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Which Founding Father Are You?

Signing Of The Declaration Of Independence

This “Which Founding Father Are You?game is going viral via Twitter.

It’s cute and makes an important point.

But the point isn’t—or shouldn’t be—about the Founders themselves. Rather, it’s that 1776 was a really, really long time ago.  I was born 189 years later and  remember America’s Bicentennial clearly. Our social values on gender, race, sexuality, and all manner of other things have evolved radically in my memory. Things that card-carrying liberals believed in 1976 would get a Tea Party Republican excoriated today. Times change.

The lesson isn’t that the Founders were bad men who believed bad things–although I suppose some were and did. Rather, it’s that we shouldn’t hold up even the best and brightest of 1776 as the eternal fount of all wisdom.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    it’s that we shouldn’t hold up even the best and brightest of 1776 as the eternal fount of all wisdom.

    That’s part of the problem James, the Constitution has become a religious document to many. It was and is a flawed document but suggesting this runs the risk of you getting stoned to death by some. The majority of the founding fathers may have been spiritual but were not Christians. Jefferson was openly hostile to Christianity, Adams was a Unitarian and there is no evidence that George Washington ever attended church. The founders were for the most part products of the enlightenment. But there is still the perception by some on the conservative right that the Constitution came from the Christian God.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  2. Scott says:

    Its funny and meant to be. Clickhole is run by The Onion and makes fun of internet memes like “which such and such are you most like.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  3. michael reynolds says:

    I was waiting for the first Clickhole to go viral. The Onion boys must be high-fiving and lighting up extra big fatties.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  4. beth says:

    @Ron Beasley: Look at the uproar over Barack Obama’s statement that the Constitution is a “living document”. It’s still a spoken about on the right as some sort of proof that he’s not a real American. Doesn’t the fact that he’s a black man remind them of something in the document that changed with the times?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  5. C. Clavin says:

    Onion/Clickhole or not….Today’s Republicans would be called Loyalists in the 1770’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  6. Eric Florack says:

    It IS a living document in that a procedure to change it exists.
    That procedure does not include ignoring it.
    And have you ever noticed that those ignoring it, do so so as to increase governmental power?

    A religious document, say you? (Shrug)
    Given your views on religion, that says something. And given your attitude on anything that limits governmental power, it all seems to fit very well…. it explains much.

    NO SHOCK FOR EITHER SINCE THE Constitution was written expressly to the purpose of limiting governmental power.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  7. C. Clavin says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Constitution was written expressly to the purpose of limiting governmental power.

    A radical opinion stated as fact with no basis in fact.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2