If I Wanted America to Fail…

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If I wanted America to fail I would have the people forget God. I would then have them forget this great truth set forth by James Madison in Federalist 51 as to why the Constitution was designed as it was:

It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

 

49 Responses to If I Wanted America to Fail…

  • It is noteworthy that the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, which the National Assembly “recognizes and proclaims, in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being,” declares “The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.”

    The nearly contemporaneous Bill of Rights in the US contains no explicit recognition of the right of resistance to oppression, but I suppose it is included by implication in the Ninth Amendment, especially if this is read together with the Declaration of Independence.

  • Sir,

    I had never thought in these terms. It appears the US citizen’s right to resist oppression is not addressed. However, the means to resist are guarantied in the Second Amendment. Now, I see why liberals and progressives try to disarm free men.

    Now, we are being oppressed by a party and a regime that want America to fail.

  • As French history amply indicates, the Declaration of the Rights of Man did little to protect the French from oppression. In the United States the Declaration of Independence amply supplies the theoretical basis for resistance to oppression:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

  • Comparing the French and American Revolutions is deceptive, primarily because the French Revolution did not, could not and was never intended to, create a whole new nation. While both could be considered “civil” wars, a large difference is that the English Crown statyed relatively unchanged after American Independence; the French Crown wound up in a bloody basket. American Revolutionaries had no intention of changing English government – they simply wanted out. French Revolutionaries were hell-bent on “reform,” which never ends the way it was supposed to.

    There may have been similarities in the driving principles behind each, but they are mere paralells. The means by which each conclusion was reached indicates the substance of the disparate peoples’ motivations.

    To Mr. Shaw: Welcome to the club. Better late than never, and congratulations on the epiphany. Your zeal is the nitro that drives the engine of resistance.

  • As French history amply indicates, the Declaration of the Rights of Man did little to protect the French from oppression. In the United States the Declaration of Independence amply supplies the theoretical basis for resistance to oppression:

    I doubt the parchment was all that potent in either case. Different array of social forces. (One should note that constitutional government in France has, since 1860 or therabouts, been interrupted only by foreign military occupation).

  • “(One should note that constitutional government in France has, since 1860 or therabouts, been interrupted only by foreign military occupation).”

    French Empire II, the Third Republic, French State (Vichy France), the Fourth Republic, and the Fifth Republic. If only French systems of government had the stability of aged French wine!

  • Another of the first things Obama did was cut the Patent Office in half and order our inventions put online for China. Thank God for this eloquent expose. Most people still have the bag over their heads. We are being kidnapped by our own government. Sold into slavery by a soulless monster.

  • It’s nice that your quoting Jefferson, Don, a Founder we idolize, but the face is that Hamiltonian government is today’s reality, not Jefferson, who espoused limited government, states’ rights and the right of the people (as in the first paragraph), in today’s parlance, to throw the bums out and/or revolt when necessary.

    As George Will once wrote, Americans are fond of quoting Jefferson, but we live in Hamilton’s country. To quote Loyola College economics professor Tom DiLorenzo, who has gained fame as a Lincoln basher: “Hamilton was a compulsive statist who wanted to bring the corrupt British mercantilist system — the very system the American Revolution was fought to escape from — to America. He fought fiercely for his program of corporate welfare, protectionist tariffs, public debt, pervasive taxation, and a central bank run by politicians and their appointees out of the nation’s capital.

    “Jefferson and his followers opposed him every step of the way because they understood that Hamilton’s agenda was totally destructive of liberty. And unlike Hamilton, they took Adam Smith’s warnings against economic interventionism seriously.”

    DiLorenzo’s book, “Hamilton’s Curse…” is en eye-opener on the true intent of the Founders. A taste can be found here:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo151.html

  • Donald R. McClarey

    I suppose one could say that constitutional government has only been interrupted by foreign military occupation, since Louis-Napoléon’s coup of 2 December 1851. That would include the fall of the Second Empire, the Paris Commune and the establishment of the Third Republic, as the result of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 and the fall of the Third Republic in 1940 in WWII and the establishment of the Fourth Republic at ist conclusion.

