Tag Archives: Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington

The tumults in America I expected would have produced in Europe an unfavorable opinion of our political state. But it has not. On the contrary, the small effect of those tumults seems to have given more confidence in the firmness of our governments. The interposition of the people themselves on the side of government has had a great effect on the opinion here. I am persuaded myself that the good sense of the people will always be found to be the best army. They may be led astray for a moment, but will soon correct themselves. The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty. The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs thro’ the channel of the public papers, and to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people. The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them. I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, and restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did any where. Among the latter, under pretence of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves and sheep. I do not exaggerate. This is a true picture of Europe. Cherish therefore the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, judges and governors shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions; and experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor.

Today’s Quotes: The Truth Hurts

“We are … profoundly ignorant. People don’t know anything about their own religions. We know little of our own history, let alone our history in context with the rest of the world. We worship sports heroes who torture dogs, but we point at scientists and laugh. A profoundly messed-up woman like Christine O’Donnell can run on a platform of ‘See? I can’t manage my finances either. I’m you.’ We had eight years of a dry drunk as president because people thought he was the guy they’d want to have a beer with — as if that were ever going to happen. Now there are people who would vote to give the nuclear codes to an aging high school mean girl because they’d like to fuck her — as if that’s ever going to happen. Smart people are regarded with scorn as ‘elites.’ Ignorance is regarded as a virtue.
“This is how an empire dies. And we are going to be around to see it.”
— Jill, “A New Study Shows That Americans Are idiots,” Brilliant at Breakfast, Oct. 11, 2010. (H/T/ to Bartcop.com.)

“It all really started to slide horribly down hill with NCLB [No Child Left Behind]. That policy effectively doomed social studies/history programming in schools. Civics classes, forget about it. We are no longer challenged to think critically, but to simply do sight recognition of a question and regurgitate an answer. As a society we are certainly doomed. It’s not teachers or students that are the problem, its the lack of curriculum that will come back to bite us on the ass.”
— Comment by PridePress at above site.

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”
— Thomas Jefferson

Today’s Quote: Thomas Jefferson Denies U.S. Founded on Judeo-Christian Tradition

In fact, it was founded on English Common Law which predated the introduction of Christianity to Britain by two hundred years.

” … [W]e know that the common law is that system of law which was introduced by the Saxons on their settlement in England, and altered from time to time by proper legislative authority from that time to the date of the Magna Charta [1215 CE], which terminates the period of the common law…and commences that of the statute law…. This settlement took place about the middle of the fifth century. But Christianity was not introduced till the seventh century…. Here, then, was a space of about two hundred years, during which the common law was in existence, and Christianity no part of it…. If, therefore, from the settlement of the Saxons to the introduction of Christianity among them, that system of religion could not be a part of the common law, because they were not yet Christians, and if, having their laws from that period to the close of the common law, we are able to find among them no such act of adoption, we may safely affirm (though contradicted by all the judges and writers on earth) that Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law. …”
— Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814. From Andrew A. Lipscomb, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson , Vol. XIV, Washington, DC: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1903, pp. 85-97. Quoted at the Ten Amendments Day site.

The Tattlesnake GOP: Road to the Nut House Edition

Conservative Christopublican Michele Bachmann Offends American History By Quoting Liberal Deist Thomas Jefferson

Descending into obscurity, bereft of leadership, and driven to distraction by Obama’s cool, the fading Republican Party has opened yet another can of crackpot and let it pour over the religiously bewitched and acutely ignorant leftovers of nasty Nixonism, regressive Reaganism and bumbling Bushism.

Joining the cranky ranks of Michael Steele, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, Ann Coulter, Mike Pence, John Boehner and all of the other daft neocons needing professional help, the new can in question is boiling-over-the-top-crazy Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who barely won reelection in 2008 over an obscure Tolkien character named, no kidding, Elwyn Tinklenberg. No offense to poor old Elwyn, but Tinklenberg is a politician like Limbaugh is a neurosurgeon.

Bachmann’s fringe-right dementedness is nothing new for her, as the excellent Dump Bachmann blog has archived, just not yet exposed to a national audience. In fact, Michele’s been in the forefront of every extreme Christopublican-corporatist nutcase movement since she was in the MN state legislature. In her Jesuitic devotion to the poor, she vehemently opposed any increase in the minimum wage, saying in January of 2005: “Literally, if we took away the minimum wage we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would able to offer jobs at whatever level.” (No doubt she did not mean this to include Minnesota Congresswomen, nor any member of their immediate families.)

She has also been a stern Old Testament foe of all things gay, as this quote from a 2004 interview on a Minnesota radio program called “Prophetic Views Behind The News” highlights: This is a very serious matter [homosexuality], because it is our children who are the prize for this community, they are specifically targeting our children.” (The gay is comin’ ta get ya!)

But just so the reader doesn’t think this might have been a singular anti-gay eruption elicited by one too many cocktails, there are also these tidbits from something called the ‘EdWatch National Education Conference’ in November 2004: “If youre involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, its bondage. It is personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement.” (As opposed to the bondage, despair and enslavement to corporate kindness caused by the lack of a minimum wage.) At the same venue, she took the hatchet to companies that neglected to contribute to her campaign fund, “They arent just kind of gay-friendly, they are gay advocates at Proctor and Gamble Heres just a few other companies that support the pro-homosexual agenda. They include Levi-Strauss, American Airlines, Sara Lee Bakery, Jaguar and Land Rover.” (“Sara Lee Their Delicious Cakes Will Make You Gay!”)

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