RESPONSE TO “Get Rid of Government! (But Then What?)” PART 1

Please read, Get Rid of Government! (But Then What?) before reading below…


I believe the most important thing to remember is history. Here are a few quotes that I have memorized for the advancement of my own wisdom that may help put this discussion in perspective:

-The farther backward you look, the farther forward you can see. –Winston Churchill-Prime Minister of Great Britain During World War II.

-A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable. –Thomas Jefferson, September 8, 1817

-Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. –George Satayana – philosopher

-One faces the future with one’s past. –Pearl S. Buck – an award-winning American writer

-Lost time is never found again. –Benjamin Franklin – among many other things, a U.S. founding father

-Memory is the purveyor of reason, the power which places those images before the mind upon which the judgment is to be exercised, and which treasures up the determinations that are once passed, as the rules of future action, or grounds of subsequent conclusions. –Samuel Johnson – poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic

So, knowing your history is paramount.-saying that, history should be closely looked at for accuracy. To learn from the past and to make logical judgments that will determine the best course for the present and future, I always keep these quotes in mind:

-Characters should never be given by an historian, unless he knew the people whom he describes, or copies from those who knew them. –Samuel Johnson – poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic

-His (God’s) Example (The new REPUBLIC: America) is now complete, and it will teach wisdom and virtue to magistrates, citizens, and men, not only in the present age, but in future generations, as long as our history shall be read.–John Adams, U.S. founding father- message to the U.S. Senate, December 19, 1799

-It is the duty of every good citizen to use all the opportunities which occur to him, for preserving documents relating to the history of our country. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Hugh P. Taylor, October 4, 1823

So how does the current political climate measure with the experience of those found throughout our history? Does the current calls for social justice and apologetic attitudes for America’s past greatness lend to wisdom or folly? Why do the people cry for something other than government to make their decisions and choose their fates? What should the role of government be? If not government, then who? Let’s see:

AMERICA IS NOT A DEMOCRACY, IT IS A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC

It is disturbingly instructive that, for the most part, American politicians, educators, and the news media have simplistically described the United States as a democracy for more than a century — yet the Founders expressed nothing but contempt for the very concept of a democracy.

WHAT POLITICIANS SAY Now . . .
-Democracy is … the only path to national success and dignity. —George W. Bush

-We must revitalize our democracy.—Bill Clinton

-The world must be made safe for democracy.—Woodrow Wilson

WHAT THE FOUNDERS SAID Then . . .

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote. —Ben Franklin

-The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. —Thomas Jefferson

-Democracy is the most vile form of government… democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention… incompatible with personal security or the rights of property.—James Madison

-The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and … breaks up the foundations of society.—Thomas Jefferson

-Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. — John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

-Democracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man’s life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few. –John Adams, An Essay on Man’s Lust for Power, August 29, 1763

-There is no good government but what is republican (not the party, but the form of government). That the only valuable part of the British constitution is so; for the true idea of a republic is “an empire of laws, and not of men.”

-That, as a republic is the best of governments, so that particular arrangements of the powers of society, or, in other words, that form of government which is best contrived to secure an impartial and exact execution of the laws, is the best of republics. –John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

-A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine. — Thomas Jefferson

AMERICA WAS BUILT ON FREEDOMS GIVEN TO THE PEOPLE—NOT FROM GOVERNMENT, BUT BY GOD

-And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever. –Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 18, 1781

-Natural rights [are] the objects for the protection of which society is formed and municipal laws established. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Monroe, 1791

-Nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Cartwright, 1824

-All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth-that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?” —Benjamin Franklin, To Colleagues at the Constitutional Convention.