    The collapse of the Fourth Republic in May/June 1958 can fairly be regarded as a hiccup. I was in Paris at the time (I was 13) and I can remember how people reacted to the news that the paras of the Légion étrangère had landed in Corsica and how the garrison of Rambouillet parked the tanks in the Luxembourg gardens. There were reports in the papers of how one man had walked out of the Bourse and shot himself on the podium, only for his body to be trampled by the frenzied brokers, trying to get in. That was the only death recorded. But it was a pretty tame affair.

  • French Empire II, the Third Republic, French State (Vichy France), the Fourth Republic, and the Fifth Republic. If only French systems of government had the stability of aged French wine!

    The 2d Empire and the 3d Republic were brought to a close by foreign military occupation, not internal political processes. Vichy was a consequence of the occupation. The transition from the 4th to the 5th Republic was accomplished in seven months, involved no violence, and had the explicit assent of the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the National Assembly, and a popular referendum.

  • “To quote Loyola College economics professor Tom DiLorenzo, who has gained fame as a Lincoln basher: “Hamilton was a compulsive statist who wanted to bring the corrupt British mercantilist system — the very system the American Revolution was fought to escape from — to America. He fought fiercely for his program of corporate welfare, protectionist tariffs, public debt, pervasive taxation, and a central bank run by politicians and their appointees out of the nation’s capital.”

    Citing DiLorenzo on any historical point Joe is akin to quoting Bill Clinton on celibacy. DiLorenzo is an historical illiterate who lies to support the political points that he is trying to make in his ignorant polemics. An example of Dilorenzo at work:

    DiLorenzo repeatedly asserts that Lincoln did not believe in human equality and shared the widely held prejudices of his time that blacks were inferior. Here is DiLorenzo:

    “Lincoln even mocked the Jeffersonian dictum enshrined in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal. He admitted that it had become “a genuine coin in the political currency of our generation,” but added, “I am sorry to say that I have never seen two men of whom it is true. But I must admit I never saw the Siamese Twins, and therefore will not dogmatically say that no man ever saw a proof of this sage aphorism” So, with the possible exception of Siamese Twins, the idea of equality, according to Lincoln, was a sheer absurdity. This is in stark contrast to the seductive words of the Gettysburg Address, eleven years later, in which he purported to rededicate the nation to the notion that all men are created equal.”

    DiLorenzo cites the first joint debate between Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, held in Ottawa, Illinois, in 1858, as the source of the quotation. The language actually comes from Lincoln’s eulogy of his longtime friend and colleague Henry Clay, delivered in July 1852. But that is the least of DiLorenzo’s problems. He uses this quotation, and a few other excerpted phrases, to “prove” that Lincoln’s professed belief in human equality was disingenuous. Here are Lincoln’s actual words:

    “[There are] a few, but an increasing number of men, who, for the sake of perpetuating slavery, are beginning to assail and to ridicule the white man’s charter of freedom, the declaration “that all men are created equal.” So far as I have learned, the first American, of any note, to do or attempt this, was the late John C. Calhoun; and if I mistake not, it soon after found its way into some of the messages of the Governors of South Carolina. We, however, look for, and are not much shocked by, political eccentricities and heresies in South Carolina. But, only last year, I saw with astonishment, what purported to be a letter of a very distinguished and influential clergyman of Virginia, copied, with apparent approbation, into a St. Louis newspaper, containing the following, to me, very extraordinary language:

    I am fully aware that there is a text in some Bibles that is not in mine. Professional abolitionists have made more use of it, than of any passage in the Bible. It came, however, as I trace it, from Saint Voltaire, and was baptized by Thomas Jefferson, and since almost universally regarded as canonical authority ‘All men are born equal and free.’

