September 21, 2017
It would be remarkable to hear a modern-day President bear witness, in the inaugural address, to the principles of our government as it was established. Thomas Jefferson did at his first inauguration.
Some readers might ask, “Jefferson? A slaveowner?“
He sure was. And it was more complicated than that short statement. He was a flawed, and brilliant man. When it came to government, he was on point.
Is a flawed man, with some terrible ideas, rendered therefore incapable on all fronts? If you are without sin, lead the way. Cast the first criticism. The Holy One told us that long ago.
Yes he was flawed. I am flawed. You are flawed. Therefore none of us can have any ideas or opinions on anything, right?
Soak a moment in these refreshing words:
“…a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.”
Can you recall when that existed in our land?
Leaving men free to regulate their own pursuits.
How long since that was true?
Not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.
Can we just get back to that? Are you surprised the United States survived, quite well, without an income tax?
The article linked above states the U.S. national debt has become more than 5000 times larger since the federal income tax and the Federal Reserve were created by Congress back in 104 years ago. All that extra income really helped, didn’t it?
Later in his address, the people listening to Jefferson heard these words, among others, as he described the “essential principles of our Government”:
“…equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political, peace, commerce, and honest friendship, with all nations – entangling alliances with none; the support of all state governments in all their rights, as the most competent administration for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies; the preservation of the general government in its whole constitutional vigor…”
He said, out loud, that the state governments are “the most competent administration for our domestic concerns and anti-republican tendencies.” For political “leaders” today, this must be near-blasphemy.
The Republican Party did not exist then. He referred to the essence of the Union. We are accustomed to hearing about our “democracy” and thinking that’s what the United States is. By endless repetition, we have come to believe it.
The foundational essence of democracy is mob rule, and the founders wanted none of it.
There’s a lost value. Vigor now exists to shred and set it aside as irrelevant to our age. What its opponents don’t know (admit?) is that the principles therein are timeless.
“…economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burdened; the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith.”
How would it be?
- Lightly burdened labor.
- Economical public expense.
- Honest payment of our debts.
- Public faith.
These are ignored, even vilified, now.
Reflecting on these few words of Jefferson makes me want to rewind. We have frittered away just about every ideal the Founders had. Does this mean I think all of them were perfect, near-angelic? No. But do I think our nation would be better if we still held to these few principles? Yes.
Do you yearn for statesmen? I do.
One consolation is that I have another – an eternal – citizenship, but while engaged in this temporary one, how would it be if we conducted ourselves as the founders envisioned?
We have lost our way, run off the tracks by vain arguments and high-sounding philosophies. At the root of most foundered philosophies is a fundamental false impression of the heart condition of mankind, and of human nature.
No, we are not basically good.
We are made in the image of God. That’s what spurs the inborn desire for good and innate knowledge of good and evil. But many of today’s vain philosophies fail to acknowledge the presence of the sin germ.
That’s why the rule of written law is so important. Mob rule is destructive.
was what the founders designed
we prefer our chains