-The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them. –Thomas Jefferson, Summary View of the Rights of British America, August 1774

-A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate. –Thomas Jefferson, Rights of British America, 1774

WHY AMERICA SHOULD CONTINUE TO BE DIFFERENT THAN OTHER NATIONS

-The dons, the bashaws, the grandees, the patricians, the sachems, the nabobs, call them by what names you please, sigh and groan and fret, and sometimes stamp and foam and curse, but all in vain. The decree is gone forth, and it cannot be recalled, that a more equal liberty than has prevailed in other parts of the earth must be established in America. –John Adams, letter to Patrick Henry, June 3, 1776

-Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, (I conjure you to believe me fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. –George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

-I have been happy… in believing that… whatever follies we may be led into as to foreign nations, we shall never give up our Union, the last anchor of our hope, and that alone which is to prevent this heavenly country from becoming an arena of gladiators. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Elbridge Gerry, May 13, 1797

Foreign influence is truly the Grecian horse to a republic. We cannot be too careful to exclude its influence. –Alexander Hamilton, Pacificus, No. 6, July 17, 1793

SOCIAL JUSTICE? REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH?

-History affords us many instances of the ruin of states, by the prosecution of measures ill suited to the temper and genius of their people. The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly. –Benjamin Franklin

-I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer. –Benjamin Franklin, On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor, November 1766

-Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition. –Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 19, 1787

-It is very imprudent to deprive America of any of her privileges. If her commerce and friendship are of any importance to you, they are to be had on no other terms than leaving her in the full enjoyment of her rights. –Benjamin Franklin, Political Observations

-The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. —Thomas Jefferson

-Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. St. Monday and St. Tuesday, will soon cease to be holidays. Six days shalt thou labor, though one of the old commandments long treated as out of date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them. –Benjamin Franklin, letter to Collinson, May 9, 1753

-The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy. –Benjamin Franklin, Emblematical Representations, Circa 1774

WHY IS OUR GOVERNMENT PERPETUATING A DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE?

Consider this:

-If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.–Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda minister.

-A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired.–Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, February 23, 1775

-It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good disposition. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 19, 1785

SO, WHY ARE THE PEOPLE TICKED OFF?

Government has left the foundational principles

If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws — the first growing out of the last…. A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government. –Alexander Hamilton, Essay in the American Daily Advertiser, Aug 28, 1794

*Take note that we haven’t used Constitutional law since before Woodrow Wilson. We now use Case Law.

And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever. –Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 18, 1781

*An improper use of the “seperation of church and state” has removed God from everything

Government no longer listens to the people

-A government ought to contain in itself every power requisite to the full accomplishment of the objects committed to its care, and to the complete execution of the trusts for which it is responsible, free from every other control but a regard to the public good and to the sense of the people. –Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 31, January 1, 1788

-No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without being truly respectable; nor be truly respectable, without possessing a certain portion of order and stability. –Alexander Hamilton and Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 62, 1788

-It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution. –Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia Query 19, 1781

Government is no longer responsible

-As on the one hand, the necessity for borrowing in particular emergencies cannot be doubted, so on the other, it is equally evident that to be able to borrow upon good terms, it is essential that the credit of a nation should be well established. –Alexander Hamilton, Report on Public Credit, January 9, 1790

-A rigid economy of the public contributions and absolute interdiction of all useless expenses will go far towards keeping the government honest and unoppressive. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Lafayette, 1823

-It is a singular advantage of taxes on articles of consumption that they contain in their own nature a security against excess. They prescribe their own limit, which cannot be exceeded without defeating the end purposed — that is, an extension of the revenue. –Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 21

-The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Taylor, May 28, 1816

-But with respect to future debt; would it not be wise and just for that nation to declare in the constitution they are forming that neither the legislature, nor the nation itself can validly contract more debt, than they may pay within their own age, or within the term of 19 years. –Thomas Jefferson, September 6, 1789

-Responsibility, in order to be reasonable, must be limited to objects within the power of the responsible party, and in order to be effectual, must relate to operations of that power, of which a ready and proper judgment can be formed by the constituents. –Alexander Hamilton and Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 63, 1788

Government has written unreadable laws in the last one hundred years to protect a hidden agenda and distort true American history. Government has written laws to inflate it’s own size and scope and by doing this, has tried to convince the people that the government is the giver of freedoms.

