Friday, May 10, 2013

The Crushing of Middle Eastern Christianity. By Richard L. Russell.

The Crushing of Middle Eastern Christianity. By Richard L. Russell. The National Interest, May 10, 2013.

America’s Pundit-Powered Foreign Policy. By Robert Kaplan.

America’s Pundit-Powered Foreign Policy. By Robert Kaplan. Real Clear World, May 9, 2013.

An Open Letter to Sarah Palin. By Scottie Hughes.

An Open Letter to Sarah Palin. By Scottie Hughes., March 25, 2013.

Tea Party News Network Director Falsely Smears Palin. By Tony Lee. Breitbart, March 25, 2013.

An Open Letter to Scottie Hughes: Sarah Palin Is Doing Grr-eat. By Kevin Scholla. SarahNET, March 25, 2013.

Tea Party News Network (TPNN).

Stephen Hawking’s Warped Moral Calculus. By Mona Charen.

Stephen Hawking’s Warped Moral Calculus. By Mona Charen. National Review Online, May 10, 2013.


Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned physicist and celebrity, has canceled a planned trip to Israel, where he was invited to participate in a conference sponsored by Israeli president Shimon Peres. His explanation: “I have received a number of emails from Palestinian academics. They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott. In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference.”
It’s an odd world, isn’t it? By what inverted moral calculus does someone of Hawking’s stature find it morally problematic to set foot on the soil of the region’s only democracy? One wonders: How many other nations has Hawking declined to visit in order to express his disapproval of their policies?
A glance at his CV reveals that Hawking visited the Soviet Union in 1973. Russia is no human-rights picnic today (it is one of two chief sponsors of the Assad regime in Syria, for example), but those were the bad old days of Brezhnev, when uprisings for freedom in Hungary and Czechoslovakia were ruthlessly suppressed, the KGB inspired terror, and scientists who displeased the regime were packed off to the Gulag.
The incredibly well-traveled Hawking also visited Iran in 2007 for the International Physics Olympiad. His conscience was apparently untroubled by the stoning of adulteresses, imprisonment without trial, torture, and persecution of religious and ethnic minorities — to say nothing of arming terrorists and threatening to wipe countries off the map.
There is, alas, no shortage of nations in this world that are richly deserving of boycotts and other forms of pressure. Atrocities against civilians, including children, are a daily occurrence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Somalia, Mali, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Myanmar, and Kyrgyzstan, as well as the above-mentioned Russia and Iran, and many others oppress their populations, flout human rights, disdain judicial procedures, and muzzle the press.
Yet there is no worldwide BDS (“boycotts, divestments, and sanctions”) movement against any of those countries. Some have been sanctioned by the United Nations, or, in the case of Cuba, boycotted by the United States. But only Israel is singled out for the BDS treatment by private organizations and individuals. Hawking joins entertainers Elvis Costello, Santana, Jon Bon Jovi, and the Pixies in declining to travel to Israel. The Presbyterian Church (USA) has started the process of divesting from Israel, joining the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the United Church of Canada, the Church of England Synod, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and the World Council of Churches. Archbishop Desmund Tutu has called for Israel to be treated just as apartheid South Africa was — a call that Jimmy Carter has come close to echoing.
What do the advocates of BDS think they are expressing? Disapproval of Israel’s settlement policies, perhaps? But the boycott of Jewish businesses by the Arab states actually predates the creation of the state of Israel. The Arab League formally adopted a blanket boycott after Israel achieved independence in 1948 — long before the West Bank had come under Israeli sovereignty. The wording of the Palestinian “Call for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel” lists “responsibility for the Nakba” as the first indictment. Nakba is the Palestinian term for Israel’s birth — it translates as the “catastrophe.” In other words, Israel’s first crime had nothing to do with territory, occupation, or the “peace process.” Its first crime was being born.
The Palestinian call itemizes other complaints against Israel. There is the obligatory comparison to apartheid South Africa and a reference to the “racist colonial wall.”
The apartheid slur is damaging but utterly false. Israel is home to 1.6 million Arab citizens, about 20 percent of its population. There is no such thing as second-class citizenship. Arabs can participate fully in Israeli life. There are Israeli Arabs in the Knesset, on the Supreme Court, in the foreign service, in the media, in the police force, and even in the army. Do some have mixed feelings about their country? Sure. Does anyone in Stephen Hawking’s country? Of course. And by the way, how many Jews serve in prominent posts in Arab countries?
As for the “racist colonial wall,” that’s a reference to the security fence Israel finally erected to prevent Palestinians from detonating bombs on buses, in supermarkets, and in pizza parlors. Israel responded to sustained terror attacks not by curtailing civil liberties, not by revenge attacks on Palestinian civilians, and not by reoccupying territory ceded to the Palestinian Authority. No, they just built a fence. That was too much for the likes of Hawking — which gives you the measure of the man, and the movement he embraces.

