Thomas Jefferson on . . .

(This column is from the Don’t Rush Me Archives. It was published, first, in Nov. 2006.)
It’s over! Thank whomever you will, but thank ’em goodly for the past election cycle passing. How crappy can politicians be to one another? And, how idle-minded are we to listen to their crappiness? I can only venture a guess, but I’d wager political advertising will only become increasingly negative, false and salacious before it get anywhere near telling truths. You now have about 20 months before the crap starts flying. Buy your tarps now.
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After the election, I thought, ‘Gee, I wonder what would Thomas Jefferson think of current events.?
I thought this, because somewhere in the dark, damp recesses of my much-dulled brain, I think he said something about the duty of Americans to rebell against oppressive government. Americans didn’t send their leaders to the guillotine, but we did vote the ‘other side? into power. A bloodless revolution, if you will. That thought drove me to the internet to find quotes from our third president. Here are some that I found.
n 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. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.
n Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.
n Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
n The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
n What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
n My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.
n Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?
n 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.
n 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.
n I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.
n Were we to be directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.
n Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.
n Laws that forbid the carrying of arms … disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes … Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.
n Religions are all alike ? founded on fables and mythologies
n I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.
n Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.
n I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely happier for it.
n The advertisements are the most truthful part of a newspaper.
n Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter.
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So what did you get from that?
1. America is not a democracy, rather a constitutionally limited republic; 2. Be skeptical of all institutions; 3. Next time, vote; and 4. Newspapers are bad.

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