so I was in Cincinatti last month. Cincinnati the city named after Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus. And so I learned a bit more about him after looking at his statue there along the Ohio river.

First of all, anyone who tells you that George Washington based his life on the bible, nope. How about George Washington basing his life after the western ideals of the enlightenment, like Hume. Nope. George Washington looked back towards Ancient Rome. No, not the Rome you see in the movies. Not Julius Caesar. George Washington would have helped Brutus guide the dagger in and good riddance to a dictator. No, George Washington (along with many other founding fathers) based his morals and convictions on the ancient Roman Republic and in particular on the life of Cincinnatus. In 458 BC the tribe of Italians called the Aequi threatened to destroy the nascent roman republic. Rome was in desperate danger with the army besieged. The senators fell into a panic and authorized a dictator and nominated Cincinattus giving him absolute power for a period of six months. The senators went to Cincinattus finding him ploughing his field. Cincinattus marched to relieve the army and saved Rome. Fifteen days afterwards he disbanded the army and returned to the plow. This is the hero George Washington looked up to. I have heard that one reason George Washington decided to continue leading the continental army despite calls for his resignation after he lost New York city to the British and the terrible crisis of the army in 1776 is if Washington resigned from his post he would never be able to lay down his arms like Cincinattus. So it was in 1783 when the new born USA achieved independence that George Washington resigned from his post as commander-in-chief despite calls for him to remain in charge for the rest of his life.

To be honest I’m not sure if that’s how I think a government should run. You know on the honor of men. On their principles. Because no matter what you can’t always have a good man in charge. So yes, it was nice that George Washington led by example and followed the ideals of Cincinattus but I think you need more than that you need to codify this sort of ideal put it into laws and force the leaders to obey them. After all, even though George Washington could have remained president for life he gave up his post there after 2 terms, and it wasn’t until FDR abused his position by winning elections for 4 consecutive terms that congress passed the 22nd amendment limited the elected president to two terms. I think that’s how you want to do it.  Codify it and force the leaders to obey the law, not just rely on their honor.  George Washington, Cincinattus, they both led by example, showing what can happen if you give absolute power to someone who willingly gives it up when the job is done. You have to admire that but also recognize how rare to have this sort of leader.

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