Jefferson On Limited Government

Both darling and nemesis of Liberals, the Libertarian Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson, Liberals favorite founding father, has this to say about the proper scope of government:

“A wise and frugal government,” Thomas Jefferson declared in his first inaugural address in 1801, “which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”

And on redistribution of wealth:

“To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”

Read Arthur C. Brooks’ article America’s New Culture War.

3 thoughts on “Jefferson On Limited Government”

  1. Jefferson's philosophy wasn't alwasy perfect. What I do find funny is how he says "“Agriculture, manufacturers, commerce, and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are then most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise.” Look at every recession or depression there has been. What was the cause? Leaving the pillars of our prosperity at their most free. We got rid of regulations for banks, look what happened to Wall Street. We got rid of regulations for oil companies, look what happened in the Gulf. Jefferson's ideas on free markets only work if the people in charge are free of corruption. Since it's the leaders of industry who run Washington DC I think it's fair to say that the corruptions of our society have grown larger than even Rome's.

    1. You honestly believe it was financial deregulation that inspired the mess we're in? Have you even heard of Fannie and Freddie? Of the government-backed mortgage securities racket that allowed these government run entities to guarantee loan rates in line with political posturing pushing the dream of home ownership for everybody? It was a government backed, politician derived fiasco.
      My recent post Protecting Privilege

  2. Dude, go back and look at recent history. Fannie and Freddie saw what was going on in the deregulated markets and wanted to get their piece of the pie. Wall street was hedging bets on derivatives before the mortgage crisis hit. In fact, if our economic mess was only the mortgage crisis we would not have had a meltdown like we did. AIG, Lehman, etc. would not have been in the positions they were if it were not for de-regulation. That is fact!

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