Our third president, Thomas Jefferson, had two notable nicknames. The first was “Man of the People.” And indeed he was a man of the people, primarily because of his common sense approach to governance. He was quite popular with Americans because he espoused the idea of “States’ Rights.” His second nickname was, “Sage of Monticello.”
For this week’s missive, I would like to share some of Mr. Jefferson’s more cogent remarks during a lifetime of action and service to this fledgling country called the United States of America. Look closely at what this sage had to say two hundred years ago.
“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not [work].” This one got my attention! A new presidential order this week has been signed authorizing a significant amount of money to be flushed back into the welfare system. Americans are the most generous people I know. We should always be ready to help those in genuine need. There is no question about that. However, we should never establish a system that encourages and fosters a lifestyle where a person is capable of living off the government dole. This creates a type of “class system” in our nation, generating resentment between the haves and the have-nots. We can ill afford this if we expect to rebuild a stronger America.
“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.” This is sadly being born out in our nation before our very eyes. Government, whether under the Democrats or the Republicans, continues to enlarge at an alarming rate. Government does not produce money. It can only help set the right environment for free commerce and trade to flourish. The more that government interferes in the operations of private sector business, the more the environment for growth is inhibited. Not only do we need less government, but the government we need must be more efficient.
“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” If history has taught us anything, it is that government that continues to expand also continues to add restrictions to its citizenry by requiring more and more taxation. Even now the average American is working from January into May simply to pay taxes. This does not encourage economic growth, nor does it produce jobs. Taking up arms against your own government is frightful. However, let’s remember that Mr. Jefferson lived through the Revolutionary War, helping to formulate this nation of ours from the blood of patriots. These words are not spoken lightly by some academic sitting in his ivory tower. Mr. Jefferson speaks from experience.
“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” Many people today are appalled at the way taxpayer money is being used by government. Just in recent days the ban on financial support to foreign organizations that perform abortions has been lifted. That means our taxpayer dollars will be used to assist in abortions around the world. For many Americans, this fits right in with Mr. Jefferson’s remarks about taxes being used for “the propagation of ideas which the taxpayer disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” Whoa! Have the chickens come home to roost here? Just looking at the mess that has occurred in the banking industry, the bailout plan (such as it is), the so-called government stimulus package, and the near collapse of the housing market with the countless numbers of foreclosures, you have to be impressed with Mr. Jefferson’s prescience.
We live in interesting times. Democracy at work in a republic is much like a tight-rope walker having a sneezing fit. Perilous, to say the least. That is why our nation needs people today who will stand up and do the right thing; who will protect the interests of the average taxpaying American. And you and I must be diligent in securing our freedoms from those who would wantonly abuse and deny these hard earned rights. It came at a high price, just as anything worth having is costly. But what price can you put on the blood of patriots – patriots like Mr. Jefferson?