The Jobs Crisis: Bigger Than You Think. By Walter Russell Mead.

The Jobs Crisis: Bigger Than You Think. By Walter Russell Mead. Via Meadia, May 10, 2013. Also here.


Of the Big Five questions facing America today, the most pressing and urgent is the question of jobs. This is more than the problem of recovering from the last economic slump; it is more than the impact of globalization and automation on manufacturing jobs. The American economy is shedding jobs, especially long-term, well-paying jobs with good benefits, and the jobs that replace them are often less secure and less well paid. The relentless transformation of the American labor market is changing the nature of American life, calling into question some of the basic assumptions and building blocks of the last fifty years, and generating a complex mix of political and social pressures that will shake the country to its foundations.

Essentially, the problem is this: automation and IT are moving routine processing, whether that being processed is information or matter, out of the realm of human work and into the realm of machines. Factory floors are increasingly automated places where fewer and fewer human beings are needed to transform raw materials into finished products; clerical work and many forms of mass employment in business, government and management are also increasingly performed more economically by computers than by trained human beings.

The transformation is only beginning to kick in. Self driving cars and trucks may reduce the need for human beings in the transportation and freight industries.  Information processing is beginning to change the nature of the legal profession and even as law school applications fall by almost 50 percent there is much more change to come. Computer assisted diagnosis is making itself felt in health care. MOOCs are likely to change the way much of higher ed works.

It is impossible to say now how far and how fast this process will move, but more and more Americans are experiencing the kind of upheaval that blue collar workers in manufacturing began to experience in the last generation and white collar workers and journalists have felt more recently. We are seeing the greatest wave of economic transition since the mechanization of agriculture reduced the percentage of the labor force engaged in farming from more than half the American labor force in 1890 to less than two percent today.

The old engines of job growth, especially in manufacturing, aren’t working, and the competition for good jobs keeps getting tighter. With the entry of billions of Asians and others beyond the old industrial economies of North America, Europe and Japan into the modern economy, the competition is global. And if low wage workers can’t do the job cheaper than you, computers and, increasingly, robots mean that you can still lose your job.

Under the circumstances it is not surprising that many American families and workers see bleak prospects before them.  Even workers who are doing relatively well have to work hard to keep their skills sharp and live with anxiety about the future.

At the same time, some industries and some individuals are doing very well. Modern California is something of an image of the post-Fordist world: in Silicon Valley and in Hollywood, there are pockets of vast wealth creation. Across the state health care does very well, supporting large incomes for highly skilled workers and managers. These oases of wealth support professionals and service providers around them: from accountants and plastic surgeons to pool boys and gardeners.

But the state as a whole is not in good shape; even the presence of world beating, high value added industries in Hollywood and Silicon Valley, two of the world’s most concentrated centers of innovation, is not enough to create broad and stable prosperity across the Golden State.

This is an economy that produces inequality very different from what most citizens of the old industrial economies are used to, and the social and political consequences of rising inequality play a growing role in many countries who once prided themselves on their success in building a vast and stable middle class.

Much of the inequality is generational. For many young people, the road to a middle class job is harder than ever before: more years of school, more years of debt, more internships, more years of scrabbling after graduation until that first real, career building job comes through.

But for many workers, and especially for the young, middle class jobs are less stable, less desirable and less secure than they used to be. Young workers typically get less generous benefit plans than older workers in government and corporate environments. The geezers have been grandfathered into pension and pay schedules that the new kids don’t get. Because there is so much competition from the unemployed, and because industries and companies rise and fall so quickly these days, it is harder to keep good jobs once you have them.

The question, and it is not only a question for Americans, is where do we go from here?  Is the new economy locking us into permanent inequality, insecurity, polarization and class conflict? Are we at the early stage of a Great Unraveling that will roll back the clock on the social achievements of the twentieth century and fall back from Blue Model Fordism to Victorian capitalism red in tooth and claw?  People in Italy and France are asking this as much as people in California and Connecticut; these changes in the labor market are stirring huge and justifiable anxieties across the entire developed world.

