The Jefferson of Our Time
Posted by wordforit on January 10, 2008
Enjoy an excerpt of one of many well-written articles by Thomas J. DiLorenzo, professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland. (citations and links below)
…In reality, Grover Cleveland was the last American president who actually believed in Jeffersonian principles of government and was even moderately successful in implementing them (he vetoed literally hundreds of pieces of legislation). It’s been almost 120 years since a genuine Jeffersonian has been a major candidate for the highest office in the land, but we finally have in our midst the genuine item – the real deal – in the person of Ron Paul.
Ron Paul also calls for a dramatic reduction in government debt by abolishing unnecessary and harmful government bureaucracies, such as the U.S. Department of Education, as well as a foreign policy that defends America instead of attempting to centrally plan and police the entire planet. (emphasis added wfi) It was Jefferson who argued that the federal government’s debt was only legitimate in emergencies, such as a defensive war, and even then it should never exist for more than 19 years. He believed it was immoral for one generation to incur debt – even in a defensive war – that would financially burden future generations. “I consider the fortunes of our republic,” he wrote, “as depending, in an eminent degree, on the extinguishment of the public debt.” As president, his party abolished all of Hamilton’s (and the Federalists’) excise taxes and reduced the government debt from $83 million to $57 million.
Hamilton, on the other hand, wanted a large national debt because it would tie the affluent of the country to the government, just as welfare ties the poor to the government today. The affluent would be the government bondholders, he argued, and would therefore provide political support for all the tax increases he had in mind to assure that they would be paid their principal and interest. He called the national debt a “blessing.” The Jeffersonian view of government debt prevailed, more or less, until the Woodrow Wilson administration, after which Hamiltonian Keynesianism became the order of the day. Today the U.S. government is in debt to the tune of some $70 trillion if one includes all the unfunded Social Security, Medicare, and government pension liabilities. Ron Paul wants to reverse the economically devastating and immoral policy of rampant government debt accumulation…
Jefferson advocated a modest foreign policy, unlike his nemesis Hamilton, the original Neocon, who wanted to invade France and become an imperialistic power. “[P]eace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none,” was his foreign policy philosophy (from the first inaugural).
Jefferson understood that war is the mother of the state, and did everything he could to avoid it. When the British began confiscating American ships and kidnapping American sailors, he imposed an economically destructive trade embargo rather than risk an even more economically destructive war with England. Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate in memory to espouse the wisdom of Jefferson and Washington when it comes to foreign policy.
The dominance of the Hamiltonian, Big Government philosophy, and the marginalization of Jefferson and his ideas, is the fundamental source of America’s biggest problems, including a foreign policy that has run amok; a tax system that treats citizens like medieval serfs; an arrogant and unresponsive central government; the evisceration of the states as independent political sovereignties; the economic boom-and-bust cycle that is generated by “the Fed”; the eagerness of Washington politicians to strip away more and more of our civil liberties; and the infantilization of America that has been created by a gargantuan welfare state. Ron Paul is the only national politician who is devoted to reversing all of these dangerous trends. All other candidates propose either minor tinkering at the margins, or an expansion of the same failed policies. He is the Jefferson of our time, and our true hope of returning to the guiding principles of the founding fathers. We can take this road, or we can continue along on the road to serfdom.
Entire Article: The Jefferson of Our Time
January 7, 2008
Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, (Three Rivers Press/Random House). His latest book is Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe (Crown Forum/Random House).
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