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Points to ponder on a New Year


Last updated 12/27/2008 at Noon

If you’re searching for just the right New Year’s resolution, perhaps some observations by one of our presidents will give you a hint.

“Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

Sound familiar?

If it doesn’t, shame on you.

That assertion is contained in the opening paragraph of our Declaration of Independence. For those who did not recognize the words, their author was Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States.

That perceptive statement means that most of us tolerate the intolerable rather than going through the trauma of changing it. Not a bad idea to hang a resolution on, is it?

When the media throws the words “Jeffersonian Republican” around, they have no idea just how extensive  his beliefs, beliefs that our country is slowly pushing aside-with the ultimate dire consequences.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at his regard of the banking industry. “I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

Sort of eerie, isn’t it when you think of his remark and the present $700 billion bailout and how will affect our grandchildren! What did he know, or was he truly that perceptive? I think the latter.

Jefferson, curiously, was not a proponent of government, a belief reinforced by his remark, “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.’

Now, who out there can argue with that? Locally, consider the last few years and the trouble folks have had with FEMA, an archetypical example of government, within which the various levels of bureaucracy throw monkey wrenches into everything.

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

Was he off-base in this observation? Just take a look at all the congressmen and CEOs that have taken advantage of the public.

What about the Illinois governor wanting to sell Obama’s Senate position? A perfect example of Lord Afton’s admonishment, “Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Jefferson believed in self-reliance, of taking care of one’s own business-another dandy resolution. He lived by the philosophy that one should never be idle. He once said, “No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing. Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you. Don’t talk about what you have done or what you are going to do.” See what I mean about ‘self-reliance’?

But, Jefferson wasn’t one to walk around with his head in the clouds. He viewed life with what I’ve always called ‘perceptive wariness.’

For example, he stated that “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” Think government entitlements!

And, he was quite aware of the fallacies of a democracy. “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51 percent of the people may take away the rights of the other 49. The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

Where are we in that context?

Before you start blaming the present administration, let me remind you that every administration and congress beginning with Washington was made up of men and women just like us, filled with the same desires and wants and inadequacies.

How many individuals would run for political office on the national level if they were paid a dollar a year?

OK, OK, I know that’s unrealistic, but I wanted to make a point.

Pardon my own cynicism, but very few go into politics because they want to help the people. Most see not only the adulation but the rewards of such offices. With the mindsets we have today, Jefferson’s idyllic concept will never be met.

I just hope we remain a democracy!

Now, make your New Year’s resolution. And I hope the New Year is happy for all of us.


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