GIVE TIL IT HURTS

The continued existence of this site depends entirely on contributions from its readers. If you're able to, please consider donating or subscribing to CF. Thanks!


  

THANKS!

Remembering the greatest American president of them all

Mister we could use a man like Calvin Coolidge again, as I’ve insisted here again and again over lo, these many years.

When Ronald Reagan put Calvin Coolidge’s portrait up in the White House Cabinet Room, taking down a painting of Thomas Jefferson, the outrage in the media was deafening. 

Historians typically treated Coolidge with disdain as well. When I was in college, as my contemporary history professor went through the run-up to the Great Depression, the only thing he said of Coolidge was, “If you took the Washington Monument and dug a commensurate hole in the ground, that would be a fitting monument for Calvin Coolidge’s contributions to America.” That was it. No argument, no specifics, nothing to substantiate this view. 

In the years since, historians have revisited Coolidge. Thomas B. Silver made an important contribution in the early 1980s with his book Coolidge and the Historians. Paul Johnson got a lot of the story right in Modern Times and A History of the American People. The restoration culminated in Amity Shlaes’s spectacular biography, Coolidge

Of course, Coolidge still achieves middling marks in most presidential rankings. He has that reputation as Silent Cal. This is a superficial take. Coolidge was not silent at all. He gave more press conferences than any other president and used the radio well. But his taciturn nature remains legendary. It makes for fun reading. 

Still, I have always thought historians who disliked Coolidge had a secondary purpose to attaching the Silent Cal label to him: they hoped you would ignore what he said—because if you read it, you might be persuaded by it.

No Real American could fail to be, far as I’m concerned. Taciturn Coolidge may (or may not) have been, but when he did utter, it was always to say something truly worth listening to. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the current sad, sorry state of affairs can in part be blamed on our having failed to properly remember Silent Cal, along with his crucial words and thoughts on the essentials required to keep a nation free, strong, and thriving.

A few notable quotes illustrating the man’s philosophy of government, his sagacity and wit, his seemingly instinctual facility for stripping away the dross, fripperies, and distractions and cutting arrow-straight to the heart of any given issue.

“I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government and more for themselves. I want them to have the rewards of their own industry. This is the chief meaning of freedom.

Until we can reestablish a condition under which the earnings of the people can be kept by the people, we are bound to suffer a very severe and distinct curtailment of our liberty.”

“Our government rests upon religion. It is from that source that we derive our reverence for truth and justice, for equality and liberality, and for the rights of mankind. Unless the people believe in these principles they cannot believe in our government. There are only two main theories of government in our world. One rests on righteousness and the other on force. One appeals to reason, and the other appeals to the sword. One is exemplified in the republic, the other is represented by despotism.

The government of a country never gets ahead of the religion of a country. There is no way by which we can substitute the authority of law for the virtue of man. Of course we endeavor to restrain the vicious, and furnish a fair degree of security and protection by legislation and police control, but the real reform which society in these days is seeking will come as a result of our religious convictions, or they will not come at all. Peace, justice, humanity, charity—these cannot be legislated into being. They are the result of divine grace.”

“It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.”

“Don’t you know that four fifths of all our troubles in this life would disappear if we would just sit down and keep still?”

“They criticize me for harping on the obvious; if all the folks in the United States would do the few simple things they know they ought to do, most of our big problems would take care of themselves.”

“The only way I know to drive out evil from the country is by the constructive method of filling it with good.”

“This country would not be a land of opportunity, America could not be America, if the people were shackled with government monopolies.”

“When a man begins to feel that he is the only one who can lead in this republic, he is guilty of treason to the spirit of our institutions.”

“It is difficult for men in high office to avoid the malady of self-delusion. They are always surrounded by worshipers. They are constantly, and for the most part sincerely, assured of their greatness. They live in an artificial atmosphere of adulation and exaltation which sooner or later impairs their judgment. They are in grave danger of becoming careless and arrogant.”

“The people cannot look to legislation generally for success. Industry, thrift, character, are not conferred by act or resolve. Government cannot relieve from toil. It can provide no substitute for the rewards of service. It can, of course, care for the defective and recognize distinguished merit. The normal must care for themselves. Self-government means self-support.”

Good stuff, no? My God, in light of current harsh reality the man wasn’t merely a president, he was a prophet. The total dearth of anything remotely resembling such high-minded yet eminently practical rhetoric delineating bedrock American ideals amongst contemporary ProPols has left the nation’s political discourse stunted and hopelessly diminished. Back to the first article for our denouement.

Coolidge was the last of our presidents in the model of the Founders. Every other president since him, in both parties, has been in the activist mold of Teddy Roosevelt or Woodrow Wilson to one degree or another. 

And so Coolidge was the last of the statesmen who would have fit comfortably alongside Jefferson and Madison. We could use more presidents with that disposition. 

If we think about what we want in our statesmen, what qualities of character, what depth of insight about our Constitution and how our society works, we would say we want more leaders like Coolidge. 

A-friggin’ men to that, with big ol’ bells on. If we had any damned sense, at any rate.

