Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Importance of Ideas

I like this quote from John Adams which highlights the fact that revolutions are first and foremost ideological.
But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations...This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.
John Adams, letter to H. Niles, February 13, 1818
To effect the kind of change we advocate requires that we persuade people of the validity and importance of our ideas. It's thus a process, not something that can happen instantly or even rapidly, since our ideas differ so radically from those currently accepted. (And for any thoughtful person in the opposition, it takes time to one by one repudiate their wrong ideas, accept new ones, and then integrate the new ideas into a systematic whole.)

HT Mark Nitikman for the quote


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