Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Food for Thought

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Birthplace of Independent Conservatism

Consider the following quotes food for thought. The reasoning underlying them all is sound.

It is true that judgement can be subjective. This is especially so when judgement fails to be based on reason..
"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions." –James Madison, letter to Edmund Pendleton, 1792

"It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It [the Constitution] was intended to lace them up straightly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect." --Thomas Jefferson, Opinion on a National Bank, 1791 
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." --Cesare Beccaria, On Crimes and Punishment, quoted by Thomas Jefferson in Commonplace Book


  1. That's quite the interesting sequence of quotes you put together there! LOL!

    Beccaria was a highly enlightened man. For him, the wall of rights between citizen and government was life - not "life" meaning only little embryos - "life" meaning no capital punishment. His prime instructive was that there should be no death penalty. Not only that, but Beccaria was liberal by today's standard when it comes to some important aspects of criminal law. It's ALL in that book you cite.

    Just the same, remember, they didn't have 33-bullet clips attached to firearms that could fire as fast as you could pull the trigger thirty-friggin-three times. I don't think Jefferson was an intransigent ideologue. He was smarter than that. If anything, he was instrumental in the design of a historically durable nation, durable because of it's abilty to adapt and change.


  2. JMJ - I am glad you found them interesting.

  3. It's a shame the ones you have to convince think the Founders are irrelevant to today's discussions.

  4. They're most certainly not irrelevent, Woodsterman. I don't think that. But you do have to apply context. We don't live in a statis universe, after all.


  5. Madison made that statement on the way to asking for a Constitutional Amendment to allow Congress to spend money in another area -- he wasn't opposed to spending, just thought that the Constitution had left out roads.

    Every president and Supreme Court since disagreed.

  6. i believe his words indicate that the constitution was clear on the limited role intended for our government.

    Note that he, as well as Jefferson, favored a more limited role or the federal government than either Washington or Hamilton.

    Madison knew the constitution well. His words I believe speak clearly

    "If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one,...

    He may have recognized the need for additional monies but he also knew the road (I believe you may be suggesting) would lead to levels federal authority and control he never would have agreed to. Such as we have today. Which is precisely the reason the majority favored limited federal government.


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