Monday, February 7, 2011

Thomas Jefferson: Another Point Of View...

A lot of people love Thomas Jefferson, when he agrees with their point of view. When they can quote him and it supports their world view or argument, he is a wonderful "Founding Father." When it comes to his views on limited government or his views on firearms, well, he's just another dirty old dead white guy who owned slaves.

The more liberal among us who cry constantly about the People having the right to "choose," (Pro-"Choice," etc.) when it comes to their sacred cow issues will cite the obscure letter to the Danbury Baptists and build an entire Constitutional line of thought, a doctrine, about the "separation of church and state" and then they will ignore the many quotes of Thomas Jefferson where he believed the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right for American Citizens.

They have been doing this for years, treating the Constitution and the first ten amendments to it, the Bill of Rights, as a buffet table where they can pick and choose what they want and ignore the rest in the desperate hope that what they ignored will quickly be swept into a waiting trash receptacle and silently disposed of.

Not to be outdone, "conservatives" and "libertarians" who claim to be capitalists but really worship at the altar of crony capitalism, they love to quote Thomas Jefferson as well.

Some of Jefferson's thoughts are simply brilliant. Jefferson said enough in this quote to make both sides of the political spectrum roll their eyes or get angry.

"I am not among those who fear the people. They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom.

And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes; have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers.

Our landholders, too, like theirs, retaining indeed the title and stewardship of estates called theirs, but held really in trust for the treasury, must wander, like theirs, in foreign countries, and be contented with penury, obscurity, exile, and the glory of the nation. This example reads to us the salutary lesson, that private fortunes are destroyed by public as well as by private extravagance. And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for a second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery, and to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering.

Then begins, indeed, the bellum omnium in omnia, which some philosophers observing to be so general in this world, have mistaken it for the natural, instead of the abusive state of man. And the fore horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression." ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816.

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