One cannot help but be awed by the wisdom of our founding fathers. (After all it was the wisdom of the "ancients.") Woodward and Bernstein, on the 25 anniversary of the resignation of President Nixon, remarked that the significant lesson of Watergate was that "the system worked."

It did---because of what every grade school student has to understand: our system of "checks and balances." George Washington did not want to be king, and the writers of the Federalist Papers well understood that the notion of faction, inherent in the human condition, could not be removed, but perhaps controlled by implementing the classical notions of...

Insanity during the Augustine Age, both macrocosmically and microcosmically, might be defined as one element out of balance; thereby controlling the rest, but we must not be misled into thinking that the "Age of Reason" meant the suppression of emotion / passions to achieve psychic harmony. This conventional wisdom is not wisdom at all. Swift's "Arithmetic Projector," employed the rhetoric of the accomplished logician to advance a "final solution" to the "Irish question." Why not? Just suppress a few emotional responses, and all would be well. His essay foreshadowed the holocaust. Pope reminds us that "Passions are the elements of life," and a life without passion can be sterile and just as dangerously insane as a life without reason. Socrates, Plato's persona, consistently uses verbs of sexual passion to describe the "ideal state," a model Plato knew could not be sustained in the world of sense perception. Hence the model for Gulliver and The Projector,

In an episode of STAR TREK VOYAGER entitled PRIME FACTOR a conversation quite relevant to our present discussion occurred between Capt. Janeway and two of her officers, The episode involved an illogical exchange of technology forbidden by Federation law. One officer, Tuvok, is a Vulcan (recall Mr. Spock) whose life is devoted to and regulated by logic and reason...

TORRES: There were others involved, but I was the senior officer. The culpability was mine.

TUVOK: Lt. Torres was not precisely correct, Captain. She was not the senior officer involved. I was.


TUVOK: It was I who made the exchange [Federation data for forbidden alien technology.]

JANEWAY: I will deal with you in a moment. Lt. Torres, I don't have the luxury of throwing you in the brig. I need every person on the ship, but I want you to know how very deeply you have disappointed me...If there are any further transgressions, even a minor one, you will no longer be an officer on this crew. Is that clear?

TORRES: Yes, ma'am.

JANEWAY: Dismissed....[to Tovok] I don't even know where to start. I want you to explain to me how you of all people could be at fault in this.

Tuvok: It is quite simple, Captain. You have made it clear on many occasions that you highest goal for the crew is to get them home. But in this instance, you standard would not allow you to violate Sikarian law. To spare you the ethical dilemma, I was the logical choice, and so I chose to act.

JANEWAY: You did it for me because you know I couldn't

Tuvok: I accept the consequences of my actions. I expect to lose my commission and be court-martialed when we return to Federation space.

JANEWAY: You are one of my most valued officers, and you are my friend. It's vital that you understand me here. I need you; I also need to know I can count on you. You are my counsel, the one I turn to when I need my moral compass checked. We have forged this relationship for years, and I depend on it. I realize you made a sacrifice for me, but it's not one I would have allowed you to make. You can use logic to justify almost anything. That's its power and its flaw. From now on, bring your logic to me. Don't act on it behind my back.

TUVOK: You have my word. My logic was not in error, but I was.

JANEWAY Dismissed.





The awesome power of logic and reason its indeed its flaw: it allows us a man on the moon and perhaps one day starships, but it also has given us Auschwitz.

So the founding fathers knew that Watergate and Auschwitz would occur, and knew to take the advice of Capt. Janeway.

Read the Federalist Papers that discuss factionalism: Click here.