"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Birthday Today - The Father of Our Country

It's George Washington's birthday.   Enough said.   Go read Ron Chernow's new biography (in my book recommendations), and learn about the greatness of Washington. 

To me, the neatest anecdote about Washington is the way he taught himself how to be a gentleman, relying on a booklet filled with 110 specific rules for "civility."   Here are some of them:

The Rules:
Treat everyone with respect. 1stEvery Action done in Company,
ought to be with Some Sign of
Respect, to those that are Present.

When you speak, be concise.35thLet your Discourse with Men of Business be Short and Comprehensive

Do not be quick to believe bad reports about others.50thBe not hasty to believe flying Reports to the Disparagement of any.

Do not be quick to talk about something when you don't have all the facts.79thBe not apt to relate News if you know not the truth thereof. In Discoursing of things you Have heard Name not your Author always A Secret Discover not.

Do not speak badly of those who are not present.89thSpeak not Evil of the absent for it is unjust.

Don't allow yourself to become jaded, cynical or calloused.110thLabor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.

Neat stuff.  

Look, I don't quibble with the fact that we have a Martin Luther King Day.  It's a good thing.   But I feel very strongly that, if we are going to have a Martin Luther King Day, we also ought to have an Abraham Lincoln Day and a George Washington Day.   King was a great man; Lincoln and Washington were greater men, and there really shouldn't be any dispute about that.   So let's cut out all this crap about "Presidents' Day" -- I'm not celebrating Millard Freaking Fillmore, for Christ's sake -- and go back to Lincoln's Birthday on February 12th and Washington's Birthday on February 22nd.   That's the way it ought to be.

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