“The mind, in discovering truth, acts in the same manner as it acts through the eye in discovering objects; when once any object has been seen, it is impossible to put the mind back to the same condition it was in before it saw it.”
-Thomas Paine, Rights of Man
Once we venture out onto the precipice of truth, there is no going back, for it is the journey that encompasses a lifetime.
“Character is to us, in our present circumstances, of more importance than interest.”
-Thomas Paine, the American Crisis
If our reasons for going to war are to protect and extend freedom and the ideals of our own founding, then it is in our interest to preserve the character of our nation.
Radical attempts to alter that character in the name of “national interest”, whether through executive fiat or public apathy, it is all but ceding victory – winning the battle but losing the war.
A war for oil is one of interest. A war for the ideal of human freedom is one of character. Lest we get confused which is which.
“If I do not believe as you believe, it proves that you do not believe as I believe, and this is all that it proves.”
Despite all wars, hatreds, antagonisms, intolerance and abuse engendered to cure the “non-believers”, such action only serves to weaken the belief for which it is purported to serve.
“Why do men continue to practise on themselves the absurdities they despise in others?”
Or perhaps “me thinks thou doth protest too much”.
There are many ways to look at the same idea.
Often, what we despise the most in others is what we despise the most in ourselves.