The following is a post I wrote for a site called GoodBlogs, for this holiday in 2010. You may note that a couple of the pearls were used again recently…. but they remain valid…. and this goes to show that on the subject of patriotism, my viewpoint hasn’t changed in the last couple of years; in fact it is even more pronounced now…. Abondanza!…..
Musings of an Independent Nature
Independence Day is one of the few holidays I respect, since it was not created merely to stimulate the economy, as were many of the modern days on the calendar that we are told are “special”. As such, I’d like to pay it the honor of recognition.
In doing so, today’s group of pearls will walk a very dangerous line, as they deal primarily with two subjects that are often unwise to discuss (especially together), i.e. politics and religion. It is generally considered to be unwise because no other subjects arouse as much passion, or as much anger as do these two when the proponents of one or another creed feels challenged by the beliefs of another.
However, lest we forget, the first, and perhaps the most important, of the reasons we fought to be free of English rule was religious freedom; our entire government is based on the principle of separation of church and state. Too often today, those who would call themselves patriots are in reality interested only in preserving their own religious beliefs, and would deny to others the same prerogative.
July 4th, to my way of thinking, is a day to celebrate the diversity of thought allowed by the Constitution, to honor Truth in whatever guise it may take. I find it immensely interesting, and satisfying to note that the quotes I’ve chosen are the thoughts of people from a variety of different periods in our history, but all are alike in their intransigent resistance to any limits of thought or choice……
To forestall any flaming responses, or misunderstanding, I will also state at his point, that just because I have included a pearl, doesn’t necessarily mean that I endorse the same ideas. It also doesn’t mean that I don’t; as a matter of fact, I agree with most of what follows. But, most is not all, and as far as my own thoughts, they are my own; I’ve learned not to share all of them with others, as they have a tendency to make folks uneasy, or even angry. That is unfortunate, but, there it is. Human nature, being what it is, always has the tendency to “shoot the messenger”. I don’t mind; it keeps me on my toes……meantime, enjoy now these statements of belief by a number of important historical figures, and others…….
“But the greatest of all reformers of the depraved religion of his own country was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its luster from the dross of his biographers, and as separable as the diamond from the dunghill, we have the outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man; outlines which it is lamentable he did not live to fill up… The establishment of the innocent and genuine character of this benevolent moralist, and the rescuing it from the imputation of imposture, which has resulted from artificial systems*, invented by ultra-Christian sects, unauthorized by a single word ever uttered by him, is a most desirable object… *e.g. The immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurrection and visible ascension, his corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity; original sin, atonement, regeneration, election, orders of Hierarchy, etc.” — Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Short, October 31 (Halloween), 1819
“Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.” — H. L. Mencken (1810-1956)
“However, on religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in “A,” “B,” “C,” and “D.” Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of “conservatism.”” — Senator Barry Goldwater, from the Congressional Record, September 16, 1981
“You know your country is dying when you have to make a distinction between what is moral and ethical, and what is legal.” — John De Armond, Performance Engineering Magazine, 1994
“I’m completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.” — George Carlin
“They [the clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly: for I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” — Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Benjamin Rush, September 23, 1800
“The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.” — Confucius (B.C. 551-479)
There you have it…a veritable orgy of ideas, to do with as you please. But take a moment today to think about the historical forces that have led us to the situation we have in the world today, and strengthen your resolve to maintain that freedom that our forefathers left us as their legacy. You honor that legacy when you bend your efforts to use the mind you have been given, and reject outright any and all attempts to curtail, prejudice, or control that mind. Y’all take care out there….and have a good Fourth!….
As a holiday bonus, I offer one final pearl on today’s subject….
“Quite frankly I admit that I am not too talented, rather under-educated, and not too up on current affairs, decidedly uninterested in sports, and additional to all of this I know practically nothing about the stock market, money management, international law, how to deal with terrorism and protective policy. These at the things that worry me, inasmuch as any day now, someone is going to come and ask me to run for President, since so few other folks are so well qualified.” — Smart Bee
Stay safe today, ffolkes. A lot of amateur drinkers get carried away by their enthusiasm, and nothing is more dangerous than a drunk, self-proclaimed patriot on the fourth of July…..
