Thomas Column: Sometimes, ideology trumps compromise
June 28, 2012
“To be proud of knowledge is to be blind with light.” – Benjamin Franklin
In politics these days we hear a lot about compromise. But it seems to me that our nation wasn’t founded by compromising with the British monarchy. We also hear that those of us who embrace a strong ideology, one that we may be willing to die for, are rock-heads who are unenlightened in this progressive age.
Now, you folks who have no ideology must admit that our nation was founded on very definite principles by well-educated persons, the majority of whose ideologies were unyielding, being developed over time and from bitter experiences. Does that mean that all were of like minds in every detail? Not hardly – that is, if you study the highly charged intellectual debates of that era.
Creating the foundations of our nation was a struggle between those grounded in the origins of Western (Greek) civilization vs. monarchy, religious zealotry and God only knows what else. But in spite of varying core beliefs, the discourses were, for the most part, civil enough to get the job done. I doubt that any modern document can approach the wisdom of our Declaration of Independence, coupling wishful thinking with the stark reality of achieving the impossible.
Were our founders all of the same religion? No. Perhaps most were Christians of one kind or another, who ideologically would have likely died for Christianity, and yet, they could still work together once they overcame their initial secular differences. So ideologies didn’t prevent our fledgling republicans from achieving common goals, as our modern-day progressives predict will never happen to us if we fail to compromise our core beliefs in favor of political expedience.
I wonder, do today’s progressives really believe there are more intelligent beings now than in Benjamin Franklin’s and Alexander Hamilton’s time? If they do, that accounts for the educational snobbery so currently prevalent in this and European countries. I don’t know how to truly determine genuine intelligence, and I doubt anyone else does with any degree of certainty; however, one thing should be obvious: Our founding fathers and mothers had a lot more street smarts (common sense) than do our intellectual and political leaders of today. Today, our State Department gets outmaneuvered by everybody, thanks to endless compromises.
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When you consider the lack of technology available to our forefathers, I believe the creative achievements of Ben Franklin and his peers exhibit an uncanny innate intelligence, on a par with modern-day scientists. Look, do you believe that our recent presidents and congresspersons have created a better world than we had 150 years ago? Yes, we have an abundance of man-made conveniences, longer life and countless consumables, but are we really better off? More secure? Aren’t we constantly threatened?
I submit that mankind does not progress intelligently with each successive generation the way that science compounds its knowledge. Every new generation’s kids have to learn all over again what their fathers and mothers learned in their generation: “Hey, Dad, you made your mistakes, can’t I …?”
Humankind returns to ground zero with every new generation while science outstrips us developmentally in every way. We need ideological stability.
Changing the subject, I’m going to expose an oxymoronic boondoggle. Isn’t it true that all presidential candidates and congresspersons currently running for election are giving lip service to the viability of Medicare and Medicaid? Aren’t we older folks living too long? Won’t life expectancy continue to increase? Will it ever stop? There is even hushed talk about medical experts determining who will and who won’t receive medical procedures based on age, as in the Netherlands.
On one hand, government agents led by first lady Michelle Obama are confiscating school lunches, crying about what we eat, about fast food, about obesity, about restricting the availability of sugars used in soft drinks. And on the other hand, government is contemplating limiting life by rationing health care, while spending billions brainwashing us to eat foods we don’t like so we can live longer. Please, don’t give me a song and dance about “last illness” costs. Those costs are inevitable no matter when we die, short of euthanasia. Government is beyond hope.
• Bob Thomas is a retired high-tech industrialist who later served on the Carson City School Board, the state welfare board, the airport authority and as a state assemblyman. His website is http://www.worldclassentrepreneur.com.