On the Popularity of Fox News

“Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.”
-Thomas Paine

If Glenn Beck says the government wants to tax your breathing under the guise of global warming legislation, that doesn’t mean it’s true. If Sarah Palin tells us that health care reform is an evil plot, it’s more a reflection of Sarah than it is health care reform.

Reason dismisses such foolishness for what it is, ignorance swallows it whole.

On Justice for Terrorists

“He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”
-Thomas Paine

Vengeance is a self-fulfilling prophesy, feeding on its own cycle of hate and retribution. Victory over the insidious pull of a false sense of satisfaction from violence and oppression requires dogged determination, an adherence to the higher ideals conceived in the trial of our own oppression.

On the Better Use of a Billion Dollars: Corporate Bailouts or Scholarships

“A nation under a well regulated government, should permit none to remain uninstructed. It is monarchical and aristocratical government only that requires ignorance for its support.”
-Thomas Paine, Rights of Man

Believing that a company is too big to fail, while  the education of the coming generation falters, is an aristocracy of government-by-corporation that cannot last.

On the Value of Hanging Out with the Right People

“Better fare hard with good men than feast it with bad”
-Thomas Paine

It is not the relative difficulty or ease, but the caliber of people with which we associate, that shapes the course of our lives.

On the Genius and Strength of Abraham Lincoln

“I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.”
-Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

Lincoln’s time in the White House was marked with personal tragedy and national turmoil as the country convulsed through a horrific and bloody civil war. The genius and power of Lincoln was his ability to maintain his good nature and gather strength in tragedy. His ability to guide a nation through its worst crisis with his own hard-won sense of humility, humor, and simple grace – even “unto death” – sets Abraham Lincoln apart. He is one of the few men that live beyond their own time and “belong to the ages.

On Having Sufficient Gratitude

“But if objects for gratitude and admiration are our desire, do they not present themselves every hour to our eyes?”
-Thomas Paine, Age of Reason

Hobbes said life was nasty, brutish, and short. There is no question that life is often hard, even nasty and brutish, certainly short. Even so, if you have time for an existential crisis, then then you have reason to be grateful.

On Hiding the Truth

Truth never envelops itself in mystery, and the mystery in which it is at any time enveloped is the work of its antagonist, and never of itself.
Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

Truth is onto itself always, requiring nothing, and hiding from no one. Those that aim to deceive others from where truth lay, are its sworn enemy.

On Released Memos Justifying Torture

“An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates his duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”
-Thomas Paine, Rights of Man

Lost in a sea of semantics, twisted interpretations of law, and descriptions of medieval-sounding methods of punishment revealed in recently released Bush-era memos justifying torture is, in truth, a betrayal of the very principles that founded a nation.

Let the terrorist deal in terror. America stands or falls on how it abides by a higher standard.