    This is a genuine coin in the political currency of our generation. I am sorry to say that I have never seen two men of whom it is true. But I must admit I never saw the Siamese Twins, and therefore will not dogmatically say that no man ever saw a proof of this sage aphorism.

    This sounds strangely in republican America. The like was not heard in the fresher days of the Republic.”

    DiLorenzo thus attributes to Lincoln the words of a Virginia clergyman whom Lincoln quoted and then went on to criticize. In the course of his eulogy of Clay, Lincoln defended the proposition of human equality and equal natural rights, as he did in all his major addresses. His argument is precisely the opposite of what DiLorenzo claims it to be.

    http://www.claremont.org/publications/crb/id.736/article_detail.asp

  • “The 2d Empire and the 3d Republic were brought to a close by foreign military occupation, not internal political processes.”

    Those were the precipitating factors Art, but in each case the old regime could have been brought back if the French had wished. In the Franco-Prussian War most of France was never brought under the control of the German troops.

  • I think your name should be called Donald Mc Clarity .
    Thank you once again

  • Don, I think you brush off DiLorenzo much too lightly. An open-minded reading of his works reveals a fresh, more objective view of history and the Civil War than “conventional wisdom” — an oxymoron if there ever was one — suggests. His scholarship and credentials are impressive. I believe your bias stems from your dim view of Ron Paul, whose isolationists/non-interventionist foreign policy views are anathema to the Establishment, but are core beliefs of Libertarians. DiLorenzo, of the Austrian School, had such mentors as Murray Rothbard and Milton Friedman, who could hardly been marginalized as “historical illiterates.”

  • My own reading of Hamilton pegs him as every bit the statist as well. If he had his way, we wouldn’t have even had a Bill of Rights.

  • Joe G.,

    You’re barking up the wrong tree, lol.

    In spite of our previous disagreement, here you and I agree. But don’t expect Don to.

  • Don, as long as we’re cherry-picking quotes, here’s another one to chew on:

    As Lincoln said in one of his debates with Stephen Douglas, “The African upon his own soil has all the natural rights that instrument [the Declaration of Independence] vouchsafes to all mankind” (emphasis added). That is, translating from Lincolnese, black people — who Lincoln referred to as “the Africans,” as though they were from another planet — should only be able to enjoy human rights in Africa, not anywhere in the U.S. This statement gives the lie to the notion that Lincoln believed in natural rights for all people.

  • I gotta say Joe, I think your inference is quite a stretch. One would need far more context to establish the meaning of such a quotation.

  • Bon, taking in sum, Lincoln’s own words show he was a white supremacist and all the spin in the world can’t change that. He carried the Bible around like a prop, much like politicians do today with the American flags pinned to their lapels. He was never a regular churchgoer much less a Christian.

    As for Hamilton, it’s too bad his ideas didn’t die with him when Burr gunned him down. Lincoln set up the Second Republic, fueled by Hamilton’s grandiose vision of a big-government America. They both got their wish.

  • Hamilton’s ideas didn’t die because they weren’t exclusively his. He spoke for a broad range of interests who benefited from the policies he pushed, as did Jefferson. When I read Hamilton in the Federalist Papers though, I will say that feel as if I am reading a con-artist trying to pull one over on everyone.

    As for Lincoln, I dunno if he was a white supremacist. I haven’t really studied that era of American history as much as some other people here. But as a general rule, I don’t think you can sum up a person’s beliefs from one or two quotes. God help me if anyone does that to me.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a Lincoln worshiper. Had the issue in the Civil War been anything other than slavery (well almost anything), I’d have been first in line to fight for the CSA. I might have fought for them anyway, given that slavery was absolutely destined to perish for economic reasons by the end of the century anyway, as it did everywhere else in the world.

    Unlike some people here, I’m with Thomas Woods on the right of nullification and secession. The idea that we “have to have a union” is pure ideology, and nothing worth fighting or dying over in my book.

    All that said, you have to do better than a few lines from a speech to establish Lincoln’s views on race.

