Thomas Merton Quote

“May God prevent us from becoming 'right-thinking men' -- that is to say, men who agree perfectly with their own police.”

~ Thomas Merton

quoted in obituary, New York Times, 11 December 1968

Ratings and Comments

J Carlton, Calgary

Amen to that.

Ron Forberg, Decatur, GA

As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. "Teacher," they said to Jesus, "this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?" They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kep demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, "All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone." Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, BEGINNING WITH THE OLDEST, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?" "No, Lord," she said. And Jesus said, "Neither do I. God and sin no more."

Save your flames, it's a joke.

And then there's the modern version of that story, where after Jesus says "Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone", an old lady starts pelting the woman with stones. And Jesus turns, and says, "You know, Mom, some days..."

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

In a democracy perfect agreement is never a good thing. The reason we have and value democracy is for our right to speak up, discuss, and urge our views on each other. Such is the case in all democracies but may not be the case in all republics. On the other hand a vigilant society needs an optimal amount of cooperation with duly installed authority and police.

Mike, Norwalk

I second J Carlton's Amen. It is the police that are on the front line in enforcing unconstitutional, unlawful, etc. barbarianism.

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, you notice I didn't correct your expanding of Lenin's philosophy today, I'll let someone else do that if they whish. I'm still laughing and shaking my head.

  • Reply
RobertSRQ    1/25/08

Another brilliant statement - Waffler should read Russell with regard to Authority. As for Lenin, well, thats for another day.

Joe, North Caldwell, NJ

Interesting -- I was about to say something very similar. Bertrand Russell's short tome on authority -- in which he discusses how can we combine that degree of individual initiative which is necessary for progress with the degree of social cohesion that is necessary for survival -- is very relevant to this thread.

E Archer, NYC

The quote is timely for today and forever. I like most of the comments today, but the joke from 'Save your flames' really brightened my day. ROFL! It's a keeper!

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

You naive folks who cast wanton and wayward aspersions at police need to pause just a moment and recall what happens when they are taken away, and I mean anywhere in the world. Baghdad after the fall of the old regime and before new "law and order" was installed. New Orleans after katrina etcetera. As far as bringing up Lenin it occurred to me today that the folks on this site who wish to restore the republic (nation) to its fomer purity also want to eliminate the freedoms of folks to be couch potatoes, have 500 channels etcetera. The Soviet Republics did that also dictating what is art, music, and cinema. I can envision the new old republic already with daily forced exercises for the couch potatoes first and then for every one else to follow. Then mandatory one channel TV with the republic in control. Mike in a republic as you or Archer have explained it there is no reason for debate or trying to change one another's opinion. All is set down either in the Constitution or God's Natural Law. All we need do is study those things. Since the 51% group have no say in any matter what is the point of discussing or arguing any issue or coming to a consensus in your idea of "republic".

Logan, Memphis, TN

Enforcement of the law, according to justice, is the very reason for government--hence, the need for a police force. I'm sorry, but Waffler, you have failed to yet fathom the foundation of a republic. You have used, in previous posts, modern terms and definitions (the international definitions at that) of "republic," to differentiate between democracy and republicanism-- I do, however, commend you for your diligence in further study. Yes, the Constitution was constructed to be the final authority in all federal matters, and the template for the several states to follow accordingly. As Jefferson said, "In questions of power, then, let no more be said of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." Interesting the word he used, "mischief." Can our elected leaders—those men and women who are our "neighbors"—ever be up to "mischief"? Well, considering the separation of powers theory and the drastic lengths the founders went through to bind down the disposition of man to do political “evil,” I think we can confidently assume that not all public figures are honest and praiseworthy (I may be going out on a limb on this one, but I’m pretty confident). In this we state that many policemen, our very neighbors themselves, have risen above their stated callings to become something entirely different than what they were created to be. Have you read that the Supreme Court has ruled that the Police force in the United States is not there to "protect and serve" the PEOPLE, but there to "protect and serve" GOVERNMENT PROPERTY?! Who are the police actually serving? Even 50 years ago, there was a national thought that deemed the police as PUBLIC (the people's) SERVANTS--- not GOVERNMENT SERVANTS. This just goes to prove my point that time changes the perceptions, definitions, and foundations that we were built on. If you believe in progressivism and the new associated definitions to yesterday’s cliché words and phrases (like “laws of nature and of nature’s God” or “democracy vs. republics”), that is fine, you have that right. But don’t try to redefine the founders in today’s terms. If you want to vary from these principles they established, that is fine, but out of respect for those men who pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to the cause of liberty, the least we can do today is respect them for who they were, not what we want them to be. Yes, there absolutely needs to be a police force... but there absolutely needs to be a police force that serves the people, not the government. This concept is alien to all but a few who still study the definitions, phrases, words, and meanings of our founder's speech---as THEY meant them. There is a dichotomy between democracy and republicanism; sadly, our forthcoming generation is ignorant in such matters.

Mike, Norwalk

There has always been an essential de jure place for the sovereign's policing agents. When such agents enforce: compelled compliance, theft of any kind - including that of the noble labor's fruit, license, victimless crimes, forced ID/insurance/charity, torture to get information, a sovereign's required registration of anything, anything without the benefit of habeas corpus, property seizure without benefit of a lawful nexus or adequate compensation, restrictions on religious expression in public, restrictions on freedom of speech (by way of example, HR 1955), restrictions on free and safe travel, revised half/non truth history, the brutalization of society, etc., etc., etc. the Republic is lost (replaced by democracy, monarchy, or otherwise) Those that adhere to in vogue, or otherwise progressive politically correct word salad, are actively engaged in the destruction of the principles, word definitions, concepts, mental pictures, free life styles, etc that made the union of the several States the light on the hill for all those that were seeking peace, freedom and liberty. To further Lenin's "A lie told often enough becomes the truth", those herein subject adherents vain claim that those that would maintain their sovereign liberties, freedoms, lack of restrictions and restraints are the same that would do otherwise and/or just the opposite. As the quote so apply puts it "right thinking men". Right thinking men would here constitute a democracy, the mob, a government of men where Logan has accurately shown, the police now protect the state with no responsibility to the individual and they are to protect the state even if it is at the peril of the non-criminal individual. It is the de jure Republic where the police enforce and protect the sovereign's individual rights; that is a government of law. God gave man agency to act, not to be acted on; man is to work on and expand correct principles, not restrict other men (right thinking men police freedom and liberty out of existence). There is sufficient difference between the two, namely in vogue politically correct word salad and the Republic that the founders initiated, that even Helen Keller could have seen and heard the difference.

Logan, Memphis, TN

While I disagree with a few of his minor points regarding other issues, such as government granted privilege, I found his explanation of republics and democracies adequate:

E Archer, NYC

Wow, Mike and Logan have made very intelligent and respectful remarks. Excellent.


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