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Friday, June 16, 2006

"The object and practice of Liberty lies in the limitation of Governmental power." General Douglas MacArthur

Whatever else he may have been, MacArthur was a true American. He speaks more like the founding fathers than anyone else in the 20th Century.

"Few Men desire Liberty; most Men only wish for a just master." Sallust

This is a from an ancient Roman Historian from the time of the fall of the Roman Republic. His words express one reason for the fragility of Free Republics. America's founders were very conscious of this weakness and often expressed fears that their Republic would fall to tyranny as Rome's had, such fears are at the root of the concepts of limited government and checks and balances.

"The argument for Liberty is not an argument against organization, which is one of the most powerful tools human reasoning can employ, but an argument against all exclusive, privilege, monopolistic organization, against the use of coercion to prevent others from doing better." F. A. Hayek

Hayek was an Austrian economist contemporary with Keynes, to me he is more rational and realistic than Keynes, not to mention more easily understandable on most concepts. Those who love Liberty should stand watch against privileges granted by government. In my opinion modern American laws in most areas that deal with large sums of money could use a good examination by virtuous elected representatives.

"It is seldom that any Liberty is lost all at once." David Hugh

Many of America's founding fathers expressed the same sentiment as Hugh. They often expressed fears that the Liberty won in the Revolution would be eaten away slowly by bad precedents and interpretations. Were they right?

"The true danger is when Liberty is nibbled away, for expedients and by parts.... The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men do nothing." Edmund Burke

Classic Whig rhetoric along the same lines as the above. Burke was an English Whig with political views very similar to his American contemporaries (i.e. the founding fathers).

"The God that gave us life, gave us Liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but it cannot disjoin them." Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson is saying basically "Don't tread on me". You can kill a free man who fights for freedom, but he dies free.

"The tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants." Thomas Jefferson

This is a somewhat disturbing quote from Jefferson at firat glance, but coupled with the above, and remembering that Jefferson is from the time of the American Revolution, it gains context. Those who have freedom fought for it, and to maintain it may have to fight again.

"Of Liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its existence, is unobstructed action according to our will. But Rightful Liberty is within limits drawn around us by the Equal Rights of others. And I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’, because the law is often but the Tyrants-will, and always so when it violates the Rights of an individual." Thomas Jefferson

Here Jefferson again shows his brilliant grasp of reality. Liberty has to have reasonable limits, but within these limits men should be unfettered by fear of the gaovernment's power, and when the government makes bad laws free men have a responsiblity to stand up for their rights.

"I would rather be exposed to the inconvenience attending too much Liberty than those attending too small degree of it." Thomas Jefferson

For the first century and more of American government, the Legislatures and the Courts almost always attempted to err on the side of freedom, allowing free men to live their own lives and make their own mistakes rather than risk giving the government too much authority. This trend seems to be at an end in many ways today, but the worthy precedents of the past still have significant force in American Law.

"A government big enough to supply you with everything you need is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.... The course of history shows that as the government grows, liberty decreases." Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson was a genius. This is so obviously a true statement of an observable force spanning human history that I cannot add or detract from Jefferson's words.


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