don’t vote because I WON’T subordinate a higher principle to a lower one.  A person’s life and all that goes with it, should NOT be placed in the hands of another person, or group of people or whatever.

    Obviously if they have to defend against him to preserve their own liberty, then they gotta do what they gotta do.  But if they don’t, then what he does or doesn’t do is none of their business, and no consensus can possibly ever change that.

    Who’d athunk that in 2012 the vast majority of people would actually argue FOR mob rule?  If you look at it that way—and that’s EXACTLY what Democracy is—it’s amazing that the species has managed to survive even this long.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/06  at  01:18 AM

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