In a letter written in 1783, Benjamin Franklin said, “In my opinion, there never was a good War, or a bad Peace.”

That kind of talk today probably would get Ben branded a terrorist or an associate of al-Qaeda, ISIS, or the latest enemy in the perpetual War on Terror. Lindsey Graham definitely would tell him to shut up and then send him to Gitmo.

When one kills context, he makes an orphan of understanding. With that in mind, it is enlightening to read Franklin’s declaration in its entirety.

I join with you most cordially in rejoicing at the return of Peace. I hope it will be lasting, and that Mankind will at length, as they call themselves reasonable Creatures, have Reason and Sense enough to settle their Differences without cutting Throats; for, in my opinion, there never was a good War, or a bad Peace. What vast additions to the Conveniences and Comforts of Living might Mankind have acquired, if the Money spent in Wars had been employed in Works of public utility! What an extension of Agriculture, even to the Tops of our Mountains: what Rivers rendered navigable, or joined by Canals: what Bridges, Aqueducts, new Roads, and other public Works, Edifices, and Improvements, rendering England a compleat [sic] Paradise, might have been obtained by spending those Millions in doing good, which in the last War have been spent in doing Mischief; in bringing Misery into thousands of Families, and destroying the Lives of so many thousands of working people, who might have performed the useful labour!

Can we, Franklin’s 21st century countrymen, settle our differences without cutting throats? It doesn’t seem so. The coming of every new crisis, it seems, brings a new enemy — someone new to hate and someone whose very existence threatens our own.

Take this gem from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) for example. During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Graham explained to the host that permitting ISIS to exist is tantamount to bringing beheadings and riots to every city in the United States.

“When I look at the map that Gen. Keane described, I think of the United States. I think of an American city in flames because of the terrorists’ ability to operate in Syria and Iraq,” Graham declared.

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