Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Blaming and Finding Fault

 

“Let those who are fond of blaming and finding fault while they sit safely at home ask, ‘Why did you not do thus and so?’ I wish they were on this voyage. I well believe that another voyage of a different kind awaits them, or our faith is naught.” — Christopher Columbus, Lettera Rarissima to the Sovereigns, Fourth Voyage (7 July 1503), quoted in Admiral of the Ocean Sea, by Samuel Morison

Columbus’ choice of language was more genteel and diplomatic than Morison’s paraphrase of his sentiment: in other words, they can go to hell. Teddy Roosevelt echoed the sentiment more than 400 years later in his “man in the arena” speech. Men of great accomplishment have surely been frustrated by their critics throughout the ages. Columbus was well aware of his contemporary critics, but he could not have known how many people would be denouncing him more than 500 years after his death. I find it reassuring that he anticipated all the elite progressives and liberal arts students who protest any recognition of his accomplishments, while enjoying the relative safety and comfort of modern life. And it’s a fitting rejoinder for many people today who write tweets or columns, but never shoulder the burden of taking action.

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  1. Arahant Member

    There is a difference between open destructive criticism and private constructive criticism. I try to keep to the latter as much as possible.


    This conversation is part of the ongoing Quote of the Day Series. It’s the easiest way to start a conversation on Ricochet. You can borrow another’s wisdom or play off that wisdom as Lilly B did. Why not have a day of your own?

    http://ricochet.com/752667/quote-of-the-day-may-signup-sheet/

    • #1
    • May 7, 2020, at 9:45 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. RightAngles Member

    So true! A great quote which is especially relevant right now.

    • #2
    • May 7, 2020, at 10:28 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B

    Arahant (View Comment):

    There is a difference between open destructive criticism and private constructive criticism. I try to keep to the latter as much as possible.


    This conversation is part of the ongoing Quote of the Day Series. It’s the easiest way to start a conversation on Ricochet. You can borrow another’s wisdom or play off that wisdom as Lilly B did. Why not have a day of your own?

    http://ricochet.com/752667/quote-of-the-day-may-signup-sheet/

    I don’t think that leaders or those in positions of power and influence should be shielded from criticism, but I can see how Columbus’s response is timeless and applicable. Like, “just try what I did and see if you don’t die before you tell me how I should have done it differently.”

    I love that all of us can debate the actions and choices of our political leaders, especially because we don’t have the opportunity to act in the public sphere as they do. I can see a parallel in the private sphere of parenting, too. Parents often react to the criticism of non-parents with the same attitude as Columbus in his letter. Any criticism will be more readily received if it appears that we have tried to understand the situation from the other person’s perspective before we opine.

    • #3
    • May 7, 2020, at 4:12 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. Stad Thatcher

    Lilly B: Teddy Roosevelt echoed the sentiment more than 400 years later in his “man in the arena” speech.

    To me, this is the definitive speech about critics and other Monday morning quarterbacks who snipe from the sidelines but never get in the mud and wrestle the pig themselves.

    • #4
    • May 10, 2020, at 5:26 AM PDT
    • 1 like