Doing Without Them

I used to think Ben was a cool dude. Got my doubts now.

Delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia began their deliberations on May 25, 1787. During the hot summer months when their arguments seemed to extend interminably, Benjamin Franklin observed that life went on around them despite their debates. At one point, he “is said to have warned the delegates: ‘Gentlemen, you see that in the anarchy in which we live society manages much as before. Take care, if our disputes last too long, that the people do not come to think they can very easily do without us’.”

 Carl Watner


I had not heard this before. I’m not a history buff. My reading tends more to Heinlein. I find politics to be an incredibly boring subject, and it always ends badly.


Posted by Dave




6 Comments on “Doing Without Them”

  1. Craig Cavanaugh says:

    Heh, how prophetic. Franklin was a “wise” man, in seeing how “authority” really is irrelevant. Good people will work together for their mutual benefit, regardless of the ruling regime; and bad people will do what they will in spite of it. It’s like door locks, they’re only there to keep honest folks honest; while crooks (civilian and governmental) only view them as a slight challenge…

    • Hi Craig,

      Carl Watner pulled that quote from Patterns of Anarchy, by Leonard Krimmerman and Lewis Perry. Carl doesn’t say who actually recorded Franklin’s words, but it does sound like something Ben would say. I wish that Ben would have concluded that his damn government was unnecessary, and that the delegates should all go home and leave the people unmolested.


  2. […] to toot my own horn, but Dave inspired what I think is a pretty damn good observation from […]

    • Hi Craig,

      ” Good people will work together for their mutual benefit, regardless of the ruling regime; and bad people will do what they will in spite of it.”

      And its corollary:

      When it’s easier to work than to rob, people will work.


  3. Art says:

    Thanks for the linkage to your source … “A site for individualist feminism and individualist anarchism”. Interesting.

    Regarding Ol’ Ben … I hadn’t seen that quote of his before. It does present another facet of his persona. As such, it helps round out my understanding of him. Bottom line; I’d hate to be judged by any single quote of mine. Much of Franklin’s writing is available online and downloadable fo’ free.

    Speaking of free … I can only imagine the freedoms that were practiced as the norms of that time frame. Imagine being able to keep all of your income. Imagine being able to “own” humans. Imagine a “frontier” to be explored. It’s interesting to note that the new government was levying taxes within two years of its founding. See

    G. Washington was correct … “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. “

    • Hi Art,

      Thanks for the Wikipedia link about the Whiskey Rebellion–a fascinating read. Washington came off like a typical government asshole. Except for our tolerance of outrage and robbery, not much has changed in this country.

      “Because relatively few men volunteered for militia service, a draft was used to fill out the ranks.[86] Draft evasion was widespread, and conscription efforts resulted in protests and riots, even in eastern areas. Three counties in eastern Virginia were the scenes of armed draft resistance.[87] In Maryland, Governor Thomas Sim Lee sent 800 men to quash an anti-draft riot in Hagerstown; about 150 people were arrested.”

      Americans not only resisted the Whiskey Tax, they also wouldn’t help “their” government enforce the hated tax. Our ancestors had a little backbone.

      Glad you liked Wendy McElroy’s site. Lots of good articles there.


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