Tag Archives: bible wisdom

Watchman, How Goes The Night?

There is something especially admirable about one of those turn of phrases that carries both a secular and a deeper philosophical  or religious meaning.  The title is one example of this wisdom and intelligence or luck of the unknown author, and they are always unknown it seems.

On a purely secular level we’ve only had police or cops as we now know them for less than 200 years.  The modern idea of cops comes from the movement of Robert Peel the British Prime Minister in the mid-19th century. Thus the term “Bobby” for the English cop on the beat. For most of Mankind’s journey personal security was provided by a handful of constables, sheriff’s or yes watchmen employed by the local King, Baron or other prominent person of the area.  Mostly you were on your own when it came to security after the Sun set.  Going back for centuries if you read the history you will see that those who could afford it had private guards (footmen for example) when out at night or they went about armed.  Gentlemen carried swords not for decoration but to actually defend themselves and more often to discourage the potential robber or criminal from even attempting an assault.

The term Watchman was used for centuries in the cities.  Ben Franklin referred to the Watchman when he was trying to organize a more formal police presence in Philadelphia in the 1730’s.   That was as generic term that covered Constables or others hired by the local governor or mayor to light the street lamps and make a circuit along the major streets.   So the title phrase today is more or less the equivalent of tuning into the 10 o’clock news to see if there is any danger out there.  Two centuries ago you would have asked the Watchman on his rounds if there was anything nefarious afoot.

Of more profound and emotional content is the personal introspection and depth of the inquiry.  Just as the phrase “whither thou goest”?  That is very penetrating.  Many of us much  of the time might not really want to answer that question because an honest response would be adverse to our self-esteem.  That query can apply to the immediacy of today or the panorama of our life path.   It is indeed a good and happy man that can answer that poser with equanimity.   Remember how Adam in the Garden of Eden didn’t want to answer God’s question about his original sin of the fruit and blamed everything on Eve or even God himself since He gave Adam the woman?  Our strivings in life should be such that we can actually answer that question each day of our lives.  Every day that you refuse to answer that query or are reluctant is a day you should try to correct on the morrow.  Thankfully the good Lord allows us to redeem ourselves and that is available for a day or a lifetime.   A good life is not about perfection but about perfection in effort to be noble, honest and decent.

Lead your life so that when you here that voice from within or from real but ethereal origin, calling to you–“Watchman, how goes the night”?  You can reply–all is well.

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful”  Proverbs 27/6.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Much Ado About Old Inequality

For months the liberal or socialist left has been trumpeting the alleged great cause of eliminating the alleged inequality in American economic life.  Well, blow me over with a feather!  You mean we don’t all make exactly the same amount of income?   The fact that some do exceedingly well and others do much better seems to come as a great shock to our Left and they are determined to eradicate it by any means and all means.

Such disparity is as old as recorded history.  The Bible in both the Old and New Testaments is filled with references to the rich and poor and the discrepancies between them.  Just read Proverbs or Ecclesiastes or Mathew if you want a citation.   Likewise ancient Greece is replete with similar concerns and conflicts to resolve the wealth gap.  Indeed the ire of the middle class and the lower classes in Greece lead the Tyrants who ruled under law and the laws of Draco (our Draconian usage).  You are reminded that the Tyrants, dictators, who came to power in roughly the 6th century did so to protect” and promote the middle classes and what they got was some redistribution and lots of dictatorship.  Nothing has changed over the centuries.  Stalin provided and quite even playing field but he also established all the rules of the game and lo to anyone who wished to  march to a different drummer.

If people are allowed to have freedom to differ one from the other you will always have inequality.  It is a truism that some can’t seem to abide because they want to be in charge of all the rules.  Further there is nothing inconsistent with a society having great income inequality but at the same time being charitable and caring about their fellow man.  The Bible is also filled with commands to aid the poor not only in wealth but in spirit.  The French just before the Revolution had forgotten that part of the duality.  Our goal should never be to eliminate inequality for that leads to a Dante’s inferno of mediocrity and brutal coercion; our goal should be to provide equality of lanes on the path to a better life restricted only by our own ambition and desires.  Some will always choose to live by Walden’s pond and others will want to be a Wall Street Master of the Universe.  Our society should allow and encourage both.  For the slovenly and lazy I refer you to Proverbs and the lazy man who reaps no crops; he doesn’t need or deserve charity but chastisement.

Lastly, it was written that liberty and inequality are not associates but rather enemies.  The former will in direct proportion lead to inequality and the lack of liberty will likewise lead to more equality of mediocrity or outright misery and oppression to maintain the equality balance.  This was observed by Will Durant, American philosopher and anthropologist and certainly not any sort of right-winger.  Read his twelve volumes sometime for your own edification and to agree or disagree with his comments on the civilization of Man.

“he that oppreseth the poor reproacheth his Maker, but he that horoureth him hath mercy on the poor”. Prvbs 14/31

http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

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