Monday, September 26, 2016

Which Founding Father are You Most Like?

Which founding father am I most like? I believe the answer to this question is a simple one for me: Ben Franklin. Here are some of the similarities between us:

Unlike most founding fathers Franklin was poor and uneducated. He is a self-taught writer and scientist. Franklin also had an acute sense for running a business.

Franklin owned a publishing business and wrote books (autobiography and investment) and newsletters (almanacs and newspaper).

As a scientist and inventor, Franklin was not so much concerned about theory as the practicality of ideas and concepts.

Franklin worked hard to retire young by using two basic philosophies to garner wealth. First, he was frugal (not cheap). He did not spend money on useless items such as materialistic things like fancy China and glassware. Secondly, he did not believe in get rich schemes. His motto was patience and hard work and wealth would accumulate over time.

Franklin had a very conservative view on welfare. He believed in helping those in need but warned of people becoming lazy and dependent. Thus, a person who is not being useful to society should not garner any welfare. He was compassionate because he felt good, hard working people could fall on tough times and should gain some government assistance. But he did not feel that people should gain welfare for doing nothing to help society.

Franklin was willing to hear both sides of an argument. He believed in civility. And he was never too old to adapt or change views. He would acknowledge if he made a mistake and correct it.

Franklin was self-aware and admitted to having lots of faults and vices. But he worked hard over his lifetime to improve on his weaknesses.

Franklin treated adversaries with respect.

Franklin’s belief in God was strong, but his belief in religion(s) was weak. If a religious group helped its community he had no qualms or issues with the organization. However, he found religion to be rigid. For example, he believed being good and doing good onto others was what God intended for how people should behave. However, Puritans (Franklin was born a Puritan), do not believe in the free will of people since in their view God decides everything.

Obviously, Franklin and I have many stark differences in our lives since he was a great man and I am not. Franklin was much more resourceful than myself. For instance, he created useful entities such as the first police and fire departments, and the first library. He also created the University of Pennsylvania. Or the fact he belonged to dozens of successful clubs and organizations that still remain today.

Franklin certainly had some characteristics that were so much better than an average person like myself. Franklin was probably one of the best listeners ever placed on this planet. His observational skills were amazing. That being said, in some regards, I consider myself a better person than even the great Ben Franklin. Franklin seemed to treat others better than he did his own family and that was probably his biggest flaw.

Politically, I would say Franklin and I would have differed on most subjects. Franklin was a Federalist believing in a strong central government with less power for the states. I would equate Franklin’s views closer to those of a liberal than conservative.

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