Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Jefferson on Taxes

We do not mean that our people shall be burdened with oppressive taxes to provide sinecures for the idle or the wicked under color of providing for a civil list.  (Thomas Jefferson)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Jefferson on Free Speech

The liberty of speaking and writing guards our other liberties.  (Thomas Jefferson)


Monday, April 28, 2014

James Madison on Laws

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if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule which is little known, and less fixed?  (James Madison)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Jefferson on Government

When the Government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the Government, there is tyranny.

Jefferson on the Judiciary

Jefferson was an advocate for judicial restraint...
One single object...will merit the endless gratitude of the society: that of restraining the judges from usurping legislation.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jefferson on Veto

Speaking of veto power, Jefferson observed, 
The negative of the President can never be used more pleasingly to the public than in the protection of the Constitution.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Jefferson on Correct Spelling

Jefferson was an egalitarian advocate for correct spelling...

Take care that you never spell a word wrong. Always before you write a word, consider how it is spelled; and if you do not remember it, turn to a dictionary. It produces great praise to a lady to spell well. (Thomas Jefferson, to his wife Martha Jefferson)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Jefferson on Moral Law

Man has been subjected by his Creator to the moral law, of which his feelings, or conscience as it is sometimes called, are the evidence with which his Creator has furnished him.  (Thomas Jefferson)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Allen West: Restoring Fundamental Principles

The sentiments of living patriots are instructive. As this Allen West quote.

If we do not restore this Republic to its fundamental principles of the rule of law and individual liberty, we will continue our trek down this road to perdition. If we cannot return to sound fiscal policy to include federal fiscal responsibility and a strong national defense –peace through strength — then the grand experiment begun 237 years ago will fail.

However, I believe — truly believe — in the American resiliency, in our resolve and our indomitable entrepreneurial spirit. As Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Abba Eban said (later attributed to Winston Churchill), “...Nations do behave wisely, once they have exhausted all other alternatives.” Let us hope America follows suit.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Government Charity

If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must be happy. (Thomas Jefferson)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Redistribution of Wealth

A Jeffersonian perspective on wealth redistribution.
To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it. (Thomas Jefferson)

Abraham Lincoln: Do Our Duty

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT.

Jefferson on Commerce

Jefferson was an advocate for a sensible balance of work.
An equilibrium of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce is certainly become essential to our independence.

He opposed the proliferation of government regulations, regarding them as counter-productive.
Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.

Political Partisanship

Of political divisiveness, Jefferson wrote, 

...Men have differed in opinion, and been divided into parties by these opinions, from the first origin of societies, and in all governments where they have been permitted freely to think and to speak. The same political parties which now agitate the United States have existed through all time.

Whether the power of the people or that of the aristocracy should prevail were questions which kept the states of Greece and Rome in eternal convulsions, as they now schismatize every people whose minds and mouths are not shut up by the gag of a despot." (Jefferson to John Adams)

Honest Abe

We can examine the exemplary lives of many great leaders. Jefferson was not alone. As a frontier lawyer, Abraham Lincoln established a recognition for his dedicated honesty and integrity. Lincoln did not like to charge people much who were as poor as he was. Once a man sent him twenty-five dollars, but Lincoln sent him back ten of it, saying he was being too generous.

Lincoln was known at times to convince his clients to settle their issue out of court, saving them a lot of money, and earning himself nothing.

Can anyone imagine such a lawyer in practice today?

Would such a quality be something we should seek for in political leaders today? How do we identify or measure such character in an individual?

Profiles in Courage

Long-dead politicians are not the only good examples. There are more recent ones too.

When I was in elementary school, I read a book of true stories, Profiles in Courage, written by John F. Kennedy, that literally caused me to wake up to a personal sense of awareness about political issues.

On the question of partisanship, Kennedy wrote, 

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.

This is an ideal I would seek for in the political scene.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Political Acumen

If I would be an advocate, perhaps I should also be honest myself.

During my time at Mira Costa High, the only class I ever flunked was American History. I was not disposed to academic achievement in Mr. Grantham's class, and we developed a strong antipathy for each other. I did not like him, and he apparently did not care much for me.

Instead of attending his class, I started hanging out in the wrestling room or on the athletic field. Can you imagine, Grantham had the nerve to give me a failing grade, just because I never came to class?

Anyway, I'm not pretending to be a scholar. Just trying to share what I see and what I think. Although I'm happy to keep finding good examples in political leaders, I am sure that others have something to share. Please take a minute to write something.

The Thomas Jefferson Profile

In the spirit of Thomas Jefferson and other great people, we need to better identify what desirable qualities we seek in political leaders and candidates, before we vote any more of them into office.

Thomas Jefferson exemplifies the philosophy and ideals of freedom in the democratic republic.  Many of his thoughts are preserved for our consideration in his extensive writings and correspondence.  And the life of example in his acts is a matter of public record.  He and many others who served with such distinction in political leadership have set a course for us to follow.  Most ideally, we could use the examples of those who have gone before to create a profile of the character and attributes that we feel constitute a great political leader.

I believe such a measure is sorely needed.  In our day the people of this country no longer invest faith in our political leaders.  I am suggesting that perhaps we need to better identify what we seek in a politician, before we vote any more of them into office. Now is the moment to build such a criterion, before we again face the decision of who to vote for.

We need a better idea of what qualities we seek before we can make an informed and educated choice.

One of the first qualities Thomas Jefferson expressed concern about in this regard was that he felt the future of democratic society and good government depends on an informed and educated electorate.  I believe in this ideal, and would like to put the idea into action by promoting this Thomas Jefferson Profile.

Please contribute to building the profile with comments at the Thomas Jefferson Profile Facebook page, or on this blog.

Positive suggestions are solicited.