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HungerMadra t1_j4b759i wrote

To be fair, I can't imagine any government official giving up power


Nokomis34 t1_j4bg5fk wrote

Despite everything else, this is why George Washington is a big deal.

"When told by the American artist Benjamin West that Washington was going to resign, King George III of England said "If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world."

Edit. Ok, so I found this regarding that quote.

Quote #1

"If he does that he will be the greatest man in the world!"

  • George III to Benjamin West after learning George Washington was going to resign his commission as Commander of the Continental Congress and return to Mount Vernon.

George's Commission

You'll find this quote on the Fount of All Knowledge sometimes with a description of a meeting where King George asked his then-court painter, Benjamin West, what George Washington was planning to do now that peace had been agreed to. Benjamin replied (we read) that George was going to resign his commission. Then King George made his famous exclamation.

Certainly a great quote (and it also appears in some bonafide, albeit relatively recent, history books) it is indeed a "reconstruction". Its source is a memorandum book of Rufus King, the now-forgotten Founding Father who later served as minister to Britain. The book contained a letter written May 3, 1797 where Rufus wrote about a recent conversation with Benjamin West. The letter is (with modern spelling and punctuation added):

Mr. West called on me. We entered into politics after speaking of the Dinner at the Royal Academy and of the annual exhibition

Mr. West said things respecting America had changed very much, that people who could not formerly find words of unkindness enough now talked in a different language, that the King had lately spoken in the most explicit manner of the wisdom of the American government and of the abilities and great worth of the characters she produced and employed. He said the King had lately used very handsome expressions respecting Mr. Jay and and that he also spoke in a very pleasing manner of Mr. Gore.

But that in regard to General Washington, he told him since his resignation that in his opinion "that act closing and finishing what had gone before and viewed in connection with it, placed him in a light the most distinguished of any man living, and that he thought him the greatest character of the age."

So there was no record of any meeting with George III and Benjamin right after the Revolution. And the letter recording the conversation itself was written only in 1797 and is secondhand at best.

Still although King George may not have said exactly what is in the famous quote, certainly the sentiments were there.

Source: The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King , Charles King (Editor), Volume III, 1896


aidan8et t1_j4b7u8d wrote

>any elected government official


There are countless people in "hired" positions that are not power hungry monsters... I mean... Politician.

Anyone with enough arrogance to run for a political office automatically loses some of my respect.


psilocin72 t1_j4bdyeu wrote

The people least fit to be in positions of power are the only ones who can get them.


Mitthrawnuruo t1_j4bl0im wrote

False. They are also power hungry monsters.


aidan8et t1_j4bm3qg wrote

I mean... Postal workers, grounds keepers, and desk clerks are also all govt workers. Not sure exactly what "power trip" the person cutting grass at the park would get.


Gh0stMan0nThird t1_j4brs9r wrote

> Not sure exactly what "power trip" the person cutting grass at the park would get.

You've never been accosted for walking on someone else's grass before?


the_fly_guy0423 t1_j4bsrpu wrote

not by city workers maintaining public lands, it's always been private landowners making a fuss


Gh0stMan0nThird t1_j4bvg7o wrote

I don't think that is accurate, unfortunately. Whether someone is a government employee or a private landowner really makes no difference about whether or not they're gonna be a douche to you.


the_fly_guy0423 t1_j4bzjf7 wrote

ofc not, just sharing my experiences when i have to cut corners through a patch of grass 😂


SugarSweetSonny t1_j4fia4q wrote

There is a long held belief that not only should government officials have power but they need to preserve it (for "the institution") so thats it there even when they no longer are.

Its a weird thinking. Like instead of thinking "hey one day my enemy will have this job", they think, we must make this office/job MORE powerful all the time.

Even the courts are getting in on the act now (and giving themselves more work as a result).