Reply Thu 2 Sep, 2010 02:29 am
Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it, “all men are created equal except negroes.” When the Know-nothings get control, it will read, “all men are created equal except negroes and foreigners and Catholics.” When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy. / Abraham Lincoln

What did Lincoln mean by saying "without the base alloy of hypocracy"?
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Reply Thu 2 Sep, 2010 02:45 am
Metals are either noble or base. Gold, platinum, and silver plus a few others are noble. The others are base, or common. Lead is a leading base metal.

Whether the distinction is chemistry or valuation, I don't know.
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Reply Fri 3 Sep, 2010 09:41 am
I assume it has to do with how a base alloy might be mistaken for something else... brass appearing to be gold, for instance.

Hypocrite means a person with a false appearance of goodness.

In the background is the notion that it's better to be evil without pretense than to be a hypocrite.
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