The wisdom of good people

To the Editor:

In these times of political and social turmoil, it is always good to turn to the wisdom of a good person, one who has an established record of guiding us to the good and decent things in our history and lives. I’ve just finished David McCullough’s “Brave Companions — Portraits in History,” (Simon & Schuster, 1992). It is full of self-selected articles, essays and portraits previously published in other magazines over a period of some years. Obviously, he thinks these have lasting value. So do I.

Two quotes that he has selected seem particular appropriate in today’s milieu. The first is Edmund Burke’s oft-quoted, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” which is certainly the state of our nation at this time.

The second is a quotation from Maine Sen. Margaret Chase Smith at the time of Joseph McCarthy’s assault upon the integrity of virtually anyone who disagreed with him. She said, “I speak as a Republican. I speak as a woman. I speak as a United States senator. I speak as an American. I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the four horsemen of calumny: Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry and Smear.”

I think that has a special resonance in today’s political climate. I agree with every word she said.

— Benjamin E. Hiser