1
2

2 thoughts on “Remembering the greatest American president of them all

  1. “Still, I have always thought historians who disliked Coolidge had a secondary purpose to attaching the Silent Cal label to him: they hoped you would ignore what he said…”

    No doubt about it. Any freedom and liberty politician at any level is demonized and their scholarship ignored.
    The “press” really is owned by the communists.

  2. They criticize me for harping on the obvious; if all the folks in the United States would do the few simple things they know they ought to do, most of our big problems would take care of themselves.

    Trump would prove how “intractable” problems weren’t really that difficult to address.

Leave a Reply

Latest Posts

Latest Comments

CF Archives

Categories

Comments policy

NOTE: In order to comment, you must be registered and approved as a CF user. Since so many user-registrations are attempted by spam-bots for their own nefarious purposes, YOUR REGISTRATION MAY BE ERRONEOUSLY DENIED.

If you are in fact a legit hooman bean desirous of registering yourself a CF user name so as to be able to comment only to find yourself caught up as collateral damage in one of my irregularly (un)scheduled sweeps for hinky registration attempts, please shoot me a kite at the email addy over in the right sidebar and let me know so’s I can get ya fixed up manually.

ALSO NOTE: You MUST use a valid, legit email address in order to successfully register, the new anti-spam software I installed last night requires it. My thanks to Barry for all his help sorting this mess out last night.

Comments appear entirely at the whim of the guy who pays the bills for this site and may be deleted, ridiculed, maliciously edited for purposes of mockery, or otherwise pissed over as he in his capricious fancy sees fit. The CF comments section is pretty free-form and rough and tumble; tolerance level for rowdiness and misbehavior is fairly high here, but is NOT without limit.

Management is under no obligation whatever to allow the comments section to be taken over and ruined by trolls, Leftists, and/or other oxygen thieves, and will take any measures deemed necessary to prevent such. Conduct yourself with the merest modicum of decorum, courtesy, and respect and you'll be fine. Pick pointless squabbles with other commenters, fling provocative personal insults, issue threats, or annoy the host (me) and...you won't.

Should you find yourself sanctioned after running afoul of the CF comments policy as stated and feel you have been wronged, please download and complete the Butthurt Report form below in quadruplicate; retain one copy for your personal records and send the others to the email address posted in the right sidebar.

Please refrain from whining, sniveling, and/or bursting into tears and waving your chubby fists around in frustrated rage, lest you suffer an aneurysm or stroke unnecessarily. Your completed form will be reviewed and your complaint addressed whenever management feels like getting around to it. Thank you.

Ye Aulde CF Blogrolle–now with RSS feeds! (where available)

"Mike Hendrix is, without a doubt, the greatest one-legged blogger in the world." ‐Henry Chinaski

Subscribe to CF!

Support options

Shameless begging

If you enjoy the site, please consider donating:

Become a CF member!

Correspondence

Email addy: mike-at-this-url dot etc
All e-mails assumed to be legitimate fodder for publication, scorn, ridicule, or other public mockery unless specified as private by the sender

Allied territory

Alternatives to shitlib social media: A few people worth following on Gab:

Fuck you

Kill one for mommy today! Click to embiggen

Notable Quotes

"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."
Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

Claire's Cabal—The Freedom Forums

FREEDOM!!!

"There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters."
Daniel Webster

“When I was young I was depressed all the time. But suicide no longer seemed a possibility in my life. At my age there was very little left to kill.”
Charles Bukowski

“A slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him.”
Ezra Pound

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
Frank Zappa

“The right of a nation to kill a tyrant in case of necessity can no more be doubted than to hang a robber, or kill a flea.”
John Adams

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."
Bertrand de Jouvenel

"It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged."
GK Chesterton

"I predict that the Bush administration will be seen by freedom-wishing Americans a generation or two hence as the hinge on the cell door locking up our freedom. When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I’d tell them to emigrate, but there’s nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free."
Donald Surber

"The only way to live free is to live unobserved."
Etienne de la Boiete

"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid."
Dwight D. Eisenhower

"To put it simply, the Left is the stupid and the insane, led by the evil. You can’t persuade the stupid or the insane and you had damn well better fight the evil."
Skeptic

"There is no better way to stamp your power on people than through the dead hand of bureaucracy. You cannot reason with paperwork."
David Black, from Turn Left For Gibraltar

"If the laws of God and men, are therefore of no effect, when the magistracy is left at liberty to break them; and if the lusts of those who are too strong for the tribunals of justice, cannot be otherwise restrained than by sedition, tumults and war, those seditions, tumults and wars, are justified by the laws of God and man."
John Adams

"The limits of tyranny are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
Frederick Douglass

"Give me the media and I will make of any nation a herd of swine."
Joseph Goebbels

“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.”
Ronald Reagan

"Ain't no misunderstanding this war. They want to rule us and aim to do it. We aim not to allow it. All there is to it."
NC Reed, from Parno's Peril

"I just want a government that fits in the box it originally came in."
Bill Whittle

Best of the best

Finest hosting service

Image swiped from The Last Refuge

2016 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

RSS feed

RSS - entries - Entries
RSS - entries - Comments

Boycott the New York Times -- Read the Real News at Larwyn's Linx

Copyright © 2024