  • “Lincoln’s own words show he was a white supremacist and all the spin in the world can’t change that.”

    Rubbish Joe. Try these words from black abolitionist Frederick Douglass:

    “Though he loved Caesar less than Rome, though the Union was more to him than our freedom or our future, under his wise and beneficent rule we saw ourselves gradually lifted from the depths of slavery to the heights of liberty and manhood; under his wise and beneficent rule, and by measures approved and vigorously pressed by him, we saw that the handwriting of ages, in the form of prejudice and proscription, was rapidly fading away from the face of our whole country; under his rule, and in due time, about as soon after all as the country could tolerate the strange spectacle, we saw our brave sons and brothers laying off the rags of bondage, and being clothed all over in the blue uniforms of the soldiers of the United States; under his rule we saw two hundred thousand of our dark and dusky people responding to the call of Abraham Lincoln, and with muskets on their shoulders, and eagles on their buttons, timing their high footsteps to liberty and union under the national flag; under his rule we saw the independence of the black republic of Haiti, the special object of slave-holding aversion and horror, fully recognized, and her minister, a colored gentleman, duly received here in the city of Washington; under his rule we saw the internal slave-trade, which so long disgraced the nation, abolished, and slavery abolished in the District of Columbia; under his rule we saw for the first time the law enforced against the foreign slave trade, and the first slave-trader hanged like any other pirate or murderer; under his rule, assisted by the greatest captain of our age, and his inspiration, we saw the Confederate States, based upon the idea that our race must be slaves, and slaves forever, battered to pieces and scattered to the four winds; under his rule, and in the fullness of time, we saw Abraham Lincoln, after giving the slave-holders three months’ grace in which to save their hateful slave system, penning the immortal paper, which, though special in its language, was general in its principles and effect, making slavery forever impossible in the United States. Though we waited long, we saw all this and more. “

  • At most, it shows that Lincoln adhered to a concept of nationality that has a long pedigree in Europe, namely that nationality is defined by descent and birth, and it is neither revocable nor is it attainable at will. One may lose one’s citizenship, but not one’s nationality. The nation is conceived as a unit of common descent and blood and not of voluntary adherence and of association. From this, the legal definition of minorities as permanent aliens logically follows. Hence, Germany’s well-known law, granting citizenship to members of “communities of German descent.” Greece has a similar law.

    By contrast, the French Revolution introduced a novel concept of the nation as the community of all those who are not exempt from taxation, military service and other public duties; it includes all those, and only those, who are willing and capable of sharing in the service of the country. This, I fancy, is closer to the modern American model.

  • I find it strange that “the nation” would not include non-taxpayers or non-soldiers. It would be a pretty small nation. I don’t think that’s how we have ever conceived of the American nation. Sure there are some obligations on American citizens, but there are few things if any one “must” participate in in order to be considered a citizen. We don’t have Rousseau’s “general will” here; we have the Lockean individual. Two very different social contracts for two very different revolutions.

  • I think you brush off DiLorenzo much too lightly.

    That’s not really possible. DiLorenzo is a joke of an “historian.” He barely cites his arguments, often employs strawmen in order to discredit those he is trying to tear down, and uses selective quotations in order to paint Lincoln as some kind of white supremacist. I’d sooner credit a history paper written by a junior at some state college than anything DiLorenzo has written.

    As for Hamilton, he was no statist. I’ve written about this before – Hamilton wanted a strong federal government, but one that had few, well-defined powers. In other words, he would abhor the growth of the leviathan state because the federal government as it stands now has its hands in far too many activities. As Hamilton correctly predicted, a government the size of our current federal behemoth would be too inefficient.

    I would counter Joe Green’s point above by stating that we are all too-Jeffersonian a nation. It is the Jefferson ideology, contrary to popular belief, that has led to the growth of the democratic totalitarian state. How? Buy my book – when it’s available (hopefully) at some point in the not too distant future. Or you can evidently just buy my dissertation for the low, low price of $69. At just under 33 cents per page, it’s a real bargain.

