A Statement of Contentment

Ways to Success

“There is no greater inflation of value than the value we place upon money,”

-Young Ben Franklin

There are a great many that think that the most successful and motivated of people are those who are never satisfied. This is a poor approach for those who aspire to wealth. You see, contentment makes poor men rich while discontentment makes rich men poor. You must appreciate your life for what it is, not for what it could be. Too often do people assume that gaining riches will solve their problems; but they do not seem to understand that wealth and contentment are not always bed-fellows. No matter who they are, one that’s content hath enough while he that complains hath too much! The desire for a better position in life comes not from money because the use of money is all the advantage there is in having money. In the end, a wise man will desire no more than what he may get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave contentedly.

Policy #1: REFORMING CAMPAIGNS INTO NON-PROFITS

Ben's Journal, Politics

The responsibility of every politician is to serve the people, not to stroke their own ego. As I watch the elections of every level of government, I see less of the former and more of the latter. Of course, COMMON SENSE requires us to review the credentials of each and every candidate for each and every position in public office. COMMON SENSE also reminds us that one who runs for public office must have confidence in their abilities and, therefore, must have their ego stroked in order to maintain that faith in their self. However, must their ego be stroked at the rate of approximately One Billion Dollars in each presidential election cycle?!? I am still learning about the fashions and customs of the modern world but I can tell you that this is a poor use of our extensive, but still limited, resources.

I understand the feeling that one must raise money in order to run an effective campaign operation in the current campaign system, but COMMON SENSE argues that raising $100 million for a failed campaign is a poor investment, even if the candidate was in contention until the very last moment. What adds insult to idiocy is that this enormous sum of money is loosely thrown around each election cycle while pervasive societal issues such (poverty, education, etc.) continue. These issues need to be consistently addressed, and not just as talking points, by the candidates. Because the American people need to know that these politicians can effectively combat these societal issues, COMMON SENSE would therefore argue that the campaign cycle should be a challenge to tackle one of these issues. Here is my proposal:

POLICY #1: POLITICAL NON-PROFIT CAMPAIGN

Issue Addressed: Campaign Financing Reform meets Funding for Social Programs

Political Spectrum: All

Key Points:

  1. Candidates will establish and operate a non-profit organization addressing one societal issue that pervades within the American community
  2. Donors do not donate to the candidate but rather to the candidate’s organization
  3. The candidate will use free media outlets to provide platform policies of their potential administrations
  4. Candidates will be required to be involved in 5 debates to be controlled and run by third parties.
  5. After election, failed candidates required to stabilize non-profit and run it effectively until qualified replacement is found.

It is COMMON SENSE that, between the two phrases, “well done” is better than “well said”; therefore, the Election Cycle should be chance for candidates to prove their worth as potential future leaders of the “Free World”. No longer, will the American people have to be inundated with multiple messages, speeches, and positive/negative advertisements. A qualified speech-writer can make any Poor Dick appear like a Demi-God. However, if a candidate is placed at the head of an non-profit organization, we, the people, will immediately witness the level of their effectiveness. There are many benefits to this system.

Benefits

As previously mentioned, the people get to act as scouts, monitoring the movements of each and every candidate. We take the candidates on a “test-run” and determine the strengths and deficiencies of each of them. We take every move into account: what their issue priority is; whom the candidates select in each position within the organization; how effectively the organization becomes (etc.). The Executive Branch of the government is a massive organization that requires the oversight of dozens of departments in the bureaucracy. The pressure of heading our ship of state is immense. I would argue that a candidate who can handle the immense pressure of creating and running an organization dedicated to effectively educate low-income populations while, in the meantime, competing against other candidates in the spotlight of the critical media, is worthy of a potential nomination, if not vote.

There is no more noble cause than effectively tackling poverty or funding a series of schools. Therefore, we can forgive many politicians for their flaws in character if they are effective. Of course, the more egregious characteristic impediments will not be able to be ignored, but if the people are prevented from questioning a woman on her family values because she has chosen to be successful at her work than have a family. If she can help feed children, than who cares if she has them, herself?! I certainly do not!

