Sunday, October 03, 2010

Founding Fathers Warnings on Current Issues

There is a common nightmare where you are faced with approaching danger but when you try to escape your legs are frozen in place. This seems to be the perfect metaphor for the United States as we struggle to recover the American vision after allowing decades of terrible decision-making by our elected government and their ruling class partners. We see the dangers but are so entangled that we are slow to respond. We must break free.

With all the pro-citizen tools embedded in the Constitution and the words of the Founding Fathers to guide us how did we lose control of the country-and to the very kind of people the Founders warned about? Here are a few of their warnings that we have sadly ignored. They are so timely that they could have been given this very day.

Political Parties

George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were all dead set against political parties on the basis that members would develop loyalty to the party rather than the country. They discussed the subject often. Here are a few quotes from George Washington’s Farewell Address, on September 19, 1796 and one of John Adams statements.

"Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the Spirit of Party generally. The common and continual mischief of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it." – George Washington

"I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations." – George Washington

“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution. “– John Adams

Conclusion: They were 100% correct. Our two party system remains a major factor in enabling the damage being suffered by our country. Note how Adams exactly describes our current situation. We must minimize the role of the two political parties.

On Banks Gaining Too Much Power

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.” - George Washington

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” - Thomas Jefferson

Conclusion: Oh boy, were they ever right on this. We have let the financial industry become the master of the economy and it is ruining us. We must return them to their proper position of providing a simple administration service to the productive units of the economy.

Foreign Policy

“Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war.” - John Adams

Term Limits

“Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens” - George Mason

“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” - Thomas Jefferson

Characteristic of Politics

“Here comes the orator! With his flood of words, and his drop of reason. “ - Benjamin Franklin

“Those gentlemen, who will be elected senators, will fix themselves in the federal town, and become citizens of that town more than of your state.” - George Mason

“Half a truth is often a great lie.”- Benjamin Franklin

“No man will ever carry out of the Presidency the reputation which carried him into it.” - Thomas Jefferson

On Government in General

“While all other sciences have advanced, that of government is at a standstill little better understood, little better practiced now than three or four thousand years ago.” – John Adams

“Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.” – Thomas Jefferson

“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” – Thomas Jefferson

“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.” - Thomas Jefferson

Concern That Their Work be Continued by Future Americans

The Americans suffered terribly through death, bankruptcy and deprivation during the years of the Revolutionary war. At the end the Fathers asked themselves if future generations would appreciate and continue their work. Here are quotes from Washington and Jefferson.

"No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass." – George Washington

“Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction.” – Thomas Jefferson

What is our answer? If we don’t fix the current state of affairs and restore the government to the true American vision we will certainly stand disgraced in history.