    Edited to note: On second thought, wait for the book. I don’t get royalties on the dissertation sale.:)

  • If he [Hamilton] had his way, we wouldn’t have even had a Bill of Rights.

    Madison didn’t want one either, nor did most of the Federalists (the people who wrote the Constitution). They didn’t want one because they thought that a specific enumeration of rights would actually be counter-productive, allowing the federal government to violate natural rights not specifically mentioned. The 9th and 10th Amendments were an attempt to assuage those concerns.

  • I specifically said “not exempt from taxation, military service and other public duties,” in contrast to the Ancien Régime, where the nobility and clergy were exempt from taxation, the clergy from military service &c. Of course, there will always be citizens too poor to pay direct taxes or unfit for military service, but the Revolution abolished all privileges that placed the ruling minority above and outside the nation.

    The most important event of the Revolution was on 17th June 1789, when the Third Estate (the House of Commons) declared itself the National Assembly. In other words, they represented the nation and the other two estates – the clergy and the nobility – represented only themselves and their special interests.

  • Paul, et al…since I’m clearly outnumbered here (as usual), I’ll refrain from adding to the Jefferson-Hamilton debate, given 1) that it is never-ending and 2) reasonable people can disagree on which man’s ideas most influenced our nation as it is constituted today.

    Don, I do not discount Frederick Douglass, nor any other defenders of Lincoln but merely note that the mass adulation and reverence he is accorded may be tempered by fair-minded analyses of those who seriously seek the truth. I am a journalist by training, since retired, and one of the cardinal rules of the profession is that the more sources the better and more accurate a story is.

    In the trial of the Lincoln conspirators, by the way, more than 300 witnesses were called to testify. Point being that the truth is usually arrived at after only thorough investigation and sorting of the facts and evidence, which as a lawyer you must agree.

    On the other hand, there are many who believe that all history is “settled” and there can be no new information to cast a matter into new light — which case we might as well cut off all debate and stop the printing presses.

  • Paul Z,

    “Madison didn’t want one either, nor did most of the Federalists (the people who wrote the Constitution). ”

    Maybe so, but Madison ended up offering persuasive arguments and actually drafting them once the public pressure mounted. And then lo and behold, he joins Thomas Jefferson’s political party, virulently opposed to Hamiltonianism.

    I don’t doubt that the Federalists on the whole opposed the Bill of Rights. But its Hamilton’s clunky arguments against them that stand out historically, and Madison who ends up becoming one of its champions. Thomas Jefferson wasn’t exactly an “anti” Federalist either, and he was pretty insistent upon them.

  • “They didn’t want one because they thought that a specific enumeration of rights would actually be counter-productive, allowing the federal government to violate natural rights not specifically mentioned”

    Was that really a “they” position or a Hamilton position? Who else actually believed and promoted this line of thought?

    And doesn’t it strike you as a bit… strange, to say the least? It isn’t surprising to me that popular demand for a Bill of Rights was strong enough to overcome what is clearly a bit of chicanery and sophistry.

  • Maybe so, but Madison ended up offering persuasive arguments and actually drafting them once the public pressure mounted. And then lo and behold, he joins Thomas Jefferson’s political party, virulently opposed to Hamiltonianism.

    Madison’s decision to draft a Bill of Rights is not linked in any way to his later rift with Hamilton. In fact, I’d argue that even though Madison and Jefferson wound up as political allies, Madison remained philosophically much closer to Hamilton than he ever did with Jefferson.

  • “On the other hand, there are many who believe that all history is “settled” and there can be no new information to cast a matter into new light — which case we might as well cut off all debate and stop the printing presses.”

    Joe G,

    I completely agree. The arrogance of “settled history” is simply unjustifiable. And anyone seeking to defend the Catholic Church historically ought to know that. If we couldn’t challenge academic narrative on the Church, all of the Black Legends would still be circulating from the “Crusades” through the Inqusition, Galileo, Pius XII, etc. The truth in these cases came out because of persistent and marginalized historians pushing the envelope and ignoring what the politically-correct “consensus” had become.

