February 22nd, 2013

Happy birthday…

…George:

washington

But he doesn’t look all that happy, does he?

Since I seem to be into quotes today, here are some from Washington. On reading the entire page, I can’t help but be impressed, once again, by the ability of the Founders to distill to their very essence the dilemmas about liberty and government that still face us today.

Outdated? Hardly:

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.

This next one may surprise some people, but those who have studied what the Founders actually meant by separation of church and state will probably not find it contradictory:

It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.

This next one seems particularly apropos, especially after yesterday’s post about depriving people of autonomy in the name of “helping” them (note the gracefulness and economy of expression, too):

It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.

And for those who find themselves losing heart, remember this:

Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.

[ADDENDUM: Caveat---"Kentucky Packrat" writes that some of these quotes are suspect and may not have come from Washington. I've noticed that happens a lot with quotes from famous people; some of the most famous cannot be reliably authenticated.]

12 Responses to “Happy birthday…”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    “Where may the wearied eye repose
    When gazing on the Great;
    Where neither guilty glory glows,
    Nor despicable state?
    Yes –one–the first–the last–the best–
    The Cincinnatus of the West,
    Whom envy dared not hate,
    Bequeath’d the name of Washington,
    To make man blush there was but one!”

    George Gordan, Lord Byron”

  2. Kentucky Packrat Says:

    There’s only one problem: there is no evidence that George ever spoke or wrote any of the first three, and the first one especially is from an alleged quote that isn’t consistent with the time.

    George said enough worth talking about without pulling out the bad false quotes.

  3. neo-neocon Says:

    Kentucky Packrat: not being a Washington expert, I certainly didn’t know that. I’ve relied on that site for quotes before, and although they’re usually good, I find that famous quotes can in general be suspect. I’ll add an addendum to that effect in the post.

  4. George Pal Says:

    But he doesn’t look all that happy, does he?”

    It was at these portrait sittings were the inevitable had begun to seep in. He hadn’t the names but he knew well the inevitable direction of the future. We ourselves know it now as history (also as in “this country is history”):

    From Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison to Bush, Clinton, Bush, Barack Barry Hussein Soetero/Obama.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    George Pal: I was always told it was his false teeth.

    But maybe he could see the future?

  6. roc scssrs Says:

    There are a lot of bogus “quotes” out there, that’s for sure. As long as you don’t quote Chief Seattle to us.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_Seattle#The_Speech_controversy

  7. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Here’s a few more purportedly from old George.

    “Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

    “The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves.”

    “The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.”

    “When firearms go, all goes. We need them every hour.”

    Whatever their provenance, I judge them to be apropos.

  8. Mr. Frank Says:

    Replacing Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays as holidays with Presidents’ Day was a bad idea. When you close schools and government offices for a specific individual, it tells children that the person honored was a very important person. I believe that MLK is the only American so honored.

  9. Francesca Says:

    We were very fortunate as a country to have had George Washington at the very beginning. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have another of his quality now? However, I don’t see one anywhere.

  10. parker Says:

    “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

    I don’t care who is the author of this quote. This quote correctly and succinctly describes the inherent danger of centralized authority. “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” (TJ) I fear DC and the consequences DC will force upon my children and grandchildren. BHO and his cohorts are would be tyrants.

  11. rickl Says:

    The quotes about government and guns eerily foreshadow Mao Zedong’s more famous quote “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

    Of course, whether he said them or not, Washington didn’t murder 60 million people. That much has been fairly well established.

  12. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Thing about GW is that nobody had been president of anything important before. Nobody knew how.
    Anybody successfully overthrown a government and just…gone home?
    See the “American Cincinnatus”, also the “Society of The Cincinnati”.
    We won, we’re going home.
    The American experiment is unique in a number of ways; one of the first being the winners went home.

    Which, I suppose, two centuries later means the type which can do it are not in the government. Probably a good idea, if inadvertennt.

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