Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cato's Encyclopedia of Libertarianism: George Washington

The Cato Institute's "Encyclopedia of Libertarianism" can now be accessed online here. I wrote the entry on George Washington which you can view here. The way it worked was I wrote something and submitted it to Cato. The late, great Dr. Ron Hamowy -- one of the premiere scholars of the Scottish Enlightenment -- then extensively edited it and made it into a much better piece.

Here is an example of how it worked:
Washington, like the authors of The Federalist Papers, had a particular affinity for ancient Rome. His favorite play was Joseph Addison’s 1713 work about the implacable enemy of tyranny, Cato the Younger, and throughout his life, he saw the play numerous times. He commonly quoted from it and had it performed before his troops at Valley Forge. The play concerns the Roman Senator who committed suicide rather than submit to the tyranny of Julius Caesar. Washington’s stoic sense of honor developed, in large part, from the profound influence this play had on his character.
Many people think that "Cato" of the "Cato Institute" is an acronym. It's not. It's actually named after the subject of this play. I wrote this passage, but the phrase "the implacable enemy of tyranny" was added by Dr. Hamowy.

Here is what I wrote about Washington and religious issues:
Enlightenment writers also contributed to Washington’s belief that men of all religions—Christian or non-Christian, orthodox or heterodox—should possess full and equal rights under the laws of the United States. That religious liberty was granted to all Americans, at least at the federal level, was unprecedented. As Washington wrote on January 27, 1793, to the New Church in Baltimore, whose founder, Emanuel Swedenborg, taught novel doctrines not in accord with prevailing Christian orthodoxy:
We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart. In this enlightened Age & in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets, will not forfeit his protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining & holding the highest offices that are known in the United States.

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