  • “Madison’s decision to draft a Bill of Rights is not linked in any way to his later rift with Hamilton.”

    Not in ANY way, huh? I can’t say I’ve read every word that was written on the topic by Madison, but unless he specifically and explicitly rejected such a linkage, I’d have a hard time ruling it out axiomatically.

  • Was that really a “they” position or a Hamilton position?

    The “they” is a majority of the people who wrote and approved the Constitution at the Constitutional Convention. If this had been only Hamilton’s position, then a Bill of Rights would certainly have been adopted in September 1787.

    Who else actually believed and promoted this line of thought?

    James Madison.

    . because there is great reason to fear that a positive declaration of some of the most essential rights could not be obtained in the requisite latitude. I am sure that the rights of conscience in particular, if submitted to public definition would be narrowed much more than they are ever likely to be by an assumed power. One of the objections in New England was that the Constitution by prohibiting religious tests, opened a door for Jews Turks & infidels.

    3. because the limited powers of the federal Government and the jealousy of the subordinate Governments, afford a security which has not existed in the case of the State Governments, and exists in no other.

    4. because experience proves the inefficiency of a bill of rights on those occasions when its controul is most needed. Repeated violations of these parchment barriers have been committed by overbearing majorities in every State. In Virginia I have seen the bill of h rights violated in every instance where it has been opposed to a popular current. … Wherever the real power in a government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the Constituents. This is a truth of great importance, but not yet sufficiently attended to. … Wherever there is an interest and power to do wrong, wrong will generally be done, and not less readily by a powerful & interested party than by a powerful and interested prince. … The difference so far as it relates to the point in question — the efficacy of a bill of rights in controuling abuses of power — lies in this: that in a monarchy the latent force of the nation is superior to that of the Sovereign, and a solemn charter of popular rights must have a great effect, as a standard for trying the validity of public acts, and a signal for rousing & uniting the superior force of the community; whereas in a popular Government, the political and physical power may be considered as vested in the same hands, that is in a majority of the people, and, consequently the tyrannical will of the Sovereign is not [to] be controuled by the dread of an appeal to any other force within the community.

    Now Madison wound up relenting because, as he said in the opening line of the quoted letter, the Bill of Rights were presented in a way that made it clear that the enumeration of certain rights didn’t mean that other rights not mentioned were not protected.

    And doesn’t it strike you as a bit… strange, to say the least?

    Well, we’ve got about 50 million slaughtered unborn children that testify that natural rights not specifically outlined in the Bill of Rights haven’t always been closely safeguarded.

    It isn’t surprising to me that popular demand for a Bill of Rights was strong enough to overcome what is clearly a bit of chicanery and sophistry.

    It was neither chicanery or sophistry. The Federalists earnestly believed that the Bill of Rights were not necessary, and in fact counter-productive. They may have been incorrect, ultimately, though I think their logic was certainly sound.

  • ” It is the Jefferson ideology, contrary to popular belief, that has led to the growth of the democratic totalitarian state.”

    Now that’s a statement, too. And I don’t buy it. However, I wouldn’t mind reading your book and being persuaded :)

    Jefferson believed that the 10th amendment was the foundation of the Constitution. Given what has unfolded historically and even to this day, with the juridical usurpation of popular sovereignty at the state level, I’d have to say he was proven right. There are many cases in which “democracy” would have kept abortion illegal, would have kept gay “marriage” from arising in certain states (and is still keeping it in check now), is attempting, even if a bit clumsily I will admit, to do the job on immigration that federal government cannot or will not do, and so on.

    As a sneak peak for your book, could you define what “democratic totalitarianism” is?

  • Not in ANY way, huh?

    No.

