Injuring a Good Cause

My wife was watching PBS earlier tonight, Ken Burns’ profile of Thomas Jefferson. A good quote for many things today, though I didn’t catch the context in which the third president said it:

A good cause is often injured more by ill-timed efforts of its friends than by the arguments of its enemies.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to Injuring a Good Cause

  1. Liam says:

    Mr Jefferson should know, given how he himself as a friend betrayed President Washington (by encouraging the publishing of nasty political invective about Washington), something that Washington sadly learned of but only confronted Jefferson on it in a very 18th century way (by letter, and by protesting that what he had heard could not possibly have been true, which was the gentlemanly way of doing the opposite).

    As an alumnus of Mr Jefferson’s university, I can appreciate his genius. But genius’s of the modern era often have a way of putting ideas ahead of people, and ideology is no friend to friendship. Even Jefferson betrayed his ideology when his personal needs impelled him to do so.

    Mr Jefferson may have had seemed the nicer man compared to Mr Adams, but it was Adams who, despite his volcanic tempestuousness, had the greater and deeper array of friends (actually, that is true of Adams compared to most of the great Founders). However exasperating Adams could be in a friendship, he was trustworthy and avoided major deceit (though he was capable of minor deceit when salving his easily bruised vanity).

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