A cyclical crisis like the recession and slow growth following the financial collapse of 2008 makes everything worse, but the transformation of the American labor market and the threat to the middle class has been gathering force since the 1970s. A robust economic recovery will ease our discomfort, and the rise of well-paid brown jobs in the oil and gas business is going to help. But automation and globalization aren’t going away; in both good times and bad the foundations of the old social order will continue to erode.

While the problems are real, I don’t ultimately buy the pessimist, Great Unraveling case. People once squealed in as much (genuine) pain about the collapse of the old farm economy as they do now about the fall of Blue Fordism. People once bemoaned the collapse of independence and dignity as proud farmers were forced to become factory hands, engaging in mindless repetitive toil at the orders of management. Furthermore, the same fears people now voice about the inability of the new service economy to provide good livings were loudly and repeatedly shared from Maine to California as the farms fell and the factories rose.  Vast inequality, the prophets and the protestors warned, would be the inevitable consequence of the collapse of the egalitarian farm system. America would turn from a middle class society into a society of paupers and plutocrats.

Millions of lives were thrown into upheaval by the decline and fall of the family farm. Two generations of American politics were shaped by the pain of this transition. From William Jennings Bryan and the “Cross of Gold” to John Steinbeck and his Grapes of Wrath, the greatest enrichment in human history was accompanied by a nonstop chorus of a nation’s brightest and most sensitive weeping and wailing about the wave of poverty oversweeping the land. Keening with woe, they bemoaned the dying past and shuddered at the threatening future until the 1950s found the country so prosperous that in order to keep wringing their hands the professional worriers were forced to begin the study of the corrosive social effects of mass affluence. All those nice houses in the suburbs were killing the human spirit!

The blue Fordist utopia that today’s sentimentalists see fading into the past was once the hell they feared.  Everything looks better in the rearview mirror. But the pessimists are wrong today for the same reason they were wrong 100 years ago. Then as now the key reality was that the productivity of the human race was rising and not falling. Then as now the challenge was to manage the consequences of success.  Now as then the new era, while different and in some ways more challenging, will be more prosperous than anything ever seen.

That said, we should not underestimate the magnitude of the vast jobquake now shaking the country. One doesn’t have to be a Marxist to understand that the way people relate to the economy is critical to the way a whole society works. An America dominated by family farmers and small independent business proprietors was a different place culturally and politically than the America of big corporations and employees that dominated the twentieth century. Schools, churches, family structures, political parties: all changed as the country’s economic foundations changed between 1850 and 1950.

Not all of these changes were painless or benign and the psychological changes that individuals underwent as their place in the economic order changed were sometimes the hardest to bear. The shift from being an independent small farmer to being one of ten thousand automobile workers in noisy, dangerous factories was hard. And the life of an industrial worker endlessly performing a single repetitive step on an endless assembly line is in many ways less rich and more alienating than a life working side by side with your spouse and growing family on the homestead where you were born.

The old farm economy really had to die. The small family farms of pioneer America could not produce the amount of food the country needed at a price the country could afford. Less efficient small farmers could not survive with agricultural prices set by the vast production of large scale, mechanized agribusiness everywhere from the Canadian prairies to the pampas of Argentina.

When “reformers” like William Jennings Bryan talked about fixing the economy in the 1890s they were thinking about policies that would make the small farm viable. When they thought about providing for American families, they thought about finding ways for new generations of Americans to farm their own land.

In much the same way today, much of our policymaking is about trying to resuscitate the past. Will “onshoring” revive the manufacturing economy? Yes . . . but it won’t create many jobs. Automation means that a small number of factory workers can produce enough goods for a whole nation, just as a much reduced number of farmers can now feed us.

In the same way, we are going to keep shedding clerical and information processing jobs. There are no policies that can do more than delay the inevitable, just as the host of farm support policies developed during the long transition failed to stop the transformation of agriculture. (These days, farm subsidies developed to help family farmers now mostly fatten the coffers of huge agricultural corporate complexes. More or less the same fate awaits any effort to protect industrial or clerical jobs now: the change won’t stop, and the money will end up in the wrong pockets.)

The old jobs are going away and they aren’t coming back. More, we can’t fix the problem by trying to create new jobs in factories or traditional office bureaucracies to replace the ones going away. We need new kinds of jobs that don’t involve manufacturing or traditional forms of information processing. That leaves the service economy; there is nowhere else to go.

Promoting new ways for people to make a living in this still young century isn’t as simple as getting macroeconomic policy right. And it isn’t about figuring out how to re-industrialize the economy: how to bring the smokestacks back to Buffalo. That door is shut. That day is done.