Furthermore, the donors, themselves, can feel proud of their contributions to normally underfunded organizations. Even if their candidate loses the election, they can feel proud that they raised money to fight one of the many major problems that plague our society. Imagine if Bernie Sanders and his supporters had spent his campaign money – approximately $228 million – on developing a program to reduce college debt. Imagine if Jeb Bush had used his $155 million to aid and support army veterans returning home from war in the Middle East. Imagine if Donald Trump had used his $95 million into a program for early education programs for children…. well maybe not that last one. But you get the idea. If any of those candidates lose, then America still wins. Besides, once someone has donated to an organization, they are more likely to continue providing funds. (Disclaimer: this is a statement which I did no research on and is based off a basic assumption. #politicking)

There will still be an opportunity for the candidates to express their opinions, of course, but their money will not be involved. Third party news outlets will run the televised debates with effective moderators who will make the candidates answer difficult questions. Online sites can run their advertisements. In other words, their messages will be loud, but their actions will be louder.

My Campaign

In order to make show the effectiveness of this policy initiative, I will model my own campaign as a non-profit organization. The “Franklin For President” campaign is dedicated to raising awareness to Common Sense as well as raising money for schools in Philadelphia. The profits of every T-Shirt sold by “Enlightning Tees” will be divided and donated to raise money for both students and teachers. This movement is much more important than the campaign itself. All of my writings and all of my projects will be dedicated to battling urban education. So if you donate to me, you are supporting education! No other candidate can claim that!

 

 

Ways to Success – A Statement for Controlling Passion 

Ways to Success

“If you want to be remembered,

You must learn to tame your temper,”

– Young Ben Franklin

One’s legacy is often tarnished by fits of passion. Remember that anger is never without a Reason, but seldom with a good one to act in response to it. For one who acts in response to their anger, will most assuredly cause injury to others. It is better to take many injuries, than to give one because doing an injury puts you below your Enemy; revenging one makes you but even with him; forgiving it sets you above him. Therefore, it is important you apply “logic”, COMMON SENSE, and Reason to any decision you make because passion drives the carriage, but freedom holds the reigns.

Democratic-Republican – The Party of Compromise

Politics

Moderation, and Compromise

Ladies and Gentleman,

My name is Ben Franklin and I am running for President of the United States of America! Over the following months, I will begin laying out my policy initiatives but to begin with, I will present my rationale and political ideology.

It has come to my attention that the people of our nation might need to receive a right-cross to the jaw by a fist clutching a roll of pennies. In other words: Americans need to be hit with COMMON CENTS. (Yes, it is going to be that type of essay…) Everywhere I look, I see vitriolic rhetoric (Translation: “harsh words”), which has poisoned the political process, proving that democracy is nothing more than multiple mobs competing through sheer auditory volume for political power. There is anger on both sides of the political spectrum. Congress is constipated from rival representatives trembling at the thought of attempting to calm their angry constituents. As we all know, frustration and anger increases from constipation and, therefore, the people’s emotions replace logic. This leads to irrational arguments, which cause the opposition to become more entrenched in their defensive position. It is a viciously fickle cycle. COMMON SENSE would argue that this is unsustainable. But I, Ben Franklin, may have the key to solving this problem. It’s called moderation!

Moderation, my friends, is the prescription to all remedies – be it alcohol, vice, religion, etc. It is the outcome of almost every policy initiative in the history of legislation. Firebrands on both sides of the political spectrum push for radicalized policies through their Bills. However, Bills become Laws by moving through a congressional filtration process, which always includes those who are fundamentally opposed to the bill. This is when “politicking” begins and the resulting Law is shaped into a faint shadow of the initial Bill. Therefore, COMMON SENSE would argue that the “politicking” process would theoretically be smoother if it were only pushing moderate policy bills. This is because the moderate bills would promote Compromise.

Now I understand that this word, “compromise”, is a dirty word for any stalwart for it requires one to forfeit some of their principles in the process. But COMMON SENSE tells us that people sacrifice their principles very quickly when the alternative is to sacrifice their self-interest. Pessimists argue that compromise fundamentally results with all negotiating parties leaving angry. This is a benefit! After all, COMMON SENSE argues that it is better to have the people unified in bitterness than to have one side feeling cheated and oppressed (… besides, if everyone is angry, has much changed?).

Furthermore, our country is founded on compromise. I had to console Thomas Jefferson, during the editing process of the Declaration of Independence, because he was horrified at the eighty individual edits to it! The Constitutional Convention was only successful because of multiple compromises (some of which were an unfortunate stain to the country’s legacy…) I shall paraphrase what I said at the end of that convention: we have a country of diverse peoples with various backgrounds and oft-competing interests meaning that compromise is the only way to succeed. COMMON SENSE therefore suggests that we begin our policy-shaping process with moderation and compromise.

