January 05, 2009
Bringing Barack the Bacon
Everybody else is giving advice to Obama, why not Francis Bacon? And so, from his essay “On Seditions and Troubles”:
A smaller number that spend more and earn less do wear out an estate sooner than a greater number that live lower and gather more. Therefore the multiplying of nobility and other degrees of quality in an over proportion to the common people doth speedily bring a state to necessity; and so doth likewise an overgrown clergy; for they bring nothing to the stock; and in like manner, when more are bred scholars than preferments can take off…
Above all things, good policy is to be used that the treasure and moneys in a state be not gathered into few hands. For otherwise a state may have a great stock, and yet starve. And money is like muck, not good except it be spread. This is done chiefly by suppressing or at least keeping a strait hand upon the devouring trades of usury, ingrossing great pasturages, and the like.
Posted by Jerome Doolittle at January 05, 2009 01:32 PM
Fantastic! Thanks for sharing.
Studying ideas from the past is one thing we Americans seem to be getting less and less good at. The founding fathers were great readers of Roman, Greek, and Classical literature. We do very little of it anymore. Perhaps history and liberal arts majors in college do, but in business school you virtually none of it.
And don't even get me started on the Federalist Society, which molds the thinking of the founding fathers to fit their ideology, not the other way around, which might have produced something that has some possibility of working.
We also don't seem to do analogies well, at least on the conservative side of the spectrum. I recently looked into teaching the LSAT and to my amazement, they've removed most of the part of the test that focused on analogies and replaced it with something else. Which will probably cause us to create more Antonin Scallias who couldn't make a decent legal argument if it would get him out of a wet paper bag.
Thanks for posting this.