It should be rather obvious from this blog’s banner and tagline, and from our occasional political posts, that we are thoroughly devoted to the philosophical and political principals of the Enlightenment, the American Revolution, and the Constitution.
It’s difficult to choose just one of the Founding Fathers who best embodies all of those principles, but we’ve settled on Benjamin Franklin. He was, of course, on the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence, after which he played a vital role as ambassador to France during the Revolution. He was later present at the Constitutional Convention. Besides being a best-selling author, he also prospered as an entrepreneur by — in effect — franchising his printing business throughout the states. He was also a noted inventor (Franklin stove, lightning rod, etc.). Additionally, he was one of the foremost scientists of his day (although that word wasn’t then in use), pioneering in electricity and in exploration of the Gulf Stream. Not enough? He became an abolitionist, and on top of all that he was a philanthropist. So Franklin is our model.
Okay, what of it? Our point is that in choosing a candidate for the upcoming US presidential election in 2012, we’ve boiled it all down to one simple question: Who would Franklin support? (Yes, we know that should be “whom.”)
As a self-made man who grew wealthy through what we easily recognize as the free enterprise system (property rights, freedom of contract, free markets, etc.) it’s abundantly clear — at least to us — that he wouldn’t support anyone from today’s Democrat party. Had they been running things in his day they’d have taxed and regulated him out of business; and his inventing and scientific work would have got him in trouble with the municipal zoning inspectors. There’s really nothing to debate about that. Fine, but what about the opposition party?
We’ve said a lot about the Republicans before, most recently here: Open Letter to Republican Presidential Hopefuls. That post links to many of our earlier efforts on the same topic. We also agonized over the same issues just before the 2010 elections (see Creationism and Politics: Aaaargh!!), so we won’t repeat what we’ve already said.
Back to our title question: Who would Franklin support? Knowing what we do of Franklin, that’s not a difficult question. In today’s parlance, Franklin would unquestionably be described as a scientist. Although he died almost 70 years before Darwin wrote Origin of Species, there is no doubt — at least in our mind — that he would have seen great merit in the theory of evolution. So would virtually all of the Founders, as they too were devoted to reason and science.
You doubt that? Get serious! In the Constitution — than which there is no higher authority — it says, in Article I:
Section 8. The Congress shall have power … To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries; …
That’s right, dear reader. The Framers of the Constitution were sufficiently aware of the importance of science that they provided Congress with the power to create the US Patent office. You can add that to their manifest intention to avoid the perils of theocracy, about which see Is America a “Christian Nation”?
Where does all of that leave us? It’s quite clear that Franklin couldn’t support today’s Dem party. He would also be horrified that the opposition party seems so opposed to science. How did it come to this? One party opposes free enterprise; the other opposes reason and science. Franklin liked them both, and so do we.
The Dems already have their candidate; and we know what he’s all about. Therefore, unless the Republicans nominate someone who clearly isn’t a creationist, we’re convinced that Franklin wouldn’t support either party’s candidate. And neither will we.
Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.