Benjamin Franklin writes in his autobiography:
I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the reality of this virtue [= humility], but I had a good deal with regard to the appearance of it. I made it a rule to forbear all direct contradiction to the sentiments of others, and all positive assertion of my own. I even forbid myself, agreeably to the old laws of our Junto, the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fixd opinion, such as certainly, undoubtedly, etc., and I adopted, instead of them, I conceive, I apprehend, or I imagine a thing to be so or so; or it so appears to me at present. When another asserted something that I thought an error, I denyd myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing immediately some absurdity in his proposition; and in answering I began by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present case there appeared or seemd to me some difference, etc. I soon found the advantage of this change in my manner; the conversations I engaged in went on more pleasantly. The modest way in which I proposd my opinions procured them a readier reception and less contradiction; I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily prevaild with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when I happened to be in the right.
And this mode, which I at first put on with some violence to natural inclination, became at length so easy, and so habitual to me, that perhaps for these fifty years past no one has ever heard a dogmatical expression escape me. And to this habit (after my character of integrity) I think it principally owing that I had early so much weight with my fellow-citizens when I proposed new institutions, or alterations in the old, and so much influence in public councils when I became a member; for I was but a bad speaker, never eloquent, subject to much hesitation in my choice of words, hardly correct in language, and yet I generally carried my points.
Im neither endorsing nor rejecting this quote. I find that sometimes I follow Franklins advice and sometimes I dont; my inner eirenist and my inner Randian are clearly somewhat divided over the policy. But I do find myself less annoyed with opponents when they follow the policy; so its worth thinking about.
IMHO, of course.
What’s an eirenist?
One who seeks to allay hostilities and make peace.
Pray tell what you know etymology-wise about the word “eirenist”.
I’m curious to learn if it stems from name “Aaron”, the Kohen Gadol, the Jewish high priest, who was said to be a Rodef Shalom, literally a person who chases after others to make peace between them.
Judaism even learns from him that it’s permissible to tell a white lie in order to bring about peace; for example, one may speak separately to each member of a squabbling couple, and tell them that the other spouse confided to him that they were remorseful and wanted to make peace but were too ashamed to do so.
It’s from the Greek eirēnē, meaning “peace” (also the root of the name “Irene”).
So you want to put it down to mere coincidence?
I may use this to describe my political philosophy from now on…
Well Franklin wasn’t much of a libertarian, but he was certainly a master diplomat.
Eirenism and Randianism Reconciled: Modesty without Subjection
I’ve never seen the quote, but I can identify with it. I believe I largely adhere to what he says. On the occasions that I don’t, I feel lousy. Thanks!
Eirenism and Randianism Reconciled: Modesty without Subjection[?]