Tuesday, February 20, 2024

EDITORIAL: Time to grab that smooth handle

| January 15, 2023 1:00 AM

Founding Father Thomas Jefferson was a wise guy.

Not a wise guy in the mafia sense; a wise fellow by any measure.

One of our nation’s most inspired and inspiring leaders was one subject of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham, who spoke magnificently during the 2017 Idaho Humanities Dinner in Coeur d’Alene. Meacham’s book, "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power," is one of the deeper exploits into Jefferson’s life and impact.

So what does that have to do with the ridiculous price of eggs? Well, when the world seems to tilt drunkenly on its axis from time to time, it’s good to grab a solid tree so you don’t fall off the face of this crazy planet.

Jefferson came up with some suggestions that comprise a pretty stout oak.

Throughout the 19th century, many newspapers published variations of the following list, sometimes called Canons of Conduct. Because of what’s happening at North Idaho College, with presidential investigations, with the rise of extremism here, there and seemingly everywhere, this seems like a pretty good time to re-ground ourselves in sound reasoning and helpful advice.

• Never put off till tomorrow what you can do to-day.

• Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.

• Never spend your money before you have it.

• Think as you please and let others do so; you will then have no disputes.

• Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.

• We never repent of having eaten too little.

• Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.

• How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened!

• Take things always by their smooth handle.

• When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.

Today's Jefferson might modify the last one to "before you hit 'send.'" That alone would make the world a more respectful, productive place.