"The Way to Wealth," by Benjamin Franklin: Introducing Father Abraham

By Jeffrey Reeves MA


Editor's note: Jeffrey Reeves' introduction provides an overview of this weekly blog series.
    “…and one of the company called to a plain, clean old man, with white locks,”
    — Benjamin Franklin
Plain, clean, old. A picture of wisdom in 1758 but how about today?

Today we tend to discount the same qualities that in times past were honored and revered. We praise complexity as progress, denigrate clean simplicity as unsophisticated, and deride inevitable advanced age as if it were a disease to avoid.

Today, as in 1758, people look to those with experience and wisdom for advice and counsel. The difference between 1758 and today is that current America has mistakenly clothed the Behemoths of big government — including its most incompetent branch, the US Congress — large corporations, oversized labor unions, and bloated bureaucracies with the mantel of both knowledge and wisdom.

Worse, we allow the wet-behind-the-ears minions of these Behemoths with little or no life experience to delude us with the recital of financial shibboleths that are meaningless but persuasive.

    "Pray, Father Abraham, what think you of the times? Will not these heavy taxes quite ruin the country? How shall we ever be able to pay them? What would you advise us to do?"
    — Benjamin Franklin
Are you amazed that the questions of 1758 are so similar to the questions Americans ask in today? When you ask today’s Father Abrahams — that would be “We the People” — these questions, you’ll hear individual thoughts and judgments that contravene the meaningless — but persuasive — conventional wisdom incessantly spewed by the Behemoths.

What a concept — “We the People…”