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News Link • General Opinion

A Modest Proposal

• by Butler Shaffer

As the American franchise of Western Civilization tumbles into the dust-bin of history, I sometimes wonder whether – were it possible – the ghosts of Jefferson, Franklin, Sam Adams, and other "Founding Fathers," might be willing to engage in a conversation over what they helped to create. There has probably been no comparable group of such intelligent, well-educated, creative, prescient minds that has tried to design the foundations of a free and orderly political society. These men were the best for which any nation could hope. The first question I would ask of them is this: "did you truly believe that the appetites of the descendants of intelligent killer-apes could be tamed by the scribbling of words on parchment?"

Did these men – who personified that robust period of the Enlightenment – have too much faith in the capacity of humans to employ words and other abstractions to generate ideas and systems that would have the same demonstrable certitude of truth as the multiplication tables?

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