Solving America’s jobs problem and its consequences—slack demand for workers at many skill levels and the rising consequences for wages, working conditions and inequality—is going to require both policy and cultural shifts. In the 19th century most Americans spent their time working with animals and plants outdoors in the country. In the 20th century most Americans spent their time pushing paper in offices or bashing widgets in factories. In the 21st century most of us are going to work with people, providing services that enhance each others’ lives.

There will have to be cultural changes. We are hearing almost exactly the same laments and breast beatings about this transition that our ancestors so eloquently wailed about the end of the family farm. Manufacturing jobs are “real jobs”; hustling for customers is servile and degrading? 100 years ago, farming was a noble, independent occupation worthy of a man and a citizen; a wage slave was a lowly hireling, and factory work crippled the body and stunted the mind.

We are going to have to discover the inherent dignity of work that is people to people rather than people to things. We are going to have to realize that engaging with other people, understanding their hopes and their needs, and using our own skills, knowledge and talent to give them what they want at a price they can afford is honest work.

A service economy resting on the high productivity agriculture, manufacturing and information processing will be a more affluent and a more human economy than what we have now. Human energy will be liberated from wringing the bare necessities from a reluctant nature; energy and talent will flow into making life more beautiful, more interesting, more entertaining and easier to use. By 1960 few American suburbanites really envied their hardscrabble, uneducated ancestors shivering through the winter in sod huts on the open prairie; one suspects that few Americans in 2060 will be pining for the glorious old days of 9 to 5 at GM.

But the change will come hard. The tax system and the financial system will have to change to promote the rise of a new world of jobs. The educational system will have to change to prepare young people for new kinds of lives. We are going to have to make all kinds of changes as our society comes to embody a new kind of economic logic. The changes won’t be easy but they aren’t optional.

Our jobs problem won’t be solved by macroeconomic policy shifts or money manipulation by the central bankers. It’s not going away anytime soon. Like the nation of family farmers as the industrial revolution took hold, Americans used to blue model Fordism are going to have to move on.

The Republican Party’s Road Back to Victory. By Peter Wehner.

The Republican Party’s Road Back to Victory. By Peter Wehner. Real Clear Politics, May 10, 2013.

Barack the Buck-Passer. By Stephen M. Walt.

Barack the buck-passer. By Stephen M. Walt. Foreign Policy, May 8, 2013.

The Arab Spring Brought Varieties of Anarchy. By Edward Luttwak.

Leave Bad Enough Alone. By Edward Luttwak. Foreign Policy, May 7, 2013.

The United States should forget about intervening in Syria. Asia’s what matters.

Egypt Downgraded as Ominous Summer Nears. By Walter Russell Mead. Via Meadia, May 10, 2013.


It is now argued most authoritatively that U.S. President Barack Obama’s failure to act decisively to remove Bashar al-Assad’s regime from power in Syria is explained by internal divisions within his administration, miscalculations about the balance of power on the ground, and the president’s own irresolution. There is another explanation, however: that the Obama administration is showing calculated restraint induced by bitter experience and, even more, by the overriding strategic priority of disengaging from the Islamic arc of conflict to better engage with China.

The all-too-obvious reason to stay out of the Syrian civil war is that the aftermath of dictatorship has already been deeply disappointing in three Arab countries. Tunisia suffers from chronic and sometimes violent instability, Libya is grappling with regional and tribal fragmentation, and Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood has become an almost textbook case in political mismanagement. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy is nearly as authoritarian as his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, much less liberal on social matters and women's rights, and certainly much less effective in supervising the now very badly damaged economy. Having called for Ben Ali, Mubarak, and Qaddafi to go, one can understand that Obama might not be thrilled by the prospect of what comes after Assad.

The less obvious reason for restraint in Syria is the underlying cause of these failures. It must be a very fundamental cause indeed, given the extreme differences between the three countries. Tunisia – with its quasi-Mediterranean urban culture, decades of secular and stable if authoritarian rule, and substantial homogeneity – would seem to have the preconditions for democratic governance. Yet it is now ruled by an ineffectual Islamist party that is plainly incapable of restarting the economy and cannot or will not protect secular institutions from Salafi attacks. Libya, meanwhile, is as vast as Tunisia is compact, yet with nearly half the population of its western neighbor, it is a tapestry of heterogeneity that devolves into a multitude of rival tribes, some of which are locked in blood feuds. And then there is Egypt, where it was not the well-established liberal community but the Muslim Brotherhood that won the elections, while a Salafi movement that seeks to import Saudi extremism grabbed some 20 percent of the vote. So what is this underlying commonality then?

