Thursday, July 18, 2013

Differences Of Opinion

To my son Tommy,

From time to time I like to renew my knowledge.  Books that some people consider archaic seem to hit my library list.  It is a welcome refresher, and because I have read them before, if I get interrupted I don't feel slighted because I know how it all works out.  It is the perfect pastime for when I hit compile on a computer program change and the programs are running through making the machine code given me a little bit of downtime.

So I decided to re-read the Federalist Papers.  They were letters written by some great minds of the time and published in newspapers to convince New York (and others) to ratify the U.S. Constitution.  It is a brilliant exposition of the whys and whats of the Constitution.  People always say the Constitution is so vague and ask what the founders were thinking when they wrote this or that, and I just point them to these papers.  

I wasn't even halfway into Federalist #1 written by Hamilton on 27 October 1787, when I came upon this quote...

“So numerous indeed and so powerful are the causes which serve to give a false bias to the judgment, that we, upon many occasions, see wise and good men on the wrong as well as on the right side of questions of the first magnitude to society.”
Excerpt From: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison & John Jay. “The Federalist Papers.” iBooks. 

I thought that was so apropos to today.  It lays down the base for civility in disagreement.  It is a nice way of saying "hey even though you are wrong, doesn't mean you are a bad person."  Even the wisest of wise can fall victim to those who try to sway you so they can achieve power or profit or prestige.  Or perhaps I am that good man who ended up on the wrong side of right because someone played upon my insecurities.  There is a bunch of that going on today in about every corner of the news.  People are out fear mongering and hate mongering just to serve their own purposes, to cash in on their fifteen minutes or someone else's.   We have lost our sense of philanthropy when it comes to events of today.  Too many do what only benefits them or are swayed by and preyed upon by others who only seek gain.  They don't consider our best interests, "our" of course meaning our society as a whole.

“Happy will it be if our choice should be directed by a judicious estimate of our true interests, unperplexed and unbiased by considerations not connected with the public good.”
Excerpt From: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison & John Jay. “The Federalist Papers.” iBooks. 

Some may think these ideas archaic, and find me strange for figuratively (because I used iBooks) knocking the dust off papers a couple centuries old,  but I believe the sentiments are right on point.  There are some questions of great magnitude facing us and many people are approaching them filled with someone else's rhetoric.  You can't let fear, ignorance, jealousy, prejudice, and loathing dictate your position on events of the world.  You ca't let someone else tell you that you should be mad or afraid.  You have to look at life and our world with pure intention and with pure heart and challenge your own silly learned biases.  I hope you end up taking this same approach in every aspect of your life.  And I hope, just like your father, you will knock the dust off a few ancient tomes in your lifetime.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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