Of infinitely more substance and quality than the 1998 Will Ferrell movie, or the SNL skit that inspired it, comes Calvin Coolidge’s thoughts on heroes, what they say about ourselves and the importance of keeping reverence.
(Caution: Now that you’re going to look up the Roxbury routine…don’t waste those precious moments of life you’ll never get back. You have been warned. Now, of course, you will look it up anyway).
Through all our “advancement” we never get far without an enduring reverence for moral courage and ongoing humility toward those who exemplify it, whether in war or peace, in calm or crisis.
Before those gathered in Roxbury at the Historical Society in 1918, Coolidge said:
Reverence is the measure not of others but of ourselves…The heroes and holidays of a people which fascinate their soul reveal what they hold are the realities of life and mark out a line beyond which they will not retreat, but at which they will stand to overcome or die…
There has been much talk in recent years of the survival of the fittest and of efficiency. We are beginning to hear of the development of the super-man and the claim that he has of right dominion over the rest of his inferiors on earth. This philosophy denies the doctrine of equality and holds that government is not based on consent but on compulsion. It holds that the weak must serve the strong, which is the law of slavery, it applies the law of the animal world to mankind and puts science above morals. This sounds the call to the jungle. It is not an advance to the morning but a retreat to night. It is not the light of human reason but the darkness of the wisdom of the serpent.