Notes from John Milton

 

Peri Kelley


“… [W]e are already in good part arrived, and yet from such a steep disadvantage of tyranny and superstition grounded into our principles as was beyond the manhood of a Roman recovery, it will be attributed first, as is most due, to the strong assistance of God, our deliverer; next, to your faithful guidance and undaunted wisdom, lords and commons of England.”

  • Liberty comes from God, so men should try and protect it.
  • Good men are the laborers of God.

 

“… [T]here being three principal things, without which all praising is but courtship and flattery: first, when that only is praised which is solidly worth praise; next, when greatest likelihoods are brought that such things are truly and really in those persons to whom they are ascribed; the other, when he who praises, by showing that to such his actual persuasion is of whom he writes, can demonstrate that he flatters not …”

  • What is worthy of praise?
  • Praise attributes that are really there.
  • The praise that you give needs to have proof that what you praise should be praised.

“For he who freely magnifies what hath been nobly done, And fears not to declare as freely what might be done better, And fears not to declare as freely what might be done better, Gives ye the best covenant of his Fidelity…”

 

“… [F]or though I should a firm and hold by argument, that it would be fare better with truth, with learning and the Commonwealth, if one of your published orders, which I should name, we’re called in… whenas private persons are hereby animated to think he better pleased with public advice, then other statists have been delivered heretofore with public flattery.”

  • You can tell a person’s level of organization by how well they take constructive criticism or real criticism.

~ Peri Kelley

Simplicity is Felicity

By Ashlyn Nadreau


In the classic Germania by the author Tacitus, he spoke of a civilization of people in ancient Germany called the Fennians.  These people had multiple admirable qualities that all modern day people could use.

They proved that simplicity is felicity.

In other words, happiness can come simply by slowing down life and finding the most important parts like family and virtue. Simplifying one’s life is the direct way to happiness.

From the book, Tacitus stated:

“Such a condition they judge more happy than the painful occupation of cultivating the ground, than the labour of rearing houses, than the agitations of hope and fear attending the defence of their own property or the seizing that of others. Secure against the designs of men, secure against the malignity of the Gods, they have accomplished a thing of infinite difficulty; that to them nothing remains even to be wished.”

They continuously found peace with God and with their neighbor because that’s all that they could’ve ever wanted.

Their happiness was not depicted on whether or not they had wealth or fortune or money. “… [N]othing remains even to be wished.” Even in this simple lifestyle, they found peace, happiness, and virtue with the people that meant the most to them, which most can agree that these are the goals that each of us could ever want. The Fennians discovered their purpose. Things of monetary value were not pleasing to them. The things that people could not buy or take away remained to be what mattered most. They were a primary example that a simpler life brings happiness.

~ Ashlyn Nadreau

The Weakness of the Human Mind

By Lauren Anderson


In Cato’s Letters Number 105, Thomas Gordon talks reveals the weaknesses of the human mind and how easily it is misled. Additionally, Gordon discusses the various ways tyrannical leaders will deceive those from whom they wish to take power.

People will readily surrender their rights when they are led to believe that the tyrannical wish is something that they truly want. Tyrants use their passions against them until they are so blinded by their “appetites” that they never realize how secretly or not so secretly their liberties were being violated and taken from them. Similarly, tyrants use the weaknesses of the human mind to exploit the fears already present there. This way, again, people are so blinded by fear they fail to recognize that their liberty is being taken from them.

As Gordon says, “… [T]he most furious wild beasts are tamed by gratifying their appetites, or working upon their fears.” Moreover, a tyrant cleverly and consistently chooses to “… drive the nail that will go.” The nail that most easily driven in the United States is national pride.

For example, when the government tells Americans that their troops are destroying enemies before they are able to target us, the people believe them. So many people truly believe that America’s military is killing “terrorists” (and thousands of innocents) and thereby saving millions of American lives.

In reality, however, we are searching for “monsters to destroy,” as John Quincy Adams described unnecessary foreign military operations. If one truly had pride in his country, though, wouldn’t he want the troops to come home and no longer risk tearing apart families unnecessarily?

Sadly, though, as one student said, if “Father Government” tells us that these deaths are heroic and necessary to the protection of our freedom, we, as children, believe.

Finally, the only way to heal this blind trust in government is to learn to recognize when the government is using these deceitful, distinctly unAmerican tactics against us. As another student observed, mankind has the ability to be brilliant and bold, but we must be actively watching our government so that we’ll know when we our weaknesses are being manipulated by government.

~ Lauren Anderson