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|Brain drain in our nation's leaders|
It's interesting that George Washington was thought of as something of an intellectual lightweight by many of his Founding Father peers, when you measure his mental fortitude against today's leaders.
Just a rudimentary reading of his letters and speeches reveals that our first president was a deep thinker with his ideas built on a firm foundation.
His political thought came from study of classical conservative republicanism, history and liberal philosophy from the likes of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and John Locke.
He even modeled his conduct as general and president from characters from classic literature, as one historian notes: "One was the Roman model of Cato from Addison's play 'Cato' about a virtuous Roman. Washington saw the play many times, memorized parts of it and had it acted at Valley Forge. He also thought of Cincinnatus, the Roman farmer, who left the plough to lead the army that saved Rome and then went back to farming, refusing the role of 'Dictator' offered by the Roman Senate. Another model was that of the Patriot King, a role made popular in Washington's time by the English writer Bolingbroke. The Patriot King always had the people's welfare at heart."
Washington, of course, was surrounded by intellectual giants like Jefferson, Madison, Franklin and Hamilton, but he was no dunce.
The verdict is still out on some candidates that are vying, or may soon be vying, for the Republican presidential nomination.
While I'm not always the smartest person in the room, I would like the president to be, at least, smarter than me. That's not a very high bar to cross, after all.
This was brought to my mind by some news stories I have read over the last few weeks about what could, generously, be called "misspeaks" by presidential candidates.
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