Sunday Snippet: Don Marquis

“An idea isn’t responsible for the people who believe in it.”

Understandably, we tend to associate ideas with the people who promote them. For example, we might look at the Christian Crusades during the Middle Ages. There were some terrible things that were done during that time, but that doesn’t mean that spreading the Christian word is necessarily a bad thing. If we look to more recent events with al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, we would also agree that they have done some terrible things, but that doesn’t mean that Islam is a bad thing either.

As humorist Donald Robert Perry Marquis (“Don Marquis”) says above, we have to learn to disassociate an idea from the people who believe in it. One of the best examples of this, perhaps, is the concept of communism. In theory, the idea could be brilliant. Everyone can have a good standard of living, everyone contributes to society equally, and there is no jealousy among citizens. Unfortunately, with people being who they are, it is far more challenging for true communism to work in practice.

“The chief obstacle to the progress of the human race is the human race.”

We get in our own way. We get greedy. We get lazy. Don Marquis may have made these remarks somewhat in jest, but there is certainly something here worth discussing.

Consider a Sunday Snippet I posted a couple years ago with Charlton Heston. To be sure, the former NRA President is a polarizing figure, but his quote about how we shouldn’t allow “evil people” and “horrible acts” prevent us from expressing our freedoms still rings true. That idea is a powerful one, even if the context and the person may not agree with everyone.

Absolutely, we want to get good ideas from good people, but that isn’t always the case. Good people can come up with bad ideas, just as “bad” people can come up with good ideas. It’s important to keep both an open and a critical mind about all things.