"Profiles in Courage"

11/6/2008

I have been reviewing John F. Kennedy’s book Profiles in Courage. It’s a book about what Kennedy calls “political courage”.

These are words that Edmund Burke spoke in Britain’s House of Commons on December 1, 1783 in praise of Charles James Fox for his courage in standing up to the tyranny of the East India Company. The application to the Things that matter most is obvious.

“He well knows what snares are spread about his path, from personal animosity…and possibly from popular delusion. But he has put to hazard his ease, his security, his interest, his power, even his…popularity… He is traduced and abused for his supposed motives. He will remember that obloquy is a necessary ingredient in the composition of all true glory: he will remember…that calumny and abuse are essential parts of triumph… He may live long, he may do much. But here is the summit: He never can exceed what he does this day.”

traduce—to say untrue or malicious things about; defame; slander; vilify

obloquy—state of disgrace resulting from public abuse

calumny—defamation: a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone’s words or actions

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

—k 11:54 p.m.

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