Tuesday, June 16, 2009


"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past."
~Thomas Jefferson

Oh, TJ. If your dreams of the future had been more accurate, you'd have known just how wrongheaded that was.

Reminds me of another splendid-sounding, misguided quotation, this one from George Bernard Shaw, repeated often by Robert F. Kennedy, which is all the disqualification any quotation needs.

"You see things and say 'Why?'; but I dream things that never were and I say 'Why not?'"

My answer? "Probably for a damn good reason."


MadMonarchist said...

How about a quote from John Adams who said, "The history of the American Revolution will be a lie"

Then there was Alexander Hamilton who got it right when he said, "For it is a truth, which the experience of ages has attested, that the people are always most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion."

ZAROVE said...

While reading Jefferson, I am always disquieted. His spirit and mine do not seem to find harmony. His words are those of a man who embraced rebellion, not to overthrow a supposedly unjust tyranny, but in order to get his own way. He also loved Chaos and change, and advocated a new revolution every century.

to this may we look for inspiration? One who sought endless bloodshed because it excited him and in it he saw a rejuvenating effect?

He was also far too naive in terms of how things would play out. he assumed that by ridding us of a King and letting the American colonies be Republics, nay, demanding them be Republics, that somehow all freedom would magically appear. Its the same delusion we think of today when people associate freedom with being Democratic, and think of non-democratic governments as not free, but oppressive and cruel.

Jeffrsons Dreams of the Future excited him more than the History of the past because he sa win it a living goal to strive for, and saw int he past death and silence. He wanted soemthing new and vibrant, and wanted soemhing to build toward. Pity he never learned what Solomon said, or which woudl later be qwuoted by Santayana, that those hwo do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, and that which will be has been already.

He was like anyoen else, placing a dream above reality, rather than measurign it agaisnt reality, and the results are usually never very good.

MR. OBSIDIAN said...

While perhaps well-intentioned, those who obsess over the normative "could be's" always focus on the ideal and never on the reality. The many failures of such thinking escape their observation.

We are witnessing the absurdity of "egalitarianism" and "democracy," and have witnessed the utter failure of communism and socialism, yet the idealists perpetuate the dream, disregarding any factual counterpoints as unrepresentative of the "perfect form," which exists only in their imaginings.