Monday, September 24, 2012
"The path of true piety is so plain as to require but little political direction."
In researching a few things I'd read about George Washington's astonishing religious tolerance--of not only other faiths, but atheists as well--in Chernow's book, I restumbled upon his First Annual Message to Congress, 8 January, 1790:
[T]here is nothing which can better deserve your patronage, than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is, in every country, the surest basis of public happiness. In one in which the measures of government receive their impression so immediately from the sense of the community as in ours, it is proportionably essential.
To the security of a free constitution it contributes in various ways: by convincing those who are entrusted with the public administration, that every valuable end of government is best answered by the enlightened confidence of the people; and by teaching the people themselves to know and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them; to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority; between burthens proceeding from a disregard to their convenience, and those resulting from the inevitable exigences of society; to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness—cherishing the first, avoiding the last; and uniting a speedy but temperate vigilance against encroachments, with an inviolable respect to the laws.
Yeah, well, you know, that's just like, uh...your opinion, man.
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