Monday, May 01, 2006

I Can Feel It Like the Damp in My Bones

Interestingly enough, I have already posted on Mark Steyn's excellent column yesterday. Today I do so for an entirely different reason.

This morning, as I was making my way into the government center through the endless drizzle currently putting all of central Minnesota to sleep, something happened that warrants focus on the other half of Steyn's general points.

"Thomas Jeffefakery" is all the rage these days. Steyn notes the number of leftoids, aside from John Kerry, who are confused about the source of their favorite quote.

...former Georgia state Rep. Mike Snow uses it, and Miranda Yaver of Berkeley wore it on a button to the big anti-war demo in Washington last year, and Ted Kennedy deployed it as the stirring finale to his anti-Bush speech:

"It is not unpatriotic to tell the truth to the American people about the war in Iraq. In this grave moment of our country, to use the words of Thomas Jefferson, 'Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.' "


My favorite usage is the Berkshire Eagle's Mitch Albom.

"We need to stop slicing this country in half, and saying those who support this act or this politician are 'good' Americans, and the rest are not. Sometimes 'dissent is the highest form of patriotism.' I didn't make that up. Thomas Jefferson did."


There's something about the overly righteous attribution; the freindly reminder that although he could have, Albom didn't think of this one, that makes his usage especially sweet in retrospect.

Steyn credits Tim Blair for exposing the Jeffefakery, which Blair did by quoting a real source, the Jefferson Library:

There are a number of quotes that we do not find in Thomas Jefferson’s correspondence or other writings; in such cases, Jefferson should not be cited as the source. Among the most common of these spurious Jefferson quotes [is]:

* "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."


So anyway, I walked past a car this morning and there it was, mounted left side rear bumper.

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism"

Sure enough, in the fine print underneath the sentiment was the attribution "-Thomas Jefferson."

Something tells me that somewhere beyond the gray mist of early May, the "fake but true" defense is lurking once again.

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