Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jeffersonian Advice on Exercise

    A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of ­exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks. Never think of taking a book with you. The object of walking is to relax the mind. You should therefore not permit yourself even to think while you walk. But divert your attention by the objects surrounding you. Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far. The Europeans value themselves on ­having ­subdued the horse to the uses of man. But I doubt whether we have not lost more than we have gained by the use of this animal. No one has occasioned so much the degeneracy of the human body. An Indian goes on foot nearly as far in a day, for a long journey, as an enfeebled white does on his horse, and he will tire the best horses.
Thus spake our third president, quoted in an article that sadly notes, "Against Jefferson's wishes, Americans soon became both a commercial and a ball-playing people" — America at the Bat. Coming to mind is Jason Peters' observation that "it can come as no surprise to anyone with Thoreau coursing through his veins that the discipline of walking turns out to be yet another thing that separates Walden’s sage from the mass of men who lead lives of quiet desperation" — A Saunter With Thoreau, Walker Errant.

The American Lenin, in contrast, was of a different mind when it came to ball sports: "Whereas Thomas Jefferson counseled against ball games, Abraham Lincoln had a baseball diamond built behind the White House and often joined his sons and their friends in playing ball."

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lincoln as an "American Lenin"? Hogwash. This false analogy has been put forward by leftist statists in the 20th and 21st centuries to justify FDR, Wilson, TR and sundry other collectivist statists in their usurpation of national power to the center, and to hide what was radical in their project. This "big lie" has also been used for almost a century as agitprop and counter-propaganda by the Left to discredit legitimate notions of State's Rights. Some of the loopier members of the right of center, most pointedly, some libertarians, have often been duped by this legerdemain. You do neither yourself nor the USA a service by repeating these slanders and propaganda.

Lincoln has nothing to do whatsoever with those communists who, under various guises, came after. Let us place the blame for American socialism squarely on the shoulders where it belongs and avoid this sort of silliness. American Communists, Socialists, Progressives, their international coreligionists are responsible for the creation and ascendancy of American socialism, and the Democratic Party has been their chief vessel. Lincoln had precious little to do with it. In fact, he had nothing to do with it at all.

Neither the Civil War, nor the bustling and profoundly capitalist continental nation that that came after it, can not in anyway be described as "collectivist", nor can Lincoln be seen as a dictator of any stripe--most certainly not a Marxists one.

Not in times before, during or since, has the world has ever seen a more capitalistic meritocracy as late 19th century America.

The federal government, though enlarged what hardly a Socialistic or totalitarian centralized power after the war. Income tax was repealed, the constitution upheld, and political life for most citizens was steered mainly from state capitals for the rest of the 19th century. Yes there was an occupation of the south for a time. This would be impossible to avoid. It was not, however, long lasting.

Am American Bismark, perhaps, but certainly not a Lenin.



Yet more of these bizarre readings of history and ideology from you?

It is rather odd what comes out of this site given the beliefs you profess to hold dear.

Whatever else it is that you are reading, I suggest you improve your readings of the scholarship of the Civil War. There is scarely a 19th century war that has not been better documented or studied, not even the Napoleonic ones. I would steer clear of the more doctrinaire writers of either the Left the Right, particularity in the latter case those of the more "libertarian" stripe, and especially the Austrians. You read ideological lunatics here.

This is more of a stale an ahistorical mapping or projection of ideology onto history than it is an meaningful and accurate reading of it.


Lincoln was one of the great moral actors of the 19th century; Lenin was one of the most immoral in his. That you cannot tell the difference reflects more on your moral probity that it does on that of Lincoln.

1:59 AM  
Blogger Donald said...

The wider the spectrum of views of Lincoln and the civil war/war between the States/war of northern aggression, the better understanding we have of that period of history.

5:08 AM  

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