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The Devil is in the Details

Richard Cook and George W Bush entered the same freshman class at Yale. Bush took one road, and Cook took another. How different would our world be had a man of Cook's caliber, instead of the insipid twit George W Bush, ascended to the US presidency? I cling to the hope that someday we will live in a world with worthy and honest leaders.

Meanwhile, I think Cook has touched upon an important detail in this recollection of Thomas Jefferson.
Today, back in Williamsburg , I can see even more clearly that Jefferson was one of the great men of history. He wrote in the Declaration of Independence the now-familiar words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty , and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This statement has never been surpassed as a summary of democratic principles or in expressing our God-given right to freedom, whether from governments, tyrants, or the brutal financial oppression we see everywhere in the world today emanating from global finance capitalism.

Ever since he wrote it, Jefferson ’s formulation has resonated with those who love liberty, both for themselves and others, as has the clarity with which the Declaration of Independence expressed the right to choose our own form of government. Later Jefferson wrote, “I have no fear that the result of our experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master.” He also wrote, “Every generation needs a new revolution.”

I should point out that I never saw Jefferson ’s ideals as promoting “license” vs. “liberty,” or as supporting the idea of viewing any action of government as ipso facto evil. Jefferson favored a limited government elected by “We the People” and served in positions of public responsibility for most of his life. He saw government as a servant of the public, not its master. He saw the human individual as God’s highest creation, not some social, economic, or governmental collective. He also knew that constructive government actions, such as the peaceable acquisition of the Louisiana Territory , promoted freedom, whereas policies based on warfare and violence destroyed it.
To love liberty for yourself and for others -- it's an important detail. It's the detail that is so easy to overlook but which makes all the difference in the world. Literally.


malcontent said…
You are sounding essentially libertarian now. Even George Will is aligning with these ideals as evidenced by his melee with Steven Colbert this week. Paraphrasing in the absence of a posted transcript of course...

Conservatives don't trust our government to run AmTrak well so how can we be surprised when they don't run an occupation of Iraq well

Of course he seems to be running block for the "people fail conservativism not the other way around" gambit, now that there is nothing left to claim as successful Republican achievements in our current government and diversions are running thin.
A. Peasant said…
Trust me, I am not a libertarian. I think people need to stop being so selfish. I was going to take this post in a theological direction but ran out of time.

It's the idea of 'brotherly love'. Some people mock religion as a foolish delusion, but I think the idea of caring about other people's liberty is an expression of the religious concept of brotherly love.