If I am promoting a movement towards consistent, compromising creation of policies, I must establish a platform based off of rational, logical COMMON SENSE. This platform, therefore, implies that I am in need of a political party to promote this platform. Since the platform is a moderate platform – which attempts to compromise and unite the policy initiatives of both Democrats and Republicans – then COMMON SENSE necessitates the party to be the “DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICANS”. It is a tribute to one of the original political parties, and also happens to be the party I was most affiliated with (so… COMMON SENSE). Our party mascot will be the EAGLE, because it is in the best interest for the country. I would have liked it to be the Wild Turkey, but I shall sacrifice my principles for the greater good (do you see how it works?!). I shall, of course, be the leader, and another Great Compromiser, Henry Clay, will be the Vice-Presidential nominee. Our policy initiatives will be laid out throughout the following months based on COMMON SENSE and logic, over emotion.

DISCLAIMER: To those of you in my SMALL circle of readers who would assume that these policy proposals presented presently (Huzzah! for alliterations!) reflect my principles wholly, I warn you to BE WARY. For it is my expectation that these policies will be manipulated and shaped through any political process which may be expected to scrutinize it. Therefore I challenge you to take no offense to any policies, for they are simply musings of a rationalist and a skeptic who has observed the history of human nature.

My intentions for these proposals are to provide entertaining thought-nuggets based on my limited, though highly heralded, skill in logic. I do not gauge success for my venture from the increase in followers, but rather, through the quality of productive discourse produced. My multiple roles in founding this country have always been in the form of educating through anecdotes and abstract thought. I challenge you to find weakness in my theories, for they are merely formulaic equations of political philosophy. Human nature is, of course, the most important variable in any political equation; but it is also the most inconsistent. I will be satisfied if you find mild entertainment but substantial self-reflection in order to shape your own beliefs in how our social contract should operate. After you have taken time to consider and reflect on the theories, then you can decide which platform you will align yourself to.

Regardless of anything else, consider this: I am a WALKING SATIRE. I cannot run for president because I have been dead for 236 years. COMMON SENSE should tell you, therefore, not to take too many things seriously.

To say that I am astounded at my new and strange surroundings is the understatement of the last three centuries. On average, once per hour I must remind myself to breathe as I am introduced to some new technological revelation.

Essay on Common Sense

Politics

LadiesMan

Dearest Lovers and Haters… of American Politics,

I would like to re-introduce myself. My name is Benjamin Franklin. I am writing you at the age of 310 years old, though my current version is my 28-year old form: tall, athletic, and with a full head of hair, though the hair is glows with a deep, rich red (beggars cannot be choosers…). You may have many questions such as:

  1. “How did you get here?”
  2. “Why do you look so different from your pictures?”
  3. “Which do you prefer more: being bald or being a ginger?”

Unfortunately, you must wait a little longer for answers to those questions and more. You see I have a lot to say and I have a VERY short attention span… and I’m extremely caffeinated (#dunkindonuts). I must stay focused on my task at hand because “he that pursues two hares at once, does not catch one and lets the other go,” I am already getting off topic…. Damn!

My specific task is to introduce to you the fundamental principle that is missing from the current American landscape, COMMON SENSE. The land is scourged with scathing verbal assaults between its inhabitants. We have allowed our emotions to rise to an unsustainable vitriol (#vocabulary), which leads to defensive posturing for poor ideas. You see, “a man in passion rides a mad horse,” and a mad horse causes collateral damage. We blame and fear-monger causing further hate and distrust. We break down but don’t rebuild. We argue for policies in defense of our own acknowledged biases and self-interest, but care little of the impact on others. We argue for policies due to fear of minorities and immigrants, but we like to preach a folksy legacy of our country, incorporates the phrases “inclusion” and “liberty”. We do little to combat poverty, but are disgusted with those who suffer from it. We have lost our minds! We have lost COMMON SENSE! I am sure that I have not been the only one to express this sentiment, but it resonates more when I say this, because I am Ben Franklin… and I am amazing.

