Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The First American, Masked

Today is Benjamin Franklin’s birthday. Much has been said about Franklin, and much thoughtful stuff has been written about him. Mark Twain, for example, said that his views on self-discipline makes life tough on young boys (although I don’t remember it having any effect on Tom or Huck!), and Jerry Weinberger thinks he was a deeply serious thinker. I agree. He was also a likeable old man and the older I get the more I like him, and not only for his virtues.

Discussions - 4 Comments

Thanks for the reminder, Peter! Having spent a considerable amount of time and sweat at Penn, and also having been a Revolution afficionado as a young man, I have a special place in my heart for Ben. I wasn’t able to follow your first link, but I loved the advice to be found in the last one!

Fung: Thanks. The first link is to a bio of Franklin and is working.

Among the things that I have always believed about Ben Franklin is that not only were his virtues great and significant, but that his vices were non-destructive. Now, I could be wrong about that, but it always seemed to me that he was a hedonist, but not a malicious one. Unlike our 42nd President, who was also a hedonist, but so self-centered that he could not concieve of the damage he did, Ben Franklin always seemed more mischievious than malicious to me. Call me crazy...

I believe Franklin’s birthday is January 17th. I there disagreement about this of which I’m unaware? But not to worry: Franklin deserves more than a day. Besides, he turns 300 this year!

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