-But of all the views of this law none is more important, none more legitimate, than that of rendering the people the safe, as they are the ultimate, guardians of their own liberty. For this purpose the reading in the first stage, where they will receive their whole education, is proposed, as has been said, to be chiefly historical. History by apprising them of the past will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views. –Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 14, 1781

-It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. –Alexander Hamilton and Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 62, 1788

-Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823

Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed? –Alexander Hamiltonn, Federalist No. 62, 1788

Government is taking on powers that it should not have.

-Here sir, the people govern. –Alexander Hamilton, speech to the New York Ratifying Convention, June 17, 1788

-It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It [the Constitution] was intended to lace them up straightly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect. –Thomas Jefferson, Opinion on a National Bank, February 15, 1791

-Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. –Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 14, 1781

-I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Charles Jarvis, September 28, 1820

-But as the plan of the convention aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the State governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not, by that act, EXCLUSIVELY delegated to the United States. –Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 32, January 3, 1788.

-All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. –Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

-Constitutions of civil government are not to be framed upon a calculation of existing exigencies, but upon a combination of these with the probable exigencies of ages, according to the natural and tried course of human affairs. Nothing, therefore, can be more fallacious than to infer the extent of any power, proper to be lodged in the national government, from an estimate of its immediate necessities. –Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 34, January 4, 1788

-One single object… [will merit] the endless gratitude of the society: that of restraining the judges from usurping legislation. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Edward Livingston, March 25, 1825

-I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.’ To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, not longer susceptible of any definition. –Thomas Jefferson, Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, February 15, 1791

Government should return to the foundational principles

-I join cordially in admiring and revering the Constitution of the United States, the result of the collected wisdom of our country. That wisdom has committed to us the important task of proving by example that a government, if organized in all its parts on the Representative principle unadulterated by the infusion of spurious elements, if founded, not in the fears & follies of man, but on his reason, on his sense of right, on the predominance of the social over his dissocial passions, may be so free as to restrain him in no moral right, and so firm as to protect him from every moral wrong. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Amos Marsh, November 20, 1801

-If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify. –Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 33, January 3, 1788

-The principle of the Constitution is that of a separation of legislative, Executive and Judiciary functions, except in cases specified. If this principle be not expressed in direct terms, it is clearly the spirit of the Constitution, and it ought to be so commented and acted on by every friend of free government. –Thomas Jefferson, January, 1797

The true responsibility of government

-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. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Edward Carrington, January 16, 1787

-The freedom and happiness of man…[are] the sole objects of all legitimate government. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thaddeus Kosciusko, 1810

-Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dupont de Nemours, April 24, 1816

-The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to The Republican Citizens of Washington County, Maryland, March 31, 1809

-The most sacred of the duties of a government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all citizens. –Thomas Jefferson, Note in Destutt de Tracy, 1816

Return the powers where they belong

-If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify. –Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 33, January 3, 1788

Government should be limited. Terms were supposed to be limited

-At the establishment of our constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous; that the insufficiency of the means provided for their removal gave them a freehold and irresponsibility in office; that their decisions, seeming to concern individual suitors only, pass silent and unheeded by the public at large; that these decisions, nevertheless, become law by precedent, sapping, by little and little, the foundations of the constitution, and working its change by construction, before any one has perceived that that invisible and helpless worm has been busily employed in consuming its substance. In truth, man is not made to be trusted for life, if secured against all liability to account. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Monsieur A. Coray, Oct 31, 1823

-Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness. –George Washington, Circular to the States, May 9, 1753

-The construction applied…to those parts of the Constitution of the United States which delegate Congress a power…ought not to be construed as themselves to give unlimited powers, nor a part to be so taken as to destroy the whole residue of that instrument. –Thomas Jefferson, Draft Kentucky Resolutions, 1798

-The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Spencer Roane, March 9, 1821

Government should not be Godless, but stay out of the affairs of men and their worship of God. Thus, even the courts should make no laws concerning how any man should worship God

-Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to a

Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, Connecticut, January 1, 1802

-I have often expressed my sentiments, that every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience. –George Washington, letter to the General Committee of the United Baptist Churches in Virginia, May, 1789

-I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the States the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in any religious discipline has been delegated to the General Government. — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Samuel Miller, January 23, 1808

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to a Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, Connecticut, January 1, 1802

-Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever persuasion, religious or political. –Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

Government needs to remember this concerning excessive taxes

-Excessive taxation will carry reason & reflection to every man’s door, and particularly in the hour of election. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Taylor, November 26, 1798

-If the system be established on basis of Income, and his just proportion on that scale has been already drawn from every one, to step into the field of Consumption, and tax special articles in that, as broadcloth or homespun, wine or whiskey, a coach or a wagon, is doubly taxing the same article. For that portion of Income with which these articles are purchased, having already paid its tax as Income, to pay another tax on the thing it purchased, is paying twice for the same thing; it is an aggrievance on the citizens who use these articles in exoneration of those who do not, contrary to the most sacred of the duties of a government, to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816

-It is evident from the state of the country, from the habits of the people, from the experience we have had on the point itself, that it is impracticable to raise any very considerable sums by direct taxation. –Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 12, November 27, 1787

-Our properties within our own territories [should not] be taxed or regulated by any power on earth but our own. –Thomas Jefferson, Rights of British America, 1774

-The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Shelton Gilliam, June 19, 1808

Government needs to abandon the idea of Big Government and Socialism and return to the ideas of absolute freedom in our markets – here and abroad

-I think all the world would gain by setting commerce at perfect liberty. –Thomas Jefferson, July 7, 1785

-A people… who are possessed of the spirit of commerce, who see and who will pursue their advantages may achieve almost anything. –George Washington, letter to Benjamin Harrison, October 10, 1784

-I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Ludlow, September 6, 1824

-It should be our endeavor to cultivate the peace and friendship of every nation…. Our interest will be to throw open the doors of commerce, and to knock off all its shackles, giving perfect freedom to all persons for the vent to whatever they may choose to bring into our ports, and asking the same in theirs. –Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 22, 1787

Government needs to stay out of the affairs of other countries. Bring all of our troops home and work on our self reliance and independence

-Tis folly in one Nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its Independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favours and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favours from Nation to Nation. ‘Tis an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard. –George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

-Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances, with any portion of the foreign world.–George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

-Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none. –Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

-But if we are to be told by a foreign Power … what we shall do, and what we shall not do, we have Independence yet to seek, and have contended hitherto for very little. –George Washington, letter to Alexander Hamilton, May 8, 1796

Government should encourage resisting and questioning

-The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Abigail Adams, February 22, 1787

Andy, I leave you with the following, to firmly answer your main question-

-It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors? –Thomas Jefferson, 1781

-The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves in all cases to which they think themselves competent, or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press. –Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Cartwright, 1824

-Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question. –Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801 And history has.


The people are in charge and should be responsible for deciding what’s best for them- NOT the government. The government IS needed, but not for my thinking and deciding. I didn’t need the government to gather any of this information and I depend on God and myself for the functioning of my life. Faith, Hope, and Charity- GOD WORKING THROUGH ME, is what makes me tick. If everyone did this, there would be no need to ask your question, huh?

-Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence. –John Adams, in Defense of the British Soldiers on trial for the Boston Massacre, December 4, 1770


“When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we have separated.–Thomas Jefferson

Leave a Comment

9 Comments

Leave a Reply

Profile Photo Andrew Krzmarzick

Wow, Paul Revere Man. Do you have a background in studying history? That’s an impressive list of citations to be able to quickly gather and share – color me impressed!

What struck me from all of the quotes and your main premise is that what we are calling “Government 2.0” – is really not a new kind of governance structure where the people are empowered to more actively participate. It’s a return to the Founders’ original intentions.

