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George Washington's Farewell Address

Old 10-15-18, 01:22 PM
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George Washington's Farewell Address

Anyone revisited George Washington's farewell address from 1796 lately?

This section about the dangers of political parties was quite prescient (emphasis mine):
I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.
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Old 10-15-18, 01:57 PM
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Re: George Washington's Farewell Address

His section of "Hamilton" always gets me, the whole idea about teaching them how to say goodbye. That Presidents should step down so we don't end up being ruled by kings again - Trump obviously wants to be a ruler and I wouldn't be surprised if he tried something to stay in power longer.



Also just trying to imagine Trump hosting something this classy, inclusive, educational and elegant makes me brain hurt.
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Old 10-15-18, 09:35 PM
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Re: George Washington's Farewell Address

Originally Posted by Draven View Post
His section of "Hamilton" always gets me, the whole idea about teaching them how to say goodbye.
Listening to the Hamilton vinyl box set that I got for my birthday recently is what led me down the rabbit hole to read Washington's farewell address, actually.
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Old 10-16-18, 06:21 AM
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Re: George Washington's Farewell Address

Originally Posted by kefrank View Post
Listening to the Hamilton vinyl box set that I got for my birthday recently is what led me down the rabbit hole to read Washington's farewell address, actually.
Its definitely inspired me to learn more about that period and the players in it.
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Old 10-16-18, 06:41 AM
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Re: George Washington's Farewell Address

Working in Chicago and flew a friend in so we could see. Fantastic. Definitely going to see again.
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Old 10-17-18, 07:56 AM
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Re: George Washington's Farewell Address

Originally Posted by Draven View Post
His section of "Hamilton" always gets me, the whole idea about teaching them how to say goodbye. That Presidents should step down so we don't end up being ruled by kings again - Trump obviously wants to be a ruler and I wouldn't be surprised if he tried something to stay in power longer.
Seems like I've heard that about every recent President though...
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Old 10-17-18, 08:35 AM
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Re: George Washington's Farewell Address

Originally Posted by nemein View Post
Seems like I've heard that about every recent President though...
This is true, unfortunately.

In your opinion, how many of those recent former Presidents routinely exhibited behaviors in public that could reasonably be interpreted as being open to, if not outright in favor of, authoritarian ideals? Further, do you think the sitting President has exhibited any of those behaviors?
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Old 10-18-18, 08:16 AM
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Re: George Washington's Farewell Address

IMHO that does matter. We're about to have an election in a couple of weeks, they'll be another one in a couple of years. When they start talking about cancelling elections, revoking the 22nd Amendment (like either of those would ever actually happen) or if he stays in the White House after being voted out (whether in 2 or 6 years) then we can talk about it again. Maybe I'm being naive but there is still enough structure of governance in place that will prevent one party from ever taking over completely/perpetually.

I mean time we get scare tactics and fearmongering from the party that is out of power. It's happened during the every presidency I've been cognizant of, I suspect it was the case before I was born and I suspect it will be the case going forward.
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