Busting The ‘If We Ain’t Growing, We’re Dying’ Myth

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Jacob Peter Gowy, Public domain, via Wikimedia CommonsDaedalus carefully showed his son how to apply the wax to affix the feathers to his shoulders and arms. “These wings will work,” he said. “We will finally be free of this prison.”

Ironically, it was Daedalus himself who had created the Labyrinth, a vexing array of “intricate passageways and blind alleys” (at least according to Merriam-Webster). Anyone – or anything – imprisoned in this complicated maze found it nearly impossible to escape. Indeed, mythology claimed only Theseus was able to find his way out of Daedalus’ Labyrinth (primarily because Daedalus gave him a big hint).

Why did Daedalus build the Labyrinth? To imprison the Minotaur, a half-man/half-bull monster (whose origin story is not fit to print in a family newspaper). BTW, Theseus went into the Labyrinth to kill the Minotaur (something to do with the ancient Greek version of Continue Reading “Busting The ‘If We Ain’t Growing, We’re Dying’ Myth”

In Search of Virtue: How Boy Scouts Helped Me Do the Impossible

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In 1748, the French philosopher Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, anonymously published his opus The Spirit of Laws. Two years later, Thomas Nugent 928906_80180220_Pontifical_Authority_royalty_free_stock_xchng_300published the initial English translation. This work, from where the term “separation of powers” first appeared, greatly influenced our Founding Fathers.

Montesquieu outlined three essential forms of government – Despotism, Monarchy and Republic – each dependent on one vital and defining character trait among its citizens. Under despotism, it’s fear. In a monarchy, it’s honor. But in a republic, Montesquieu maintains, those governed must be disposed to nothing less than virtue. Our Founding Fathers understood this. They possessed high expectations of both their new country as well as its citizens.

Oddly enough, the nation’s forebears did not see it as the role of government to imbue virtue upon its citizens. Rather, they expected the people to embrace virtue of their own volition. Nothing said this more than Benjamin Franklin’s answer to a woman who Continue Reading “In Search of Virtue: How Boy Scouts Helped Me Do the Impossible”