I would love for you to tie together your thoughts above with this notion of “Government 2.0” that is described in the film: http://www.usnowfilm.com/

Profile Photo Gary Berg-Cross

I see from time to time democracy detractors who point to the U.S. Constitution, various quotes and historical fragments assembed to argue that we are just a Republic. They say the Founding Fathers (who wrote the Constitution) gave us a Republic because they believed democracies were “dangerous and unworkable.”

That is not the best way to convey a complex argument and what was provided was not the whole story, because democracies and republics are not opposites or mutually exclusive. They can and dooverlap as in a democratic republic. As in representative rule of the people.

One should also take into account the history of American government since 1788, and the earlier debates leading up to the U.S. Constitution’s substitution for the Articles of Confederation.

Profile Photo Paul Revere Man

No my friend, we are not “just a Republic”, we are a Constitutional Republic, (you’ll have to remove and change the entire definition on Wikipedia and every other credible site if you disagree).

A Democratic Republic or People’s Republic — Tends to be used by countries who have a particular desire to emphasize their claim to be democratic; these are typically Communist states.

A People’s Republic, (Redirected from Democratic Republic, Wikipedia), is a title that has often been used by Marxist-Leninist governments to describe their state. The motivation for using this term lies in the claim that Marxist-Leninists govern in accordance with the interests of the vast majority of the people, and, as such, a Marxist-Leninist republic is a people’s republic. Many of these countries also called themselves socialist states in their constitutions; Albania, for instance, used both terms, “socialist” and “people’s,” in its official name from 1976 to 1991.

In the West, countries governed by Marxist-Leninists are referred to as “Communist states,” though they never actually used this name for themselves and used the term countries of people’s democracy.

A constitutional republic is a state where the head of state and other officials are elected as representatives of the people, and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government’s power over citizens.

In a constitutional republic, executive, legislative, and judicial powers are separated into distinct branches and the will of the majority of the population is tempered by protections for individual rights so that no individual or group has absolute power.

The fact that a constitution exists that limits the government’s power makes the state constitutional. That the head(s) of state and other officials are chosen by election, rather than inheriting their positions, and that their decisions are subject to judicial review makes a state republican.

John Adams defined a constitutional republic as “a government of laws, and not of men.” Constitutional republics are a deliberate attempt to diminish the perceived threat of majoritarianism, thereby protecting dissenting individuals and minority groups from the “tyranny of the majority” by placing checks on the power of the majority of the population. The power of the majority of the people is checked by limiting that power to electing representatives who are required to legislate with limits of overarching constitutional law which a simple majority cannot modify, (which makes any law that is passed this way unconstitutional).

Also, the power of government officials is checked by allowing no single individual to hold executive, legislative and judicial powers. Instead these powers are separated into distinct branches that serve as a check and balance on each other. A constitutional republic is designed so that “no person or group [can] rise to absolute power.”

What we have mainly seen in our government in the last 100 years, (there are a few exceptions), is a shift of power to form a socialist-type of government. It is this form of government that the founders were warning us of.

To your point on the Articles of Confederation, yes the Constitution did replace that document and for good reason! The founders believed so much that government was not the answer to the world’ s problems, (as they just broke out of an oppressive system), that they tried a form of government that more resembled anarchy- a loose confederation of sovereign states that would form an alliance only for the purpose of mutual defense.

The Articles provided no separation of branches. There was no president or any other independent executive, nor was there a federal judicial branch. Congress, the legislature, was the only branch of government. Laws required unanimous votes. Members elected to congress did not vote as individuals, but as states.

There was lively and heated debate in forming the Constitution, which largely centered around how much power the federal government should have. Two Founding Fathers who represented opposing sides were Alexander Hamilton, who argued for a strong national government with James Madison and John Jay in the seminal Federalist Papers, and Thomas Jefferson, who favored a weaker central government and more power resting with individual states, (which is why I used both of them in most of the quotes). While Jefferson left for a diplomatic position in France in 1784 and did not return to the United States until 1789, he paid close attention to the ratification debates raging in his home country, and shared with Anti-Federalists, including George Mason and Patrick Henry, grave concerns about the new Constitution.

