« A word to the 1Ls | Main | Bush's State of the Union »


ben franklin

Why did they "paraphrase" the Franklin quotation?


(1) the exact wording of the quote itself is subject to considerable debate because it was one of his "catch phrases" that he often used in speeches. He said it many times with many small variations. The "largest version" is often quoted: Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

(2) the "largest version" of the quote would not have fit on the banner and still remained visible (and it's better to have a short quote for impact.)

(3) once people saw the paraphrased quote attributed to Franklin, it wouldn't be that difficult to look up the "fullest version" of the quote and talk about it.

I addressed this in an earlier post - the "largest version" of the quote is even more damning. It's a shame it didn't fit on the banner.


Courage is not turning your back to the arguement of the other side but in having the self control to sit, listen, and respond. I consider a number of you folks friends, and I have had a hard time looking you in the face these past few days. I have, since meeting a lot of you and sitting by your sides, not been able to help admiring your realness and openess, and although I disagree with you on a great many things, I have always felt safe among you because I felt like we had a common love for dialogue, for truth, for our right and need to live as we saw fit. But what made you folks special, your beliefs so beautiful and kinda tragic (not all of you but a number of you), was that, it seemed to me, you could not hope that your positions was any more than your own. There always was another side and although it may have disturbed you, those people too had a right, need, and obligation, to understand their views and to live them. What you guys did when the AG was here was a denial of all those things. It denied that there was any validity to a particular position, that the individual espousing such views was simply wrong, that there was nothing to be gained by listening. I know that you may feel that you are left with no alternative and that the time has come to galvanize the masses one way or another. But all actions breed like actions, and your protest will not bring on intelligent dialogue and soul searching, it will bring on placard bearing people without any understanding of the issues (legal and otherwise)and see no need to undestand because they are not believers in dialogue- they are believers in spectatcle. There is a need for such people and such spectacles, but not here, and I had believed, not you. The only way that I could understand your actions is if you told me that you were not proud of what you did but had to degrade yourselves for the common good. I get the impression, however, that this is not the case.
I do not expect that anyone will read this or respond to it, I have been writing this as more of a therapy session because I really feel like I have been naive about what you guys stood for. I am only glad that I hadnt realized this before or I never would have gained as much from you all as I did.



One - you should take this here.

Two - give me a fucking break. Do you *really* think that sitting there like a bunch of well-bred puppies, thoughtfully nodding at the AG, then watching him zip off to his next photo op would have, in any way, brought about "intelligent dialogue and soul searching" on the part of anyone in the administration?

I completely agree with you that there's a time and a place for reasoned exchanges where both parties exchange their views and come to a principled understanding of themselves, each other, and the full ramifications of their actions (I *do* hope that one day it will be all the time, every place). But you should understand that there are times when one must take the opportunity to register the most solemn kind of disgust for the other party’s fundamental disrespect of your beliefs and, I dare say, humanity.

To put it metaphorically, the AG wasn't even coming to the table to sit down and talk. He was driving by, hollering out his window, and telling people to get out of his way.

To be honest, I don't *like* the fact that the protest happened, because I don't like the idea that things are so off track in the country. But as some of the other protesters have pointed out, where do you draw the line before the first people stand up and say "no - no more of this bullshit?"

A poem by Martin Niemoller. Niemoller was a pastor in the German Confessing Church who spent eight and one-half years in a Nazi concentration camp.

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the communists
and I did not speak out--
because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

The exact text of what Martin Niemoller said, and which appears in the Congressional Record, October 14, 1968, page 31636 is:

"When Hitler attacked the Jews
I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the Catholics,
I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists,
I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned.
Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church --
and there was nobody left to be concerned."

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Book

  • Ice Sculpture of Mermaid with Cigar

    Icecoversmall Is now available at Amazon

    You can also read about it