Editorial – Oct. 29, 2012

One Less Rascal

Jamestown Gazette Editor Walt Pickut

“Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one rascal less in the world,” said Thomas Carlyle, famous Scottish satirical writer of the Victorian era.

Carlyle was famous for pointing out our favorite little quirks, foibles and the “harmless” little fibs that usually trip us up and wind up embarrassing us. He just knew each of us is a little bit of a rascal. But rascals usually run out of luck, and then it’s not so funny anymore.

As a result, a wise person once said, “Honesty is the best policy.” It is a simple and almost worn out phrase, but still true.

This week The Jamestown Gazette takes you on a guided tour of an up and coming business district that’s turning around the fortunes of the city’s North Side, turning a profit and turning up a shoppers’ delight with one simple method; talented friends and neighbors doing honest business.

The fact is, if we can put your cynicism aside for a moment, we will recall that it is honest businesses and entrepreneurs that have made the United States so successful. The bad apples in the business barrel are famous but that doesn’t make them the majority.

Russell Herman Conwell, an attorney and the founder and first president of Temple University in Philadelphia, was a skilled observer of the national scene in the 20th Century. Conwell told the truth when he said, “Ninety-eight out of 100 of the rich men in America are honest. That is why they are rich.” He knew that rascals don’t usually get rich, but if they do, it isn’t for long.

So next time you are tempted to be discouraged about the honesty of businesses and politicians, just take a walk down Main Street, no matter what town you live in, and say hello to the store owners. You will meet honest, hardworking and kind people over and over again, at least 98 percent of the time.

When you shop at Jamestown’s newly revived, bustling NorthSide, you’ll also hear about the honest, concerned local politicians who wrote the laws and codes to make it possible. Hardly a rascal among them.

Benjamin Franklin was an honest businessman, a printer. He would have fit right in. He said, “Trickery and treachery are the practices of fools that have not wits enough to be honest.”

Enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut
The Jamestown Gazette