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From Jefferson To Bush


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I'm taking an Early American History course right now. The chapter I am reading covers mostly Thomas Jefferson. After sitting here for a couple hours reading and taking notes, I can't help but wonder what happened to the respectful candidates for presidency.

 

Now, don't get me wrong, there have been a lot of great presidents over the years. I am just using Jefferson as an example. He had his flaws, but here is a man that was an inventer, an architect, a scientist, a musician, President of the American Philosophical Society, co-author of the Declaration of Independence, etc. He had many, many reasons for one to vote for him. He had many reasons to be respected and taken seriously. He was somebody that took honor and morality very seriously.

 

How did we go from candidates like this to Bush vs. Kerry? It is truly laughable. I can't wait to see what choices Americans will have come next election.

 

/rant

back to studies.

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Wasnt Jefferson a slave owner? Not very moral is it?

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That seems kind of similar to me to that goo' ol' "Darwin was a racist!!111!!!". Who wasn't back then?

 

Honestly, I'd like to know too. Granted that what was probably our most famous and noteworthy politician in "more recent" history ("Iron chancellor" Bismarck) was very nationalistic back then, but again, who wasn't in Germany those days? That man had some brains and used it. At least he was smart enough to realize "as much as I'd like to have an even greater Germany, war against those strong neighbors (France, Russia et cetera) would be sheer foolishness, so let's make some decent treaties instead and work with what we have right now".

Kind of a regression from him to, say, dubya... no?

 

Maybe too many people have realized that bribery and lies are the easier way to get ahead, even in a democratic government? :banghead:

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Well it is possible that the decline in the quality of the canidates is a reflection of a decline of the average American. I mean really how many Americans are even remotely as self-sufficent as they were 200 years ago?

 

It could also have something to do with the changes mass media and instant communications have made in our culture. You don't have to actually be a good person you just have to say you are enough on TV, radio, etc. Or that the constant media attention highlights the flaws of the canidates and doesn't pay attention to their good points. Skewing your views of the people involved.

 

Then it is even possible that after the mudslinging began the really decent folks didn't want to soil themselves by participating.

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Wasnt Jefferson a slave owner? Not very moral is it?

 

I just got done reading an article explaining how people project todays views onto history. Instead of asking, "Why did Jefferson own slaves if he wanted slavery abolished?", it would be more realistic to ask "Why did Jefferson, who grew up in a family owning slaves, surrounded by slavery, making most of his money off of slaves, etc, decide that slavery wasnt right and try to have it abolished?" :shrug:

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Most of our great Presidents would be unelectable today because they were such heathens. No non-Christian candidate would be able to hide their apostacy. Lincoln once nearly published his own version of "The Age of Reason". Jefferson and Madison were more outspoken anti-Christians. Washington would have likely been questioned as to why he never participated in Communion and wouldn't kneel in church.

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A large part of the problem lies in our shift from a Republic to a Democracy. Ben Franklin cautioned that it would be hard to maintain a Republic. If you haven't already done so, you may want to look into the platform of the Libertarian Party.

 

An excellent read on the changes and causes for said changes in our gov't is a new book: THE EMPIRE OF DEBT by Bill Bonner

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It also seems that a true statesman would be eaten alive in the current political environment that demands compromise of values above all else. Currently politicians need millions of dollars to run their campaigns. This makes them vulnerable to the interests the dole out the dollars. Moreover, no man is an island now and any that are will be quickly barred from any position at the table by the deal brokers in congress. The current system would railroad any politician who stood up for honorable values. It's a sad state of affairs.

 

And SFS, great point about TJ.

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The current system would railroad any politician who stood up for honorable values. It's a sad state of affairs.

 

And, just to add insult to injury (for both of our nations, and I guess for many others too), this is pretty much one of the objections raised against democracy by none other than... guess it?... hitler. :banghead:

 

How much of a shame is it to have to admit that the moustached madman was right about at least one thing referring to our current states of affairs? :vent:

 

(Am I a masochist or what? Despite knowing exactly what'll happen if I ever do it, I still dream of entering politics over here some day... :blink: )

 

And SFS, great point about TJ.

 

Seconded. Short and heavy-hitting. Just the right stuff. :3:

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I think Vigile hit it pretty squarely on the head. Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Lincoln and most the rest of our early leaders were statesmen. What we're getting today are the politicians scraped off the bottom of that barrel.

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I think Vigile hit it pretty squarely on the head. Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Lincoln and most the rest of our early leaders were statesmen. What we're getting today are the politicians scraped off the bottom of that barrel.

And that is a reflection of what?

