Monday, 4 January 2021

The Purpose of Government - Thomas Jefferson

 In a letter to James Madison,  taken from " The Living Thoughts of Thomas Jefferson ", accumulated by John Dewey,  Jefferson gives his opinion on the purpose of government and the importance of educating everyone in the functions of government,  as well as warn us of the evils coming when urbanization flourishes over rural peoples..

" One may conclude too hastily,  that nature has formed man insusceptible of any other government than that of force,  a conclusion not founded in truth nor experience.  Societies exist under three forms,  sufficiently distinguishable.  1. Without government,  as among our Indians.  2.  Under governments,  wherein the will of every one has a just influence,  as is the case in England,  in a slight degree,  and in our States,  in a great one.  3. Under governments of force,  as is the case in all other Monarchies,  and in most of the other republics.  To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last,  they must be seen.  It is a government of wolves over sheep.  It is a problem,  not clear in my mind,  that the first condition is not the best.  But I believe it to be inconsistent with any great degree of population.  The second state has a great deal of good in it.  The mass of mankind under that,  enjoys a precious degree of liberty and happiness.  It has it's evils,  too;  the principle which is the turbulence to which it is subject.  But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy,  and it becomes nothing.  Malo periculoasam libertatem quam quietam servitutem.  Even this evil is productive of good.  It prevents the degeneracy of government,  and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs.  I hold it,  that a little rebellion,  now and then,  is a good thing,  and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.   Unsuccessful rebellions,  indeed,  generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people,  which have produced them.  An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions,  as not to discourage them too much.  It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.

...And say, finally whether peace is best preserved by giving energy to the government,  or information to the people.  This last is the most certain,  and the most legitimate engine of government.  Educate and inform the whole mass of the people.  Enable them to see that it is their interest to preserve peace and order,  and they will preserve them.  And it requires no very high degree of education to convince them of this.  They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.  After all,  it is my principle that the will of the majority should prevail.  If they approve the proposed constitution in all its parts,  I shall concur in it cheerfully in hopes they will amend it,  whenever they shall find it works wrong.  This reliance cannot deceive us,  as long as we remain virtuous;  and I think we shall be so,  as long as agriculture is our principle object,  which will be the case,  while there remains vacant lands in any part of America.  When we get piled upon one another in large cities,  as in Europe,  we shall become corrupt as in Europe,  and go to eating one another as they do there.

    We think in America,  that it is necessary to introduce the people into every department of government,  as far as they are capable of exercising it;  and that this is the only way to ensure a long continued and honest administration of its powers.  Were I called upon to decide,  whether the people had best be omitted in the legislature or judiciary department,  I would say it better to leave them out of the legislative.  The execution of the laws is more important than the making them. "


In summary - Jefferson points to several areas where we have failed to meet his criteria for keeping our government honest.   The cities have played a major part in this - if we cut them out of the elections altogether,  we would forever remain America,   as the founders saw it.  We have lost virtue in every aspect of our daily lives.,  and we do not educate the masses to the workings of government or the truth in the daily legislation,  by design of the left.   We owe it to the Founders,  to the heroes throughout the many wars fought to keep our liberties,  and most of all,  to the next generations,  to amend this Constitution,  because it is doing wrong.  We have both cause and effect here,  foretold by the greatest republican mind of this nations times.   We can continue the revolution of 2010 by making the republicans force our will upon the party as a whole.   We are about to reap the most toxic crop ever sowed,  if we allow these sloths in the legislature to not make a balanced budget,   allowing the military cuts to happen by default.  If the events of the past two weeks have not convinced the most liberal among us that this is foolhardy,  then all surely is lost.

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