John Adams says
I think he's right to a certain extent, except he couldn't see into the future with its deeply embedded moral bankruptcy and the wiles humankind would use, the lows it would sink to, in order to proliferate its greed.
Jodik, your misanthropy is useless. Give us a break, right, you know so much more about humankind than John Adams did.
Do we think that human nature has really changed then? I don't. Fear has always been a way to control people and people in charge, or those that want to be in charge, will continue to use it in as many ways as they can.
Human nature hasn't changed... it's simply grown bolder, bigger, and the lust for ever more has grown along with it. Our social constructs are outdated... and haven't kept up with our growing, modernized world.
And, no... I will not stop and give it a rest. It's through the concepts of "never enough" and "mine" that today's world is what it is.
The concepts of human connection, of sharing, of helping one another whether we know them or not, are swirling down a commode filled with commercialism, materialism, and... greed.
pnbrown - jodik is right, IMO. Adams was wrong. Look where we are today. Fear was what the Bush administration used to get us into two wars, which has cost us huge amounts in money, lives, and integrity. Fear is what the Republicans are running on - fear of another four years with a black man in charge. They talk about all the bad things Obama has done, without naming any of them. Taxes are lower (too low, IMO) than they have been in 50 years but somehow they are paying more in taxes. We have a health insurance billl, causing 30 MILLION more people to have insurance, but somehow that's a bad thing which will bring us to ruin. Osama bid Laden is dead and Al Queda is greatly diminished, the Iraq war is winding down, but that's all bad because Obama will take away our guns (where in the world that came from, except out of someone's you-know-what is a mystery).
Yes, fear is the only thing the Republicans have to run on. I refuse to be afraid of another Obama presidency, considering the alternative. The prospect of a Romney presidency and a Republican majority in both houses is what we really need to fear.
French had him worried with their reign of terror. So we had the extreme naturalization act, then the alien & sedition acts! French infiltration was on his mind. I appreciate his crankiness . It sounds as if This is what he was referring to. Do we know why he made the statement? Well his fear of a French coup never materialized
He thought Thomas Paine was an insolent blasphemer Paine was an ardent supporter of the French revolution.
The quote is contained in his "Thoughts on Government, Applicable to the Present State of the American Colonies", and was written by Adams during the spring of 1776 in response to a resolution of the North Carolina Provincial Congress which requested Adams's suggestions on the establishment of a new government and the drafting of a constitution.
Here is a link that might be useful: Happy Bastille Day
I agree with Jodik and Dockside. Ever since 9-11, the powers that be have taken advantage of our being blindsided by those events to turn the fear screws tighter on our people. It was an excuse for the Neocons to seize control and they have played it for all it's worth, right down to today. (Americans forget too easily -- remember all those color codings? All the lies about Sadam Hussein's connection to the WTC bombings?) And the Fundamentalist Evangelicals have grown stronger in their bully pulpit: Be very, very afraid of all Muslims....It is the exploitation of fear that has divided our country.
And no, human nature has not changed. But America as a great experiment has been derailed by Neocons and White Collar criminals.
How come I'm the only one who doesn't understand what he is saying?
Posted by woodnymph2 (My Page) on Sat, Jul 14, 12 at 15:49
"Be very, very afraid of all Muslims....It is the exploitation of fear that has divided our country."
Fear always divides. People form groups for safety and fight with each other. This is nothing new, and I seriously doubt it has anything to do with muslims, or any other religious group. Right now the powers that be, all sides, and playing on economic groups, as far as I can see. The women, religion, race, sexual orientation things are just distractions, IMO. I doubt many of the power brokers, all sides, actually care about the issues associated with our petty differences.
Basically he is saying that Americans are so different (exceptional?) from citizens of other countries that they would never allow themselves to be controlled by fear. Which we know is not the case at all.
I think that a great deal of our problem in this country is that fear dominates all our political dealings. Just take a look at the visuals in the political ads that are currently running. Both sides create these ads that are designed to scare the crap out of people. Poor John Adams - he wouldn't last a day in this political environment and I am sure he would be called rude things.
So much to fear, so little time.
Well I'll be darned.....poor man knew not of what he spoke....
Human nature hasn't changed...it's simply grown bolder, bigger, and the lust for ever more has grown along with it.
Wrong. It's the same as ever. Nothing new under the sun. You only think it's worse because we are such a new country. We are merely settling into what the rest of the world has been since the beginning of time. Didn't Cain kill Abel with a bayonnet?
Jodik, your continual statements about the badness of humans, humankind, humanity are by now old hat, and to harp so on the negative aspects of people is unrealistic and unconstructive because every person has both, and therefor humanity is neither good nor bad. Individuals also are neither good nor bad.