Behind their philosophies were their different perspectives on human nature: Jefferson was an idealist who believed in the inherent good of humanity, and Hamilton was a pragmatist who was more cynical about trusting people to do the right thing.

Examine the quotations below from Jefferson and Hamilton expressing opposing views about human nature. How much liberty is enough?

“It has been so often said, as to be generally believed, that Congress have no power by the Confederation to enforce anything, for example, contributions of money. It was not necessary to give them that power expressly, for they have it by the law of nature. When two parties make a compact, there results to each a power of compelling the other to execute it.”
—Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Edward Carrington, 1787

“Has it not, on the contrary, invariably been found that momentary passions, and immediate interest, have a more active and imperious control over human conduct than general or remote considerations of policy, utility or justice?”
—Alexander Hamilton, in The Federalist Papers, Section 6, 1788

Eventually, the Constitution was developed through much deliberation, compromise, and commitment to democratic ideals, (which those in favor of a democracy or democratic republic have tried to use as a play on words to confuse the people). The Congress approved the Constitution in 1787, and it was ratified in 1788 by the ninth state (New Hampshire), the final approval needed to put it into effect. This document established the structure of our democratic government as it still stands today. The first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were proposed in 1789 and ratified in 1791. Agreement was not reached easily, and a key sticking point was the power of the federal government. Read more of the powerful debate in the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers.

So, all of that said, democracies and republics are two different things that can overlap; however, the United States of America is neither of these and should remain so. The draw of greed and power, (see my quotes and video response to The Project of the Week), and the European-leanings of the progressive movement, (which like to call the U.S. a democratic repbulic or a democracy), have perverted our great nation into the very thing they feared and retreated from-

“When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we have separated.–Thomas Jefferson

My call to action is to return to what really made us great.

Profile Photo Srinidhi Boray

Wonderful summary. Especially “What we have mainly seen in our government in the last 100 years, (there are a few exceptions), is a shift of power to form a socialist-type of government. It is this form of government that the founders were warning us of.”

But then, – John Adams defined a constitutional republic as “a government of laws, and not of men.” seem to provide a better explanation.

I thought socialism was a good thing for those marginalized and insufficiently represented. Also, for a naive working class who really works hard physically can’t there be a better representation and be guarded from the vile of wall-st. Poor folks are happy in their wage worth and then happy celebrating the days work with few beer. Do they ever realize, that from their innocence what they know of life, has the chicaneries of the intellect deceive them with jargons and make them feel that fate intended them to be as they are disposed.

I am beginning to understand the juxtaposition of words applied and intended wrt constitution. Nevertheless, call for the roots much needed with the largest and loudest of voices

“My call to action is to return to what really made us great”.

Profile Photo Srinidhi Boray

@Patrick, That future is very eluding until it is met. What is the remedy in the meantime? Until such a time that future is discovered will some vanity with errors be allowed? Despite the fact that change is argued by most as step function, baring no near resemblance with present nor past. Whatever to become of future, values envisioned in the past cannot be ignored. Some of them has been very grand and yet not grandiose and still to be achieved.

Profile Photo Gary Berg-Cross

The founders were not just worried about government power, but power in general which need to be balanced. Since Jefferson has been quoted, here is one from him on some power to be checked.

“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
— Thomas Jefferson, 1812

Profile Photo Gary Berg-Cross

One thing that is needed for Gov 2.o is collaboration in the development of new technologies to improve publicservice delivery. This is not just between public-sector bodies, but also between
government AND the public.
We see examples of this in the UK where the government established the Power of Information
Taskforce, which ran a public competition to identify better ways of communicating government information. The competition received 450 entries and suggestions that were followed up to help those who wanted to do things like setting up a charity, mapping the location of post boxes and bike
routes etc. All for the public good and a good cooperation with some dost savings too.

Some guiding principes are:

• Consilidation to reduce duplication between public service organization

• Tailor services to public known needs/requirements such as scheduling appointments