John Keegan on slavery and liberation

“Slavery in the modern world implies the absolute deprivation of the individual’s liberty, while possession of weapons and mastery of their use are means to the individual’s liberation. We do not perceive how a man may be armed and at the same time bereft of his freedom.” – John Keegan

Timeless wisdom from the British author and, arguably the worlds best know, military historian.

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Abraham Lincoln on binding up wounds

While watching the news after the Obama Inauguration on Tuesday I saw a report on the top 10 Inauguration Speeches of all time. To no surprise Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address was listed as the best ever.

Below are Lincoln’s closing remarks from that speech, remarks made in the hope of binding the wounds of the country after years of civil war, remarks that I personally doubt will ever be surpassed in any inauguration speech.

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.” – Abraham Lincoln

Click here to see the full text of: Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address – March 4, 1865

John F. Kennedy on the enemy of the truth

Today at the office I was sent a link to a web hosting and design company that one of our clients had decided to switch to. No worries about losing this client. It’s the classic story of a customer who was not happy with his old provider when he moved his hosting to our firm and then a year later was of course not happy with us either. But that’s not important. What is important is that in the link to his new design and hosting company was a horrid website I noticed listed on their portfolio page. That website sold children’s books. One of the children’s books listed there was called “Obama, Our Hero”. Although I wish for nothing but success for our President Elect I was saddened to see this book because in my opinion it shows how deeply we have bought into the myth that has become Barack Obama.

That in turn reminded me of these words of warning issued to our young people at a Yale Commencement Address in 1962:

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” – John F. Kennedy

Harry S. Truman on the Sermon on the Mount

As today marks the 60th anniversary of Harry S. Truman’s “Fair Deal” speech in which he announced plans for many controversial domestic programs, including national health insurance, public housing, a minimum wage increase, and federal education assistance, I thought this quote could give us some insight into the man behind these policies, which were at the time were considered to “smack of socialism”.

“I do not believe there is a problem in this country or the world today which could not be settled if approached through the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount.” – Harry S. Truman

Click here for a link to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) from BibleGateway.com