Profound Truth differs from simple truth in that the negation of a simple truth is a simple falsehood, while the negation of a Profound Truth may be another Profound Truth. E.g. a button with “Life is just as simple as it seems” on one side and “Life is not as simple as it seems” on the other. — Smart Bee
This is an insightful piece of information, and, as such, is one most folks never would even consider, since it requires more than a minimum of thought to comprehend. But, there is hope! I see an opportunity here…. T-shirts!
We could, instead of a button with two Profound Truths on each side, make and sell T-shirts with the same…. add a small logo, and voilà, $35 each, 2 for $60. I smell a small fortune in sales, just at county fairs, NASCAR races, and flea markets. If one of the large chains, like Penneys, or Macy’s, gets wind of it, they’d probably offer a buy-out, or a franchise consignment contract for a medium fortune. It’s a sure winner! Want to invest?….
We could even think up more Profound Truths to put on each side…. like “Always” on one side, and “Never” on the other side. Or, “Your vote makes a difference!” and “Your vote is wasted!” on two sides. Or, “God is Dead!” on one side , with “God is Alive, and living in New Jersey” on the other side. Heck, you could hold contests to see who could come up with the best dualities to put on the shirts. Since the subject matter is Profound, you might even be able to get tax exempt status as an educational tool maker, with a dot .org domain name to boot, where the shirts could be sold and shipped online, for a modest fee.
I see a lot of potential here, with eventual growth into a multinational corporation dedicated to everything all the other corps are against, like Truth, Equality, Diversity, and Responsibility. I rather like the irony of using a corporation, dedicated to justice, to bring down the other corporations, who have long since shown their dedication to greed and oppression….
Hey, another thought…. We could go to California to incorporate, and, jointly, register as a church; in that socio-political stew, who’d notice another new cult? Then we could fight on two fronts, using corporate weapons to fight the corporations, and religious zealotry to fight the religious zealots…. A very balanced, two-pronged attack, with the added bonus of irony on our side…. Can’t lose, eh?…. It’s worth a shot, nothing else seems to be working…..
Vain was the chief’s the sage’s pride!
They had no poet, and they died.
— Alexander Pope (1688-1744) — Satires, Epistles, and Odes of Horace, Odes, Book iv, Ode 9
This is much how I react to the absence of poetry in life, so…. here are some fine examples from Mssr. Pope….
Epigram Engraved on the Collar of a Dog Which I Gave to His Royal Highness
I am his Highness’ dog at Kew;
Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?
Couplets on Wit
But our Great Turks in wit must reign alone
And ill can bear a Brother on the Throne.
Wit is like faith by such warm Fools profest
Who to be saved by one, must damn the rest.
Some who grow dull religious strait commence
And gain in morals what they lose in sense.
Wits starve as useless to a Common weal
While Fools have places purely for their Zeal.
Now wits gain praise by copying other wits
As one Hog lives on what another sh—.
Wou’d you your writings to some Palates fit
Purged all you verses from the sin of wit
For authors now are so conceited grown
They praise no works but what are like their own.
That should hold me for a day, and you as well…. enjoy!
“Honk! Honk! My nose is big, and red, my name is Ned, and I am a bozo”…. This is how all of us who attend the meetings at BA preface our remarks. Of course, I’m the only one who says “Ned”, but the rest is the same…
BA (Bozos Anonymous) is a fine organization, patterned on the AA model, that helps those of us who, for some genetic reason, easily fall into the life of a bozo, which, as we all know, is extremely bad, especially for the kids of such pathetic clowns…..
But, at the meetings, we support each other in learning to go through life without falling prey to our condition…. and, we learn not to miss having the occasional belly-laughs happen on a regular basis. As good as they feel, that much lack of seriousness can’t be allowed in a Christian society; it could lead to jokes about politicians, and lawyers, and priests, walking into a bar……
That being said, I wish you all a happy, safe 4th of July! Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you….
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.