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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Thomas Jefferson once said: "The natural progress of things is for government to gain ground and for liberty to yield."In this way he both, voiced his perfect understanding of the permanent tension between power and liberty, and predicted the future.

Jefferson also said: "Whenever a man cast a longing eye on public office, a rot begins in his conduct."
This comment comes from his deep belief in what he would have called "republican virtue" as a qualification for holding public office. I wonder how he would measure the glances cast by today's politicians with their million dollar campaigns, consecutive terms, lobbyist connections, etc.

"I disapprove of what you say, sir, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - attributed to Voltaire
Whether Voltaire said this exactly or not, it is the sentiment upon which political discourse should be based in a free country, without the right to have an opinion and voice it, there can be no freedom. The politically correct crowd doubtless disagrees with me that my opinion can be valid if it is not their opinion, but then they are mostly mindless automatons who will believe whatever "everybody is saying" without the slightest effort to think it through for themselves.

"Liberty has never come from Government. It is always come from the subjects of Government. The history of Liberty is the history of resistance." Woodrow Wilson
Quite correct, too bad Wilson was probably among the last American Presidents to have such beliefs, for they are the beliefs upon which this nation was founded.

"America was established not to create wealth but to realize a vision, to realize an ideal-to discover and maintain liberty among men." Woodrow Wilson
I agree wholeheartedly again with President Wilson, too bad most Americans can't smoke a cigarette or drive to the store without big brother watching to see if they go outside or put on their seatbelt.

"I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me Liberty or give me death." Patrick Henry
Perhaps the greatest of the Anti-Federalists Henry deserves to be remembered among the greatest of America's founding fathers, for without the Bill of Rights which he so fervently demanded the decay of our freedom would be even greater, although this particular quote is from early in the Revolution.

"The basis of a democratic state is Liberty." Aristotle
Wow, even the Greeks knew that, how is it that we don't seem to get the picture these days? The most "liberal" states seem to have the most intrusive laws of all, and they seem to think the purpose of government is to boss the rest of us around "for our own good", rather than to secure the blessings of Liberty to an eternal posterity.

"A frequent reference to fundamental principles is absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of Liberty, and keep a Government free." Benjamin Franklin
Like the genius that he was Ben Franklin reduced this to its simplest terms, and if you read the words of the men of his time, it becomes obvious what was fundamental to them. Preventing tyranny, securing Liberty, and not paying opressive taxes.

"If we truly cared about our children and future generations, instead of demagoging about them, we'd worry more about saving Liberty than saving Social Security." Walter Williams
Here is a rare example of a modern politician speaking like his earliest predecessors, refreshing, even though I'm not positive I know who this guy is, he is obviously one of the good guys.

"Without Liberty, Law loses its nature and its name, and becomes oppression. Without Law, Liberty also loses its nature and its name, and becomes licentiousness." James Wilson
I'd have to look it up, but it sticks in my mind that this guy was an Anti-Federalist from New York, even to guys like me who believe the Anti-federalists were among the greatest of Americans for getting us a Bill of Rights, the way history is taught makes their names so obscure that you forget them even after doing extensive reading about them.


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