One is tempted to explain the common fate of these exceedingly different countries by invoking the role of Islam in politics. Islam may well preclude democracy – to cite Turkey as the counterexample is perverse, for doing so ignores that the country was founded by an authoritarian as a secular state, which its current Islamist rulers are eroding day by day. But there is no reason to trip over the vast problems of contemporary Islam, because the economic level of the populations in these North African states would not support effective democratic governance anyway.

The Arab Spring has indeed been consequential in awakening populations from passivity. But this merely precludes dictatorial rule, even while these countries’ fundamental conditions continue to preclude democracy.

Only varieties of anarchy remain. The Syrian civil war is a bloody human tragedy, but the United States could only end it by a full-scale military intervention – whose ultimate result would most likely be a number of quarreling Alawite, Sunni Arab, Kurdish, and perhaps Druze statelets. One would hope that after more than a decade entangled in sectarian wars in the Middle East and Central Asia, the United States would have learned to steer clear of here.

The simple truth is that Obama has bigger fish to fry. Yes, there is a strong humanitarian argument for intervention – but it’s the Arab League and willing Europeans who should step up to the plate now that Turkey’s impotence has been exposed. The United States has other new responsibilities: To respond effectively to a rising China, it is essential to disengage from the futile pursuit of stability in North Africa, the Middle East, and Afghanistan. Their endless crises capture far too much policy attention and generate pressures for extremely costly military interventions that increase rather than reduce terrorist violence.

By contrast, China’s neighbors increasingly boast democratic governments, with economically advancing populations that seek only the reassurance of American strategic engagement. They welcome Americans who visit in great and increasing numbers for business, tourism, and even missionary work (something that can be a death sentence in the Arab Spring countries). Beijing, meanwhile, continues to cooperate with the United States in a great many ways – but it now also threatens the maritime domains of Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, as well as the territorial integrity of India.

The challenge is to respond to China’s almost daily intrusions in a nuanced, non-provocative way, so as to strengthen Beijing’s moderates – they do exist – and dissuade its hawks, who may now include newly installed President Xi Jinping. To do that, the U.S. government needs not only aircraft carriers and intense diplomacy, but also a steady focus, undistracted by crises elsewhere, especially in the combustible Middle East.

By refusing to get dragged into the Syrian quagmire, Obama and his like-minded advisors should be commended, not condemned, for their prudent restraint and clear-minded strategic priorities.

NBC’s Lisa Myers: Benghazi Hearing “Reopens” Case Against Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton Not Impressed During Benghazi Hearing. Huffington Post.

NBC’s Lisa Myers: Benghazi Hearing “Reopens” Case Against Hillary Clinton. Video. Hardball with Chris Matthews. Real Clear Politics, May 10, 2013.

Back to the 90s with Hillary Clinton. By Melinda Henneberger. Washington Post, May 9, 2013.

How will Benghazi affect Hillary Clinton’s future? Video. Hardball with Chris Matthews. MSNBC, May 9, 2013.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Abigail Adams and John Quincy Adams on the Battle of Bunker Hill.

The Battle of Bunker Hill – Watching the fight from Copp’s Hill, in Boston. By Winslow Homer. Wikimedia.

Abigail Adams to John Adams, June 18-20, 1775. Massachusetts Historical Society. Also here.

Sunday June 18, 1775

Dearest Friend

The Day; perhaps the decisive Day is come on which the fate of America depends. My bursting Heart must find vent at my pen. I have just heard that our dear Friend Dr. Warren is no more but fell gloriously fighting for his Country—saying better to die honourably in the field than ignominiously hang upon the Gallows. Great is our Loss. He has distinguished himself in every engagement, by his courage and fortitude, by animating the Soldiers and leading them on by his own example. A particuliar account of these dreadful, but I hope Glorious Days will be transmitted you, no doubt in the exactest manner.

The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Trust in him at all times, ye people pour out your hearts before him. God is a refuge for us.—Charlstown is laid in ashes. The Battle began upon our intrenchments upon Bunkers Hill, a Saturday morning about 3 o clock and has not ceased yet and tis now 3 o'clock Sabbeth afternoon.

