Friday, May 13, 2005

Did Jefferson Really Say That?

How many of you have seen this bumpersticker?
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.
-- Thomas Jefferson
I saw it this morning on the way to work, and it struck me as, I dunno ... stupid. It sounds trite and generic, not something you would expect from the man who also had this to say about dissent

Difference of opinion leads to enquiry, and enquiry to truth; and that, I am sure, is the ultimate and sincere object of us both. We both value too much the freedom of opinion sanctioned by our Constitution, not to cherish its exercise even where in opposition to ourselves.

A little bit of Googling turned this up. Seems the quote belongs to a historian by the name of Howard Zinn, who said those words a couple of years ago "to justify" -- you guessed it -- "his opposition to the War on Terror." Now the quote is attributed to Jefferson in spite of the fact that no one has been able to cite the speech or document from which it comes.

There is poetic justice in the fact that the kind of self-righteous moron who tries to conceal his liberalness by invoking Jefferson is actually identifying himself as the liberal moron he is -- someone who is too ignorant and lazy to realize that the bumpersticker he plastered on his car to smugly defend his hatred for America is nothing more than a lousy misquote.


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