Archives For Jefferson Quotes

2014-10-19_09-42-23I have taken leave of politics. I think little of them and say less. I have given up newspapers in exchange for Tacitus and Thucydides, for Newton and Euclid, and I find myself much happier.

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Adams January 21,1821

I always get a certain degree of pleasure to find that my recent decisions were tried by my heroes before me. About a year or so ago, maybe longer as time seems to be flying by lately, I decided to take my leave of politics. To me that venue has taken a dark turn that I seem to be unable to tolerate now. I decided to leave how we get out of this gutter to those who can actually effect a change. I decided that until things improve, if they even can, I will be voting against anyone currently in office at the State and national level. I see it as the only remaining way to get through to those hard-hearted, spiteful people who have gridlocked our political processes.

Jefferson had been out of political office for about 15 years when he penned this letter to Adams. He finally had enough of it. I find myself in the same mental state.

Violating Natural Rights…

October 2, 2014

Whenever there are in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor and live on. . . . The small landowners are the most precious part of the State.

Thomas Jefferson Letter, 28 Oct. 1785, to politician (later president) James Madison

These words above are very indicative of the overall philosophy of Thomas Jefferson.  He believed in power to the people and that includes all of us.  To have an unemployed poor is a failure of a country’s society and government.  Everyone should be given a chance to a fair equitable labor.

Power to the People

That should be the American mantra. To allow that power to be usurped by the monied elite goes against everything our founders had in mind.

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.

–Thomas Jefferson’s Letter, 10 Aug. 1787

I am going to combine my usual Sunday post on things inspiring/spiritual with my usual Thursday quotes. Thomas Jefferson, like most of the founding fathers was a Deist. That is he believed in a God who was in control of the universe but not so much into our daily lives. His quote above is very contrary to many religious communities today.

Questioning the existence of God is a no-no to many.  They say you must believe everything in their religious documents and question nothing. If you do dare to question you may quickly be deemed a heretic. I know because I have some personal experience in this matter.

But I very much believe in the quote above. If there is a God, and I certainly do believe that there is, then he must approve of the homage of reason. He does not fear our questions or certainly doesn’t condemn us to utter agony if we dare to ask them. I simply don’t believe that God wants us to be in a blind-folded fear of him. He told us to love him and that is just not possible if we think that he holds a hammer over our head just waiting for us to say the wrong words, believe the wrong things, or ask the wrong questions…

I thoroughly denounce the idea that God expects us to check our “God-given” intelligence at the door on Sunday mornings and to believe things that go against any level of reason….

Banking Establishments…

September 25, 2014

2014-09-13_09-50-19I sincerely believe . . . that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that 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 in a letter 12 June 1815

Anyone that has studied Jefferson to any degree knows that he was an agrarian. That is he believed in power to the people, particularly the farmers who were the majority of the population in his day. He seemed to have a standing feud with Hamilton about this topic.

I, like Jefferson, believe that almost all the power in a society should reside with the citizens but unfortunately in today’s world our financial institutions and the 1% of the population that control them seem to have kidnapped a large share of power. Another famous quote from Jefferson was that a democracy depends on an informed electorate. If only people were to realize that with their votes they have the capability to radically transform this condition. If, as the polls indicate, the vast majority of us believe that our present government is totally dysfunctional we could sweep out 85% of them within the next two months. Wouldn’t that send a message to those gridlocked groups who say they represent us. If only our actions backed up our words things would change and change quickly.

Never Take An Active Part…

September 18, 2014

2014-09-13_09-50-19I have ever deemed it fundamental for the United States never to take active part in the quarrels of Europe. Their political interests are entirely distinct from ours. Their mutual jealousies, their balance of power, their complicated alliances, their forms and principles of government, are all foreign to us. They are nations of eternal war.

–A Thomas Jefferson Letter, 11 June 1823, to President James Monroe

Thomas Jefferson just didn’t trust government very much. He was always skeptical that they would get us involved in things we had no business being involved in. The constant wars in Europe were one of those things to be avoided at almost all costs. In the intervening two-hundred years much has changed with the world. It has definitely gotten smaller such that anything happening anywhere can affect others in at least some way. But, I kind of think that Jefferson’s words above still apply today especially in the Middle East.

The Middle Eastern countries including all those we have spent trillions of dollars trying to reform are fundamentally different from the U.S. As Jefferson said their mutual jealousies, their balance of power and their forms of government and particularly religious beliefs are very foreign to what we practice in this country.  We can spend trillions of trillions of dollars and thousands of our kids lives trying to make it otherwise but that just won’t happen. If only we would recognize that fact we would save ourselves much agony.

There have been many “doctrines” in this country. The Monroe Doctrine, The Marshal Plan, The Bush Doctrine (I don’t think Obama has a doctrine except maybe “send in the drones”) but I believe the only successful plan for our times is :

We will leave you alone if you leave us alone

But of course our dependence on their oil reserves negates that possibility. Maybe we need another wall? The Wall of China was meant to keep out foreign invaders. The Iron Curtain was meant to separate two very different doctrines. Maybe it is time for a Islamic Wall to separate us from all those constantly feuding religious doctrines of the Middle East? Maybe if we get out of their business they will get out of ours.  It worth a try….

 

Protecting The State…

February 6, 2014

JeffersonBe it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship,place of ministry whatsoever….

Thomas Jefferson — An Act For Establishing Religious Freedom — 1786

From my study of Jefferson I think his separation of Church and State was more to keep the Church out of the State’s business than the other way around….