Founding Fathers Quote Friday

Favorite Founding Father's Quote Day

[Thomas Paine] possessed a wonderful talent of writing to the tempers and feelings of the public. His compositions, though full of splendid and original imagery, were always adapted to the common capacities. He was intemperate and otherwise debauched in private life. His vanity appeared in everything he did or said. He once said he was at a loss to know whether he was made for the times or the times made for him. His “Age of Reason” probably perverted more persons from the Christian faith than any book that ever was written for the same purpose. Its extensive mischief was owing to the popular, perspicuous, and witty style in which it was written, and to its constant appeals to the feelings and tempers of his readers.

Benjamin Rush, Commonplace Book, June 8, 1809; in The Founders on the Founders (2008), ed. Kaminski. 

This comment on Tom Paine corresponds pretty well with what Socrates said about orators: that they pander to popular tastes rather than improve their listeners. It is also generally true of bloggers.

blog dog


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