“Part of what psychedelics do is they decondition you from cultural values. This is what makes it such a political hot potato. Since all culture is a kind of con game, the most dangerous candy you can hand out is one which causes people to start questioning the rules of the game.” ”—Terence McKenna
“You had mentioned that day, the burden on owners of gun stores that the expanded background checks would cause... I'm just wondering why the burden of my mother being gunned down in the halls of her elementary school isn’t as important as that ”—Erica Lafferty, daughter of Newtown victim Dawn Hochsprung, confronts Senator Kelly Ayotte for voting against expanding background checks: http://on.msnbc.com/12YgSZHtblr
“I'm an Army veteran. If you think your government would never force someone to confess to something they didn't do, if you think your government would never set someone up, you are beyond wrong. Even if the Tsarnaev kid did what he's accused of, it's child's play compared to what the government has done.”— from the Inbox
“....after learning of the Obama administration’s involvement in the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups and its secret seizure of Associated Press phone records...I’ve had some of the pro-gun lobbyists on here, saying to me, ‘Well, the reason we need to be armed is because of tyranny from our own government,’ and I’ve always laughed at them,” Morgan said. “I said, ‘Don’t be ridiculous! Your government won’t turn itself on you...but, actually, this is vaguely tyrannical behavior by the American government.”—Piers Morgan
the CNN host admitted to guest Penn Jillette that perhaps gun advocates were right about creeping tyranny after all
Things I Like About Thomas Jefferson
I like to bash on TJ sometimes, as it is my duty as a Hamilton fan. However, I can’t deny that he had some truly brilliant and insightful ideas.“Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of nineteen years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force, and not of right.”
Jefferson wrote a letter to Madison where he advocating tearing up the constitution and every law after 19 years. Otherwise, in his view, the people had not really consented to the laws imposed upon them, because 19 years as about a generation. Why should this new generation be held to their parents laws?
This letter is sometimes cited as proof of Jefferson’s impracticality, idealism, and naiveté. Oh, Mr. Jefferson! You and your impractical ideas!
But this is actually a great idea.
It is so easy to stick to the old ways, just because that’s how everything has always been done. It is easier to do than to undo. Change is a natural part of societies. Creating a mechanism that would put old laws, policies, and even constitutions under review prevents build-up, stagnation, and complacency.
How’s that for original intent? I would be all for instituting something like this.“I am for freedom of religion, and against all manœuvres to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.”
TJ was the one who coined the term separation of church and state. I love separation of church and state! It is seriously the best. He got his share of hate for not being sufficiently Christian (he was basically a Deist), poor fellow, but he wisely avoided mixing religion with politics. Author of the Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom. How cool is that?
He was also very skeptical of clergy, dogma, and the supernatural, though he kept these kinds of opinions private. He was also pro-tolerance, and avoided discussing and debating private religious opinions because he believed it was a private matter. I’m not inclined to do that myself, but I can’t help respecting that mindset.“Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise.”
Ah, yes. The letter Jefferson wrote to Madison on preventing excessive accumulations of property through taxation is fabulous. He wrote that letter from France, after seeing how property was concentrated into the hands of the aristocracy, while the poor resorted to begging. He believed that it was possible for the laws of property to violate natural right . “The earth is given as a common stock for man to labour and live on.”
At some point, I got the impression that Jefferson wanted the absolute minimum amount of government interference possible, and it annoyed me because I felt issues like inequality could only be dealt with through government interference. Yet, here is this letter, where Jefferson frankly asserts that “legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property, only taking care to let their subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind”. I don’t share his preference for independent family farms, but the basic principle? Perfect.
Jefferson was smart as hell. He thought this shit through.“I told President [Washington] that it was a fact, as certainly known as that he and I were then conversing, that particular members of the Legislature, while those laws [Assumption, Funding, &c.] were on the carpet, had feathered their nests with paper, had then voted for the laws, and constantly since lent all the energy of their talents, and instrumentality of their offices, to the establishment and enlargement of the [Treasury] system.”
Okay, Jefferson was pretty paranoid about corruption. But I have learned to appreciate Jefferson’s paranoia. Corporations have got their claws into our representatives, who need their money to run campaigns and get elected. Jefferson’s concerns were valid and important. He understood that those in power are inherently dangerous.
Ah, Teej. It’s times like this when I really wish Jefferson and Hamilton had come to an understanding. Hamiltonian means to Jeffersonian ends, you know? Methinks Hamilton needed a Jefferson looking over his shoulder, and Jefferson needed to worry less about federal government power and more on how to prevent abuses of those powers.