Given that genuine knowledge stems primarily from experience, it follows that one can read only what they have experienced, thus the narrowness of liberal discourse which prompts the blocking of an obscure but well-read blogger’s email. As the Quran states: “It is a book none can touch save the purified.”
And experience dictates what George Washington said was likely to happen in his “Farewell Address,” in the sense that even the wisest and most remarkable of foundations would not be able to “prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations.” Thus, pitting one’s experiences and in turn pitting one’s knowledge against a mainstream that is defined by book-burning and censorship is a struggle. But the struggle is worthwhile, given where one has come from to get to this struggle. As Sun Tzu said, one must choose their battles wisely. And as Thomas Paine said:
“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; ‘tis dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles until death.”
And as John Adams said, always stand on principle, even if it means standing alone. Even though principles do not garner volume or interviews with Don Lemon and Wolf Blitzer, principles do garner quality, which is more important than anything else. As Rumi wrote in a poem titled “So We Can Have What We Want”:
“You wear coarse wool, but you are a king,
as the soul’s energy hides, as love remembers.
You enter this room in a human shape
and as the atmosphere we breathe.
You are the central pole through the nine levels
connecting them and us to absolute absence.
So that we can have what we want
you give failure and frustration.
You want only the company of the lion
and the lion cub, no wobbly legs.
That man there, you suggest,
might remove his head before entering the temple.
Then he could listen without ears
to a voice that says, My creature.
A month of walking the road,
you make that distance in one day.
Never mind gold and silver payments.
The one who follows and the one who leads are inseparable,
as the moon and the circle around it.
An Arab drags his camel to town.
You go through your troubles and changing beliefs,
both no different from the moon moving across
or basil grown and getting cut for a bouquet.
It does not matter that you have been lost.
The hoopoe is still looking for you.
It is another beginning, my friend,
this walking in a morning with no haze,
and help coming without your asking.
A glass submerged is turning inside the wine,
With grief waved away, sweet gratefulness arrives.”