Friday, September 5, 2008

FFQF: Ben Franklin on LIBERTY

This blog post has moved! It's now on my own website, here:

FFQF: Ben Franklin on LIBERTY


akaGaGa said...

Great quote, Herky. I considered it, too, but decided to go with Thomas Jefferson.

Your comments are interesting, but I'm not sure I agree with your order of events. It strikes me that this is one of those "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" things.

Agreeing that virtue is required to truly understand and support liberty, and agreeing that virtue only comes when Christ has made us "free indeed", isn't liberty required for the transformation to take place? God doesn't force anyone to follow His Son, which is why I so strongly support the separation of church and state. Constantine tried it, but you can't legislate Christians. Anyhow, you got me thinking early in the morning. :)

P.S. Sorry about putting my name in the autolink twice. My new software fills in blanks sometimes that I don't even know about!

Hercules Mulligan said...

Hi Jean. Thanks for reading, and leaving your link!

I agree with everything you said, only I don't think I quite understand what you mean about putting liberty before virtue. To clarify, I was speaking of political liberty in my comments. True, a degree of liberty is needed for someone to make that decision to follow Christ, but it is still possible without political liberty. Even in restricted nations like China, massive outbreaks of genuine revival are sweeping the country, and the Chinese government is desperately trying to keep it under control. As for our government, the liberty to decide to follow Christ is not that restricted.

Looking back over what I said, and over the Franklin quote, and over the events surrounding the Revolution, I think that I put things in their proper order. Political liberty is not possible in a society where there is no virtue. Even another American Revolution would not restore a true and lasting political liberty to our country, without virtue. In fact, a revolutionary war would probably make things worse. War brings out the worst in human nature. Alexander Hamilton once observed that "the passions of a revolution are apt to hurry even good men into excesses."

Some people today speak of starting another American Revolution to take back the political liberty we have lost. What I am saying is, I agree. BUT FIRST THINGS FIRST. Look at what happened in America, during our Revolution. And then turn and look at France, with her revolution only a few years later. One successfully secured political liberty, the other didn't. Why? The American Revolution was preceded by the First Great Awakening. Christians turned from false religion, to true repentance. They lived lives of genuine virtue. And of course, unbelievers were genuinely converted. In France, there was no revival. It began with the masses simply being sick and tired of political tyranny, and in their state, who wouldn't be? They were not at all a virtuous society. In America at the time, France was one of the European nations that embodied all that was licentious and degenerate in Europe -- the diaries and letters of John and Abigail Adams on France really bring that out. So what did their revolution do? It created total chaos. Blood literally ran down the streets. People killed other people without a thought. Atrocities multiplied. And in the end, Napoleon rose to power. Some liberty.

It is so easy for us to say words like "revolution" easily. But revolution is WAR, and war brings out the worst in human nature. If the populous does not have the virtue before and during such a massive upheaval, than it will be totally swept away in the torrent. That was the way of all the old revolutions of history, except ours, because ours was established on 1) Christian principles, and 2) Christian virtue. Revolution and political freedom have never achieved virtue in all of history. But genuine and lasting virtue has always secured genuine and lasting political freedom, and made revolution successful.

I hope that explains.

As for the double-link, that may be a problem on my end. I am fixing it now. BTW, you may want to link to your actual FFQF post, instead of your homepage, so that later, when people click on your link, they will see your FFQF entry. If they see the homepage days from now, they will have to find the FFQF post buried in your archives. Just a suggestion. You don't need to worry about the link to your homepage that is already there, though. :) It's fine.

Well, my comment is long, so I hope I haven't taxed your brain too much! I am off to read your FFQF entry, and to fix my post.

Mrs. Mecomber said...

GREAT quote. I put up Franklin today, too. But you have cool pictures to go along with yours. :)

Cato said...

Excellent entry for today. It truly epitomizess the basis on which liberty stands. It also shows how very far our present culture and government have digressed.

Thank you for visiting my post.

Cato said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
akaGaGa said...

Thanks for the explanation, Herky, and I suspect you're right about the order. I had never thought about it in quite this way ... but I obviously came to the right place to get more details. :)