Here’s wishing all of you out there who happen to be reading this in time for New Year’s a very happy, healthy, successful and all around blessed New Year 2012, which will see the 140th anniversary of Calvin Coolidge’s birthday and, we hope, will also see the publication of Amity Shlaes’ all-new biography.
And here, for all of you struggling with the question of what resolutions to make for the new year, wise counsel from the 30th president:
“Perhaps the best resolve is to live so that next year’s new resolutions will be unnecessary.”
(from the daily Calvin Coolidge Says column, Dec. 30, 1930)
Concluding his first half year as a daily columnist, Calvin Coolidge dispatched the following words of wisdom on Dec. 31, 1930 – almost exactly 80 years ago. Some of them are dated, but then some retain their value and pertinence today:
The year 1930 has been a sharp reminder that men cannot escape from the command that they shall earn their bread by the sweat of their brow. We cannot for long reap when we have not sown. We cannot hold what we do not pay for. The law of service cannot be evaded or repealed. Nor is it yet in the power of man under any system of government he can adopt or any organization of society he can form to make this a perfect world.
But the ability to make the best of things, to secure progress, to learn from adversity is not to be disparaged or ignored. The creative energy of nature is not diminished but increased by the fallow season. Mankind requires a time for taking stock, for recuperation, for gathering energy for the next advance.
That is the significance of the new year. We take a new inventory to see what we have, we take new bearings to see where we are, we correct our conduct by new resolutions. After all due allowance for error and relapse, such a course guarantees improvement. Perhaps the best resolve is to live so that next year new resolutions will be unnecessary.