Tis expected they will come out over the Neck to night, and a dreadful Battle must ensue. Almighty God cover the heads of our Country men, and be a shield to our Dear Friends. How [many ha]ve fallen we know not—the constant roar of the cannon is so [distre]ssing that we can not Eat, Drink or Sleep. May we be supported and sustaind in the dreadful conflict. I shall tarry here till tis thought unsafe by my Friends, and then I have secured myself a retreat at your Brothers who has kindly offerd me part of his house. I cannot compose myself to write any further at present. I will add more as I hear further.

Tuesday afternoon [20 June]

I have been so much agitated that I have not been able to write since Sabbeth day. When I say that ten thousand reports are passing vague and uncertain as the wind I believe I speak the Truth. I am not able to give you any authentick account of last Saturday, but you will not be destitute of inteligence. Coll. Palmer has just sent me word that he has an opportunity of conveyance. Incorrect as this scrawl will be, it shall go. I wrote you last Saturday morning. In the afternoon I received your kind favour of the 2 june, and that you sent me by Captn. Beals at the same time.—I ardently pray that you may be supported thro the arduous task you have before you. I wish I could contradict the report of the Doctors Death, but tis a lamentable Truth, and the tears of multitudes pay tribute to his memory. Those favorite lines [of] Collin continually sound in my Ears

How sleep the Brave who sink to rest,
By all their Countrys wishes blest?
When Spring with dew'ey fingers cold
Returns to deck their Hallowed mould
She their shall dress a sweeter Sod
Than fancys feet has ever trod.
By fairy hands their knell is rung
By forms unseen their Dirge is sung
Their [There] Honour comes a pilgrim grey
To Bless the turf that wraps their Clay
And freedom shall a while repair
To Dwell a weeping Hermit there.

I rejoice in the prospect of the plenty you inform me of, but cannot say we have the same agreable veiw here. The drought is very severe, and things look but poorly.

Mr. Rice and Thaxter, unkle Quincy, Col. Quincy, Mr. Wibert all desire to be rememberd, so do all our family. Nabby will write by the next conveyance.

I must close, as the Deacon w[aits.] I have not pretended to be perticuliar with regard to what I have heard, because I know you will collect better intelligence. The Spirits of the people are very good. The loss of Charlstown affects them no more than a Drop in the Bucket.—I am Most sincerely yours,


John Quincy Adams’s account of the Battle of Bunker Hill.
The third page of his manuscript letter to Joseph Sturge.

John Quincy Adams to Joseph Sturge, March 1846. Excerpt. Massachusetts Historical Society. Also here. Full manuscript of letter here.

The year 1775 was the eighth year of my age – Among the first fruits of the War, was the expulsion of my father’s family from their peaceful abode in Boston, to take refuge in his and my native town of Braintree – Boston became a walled and beleaguered town – garrisoned by British Grenadiers with Thomas Gage their commanding General, commissioned Governor of the Province – For the space of twelve months my mother with her infant children dwelt, liable every hour of the day and of the night to be butchered in cold blood, or taken and carried into Boston as hostages, by any foraging or marauding detachment of men, like that actually sent forth on the 19th. Of April, to capture John Hancock and Samuel Adams on their way to attend the continental Congress at Philadelphia – My father was separated from his family, on his way to attend the same continental Congress, and there my mother, with her children lived in unintermitted danger of being consumed with them all in a conflagration kindled by a torch in the same hands which on the 17th. Of June lighted the fires of Charlestown – I saw with my own eyes those fires, and heard Britannia’s thunders in the Battle of Bunker’s hill and witnessed the tears of my mother and mingled with them my own, at the fall of Warren a dear friend of my father, and a beloved Physician to me. He had been our family physician and surgeon, and had saved my fore finger from amputation under a very bad fracture – Even in the days of heathen and conquering Rome the Laureate of Augustus Caesar tells us that wars were detested by Mothers – Even by Roman mothers. . . . My mother was the daughter of a Christian Clergyman and therefore bred in the faith of deliberate detestation of War. . . . Yet in that same Spring and Summer of 1775 she taught me to repeat daily after the Lord’s prayer, before rising from bed the Ode of Collins, on the patriot warriors who fell in the War to subdue the Jacobite rebellion of 1745.

How sleep the brave, who sink to rest. . . . [Here follows the rest of Collins’ “Ode,” with a single word misquoted.]

Of the impression made upon my heart by the sentiments inculcated in these beautiful effusions of patriotism and poetry, you may form an estimate by the fact that now, seventy one years after they were thus taught me, I repeat them from memory without reference to the book.

John Quincy Adams in 1843
Abigail Adams in 1766