    I can’t say I’ve read every word that was written on the topic by Madison,

    I haven’t read every word written by Madison on the subject, but I have read enough to rule this out completely.

    but unless he specifically and explicitly rejected such a linkage, I’d have a hard time ruling it out axiomatically.

    Thomas Jefferson didn’t rule out the style of military dress worn by British officers as a precipitating cause of the American Revolution, and yet I don’t have a hard time ruling that out axiomatically.

    What I’m getting at, bonchamps, is that there is enough written about the political discord in the early years of our republic to know that disagreement over the Bill of Rights had nothing to do with the Hamilton-Madison rift.

  • Bonchamps,

    It would be impossible to get at the heart of why I think Jeffersonianism actually led to the creation of a central administrative state in just a couple of paragraphs, at least right now when I do need to turn to other matters, but maybe I can elaborate even before my theoretical book comes out.

    As for democratic totalitarianism, as much as I hate to rely on wikipedia, it will do in a pinch, and this article is accurate as far as what the term means. Upon reflection, I’m not sure it’s fully appropriate in terms of Jefferson, though De Tocqueville’s description of “soft despotism” might be more apt.

  • “we’ve got about 50 million slaughtered unborn children that testify that natural rights not specifically outlined in the Bill of Rights haven’t always been closely safeguarded.”

    But the right to life IS a part of the 5th amendment, isn’t it? I mean, granted, there is no “right” to be called and regarded a “person” from the moment of conception mentioned in the document, but then, I don’t think you would have found any Christian natural law theologians who would have recognized such a concept either. The natural right of all persons to life is recognized, however, in the 5th amendment, and abortion arguably violates that clause.

    ” The Federalists earnestly believed that the Bill of Rights were not necessary, and in fact counter-productive.”

    That particular argument though, that the government would end up violating natural rights it hadn’t known existed? Really? That’s an “earnest” argument?

    Maybe I am as dense as a flatbed loaded up with bricks, but I don’t see the slightest bit of sense in that argument.

    “Don’t say X is a right, because then we might violate that right!”

    Response: “Well, if you know what it is… then you can take extra care NOT to violate it…? And that’s what we want as free people? Right?”

  • “The philosophy of totalitarian democracy, according to Talmon, is based on a top-down view of society, which sees an absolute and perfect political truth to which all reasonable humans are driven.” — from the Wiki

    Now how could this possibly be related to Jefferson?

    No one who argued that the 10th amendment was the foundation of the entire Constitution could possibly endorse or even imply such a thing (at least while being consistent, for heaven’s sake!) Because the idea behind that amendment is that there will be a plurality of states that are going to want to pursue their own visions of “political truth”, free from interference not only be the fed. gov. but other states as well. Beyond Constitutional guarantees of a “republican form of government”, there is no mandated political truth for the states to follow and employ. There were established churches in some states, other states had slavery, some states had both, others had neither, and so on.

  • [i]t is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

    To borrow from Shrek: we have the right, what we lack is the capability.

  • I, too, would be very interested in reading Paul’s book when it comes out.

    On the subject of Thomas Jefferson, I would recommend Leonard Levy’s book Jefferson and Civil Liberties: The Darker Side. Reading that, along with some of Joseph Ellis’ stuff about the political conflicts in the 1790s, really convinced me that Jefferson was very much overrated.

  • really convinced me that Jefferson was very much overrated.

    The unearthly shrieks you just heard were from the docents at Monticello.

  • Jefferson was very much a mixed bag, but anyone who could pen the magnificent Declaration of Independence will always have his place in the pantheon of American statesmen.

  • I, too, would be very interested in reading Paul’s book when it comes out.

    Now that’s a way to get the thing published. I can tell prospective publishers that the thing comes with a pre-order waiting list already!

  • Clearly, the Hamiltonians rule here.

  • That’s why I’m here, Joe, lol.

    I’m more of a Robert Yates man myself.

  • Well, I’m not a Hamiltonian exactly. My model Founding Father – well, my gravatar should say it all.

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