Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thomas Jefferson

I have recently completed reading the collected works of Thomas Jefferson, and will from time to time post quotes of his for discussion.  I think the following below is one of his more insightful, and all too relevant to our present day circumstances.

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Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, liberals and serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, whigs and tories, republicans and federalists, aristocrats and democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last appellation of aristocrats and democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all.
-- Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Henry Lee (10 August 1824)