Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thought for today: Kipling was right

I was nosing around in my daily reading spots and found that someone had blogged "The Gods of the Copybook Headings" by Kipling (written in 1919.)

As with the blogger, I was struck by how timeless and timely it is today.

Nothing changes... at least not here in the good ol US of A. Same mistakes, over and over and over.

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

Rudyard Kipling

AS I PASS through my incarnations
in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations
to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers
I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings,
I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us.
They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us,
as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift,
Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas
while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed.
They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne
like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress,
and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield,
or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on
they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton;
they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses;
they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market
Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming,
They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons,
that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us
and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings
said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones
we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour
and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children
and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings
said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch
we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter
to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money,
there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings
said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled,
and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled
and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters,
and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings
limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future,
it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain
since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit
and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger
goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished,
and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing
and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us,
as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings
with terror and slaughter return.

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