Facts are Stubborn Things: Take Time This Election Season to Educate Yourself About the Facts

In 1770, John Adams famously said: “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

In 1779, Thomas Jefferson wrote “Illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts, which history exhibiteth, that, possessed thereby of the experience of other ages and countries, they may be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes, and prompt to exert their natural powers to defeats its purposes.”

John Jay also famously said “I consider knowledge to be the soul of a republic, and as the weak and wicked are generally in alliance, as much care should be taken to diminish the number of the former as of the latter. Education is the way to do this, and nothing should be left undone to afford all ranks of people the means of obtaining a proper degree of it at a cheap and easy rate.”

In a 1786 essay, Dr. Benjamin Rush wrote “Freedom can exist only in the society of knowledge.”

James Madison in his 1810 address to Congress said “It is universally admitted that a well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.”

The Founding generation understood that facts matter.  And it is our responsibility as citizens to educate ourselves about the facts and to not allow the passions of the moment to overrule reason. Take time this election season to thoughtfully consider the veracity of claims made by candidates. Don’t give in to the allure of a post-factual society. Facts are stubborn, and foundational. You need facts to fully understand the world, and the free world requires a well-instructed people. In the words of James Monroe, “[it] is only when the People become ignorant and corrupt . . . that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty.”

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