 

The populace as a whole. The majority, voting public...the New Republic, the Christian Nation, the American Dream, the TV Generation, the Consumerist Society, the Reagan Republicans, the New World Order, the Bright Points of Light. God Bless Amerika.

 

VOTE DEMOCRAT.

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VOTE DEMOCRAT.

 

"Because our shit-sticks are dipped in chocolate!"

 

:Hmm:

 

Thanks, but no.

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VOTE DEMOCRAT.

 

"Because our shit-sticks are dipped in chocolate!"

 

:Hmm:

 

Thanks, but no.

:lmao: Understood. We all have opinions.

 

P.S. Why did you respond only to my last line? What about what came before?

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I agreed with it, and I'm just as suceptible to human nature as anyone else. I ASSume you're familiar with that particular quirk, wherein we remain silent the majority of the time and speak up only when we disagree.

 

Also, I can't help but get snarky when someone promotes one party over the other as if there were any real difference between them. I suppose I should have included a disclaimer of some kind, being as it's difficult to recognize impersonal sarcasm on a message board. ;)

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Also, I can't help but get snarky when someone promotes one party over the other as if there were any real difference between them. I suppose I should have included a disclaimer of some kind, being as it's difficult to recognize impersonal sarcasm on a message board. ;)

Yes, it is difficult to recognize sarcasm. For instance, you don't recognize mine.

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And people wonder why I'm an anarchist.

 

The whole system is corrupt, from an election-stealing president all the way down to the cops who extort oral sex in exchange for letting someone off a ticket.

 

Are the american voters weak, stupid, and apathetic? Of course! Their education system is a joke, they're working long hours just to survive, they're constantly fed misinformation by the media, and their heros and role-models of virtue have been dethroned and replaced by vapid, pathetic, unscrupulous celebrities.

 

You want to improve things, shoot a politician in the face and run over a CEO with an SUV. Nothing less is worth the time and effort.

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You want to improve things, shoot a politician in the face and run over a CEO with an SUV. Nothing less is worth the time and effort.

 

Cant I just write them a strongly-worded letter?

 

:grin:

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Are the american voters weak, stupid, and apathetic? Of course! Their education system is a joke, they're working long hours just to survive, they're constantly fed misinformation by the media, and their heros and role-models of virtue have been dethroned and replaced by vapid, pathetic, unscrupulous celebrities.

Great post, nihil!

 

BTW, did you know that if I cover up your mask with my finger you look a little bit like Frankie Muniz with a receding hairline?

 

I've been meaning to ask you, why only TOUCH my penis? Why not slice if off and cook it up with some peppers and onions, then have it with some fava beans and a nice chianti?

 

My yardman Jesus and my housekeeper Ah-Shon-Tay say "hello."

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And people wonder why I'm an anarchist.

 

The whole system is corrupt, from an election-stealing president all the way down to the cops who extort oral sex in exchange for letting someone off a ticket.

 

Are the american voters weak, stupid, and apathetic? Of course! Their education system is a joke, they're working long hours just to survive, they're constantly fed misinformation by the media, and their heros and role-models of virtue have been dethroned and replaced by vapid, pathetic, unscrupulous celebrities.

 

You want to improve things, shoot a politician in the face and run over a CEO with an SUV. Nothing less is worth the time and effort.

 

"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." --Denis Diderot
;)

 

Ironically enough, I can't agree with anarchism, either. That's not to say I don't realize and even agree with many of the conceptual virtues therein. It's much like my response to the Libertarian philosophy; I value many of their ideals and agree with a lot of their "message," I simply realize the unfortunate reality that human nature will never allow for an anarchist system.

 

Honestly, my signature gets more true every day.

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Here's more food to chew on then Woodie. I think we will find that any system of governing large groups of people will be inherently flawed if our values are justice and avoidance of corruption. Even the US was formed on the basis of benefiting the few at the expense of many. There are models of socialism in Europe that are more even handed but they suffer from lack of efficiency and probably weaken their ability to ballance power against the US machine. It's interesting to note that the Europeans don't pay that much more in taxes compared to the US though. It's just that tax dollars in the US go to corporate welfare and the military instead of wealth distribution programs. (before I get statistics of 50%+ thrown at me, add up your state, local, fed, fica, gas, property, purchase, et al taxes, add your health care expenses [which they don't pay] and see where you end up)

 

As you stated, anarchy and pure libertarianism are not viable solutions to the problem. Again, there is only a problem though if you are concerned with an idealized sense of justice. Were it not for the ever growing police presence in the US, the US system would probably be one of the better systems in history; for though imperfect, at least most people enjoy some sense of protection against tyrrany.