I think John Adams was in some manner correct in his assessment, and it is still true today. People everywhere, not just Americans, will not willingly be ruled by fear for long. Witness the Palestinians resisting the Israelis, as an example. That is what John Adams was referring to, the fear of brute force and intimidation. He wasn't talking about the manipulation of xenophobia, which is what y'all are referring to.
"...will not every sober man acknowledge it better calculated to promote the general happiness than any other form?"
It would have been great for him to have met Will Rogers,
Sounds like a good idea John unfortunately though they may not drink alcohol many in the US are drunk & drugged on so many other elixers & notions not least of which is the divine science of politics. It is often a festering illness accompanied by it cankered whore diplomacy in search of a good fundraiser.
The politicians have been consulting both Cassandra & Sybil since I was a kid and dies irae is always just around the corner along with prosperity.
In 1776 it was only possible to speak from experience of the old world, and to express hope for a future different from the past. Adams spoke at the beginning of the creation of a new world and hoped for a new order to go along with it. Adams is saying that fear was the ruling passion in the old order and that those not cowed by fear are who will lead this new country and anyone attempting to rule by fear will not gain approval from the people. The confidence he expresses in the will of the people is admirable, sure we want to go to a country where our approval or dissent in the way our country is run counts for something.
Is this The American Dream?
OK it's a nice sentiment it didn't match his later behavior nasty bits of legislation they were.
One tends to evoke what one expects from existence.
In general, I prefer to be on the side of the optimists, even though I am actually a pragmatic realist. IMO, it is a more pragmatic stance to take, since it tends to tilt the reality seesaw a bit in a positive direction.
I see no good coming from a constant expectation of the worst that humankind has to offer. If Adams had done that, we would never have had our own country or a decent Constitution.
I don't think it's productive or realistic to compare what a man said in 1770 something, and apply it to today's world, which has not only grown, industrialized, and modernized exponentially, but also emboldened itself to don white collars and extreme religious notions, and proceed to either pillage the planet for all its worth and move numbers around on paper, through intentionally created loopholes and into other nations banks, that the average citizen doesn't understand... or to systematically divide and conquer through race, sexual orientation, financial class, sex, citizenship status, etc... all the while hiding their own crimes behinds those white collars or steeples and bibles.
If, as a public society, we're still taken in by fear of the next bogeyman, thrown at us by our own community and government or corporate leaders, that's totally our own fault. When will we stop leaning on the fairy tales of others and begin to understand why those in leadership positions are throwing us off the track with a new bogeyman every week or month?
Step back... a little farther... don't be afraid... and look hard at the bigger picture of our world, our global community. Is it everything it could be, or we hoped it would be? No. Not even close.
Fear used to control the populace is the only thing that's still alive from centuries ago... and one might think we've become enlightened enough not to believe or follow such things... but this isn't the case. People are still going around repeating the latest fear, issued to a mass audience through media, though emanating from the same place... those in places of power and influence, who want it all, at any cost.
History repeats itself.
knowledge is power.
Wonder why people like Obama read history? HMMMMM.
Posted by eibren z6PA (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 15, 12 at 1:42
"I see no good coming from a constant expectation of the worst that humankind has to offer."
You are so right, Eibren.
Not only no good, but great harm coming from a constant expectation of the worst that humankind has to offer.
In my opinion, THAT is exactly where we will lose our power and more important, our determination and our hope--in believing that people are evil, society is bad and there is nothing we can do about it--and spreading that message.
It is not. It is not perfect.
There is indeed, far, far more good in people and in our country than bad.
Posted by jodik 5 (My Page) on Sun, Jul 15, 12 at 7:44
"People are still going around repeating the latest fear, issued to a mass audience through media..."
But Jodi, isn't that what you just did?
"extreme religious notions" are nothing new.
"I don't think it's productive or realistic to compare what a man said in 1770 something, and apply it to today's world,"
So I guess you would say all the world's colleges and universities are wasting time and money with their philosophy departments? When shall we start the book-burnings?
Great idea start with Kant.
And David Hume after him.
John Adams was right.
"Fear has always been a way to control people"
Machiavelli said this in the Prince didn't he?
Ã¢ÂÂit is much safer to be feared than loved because ...love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.Ã¢ÂÂ
But he wasn't only about the end justifying the means, and fear. May we all overthrow the fear thrust upon us and find a new system:
Ã¢ÂÂIt must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones.Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ NiccolÃÂ² Machiavelli
Fear of the right thing though or it can turn back on you and consume you as it did someone like Citizen Egalite.