John Adams, John McCain and the Moral High Ground

The entire duration of John Adams’ presidency was complicated by the threat of war with France. No one was sure how things would turn out as the Jacobins battled the old aristocracy and Bonaparte for control. The French were capturing U.S. merchants vessels and behaving as if the U.S. were only a transient entity on the world-stage. In the U.S. politicians, the media, and the people had divided themselves into two camps: the Federalists (led by Alexander Hamilton), who pushed for war with France to establish the U.S. as a power and to push attain vengeance for prior bad acts by the French; and the Republicans (mainly Thomas Jefferson and James Madison) who pushed for reconciliation and almost capitulation to the desires of France.

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Why “The Idealist”

For months, the name and purpose of the blog have been bothering me. The name and stated purpose seemed pretentious. So I decided on something that may more appropriately describe by thoughts and feelings from the outset. It seems the pretentiousness may, however, have only increased by implying that I may know “how things, perhaps, ought to be” (see the title). My position is not that I know any of how things should be, but that I have opinions and I am anxious to explore what is ideal. I again encourage free expression and exploration of topics philosophical, political, and economic. Religion will surface often, but for me is not the crux of the debate.

This morning, reading in Will Durant’s “The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage,” I ran across the following regarding Mahatma Gandhi: “In his first year there (in London to study law at age 18) he read eighty books on Christianity. The Sermon on the Mount ‘went straight to my heart on the first reading.’ He took the counsel to return good for evil, and to love even one’s enemies, as the highest expression of all human idealism; and he resolved rather to fail with these than to succeed without them.”

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” exclaimed Thomas Paine in December of 1776 as Washington’s army faced a horrible winter in Delaware. Our current times are also very trying. If only we had leaders who didn’t just say they believed in Christ (as the religious right states), but actually believed Him and were disciples of Him (as was the previously mentioned Hindu pacifist), the responses of our government and the results of our decisions would be quite different.

My goal for this blog and the world (delusions of granduer? Maybe, but after all, I am an idealist) is that we can identify the changes that can and must be made in order to preserve liberty and progress as humanity.