Friday, August 22nd, 2008 | Author:

I was recently tagged by new blogger friend Hercules Mulligan to post a favorite quotation each Friday chosen from among the founding fathers of America. (The blog about this can be found here. ) God is good, because I have actually remembered to do this a day ahead of time. And because blogger now lets me postdate stuff, I can do it on Thursday while I’m thinking about it, and you’ll see it on Friday. So here goes.

If you look through my blog labels in the right column – i.e., abuse of power, Big Brother, libertarian – or you have read my blog more than once or twice, you know that one of my major concerns is that the free America of our founding fathers is disappearing right before our eyes – not from without, but from within. Daily, we see the insidious erosion of individual rights supposedly guaranteed by The Bill of Rights. Washington tramples the Constitution on an ever-quickening schedule, and states and local authorities are passing more and more ridiculous laws. What most boggles my mind about all this is that, while our government is accumulating more and more power over its citizens, most of those citizens don’t even notice.

Thomas Jefferson knew this would happen. Through studying history, which most of us ignore, he told us what the end result of a powerful government would be. Will Americans suddenly open their eyes and reverse the trend towards centralized power before it’s too late?

Yeah, right.

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.

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4 Responses
  1. Hercules Mulligan says:

    Hi Jean! Glad you were able to do it this Friday!

    The quote from Jefferson is excellent, and it seems to run along the same line as the last few of the quotes I have put up — that is, that there is nothing inherently eternal about even the best forms of government. And since human nature, and therefore human systems, are prone to regress without vigilance, all human systems tend to devolve.

    The only way to prevent this decline (or rather, to slow its progress) is by constantly being on guard against breaches of virtue and justice. However, “eternal vigilance” has never been faithfully maintained in human history, and is not likely, given human nature. Hence, the observation of Jefferson.

    But despite these gloomy observations (though true), I am always encouraged at what I see is people waking up to this truth, and applying the necessary vigilance and waking up others! We may not be able to control the actions of generations past and future, but we sure can affect positive change in the present, by God’s grace!

    Thanks so much for joining! I will link to your post on mine, here.

  2. akaGaGa says:

    “we sure can affect positive change in the present, by God’s grace!”

    Aah, Herc, thanks for sharing your thoughts. You are much more of an optimist than I am … and I suspect you’re a bit younger, too. :)

    Granted, my current pessimism is probably being influenced by a book I am reading. Are you familiar with “The Politics of Obedience” by Etienne de la Boetie? Written in the 1500′s, his main premise, as stated by Murray Rothbard in the introduction, is that “every tyranny must necessarily be grounded upon general popular acceptance. In short, the bulk of the people themselves, for whatever reason, acquiesce in their own subjection.”

    If that’s not the 2008 version of the USA, I don’t know what is. So, no, I don’t expect to have any great influence over this trend, just as I don’t expect to lead thousands of people to Jesus Christ. But that doesn’t mean I stop trying.

    I will be content if my words cause just one person to see what is happening in our country. I will be overjoyed if my words cause just one person to come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

  3. Hercules Mulligan says:

    I have to agree with you that the quote you presented from the book by Boetie is certainly a description of the present situation in the United States, by and large. I completely agree, although no, I haven’t read the book. Thanks for sharing it with me. Perhaps I will find it and read it. :)

    The mass of people, particularly the young people, it seems, are so caught up in the frivolities and distractions that our post-modern culture has to offer. Add to that the brainwashing that the culture has given them, so that they lose their interests in the subjects that people like you and I write about with zest, before they have even given it a real chance.

    I don’t expect to have an enormous effect either, but I will leave the reach of my influence (little as it is) to God. Nor do I expect to change the trend either. There is an increasing number of people who speak of second American Revolution, and I have done so myself. However, I don’t have very high expectations for the way such a movement would turn out in the end, because this country lacks the virtue and moral stamina it takes to maintain the limited and constitutional form of government we clamor for. Everybody wants to be free; but not everybody wants to assume the responsibilities of freedom. So, in such a dilemma, many Americans seem to have resorted to allowing the government to assume those responsibilities.

    While I don’t think that the direction of America is likely be changed (but I can’t solidly predict the future), there is the slight possibility. The reason I maintain my optimism (aside from my comparative youth :D ) is because I see more and more people waking up — more than I once thought. So I am hanging on to a thread of hope, that maybe it’s not to late for a totally revolutionizing revival.

    I too would be content if just ONE person saw the light through my words. Just as there is much rejoicing in heaven when one soul is saved, so I would rejoice if God so pleased to reach ONE person through my words. He alone would be worthy of glory, and I would be so grateful.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts in turn. It is so refreshing to discuss these things with someone who shares like faith in my own Upstate New York. God bless you.

  4. akaGaGa says:

    It is refreshing, Herc, and I appreciate your comments. I think this is what God in the Bible calls “fellowship.” And it’s hard to find people who think about these things. We are, I’m afraid, an odd and dying breed. :)

    I share your views on the brainwashing of our young people. And the aforementioned book talks about tyrants distracting people with frivolities, so this tactic has been around for a while. It applies not only to political lack of thought, but Christian lack of thought.

    You can look for two related posts that are currently brewing in my brain and heart. One will be on public education (or brainwashing) and the other will be on people’s tendency to want a king, vis a vis Saul.

    Again, thanks for chatting.