You must understand, COMMON SENSE, also known as “logic”, is an essential tool for every calculated move in a person’s life. It is separate from intelligence because one can know a lot of facts but still act foolishly and “a learned fool is a greater fool than an ignorant one,” Consider COMMON SENSE to be wisdom. It focuses solely on applying several facts together in order to surmise a logical conclusion. Consider it equivalent to an algebraic equation. For example:

Equation

  1. x + y = 10
  2. x = 7
  3. Therefore, y = 3

Logic

  1. Government policies against homosexuals are based on the grounds of religious text
  2. The Constitution separates religion from government
  3. Government policies against homosexuals are not supported by the Constitution

COMMON SENSE is what the entire Enlightenment movement was based upon; it placed reason and rational thought in contrast with blind worship. COMMON SENSE is what we, the people, used to succeed in the American Revolution. COMMON SENSE defended our rebellion because it was not logical for an island to control a continent. COMMON SENSE reasoned that we should continue fighting in the face of initial defeats because the British would eventually grow tired of traveling 3,000 miles to fight to suppress us. And COMMON SENSE logically identified the perfect positioning between the British and French for an ideal peace treaty.

And no, I am not the writer of the famous pamphlet, COMMON SENSE, either. That can be attributed to one, Thomas Paine. However, I was his mentor and I assisted him in his famed publication. I was one of the greatest thinkers of the Enlightenment, so consider me an expert on COMMON SENSE. It will be an over-arching theme in much of my writing and so you must be prepared for this. My goal is for you to feel more Enlightened at the conclusion of these writings than you were previously. Cheers and Good Fortune!

Your Best Friend,

Ben Franklin

Cicero – The Catalyst of the Renaissance

Ben's Journal

“To be considered truly ‘Enlightened’, one must look for deeper meaning in every writing and find the subtle messages that transcend the rhetoric” – Anonymous

Dearest Coffeehouse Collective,

There was a time in the course of human history where the Founders were not the source of all inspiration. Before our time, we were “learners” who leaned on other sources for guidance. We planted our foundations in the Classics. These philosophers taught us that a “government by the people” was only practical IF the people were virtuous. YOU see, there is nothing more beautiful than Virtue. The base principles, upon which our civilization was built, ARE conceived from these exceptional men of ENLIGHTENED thought. None of those Pillars of Wisdom stood taller than the great orator, Marcus Tullius Cicero, whose rediscovered letters initiated the Renaissance. Fortunately, I have been able to REMEMBER my notes from my youth as an apprentice, spending nights reading my books and creating aphorisms to every story, like a new Aesop. Here it is in partial form:

“Marcus Tullius, of the family Cicero (Latin for “disgusting”), had learned to embrace his horrid name as motivation. After all, if you appreciate your name, then others will do so. He vowed to make his a name synonymous with honor. As early as he was capable, CICERO was SAID to have distinguish himself in the schools for having the keen understanding to be eager in every kind of learning. Cicero labored in his studies (as he would later claim, “you reap what you sow”) and diversified his intellectual specialties. Ambitious TO BE a communicator, he focused on poetry for oratorical training, because to excel at communication, one must excel at poetry; but expect little greatness from poetry alone. He studied Latin as well as other languages for there is no greater sign of intelligence than to be able to call someone “stupid” in 6 languages or more.

Cicero traveled to Athens and physically exercised to develop stamina having been told to take care of your body for it is the vessel of all your ambitions fulfilled. He continued to study and learn the “Way To Glory”. In order to achieve this “Way” you must make your own Genius be the guide of your life, not the opinion of the people for they are IGNORANT and do not make tough choices. The “Man OF Glory” must still communicate, however, and use sarcasm and witty sayings to appeal to people – in moderation. This approach, however, is WHAT makes enemies. But in the end, if he inevitably must have an enemy, he knew he should choose a loudmouth for those who speak loudly have nothing to say. As a good politician, he knew of many moments when this fact has OCCURRED. After all, a good tradesman knows his every tool, and a good politician knows his every fool, in order to use them appropriately in a given situation. BEFORE Cicero left, he learned ONE more piece of wisdom: “glory” is an infinite thing with no fixed measure or end in its pursuit. He realized he WAS unable to ever completely satisfy his quest for glory, and would need to temper his ambitious thoughts – or at least attempt to.

Cicero’s political career was BORN and he proved these early scholarly truisms to be valuable. He became a well-respected statesman (and still IS), quoted often for his fair judgments, eloquent oratory, and witty sayings. Thus he became a Consul in time TO overthrow a conspiracy to the Roman Republic by Lucius Catilina. Catilina took advantage of the fact that the common decay of societies are shows, entertainment, and ambition of higher offices (Note: this pattern continues to REMAIN since as long as men have been men, they have been debaucherous in spirit). The unequal distribution of wealth led to instability and tension amongst the population. Angry veterans and aristocrats attempted to overthrow the Republic and assassinate Cicero.

