Vintage Wisdom

I spent some time the other day reading a website that featured a large number of quotes from notable people. I ended up fixating on some quotes from our founding fathers and marveling not only at their wisdom, but also in the prescience of these quotes when protracted in the light of current events.

Wisdom is immutable, so I thought I'd share a few gems that I found.

Thomas Jefferson

"The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object."

"The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to."
I wonder what Jefferson would have thought about the passage of the health care Obamanation against the will of the people.
"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all."

"It was by the sober sense of our citizens that we were safely and steadily conducted from monarchy to republicanism, and it is by the same agency alone we can be kept from falling back."
See Tea-Partiers... TJ approves!
"The government is best which governs least."
...and how!
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear."
I like that one...
"It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself."

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
Contrast that with this one from Adolph Hitler:
"How lucky for those in power that people don't think."
Back to Jefferson...
"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."
Ah Obamacare...
"I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power."
Our government has forgotten this. We move ever further to the nanny state where all of our decisions are made for us by an all-knowing government. We simply must reverse the trend and return true liberty to the people of this nation. Unfortunately, too many have been "educated" into not appreciating the taste of liberty. They'd rather feast at the trough thinking this is a good as it gets...
"History, in general, only informs us what bad government is."
Boy have we been making history lately, then!
"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt...If the game runs sometime against us at home, we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake."
Let's hope that this again shall come true.
"...a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which 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. This is the sum of good government."

Benjamin Franklin

"The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself."
"Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature."
...and too many these days have engaged in unwise re-gifting... handing this gift right away to the government in exchange for what?
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch."
This is an interesting quote, because you see my friends we are NOT a democracy. We are a republic. There was wisdom behind this because our founding fathers wanted to prevent mob rule in favor of a more measured and considerate path forward. Clearly, none of them however ever intended the government to simply ignore the will of the people.

George Washington

"The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments."
..and on we toil.
"It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it."
You see this is exactly how the progressive crowd works. The presuppose that they and only they are smart enough to know what is best for you. They wish to outlaw guns for example because the ownership of a gun might tempt one to crime. God knows the simple man is too weak to avoid that temptation.
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
Seems some in DC have forgotten the servant part.

Patrick Henry

"The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them."
Yeah how's that hopey-changey transparency thing working out for you in Washington? There isn't any.
"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government -- lest it come to dominate our lives and interests."
At this point why do we even have our elected officials swear to defend the Constitution? I know that I took an oath to defend it and I have never been released from that oath. That is why I feel compelled to speak out. Our elected officials, on the other hand are more interested in propagating their own power than anything else. Propagating their own power is the antithesis of defending the Constitution.
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel."
Trust me I do, much to the chagrin of our "progressive" friends!

John Adams

"The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing."
Wow! how well stated. We are seeing it today. Speak ill of the the establishment and suddenly you are "racist" and a "mob".
"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself."
...Hence the wise establishment of a republic. We need to work to get back to one. A loose association of sovereign states governed only centrally in those things that truly do effect them as a whole.

Samuel Adams

"The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on Earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule."
You see most of our founding fathers were really anarchists. They were also realists, but first and foremost they believed in each person ruling and restraining themselves. They were realistic enough to understand that some order would need to be imposed, but they tried to make the establishment of that imposed order very difficult.
"The Constitution shall never be construed...to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms."
Really? I thought it established the right of the states to have a National Guard... How interesting also that the National Guard can now be co-opted by the federal government against their will and against the will of the state governor. Further, former service persons can be impressed in federal service against their will for undetermined periods of time. That little jewel was buried in the thousands of pages of the Obama-care law... When starts the press gangs I wonder.
"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds."
I like this one as well, that's why it's found a home in the right margin of this blog.
"If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."
Vain? Wow! Who might fit that description?

James Madison

Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."
Again, think back to that quote I mentioned earlier from Adolph Hitler. Arm yourselves people (and not just with firearms). Go out, read the words of the founding fathers. Understand the design that they created. Appreciate its elegance and strive to protect it!

Thomas Paine

"When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon."
What does this say for our country? Millions sit home each night blankly staring at World or Warcraft or American Idol. It brings the words of the progressive prophet, Timothy Leary to mind. "Turn on, tune in, drop out".
"What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly."

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
I have long thought that we are too distant from the days of toil and need. That our founding fathers bought for us such a sublime freedom that we've not been required endure hardship to preserve it. People have grown complacent about their freedom and do not treat it with the requisite esteem.
"Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one."
See what I was saying about these guys being anarchists?

Ronald Reagan

Yeah, yeah Ronald Reagan isn't a founding father. I'm very well aware of that, but notice how some of his quotes fall right into line with their thinking...
"Our natural, inalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation from government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment."

"We've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of government himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?"

Bill Clinton

Again, not a founding father (god forbid), but notice the contrast...
"The new rage is to say that the government is the cause of all our problems, and if only we had no government, we'd have no problems. I can tell you, that contradicts evidence, history, and common sense."

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