(Author's note: this may seem to come from out of the blue, but it's never far from my mind. I've not written much about it lately, but - in my humble opinion - it bears repeating.)
What the much more slowly-paced 18th century Founders would think of our frenetic lifestyles and MTV video/e-mail/texting length attention spans is anybody's guess, but I think they would believe we're mad as hatters (mad, I say!).
Seriously, I believe that - upon comparing their times and pursuits with ours - they would decry the hours wasted in front of the TV/idiot box/boob tube/vast wasteland ... among other things.
They would mourn the loss of time spent absorbing the classic writers, such as the Bible, the classics (i.e. Cicero, Tacitus, Livy, Plutarch, etc.), and works written by Enlightenment Thinkers (John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Baron de Montesquieu, Immanuel Kant, etc.) and wonder how it is that we've learned anything at all.
They would agree with Santayana that we, who have mostly failed to learn from the past, are doomed to repeat it. If there's any doubt about that last statement, watch the national news and then compare it to the 1760-1775 events in our own nation's past. I firmly believe that if we had been paying attention - and if we had not been dumbed-down by the Progressive takeover of the State-run educational systems (but that's another rant, for another time) - we'd have realized more quickly what the revisionists were doing, and put a halt to it MUCH sooner.
You know that Internet meme that "The Founders would have been shooting by now"? Yes. That.
But I digress.
Those of the late 18th century would also, I believe, decry the loss of written communication to and from other individuals. No e-mail, no matter how eloquently or elegantly composed, can take the place of the same words painstakingly written on paper ... and passed from the writer's hand to that of the recipient. However, I will stipulate that there is much high-quality thought being expressed on-line ... if only we can find it. There are a number of conservative-cum-libertarian thinkers who delve deeply into topics that most avoid for lack of insight.
The internet has become the medium of choice for rapid dissemination of news, and of course there's a need for e-mail; I'm no Luddite. Regardless, we've lost something when one's personal thoughts are represented by pixels composed of liquid crystals. No lesser a light than Bill Gates once famously remarked that if we knew how many hands through which our e-mails pass, we'd never write another one.
There are still good men, and to think otherwise would be foolish. There will always be those who choose honor and integrity over the quick and easy way. Like President Kennedy speaking of the pursuit of an expedition to the moon, some of us will always choose to do some things precisely because they are hard ... and therefore the accomplishment of those hard things will have significance; it will mean something.
But one thing the internet has accomplished is to obviate the meeting together of personalities and minds, which has led many to believe that they are alone in their opinions. There are millions upon millions of good, honest, hard-working, conservative people who believe in God, family, the Constitution, sanctity of life, and so on.
But the mainstream media has been embarked for decades on a quest to isolate us, and make us believe that we're lone extremists, unsupported by friends or community.
I submit that that simply isn't so. But one must leave the computer/phone/iThingy, and venture into the public realm. Get out and talk to someone, for Heaven's sake.
For my part, reading the Founder's writings has meant (in some cases) going back and re-reading things I read several decades ago. But that's okay. Some things are worth the expenditure of time to achieve. We may find, after a long time pursuing those things upon the Founders based their ideas, that we've become nothing more than tolerably-accomplished old fuddy-duddies. But I don't think that's what will happen here.
No good ideas about freedom, liberty and personal responsibility will ever be a waste of time or energy to consider, and to share.
It has been, in some cases, that I've forgotten the source(s) of some of my ideas and opinions. In many of those cases, the concepts have been honed and refined (at least, I hope so) over time as I've read other works on the same topics. But revisiting the original source is never a bad idea; it will be instructive, and may illuminate some ideas which have been only half- or poorly-remembered, and may have drifted, over time, from the original thought.
It is always a good idea to refresh our acquaintance with the Founders of this Constitutional republic, and be reminded of how deeply they considered the concepts upon which this Nation was created.