 

For me, this is not good enough. My highest values are personal freedom and I know that this cannot be found within a system of governing large groups of people. My only solution for this is to live under the radar screen as much as possible, live where taxes are low to non existant, protect my privacy, and forget my youthful notions that there is somehow a better way to govern people.

 

The Who very wisely pointed out in regards to revolution that there is nothing new under the sun when they sang "meet the new boss... same as the old boss..."

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Vigilant freedom is the final guarantor of our security. So not only was Benjamin Franklin right when he said, “Those who are willing to sacrifice essential freedom for security deserve neither”, he could have also stated that they will eventually loose both. The more dependent we become on government, and the less we maintain a careful watch on its exercise of its power, the more at risk our liberty becomes. And once we’ve lost our liberty, there is little or no motivation for the government to provide our security in the form of rights.

 

It may not be possible for human society to sustain freedom for any significant period of time. As Franklin also predicted, this country "can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other."

 

Franklin’s warning is echoed by Thomas Paine. "It is dearness only that gives everything its value. But when the empire of America shall fall, the subject of contemplative sorrow will be infinitely greater than crumbling brass and marble can inspire. It will not then be said, "Here stood a temple of vast antiquity; here rose a babel of invisible height; or there a palace of sumptuous extravagance; but here, ah, painful thought! the noblest of work of human wisdom, the grandest scene of human glory, the fair cause of Freedom rose and fell."

 

IOW, they prophesied correctly that we'd become a bunch of apathetic, lazy, overly-sensitive PC pussies. Our leaders' integrity is are a reflection of our own, and the worst of it is that Truth has become irrelevant in politics.

 

"If you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror."

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I couldn't agree more, Vigile.

 

Maybe at some point I did believe in the myth of a "perfect government," and I certainly bought into anarchic/libertarian ideals for a year or two, but I've moved beyond those.

 

Like you, what really matters to me is happiness and satisfaction with my life. Personal freedom certainly plays a big part in that--possibly even the starring role. It's partially why I'm going to college; I want to learn all I can, develop the skills and earn the certification (however stupid and hollow) necessary to procure the means toward that end. Of course, my attitude isn't so narrow-minded; so long as I'm there, I plan to do all I can to enjoy and learn from the experience.

 

I don't have any kind of plan for my life yet, and I'm skeptical I ever will. I've said before and (thus far) it still holds true that I wouldn't have a problem with living in a functional society wherein my existence will be acknowledged and my participation expected (even if only as a statistic). Despite the rise of Imperial Amerika, I'm not yet so cynical as to believe the moral values and individual ethics upon which my deposed and beloved United States of America were founded are losing their place in the world and doomed to be relegated to history. I'm a patient person, unless you are/will be causing significant problems which will affect me personally in the near future, I can put up with a lot of bullshit in order to maintain comfort and happiness in my life.

 

Of course, I realize perfectly well this seems to be less of a realistic possibility with each passing day here in Amerika, and I have no false imagninings or misgivings about the fact that my quest for personal fulfillment will almost certainly lead me to abandon the country of my birth. This is yet another motivation I have for attending college, to earn the higher education and degree which will open doors for me in other places. It's my opinion that the best a person can hope for and achieve in this life is to do what's right by them, and that's exactly what I mean to do.

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Richard Hofstadter's classic The American Political Tradition would go great with this discussion!

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So much has happened to this USA since Jefferson's time, should we be asking the question, is Jefferson really that relevant anymore? Or should we be seeing him just as a product of his times, in light of the Constitution and the Federalist Papers? After all, the Civil War completely restructured the country and set us on the path that we're on now...vastly different from the US as it was during TJ's period.

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After all, the Civil War completely restructured the country and set us on the path that we're on now...vastly different from the US as it was during TJ's period.

 

That doesn't mean that, except for slavery and limiting the franchise for the wrong reasons, which we've corrected, we shouldn't return to the original libertarian, small, balanced government model the Constitution still mandates.

 

The Civil War ended slavery and also started the long downhill slide of states rights. But the real damage is being done by the income tax with the IRS free to define income, the 17th Amendment, the War on Drugs, Social Security/Medicare and the payroll withholding for them, the Great Society and the War on Poverty, the double standard, eminent domain abuse and on and on. Prohibition taught our government to covertly skirt the Constitution rather than to openly and legally amend it--and like HAL the computer, driving it to schizophrenia and ever increasing megalomania.

 

We are slowly marching from freedom to socialism, with the Republicans leading the way (the Democrats being paralyzed by it's kook fringe and obvious prevarications. With no agenda of their own they'd admit to, their only ace is finger pointing via their allies in the press, which is why the vertebrate challenged Republicans are dragging us down hill.)

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