Benjamin Franklin Needs To Rescue America Again
Here the rules Ben Franklin lived by.*
1. It is necessary for me to be extremely frugal for some time, until I have paid all my debts.
2. I’ll do my best to speak the truth in every situation. I’ll also seek to avoid giving people expectations that are unlikely to be met, aiming instead at complete sincerity in every word and action. Such is the most excellent pursuit for a rational being.
3. I plan to work very hard at whatever business I undertake in the future. I will not distract myself with my business by any foolish scheme for getting rich quickly. Hard word and patience are the most certain ways to wealth.
4. Finally, I resolve never to speak poorly of anyone, not even in a matter of the truth. Instead, I will choose by some means to excuse the faults I hear charged upon others, and whenever possible speak all the good I know of everybody.”
Boy do we need Benjamin Franklin back at the helm in America!
That’s how I feel after reading his story. Benjamin Franklin is the equivalent of today’s blockbuster movie hero. He has all the right moves to make the chicks cry, embolden the jocks, satisfy the sci-fi geeks, teach history and illuminate American sense of pride in seizing the challenging moments we have faced as a country.
Ben Franklin loved life. Born as the fifteenth child in a family, Ben wasn’t quite rollin’ in the Benjamins as a youth (wouldn’t that be him rolling around in himself?). He popped into the world before America was even born as a country, back when the British ruled our “Colonies” from England.
One of the few books his family owned was a book on how to live a happy life, which must have programmed him like Neo in the Matrix… he became a brainiac-badass at an early age. He tried to stay in school, but his pops ran out of money and yanked Benjamin from his books and tossed him into the family candle making shop. Ben thought making candles sucked, so he went to work helping at his brother’s printing shop.
Ben would often stay up all night reading books, setting aside half his lunch money to save up and buy even more books. He taught himself multiple languages, studied poetry, navigation, philosophy, and writing. One day, he anonymously dropped of an article he wrote at the “New England Courant” – and the editor published it. Ben was published thirteen more times before he admitted it was his handywork – and when his brother found out about it he proceeded to beat the living shit out of him.
So young Ben sopped up his tears and left Boston on a thirty hour storm-ridden journey by ship (where he dove in the water and saved a drunk guy from drowning). His writing improved and is witty sarcasm became a threat to the local Governor, who offered Ben a job in England. Once Ben was in England, the Governor abandoned him to rot with no support or funds. Ben was on his own, alone, in England – snubbed by a jealous, power hungry governor.
So what did Ben Franklin do? He stuck around England and learned everything he could, earning a reputation among the English as “The Water American”, because he chose to drink water rather than the six-pint a day habit his peers enjoyed. At this point, Ben resolved to live by principles he thought would most lead to the most fulfilling, happy life he could create for himself. He wrote a handbook for himself, and drew up 13 virtues to live by.
Ben worked hard to live by the virtues he set upon himself, such as doing good for the benefit of his fellow humankind, being sincere and truthful (even if the truth hurt), cutting off time wasting activities, and fighting for justice. He became a successful newspaper publisher, inventor, scientist, and statesman – and he never let challenges outside his control slow his own progress down.
When the English rulers imposed taxes on the colonies, taking their money to pay for wars the British were fighting, Ben had enough. He joined in the calls for “No Taxation Without Representation!”, and he helped craft the Declaration of Independence, which states:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Wow, how powerful is THAT? That is what our country is founded on man! That’s the document he signed, along with Thomas Jefferson and others. The coolest part is that by taking such actions against the king, he was stating that his nuts were the size of bowling balls. When he signed the Declaration, he looked around the room and said “And now we must all hang together, or we shall hang separately”.
THAT, my friends, is courage. And luckily, we still live in the country that guarantees freedom, so long as we keep it that way. And when our congress has been given a mandate by the people to end the war, and they choose to continue funding it, I believe that is taxation without representation.
I also believe that we have the technology to feed every person in America – and in fact, the world. Peak Oil is very real, as is global warming. They are daunting challenges, but if we can figure out a way to slow down population growth to sustainable levels, we don’t need to blow ourselves to kingdom come or fry to death.
There will be many challenges ahead of us. People will need to relocate. You won’t have access to all the choices you have had your whole life, such as strawberries in the winter, unlimited driving in your car, or zipping to Disneyworld on an airplane. But what we do have is our humanity, and the ability to grow enough food to make up for what we have been using oil to do.
Oil is becoming scarce, folks. It’s what we use to run our everyday lives, and we cannot continue living this way if we don’t expect warfare for the rest of our lives. The whole world is in a fight over the remaining oil, water, natural gas, coal, trees, and whatever else we devour like locusts.
I tell you what, my garden is BOOMING and I’m growing tons of food in my little yard. If everyone starts doing this right now, we can learn the skills necessary for self sufficiency and make the transition to commuting by bike, inventing all sorts of cool gadgets to help live in a low energy world, and relocalize our own currencies.
Americans are so in debt, if the money system breaks they won’t know what to do. Well, the bank may come for your house, who knows. But if everyone is in trouble at the same time, why freak out? Just go talk with your neighbors and everyone can start tribing up, sharing tools, food, transportation, lodging – whatever is needed.
And it will be needed, because running out of oil is like when that Governor tricked Ben Franklin into going to England – and dumped him there with nothing. This is our chance to realize we were duped, shake it off, and start fresh.
We need to upgrade to America 2.0. We have no other choice.