Cicero was informed of the plot. Knowing that to govern, one ALWAYS should prefer honesty above what’s popular (because justice is invincible when well-spoken), Cicero attacked Catiline in several speeches to the Senate and the people. This move threatened Catiline and emboldened the Roman people to support Cicero. Catiline and his followers fled and Cicero was able to acquire proof of the conspiracy through their letters, proving that loudmouths make the best enemies. Knowing it was better to be thought too harsh than too weak, Cicero had the conspirators executed. Thus he saved the Roman Republic for A time, being hailed as a glorious figure in the process. What would eventually lead to his downfall was a CHILD named Caesar and two lessons Cicero had yet to fully learn and understand: in politics, friendships are only friendships if they are mutually beneficial; and, never trust a Caesar.

Until Next Time!

Your B.F.,

B.F.

Good Day!

Ben's Journal

To Members of the Philadelphia Coffee House Scene,

I bid you good day and “HELLO”. My NAME, I fear, is a name of relative importance and brings with it a certain level of GRAVITAS. I hesitate to introduce myself beginning with my name for it is a TITLE, which I subsequently must live up to. Certain expectations will be made for me; goals to attain, which I fear I will not be possible. It is not for a lacking sense of self-worth, but rather for a rational understanding that no one could live up to these expectations. However, I am truly CONFIDENT in my own ABILITIES. Believe me when I say that I am an IMPRESSIVE individual.

How impressive am I? Well, it would not be amiss for me to tell you that my feats of accomplishment have become the foundation for more outlandish myths to be told of my life relating to SUCCESS and INNOVATION. In my wisdom, I learned how to evade confirmation of these stories during my life, while still taking full advantage of the aura that it placed me in. This made me more successful in my different business, social, or political projects since I appeared of a higher quality to all other players. Sometimes it caused REVERENCE, but often it caused JEALOUSY amongst my contemporaries. Needless to say that, when I died, some were sad, some were relieved, and some – well they probably did not take heed.

And yes, I did, in fact, DIE. Though it was after a good long life. I enjoyed witnessing how my LEGEND flourished after my death, as many individuals in history do. I am PLEASED to see that my name and accomplishments have been imitated and improved to further ADVANCE individual and collective success throughout the years. An even greater reason for the growth of my EGO can be sighted in the area now known as OLDE CITY Philadelphia – an area that I had known simply as Philadelphia. You see, it would appear that I am the NAMESAKE of every other coffee shop, restaurant, street, bridge, and building. (Note: it is NOT ARROGANCE if it is the TRUTH…)

My name is appearing far more in the world of popular CULTURE. Music and entertainment often mention me in reference to, well…. EVERYTHING. That is what happens when my FACE is on the SYMBOL of CAPITALISM and POWER, the hundred-dollar bill. Who knew that being a JACK-OF-ALL-TRADES could propel one to such a level of prestige? This is precisely why I choose to grace you with my presence after all of these years.

I have decided that 2015 would be a good time to plunge back into the realm of the living. This world is an exciting place with various forms of communication and technology that overwhelm all who were born before 1990. Since I died in 1790, I will not, needless to say, spend too much time attempting to catch up with technology. There is far too much technological evolution for me to try to understand. (Note: it took 30 more years after I died for someone to create the bicycle… so I would really be starting from the beginning.)

Instead, I have decided to focus my thoughts and writings within the realm of SOCIETY. I have always had a keen sense of people and I do find my sharp witticisms take hold within well-focused niches of society, most specifically, yours. Yes YOU, the coffee shop dwellers; the artisans; the students; the young professionals. You are free spirits and free thinkers. I sense that we are not so different. Therefore, I consider it my DUTY to ENTERTAIN and PROVOKE THOUGHT in a light manner so that I may help you IMPROVE your outlook, even if only slightly. Topics of discussion shall vary but shall always revolve around people and SOCIETY. I do hope that you appreciate my RHETORIC for what it is, the thoughtful musings of a very, very, old soul who is always quick to alter his opinions if persuaded through LOGIC and WISDOM.

I will leave this letter with this quick description of my CHARACTER: I am COURTEOUS and AFFABLE, unless I am provoked. I am a lover of all GOOD PEOPLE and a true friend to VIRTUE. I am HANDSOME and usually quite WITTY; and therefore struggle with HUMILITY. However, I am open to acknowledgement of my flaws, whatever they be. I shall look to you, as my friends, to ensure that I do not make too much of a fool of myself, since I intend to do the same to you as a whole. With this introduction, I wish for you a good day and good coffee! Until next time….

Your Best Friend,

Ben Franklin