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April 30, 2006

Kerry, Liberals, and Media Quote From Stuff Jefferson Said, 4th Edition (Rev'd)

We've all had great fun with Dave in Texas' (I think) dog-eared copy of Stuff Jefferson Said, a book which does not exist compiling quotes of Thomas Jefferson which he did not say or write.

Alas, what is silly fun among bloggers and commenters passes for serious, scholarly statesmanship among liberals, determined to retroactively infect Jefferson with Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Liberals keep saying that Jefferson said "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." Over and over again.

It's a great quote, a terrific applause line, delicious red meat for the slavering moonbat hordes.

But, as Mark Steyn notes, Jeffferson simply never said or wrote it.


John Kerry announced this week's John Kerry Iraq Policy of the Week the other day: "Iraqi politicians should be told that they have until May 15 to deal with these intransigent issues and at last put together an effective unity government or we will immediately withdraw our military."

With a sulky pout perhaps? With hands on hips and a full flip of the hair?

Did he get that from Churchill? "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, at least until May 15, when I have a windsurfing engagement off Nantucket."

Actually, no. He got it from Thomas Jefferson. "This is not the first time in American history when patriotism has been distorted to deflect criticism and mislead the nation," warned Sen. Kerry, placing his courage in the broader historical context. "No wonder Thomas Jefferson himself said: 'Dissent is the greatest form of patriotism.' "

Close enough. According to the Jefferson Library: "There are a number of quotes that we do not find in Thomas Jefferson's correspondence or other writings; in such cases, Jefferson should not be cited as the source. Among the most common of these spurious Jefferson quotes are: 'Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.' "

...

It was the Aussie pundit Tim Blair who noted the Thomas Jeffefakery. American commentators were apparently too busy cooing that "Kerry may be reflecting a new boldness on the part of liberals to come out and say what they believe and to reclaim the moral high ground on patriotism" (CBS News) to complain that KERRY LIED!! SCHOLARLY ATTRIBUTION DIED!!! Instead, KERRY MISQUOTED!! MEDIA DOTED!!!

Indeed, America's hardboiled newsmen can't get enough of the Thomas Jefferbunk. The Berkshire Eagle used it as the headline for last year's Fourth of July editorial. Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press thundered: "We need to stop slicing this country in half, and saying those who support this act or this politician are 'good' Americans, and the rest are not. Sometimes 'dissent is the highest form of patriotism.' I didn't make that up. Thomas Jefferson did."

Er, no. You made up that he made it up. But former Georgia state Rep. Mike Snow uses it, and Miranda Yaver of Berkeley wore it on a button to the big anti-war demo in Washington last year, and Ted Kennedy deployed it as the stirring finale to his anti-Bush speech:

"It is not unpatriotic to tell the truth to the American people about the war in Iraq. In this grave moment of our country, to use the words of Thomas Jefferson, 'Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.' "

...

As far as I can tell, it was Nadine Strosser, the ACLU's head honcho, who cooked up the Jefferson fake. At any rate, she seems to be the only one who ever deployed it pre-9/11. Since then, however, it's gone nuclear, it's everywhere, it's a bumper sticker and a T-shirt slogan and a surefire applause line for the entire Massachusetts congressional delegation. As Sen. Kennedy's brother so memorably said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what a fake quote can do for you."

Liberals all think of themselves as super-duper smarty-pants and "truth-tellers," but they seem to be both pretty dumb and pretty dishonest as regards words of wisdom from historical greats.

Barbra Streisand and thousands of other moonbats "quoted" William Shaekespeare's Julius Caesar warning us, 500 years ago, pretty specifically about George Bush's warmongering, in a bit of Nostradamus-esque prognostication that would be kinda interesting if he'd actually written the prophetic quatrain in any of his plays.

And of course moonbats are still inscribing shoddy placards with "Benjamin Franklin's" famous non-quote that "Those who would give up liberty for safety deserve neither." While there is a similar quote, it's far less emphatic about the tradeoff between liberty and state authority:

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Emphasis Michelle's. You'd think the liberals would be all over the correct quote, seeing how wonderfully nuanced it is, and yet they prefer the fake quote.

As Snopes notes in the debunking of the "William Shakespeare" quote:

As Ralph Keyes explains in Nice Guys Finish Seventh, his compendium of misattributed and false quotes, "Famous dead people make excellent commentators on current events." The dead do not reappear to challenge words assigned to them, an attribute much prized by those looking for convenient spokesmen to lend authority to their convictions.

Or, as Alexander Hamilton once said:

Beware those willing to rewrite history to influence the future. They're generally liberal assholes who think they're so smart, but are actually dumber than a bag of retards. And seriously, they can all suck my stinking hog.

That quote, incidentally, was taken from the companion to the famous Stuff Jefferson Said, the 1965 Cambridge University Press imprint Stuff People Who Were Alive Around The Time of Jefferson Said (3rd edition, with a preface and extensive annotations by Walter "Chekov" Koening).

Thanks to Thaine and/or Howard.


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posted by Ace at 01:41 PM

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