Posts tagged " john adams "

The Young, the Elite and the Ignorant

March 21st, 2019 Posted by Susan's Musings 17 comments

My father-in-law, of blessed memory, used to say that people aren’t balance sheets. You can’t tout up a subjective view of a person’s good and bad points, do a quick mathematical computation and emerge with a ranking. Say someone always shoveled his elderly neighbors’ drives (+3), gave 15% of his income to charity (+3) and was meticulously honest in business (+4) but had an explosive temper with his wife and children (-4) and indulged in an affair (-4).  Do the arithmetic: 3 + 3 + 4 – 4 -4 = 2.  This does not mean that you can say that he was a  +2 type of guy. God will make his own calculations, but we human beings can only say that he was a complicated person, doing both outstanding and horrible actions.

The lens of history reveals John Adams, second president of the United States, as a complicated man. Undoubtedly brilliant and deeply involved in the founding of this country, as president he also signed into legislation the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts and was unpopular enough not to earn a second term in office.

Among his greatest moments, in my opinion, was his defense of the British soldiers accused of murder in the misnamed Boston Massacre of 1770, one of the events that led to America’s declaring independence. Although Adams was already favoring breaking with England, he set a precedent that made America different from Europe by establishing that everyone, even those who are unpopular or hold unpopular views, deserve honest representation before the law. He famously said,  “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they can not alter the state of facts and evidence.” 

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Race to Judgment

December 2nd, 2015 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Some people find that praying comes naturally, but for me that was not true. I am not embarrassed about this; after all, I did not grow up naturally able to navigate a sailboat or cook an omelet. I had to be taught these things. But nobody taught me how to pray.

One thing I had been taught was that praying is not just another word for begging. When they say there are no atheists in fox holes the are not really talking of praying; they mean begging. And begging only corrodes the soul. Either the passerby carelessly drops a quarter into the outstretched hand or he ignores it and hurries on by. Either way, the beggar is demeaned. By contrast, true prayer is uplifting. (more…)

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