A Standard to Which We Can Repair

Over the past few months, Glenn Beck has irked my friend Dave Perkins by citing a quote from George Washington from the moment when Washington rejected compromise in the founding documents in favor of being "wise and honest" and of creating "a standard to which we can repair." According to Dave, Beck has continually represented this as meaning something akin to "fix, improve, rebuild."  Though Beck is passionate in his discussion, his passion doesn't allay the historical ignorance, as Beck has fundamentally misunderstood Washington's meaning.  The problem with Beck's references to "a standard to which we can repair" is that he is attempting to apply modern language not only to the wrong time period, but also under the wrong circumstances, as Washington's language was military and not colloquial. Washington was a general in the age of Napoleon, and Napoleon imitated the Romans, seeing himself as the new Caesar.  As such, Napoleon adopted many of the Romans' ideas,...(Read Full Article)

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