Silence DoGood Essay #9

After reading essay number nine from the fourteen Silence DoGood essays, one simple phrase came to my mind, which summarizes the entire essay; do not judge a book by its cover. This one phrase describes the whole message that Benjamin Franklin is trying to convey, which pertains to hypocrisy and how people can be very different than what we initially perceive them to be. In the very beginning, Franklin asks the question, does a commonwealth suffer more from people who pretend to be good and religious, or the openly profane individuals? He continues, saying that the pretenders are the ones who cause a place to suffer the most, and is very diligent in supporting this point. For example, “A notoriously profane person in a private Capacity, ruins himself and perhaps forwards the Destruction of a few of his Equals…” In this single line, Franklin is telling us that the openly profane person is only a danger to himself and maybe a few of acquaintances, and is in no way a major force of damage to the public because people are already aware of this persons nature and know to avoid and distrust them. He continues on and mentions the hypocritical person, “but a publik Hypocrite every day deceives his betters and makes them Ignorant Trumpeters to his supposed Godliness.” Here, similar to the previous line about the profane person, Franklin describes the danger posed by a hypocrite. When someone who has bad intentions is perceived as good, it is easier for them to get their way and advance their own agenda. They are able to deceive people who trust them and use this trust to make people “Ignorant Trumpeters”; as in the people have no idea that they have been deceived and blindly accept what has been told to them because they are not aware of the truth. He goes on to state that no one is exempt from this categorization; even clergymen. Everyone is liable to be good on the outside but possibly be thinking their own temptations and goals rather than the good of the public. He concludes this essay by saying that in order for mankind be happy, we must learn to judge people by their whole conduct and what effects this may have, not just the good deeds that they do in the public eye.