Thieving Vegan Poet (AKA Founding Father)

August 5, 2015

Ben Franklin noted that he showed skill for statism in his early years saying that he was often allowed to “govern” and to be a “leader” when doing things with other boys.  To demonstrate this innate ability, he described an occasion which he related because it showed what he described as “an early projecting public spirit.”  This incident, showing Ben’s ability at statecraft, involved an occasion when he and his gang had trampled down the edge of a private mill pond turning it into a quagmire.  He marshalled the boys directing them to steal all the stones that had been assembled to build a new house near the mill pond.  After waiting for the workmen at the house site to go home for the day, he had the boys take the rocks in a grand procession and dump them in the muddy marsh thereby providing what he considered to be a public good by making a sort of stone wharf when the stones sank into the mud remedying the mess caused by the boys’ trampling.  He thought this act to be quite appropriate as he was providing a public service by making a firm place for his band of hooligans to continue to trespass at the edge of the pond.  When the builder came by the next day and noticed the lack of assembled building material, Ben’s father was advised.  Ben’s father administered counsel to his son on his impropriety while Ben insisted on the usefulness of his project.   Shunning his father’s advice was a passion of his.

Ben Franklin tried to avoid getting a job.  No matter how hard his dad tried to help him get a trade, he insisted he wanted to go to sea; apparently the 18th century equivalent in his mind of running off to join the circus.  Since his older brother had started his own trade, Ben’s father taught him his trade, candle maker, and would bequeath him its implements which would have otherwise gone to the older brother.  Ben made it clear to his father that he despised the occupation.  So, his dad accommodated him and gave him a tour of every other trade which he also disliked.  He liked watching the men work, but resisted the idea of becoming an apprentice to any.

Ben tried his hand at writing poetry which he thought suited him.  His father advised against it telling him that “verse makers were generally beggars.”  Ben held a grudge against his father for discouraging his poetic cogitations thinking that his vocabulary would have improved if he had been allowed to persist in searching for fanciful words to add to the eloquence of his verses.

Ben got a hold of a book on eating a vegetable only diet.  The idea pleased him and he shunned meats on and off throughout his life, prompting the question of whether this carb heavy diet started him down the road to his notorious corpulence at a time when most Americans were still trim.  He enjoyed the recipes in the book and immersed himself in the preparation and eating of potatoes, rice, and hasty pudding (sweetened grain porridge).

On one occasion, although he had resolved that taking fish was “unprovoked murder” since they had no ability to reciprocate in the killing of humans, the cod being cooked by others during a ship voyage smelled so good that he concluded on that occasion, and on and off in the future, that fish were also murderers in that they ate their fellows thereby deserving to be eaten by him.  When reminiscing about that occasion, he admitted that moral flip-flopping, such as calling fish murderers making them deserving of the same punishment, was a convenient ability that men had when their proclaimed ethics wanted for some flexibility.

He started seeing a woman and after some time demanded that the woman’s parents mortgage their house to pay off the debts on his printing shop.  He threatened to not marry their daughter if they didn’t.  They thought it over, refused, and then barred him access to their home.  They then allowed another suitor to begin courtship of their daughter and propose marriage.  She accepted, but rumors surfaced that the suitor had a wife in England at which time Ben re-entered negotiation and decided to take her for his wife anyway despite his lingering sourness over the family’s refusal of his demand that they pay off his business debts as a condition of the marriage.

Franklin soon found it to be advantageous to court bureaucrats.  By doing so, he was awarded the position of clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1736 holding that position for 15 years.  He enjoyed the position immensely because of its cronyist advantages.  As clerk, his shop obtained all the printing work for the assembly.  As clerk, he also obtained the job of printing up the state’s paper money.  When a paper currency issue was under consideration in the Pennsylvania Assembly, Franklin wrote and printed a pamphlet entitled, “A Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency” to sway the members to approve the printing of the money.  His pamphlet argued against hard money, presented a labor theory of value, argued for a low interest rate, and suggested that labor and industry could not progress adequately without state printing of paper money.

The assembly approved the printing of money after reading Franklin’s pamphlet.  Franklin wrote, “My friends there, who consider I had been of some service, thought fit to reward me by employing me in printing the money; a very profitable job, and a great help to me.”

Of course, later in his life, when his business had been well-fattened by government contracts obtained via a serious conflict of interest as a government employee, Franklin had the time to produce philosophical musings and nuggets of morality such as describing the advantages of debauching older women.

Ben made many other priceless suggestions, making him worthy of the title of founding father.

He suggested that rum be used to intoxicate the Indians so that their land could be taken and turned over to “cultivators.”

On an occasion when the Quakers objected to giving money for implements of war that the state demanded, requiring instead that they would only give their tribute money if it was exclusively earmarked to purchase bread, flour, wheat, or other grain, Ben, despising their pacifist manner, told the government to interpret grain to mean “gunpowder.”

When it was discussed by the assembly that conscientious objectors would not object to their coerced tribute funds being used to procure a “fire engine,” Franklin suggested the engine procured would emit fire via a great cannon and the Quakers’ “grain” (gunpowder) would feed this “fire engine.”  The other bureaucrats admired his truly despicable machinations to pervert the non-violent wishes of his fellow man thinking that he truly had the makings of something great.

The stone stealing plan carried out in his youth had truly foretold his “public spirit” and propensity for public service as he himself had predicted.

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