Monday, December 1, 2008

#109 Bloggus Redivivus *** Man Is the Measure...

... of all things: of things which are, that they are [like Government], said the Sophist Protagoras, and of things which are not, that they are not [like this Blog for a while].

But first a couple of quotes from William Penn, British-Quaker-Founder of a US state crucial, appropriately, to President-Elect Obama's win on Nov 4. The first is a kind of restatement of the Confucian ideal of the Superior Man (or not) as the measure of good or bad government:

Governments, like clocks, go from the motions men give them, and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them are they ruined too. Wherefore governments rather depend upon men than men upon governments. (1682)

Would that it were not so true. We've seen over the past eight years, though, how the Inferior Man can single-handedly ruin a nation ... well-nigh. Thankfully, there are term limits that we, as individual men (sorry--the only gender voting in those days), established as part of our Democracy based on realistic "negative capability"--checks and balances and all that, too. (In our system the only lifetime tenure of idiots--though Sen's. Thurmond, Helms, and Stevens et alia continue to give it a shot--is sanctioned in Supreme Court appointments. But luckily they are a "committee," and by the very nature of that beast can agree to royally screw the commonwealthian pooch only once or twice in a generation.) So we've got a new man, now (the Confucian Ideal? ... I'm betting on it, you betcha), again by the Consent of the Governed--a principle presaged by that wise old Quaker, William Penn, in almost Libertarian terms:

It is certain that the most natural and human government is that of consent, for that binds freely ... when men hold their liberty by the obedience to rules of their own making. (1693)

"Binds freely"--don't you just love that oxy-you-know-what?! And all of this a century before the Founding Fathers! Well, we have bound ourselves freely to a good man at long last, I believe, and it's getting me misty as I keyboard painfully. William "the" Penn would have voted for Obama ... at least his eponymous state did.

***Yes, Myriad Readers who haven't abandoned it, the Daily Mosteller is back in business ... with a slight time-lag and somewhat diminished capacity. I'll get back to Grant Park (#105) and less derivative efforts as soon as I am more able. It's just a flesh wound.

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