Philadelphia Reflections

The musings of a physician who has served the community for over six decades

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In 1754 Franklin took a noteworthy carriage trip to the Albany Conference, accompanied by fellow delegates Isaac Norris and Proprietor John Penn. He composed the first political cartoon "Join or Die" for that purpose. Notes for the trip on the blank pages of "Poor Richards Almanac", now at Rosenbach Museum. The other delegates rejected the plan, but he never wavered. Blog 4318 : Topic 270 :

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Trump and Fauci compared with King George and Franklin

{Pearls on the String}
Coronavirus

Something important is illustrated by the contemporary conflict between our President and our Chief expert on the novel Coronavirus.

Unless you were asleep you know that there was a public squabble over whether we should follow the advice of our chief expert or our chief elected leader. The President, who was chosen to decide such things, stated his position and his chosen advisor on the subject said he disagreed. The lawyers recognize it should never come to this, that "Never ask a question you don't already know the answer to." The other side was wrong, too. They forgot they were arguing with someone who could instantly fire them, for no stated reason at all. As you notice, the King eventually lost his most important colony, while the upstart opponent had to change his profession from scientist to politician, sail three thousand ocean miles, and nearly lose his life.

This took place close enough to the Fourth of July to permit the history that lighting had once struck the King's own cathedral of St. Paul's, and the King had asked Ben Franklin to advise him about a lightning rod, since Franklin was the world's expert on the subject. The king wanted a brass ball, but Franklin protested that a spike was better. No such argument was worth the consequences, especially one with thousands of years of father-son experience. There's always a third party seeking to gain from such frivolity, especially in an immigrant nation with teachers of the son seeking importance, or opposite politicians seeking to gain from the embarrassment.

Originally published: Thursday, July 09, 2020; most-recently modified: Wednesday, September 30, 2020

 

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