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January 2, 2018

Benjamin Franklin on Dissent

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fr. John Larson @ 8:43 pm

It’s rather unusual for me to be quoting Ben Franklin, but I happen to be watching a TV special John Wayne put together called Swing Out, Sweet Land, and it had this quote from Franklin… a quote that is found barely anywhere on the Internet. This is the attitude we who are old enough to remember still remember.

“Let us be aware in these infant years of our beloved Republic. . . There are those who wait to celebrate our failure. Be not disheartened, this will always be so, for we have lighted our candle of liberty in a dark world and each of us is in charge of keeping it lighted. And though the winds of dissent may threaten our flame, despair not, remembering that a nation which allows dissent is stronger from with-in and brighter from with-out. For when dissent becomes a crime, hope becomes despair. …

“Dissent, but dissent honorably. Dissent with faith in your hearts, not despair. Dissent to rebuild not to destroy. Dissent from with-in for dissent from with-out becomes attack. Speak out for what you believe in at least as loudly as you speak against the system, for gentlemen, if ours is a generation to say democracy will not administer to the people, let it be a conscious decision arrived at only after every opportunity for man to rule himself has failed.” … Benjamin Franklin

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