November 10, 2016
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If you are dismayed and wringing your hands over the recent demonstration of democracy in America on November 8th, it might be good to keep in mind a quote by Benjamin Franklin. When Franklin exited the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, a lady in a group of citizens asked him, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” “A republic, if you can keep it,” Franklin replied.
Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy , which BBC Radio broadcast in the late 1970s/80s, provides this additional helpful insight:
From Fit the Seventh:
Narrator: There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.
There is another theory mentioned, which states that this has already happened.
Adams’ advice in HGG is something that DeTocqueville and Franklin, themselves fellow travelers in this existential universe, might subscribe to: Don’t panic, and carry a towel.