When Tyranny Comes to Main Street


“Which is better,” Boston clergyman Mather Byles is reputed to have asked, “to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away, or by three thousand tyrants not a mile away?”

Many loyalists and fence sitters during the very early days of the American Revolution pondered that very point.  It did not mean they were in love with George III by any stretch of the imagination but only that they were just as wary of homegrown despots.

In our present predicament, it seems we have both – a tyrant in the White House and a multitude just down the road in our local courthouses.  We must ever be mindful that local governments can oppress the rights of citizens just as effectively as Washington, DC. Continue reading “When Tyranny Comes to Main Street”

Safeguarding Our Minds


This column appeared in the Laurel Leader Call (Laurel, MS) on May 22, 2012:

“I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”  So said Thomas Jefferson, the architect of American liberty and its greatest champion.  Throughout his entire life, he fought every attempt by government to control the lives of the people, in thought, speech, and deed.

Today we should be just as vigilant, whether a form of tyranny originates in Washington, Jackson, or the local schoolhouse.  We must be ever mindful that state and local governments can be just as tyrannical as Washington, DC. Continue reading “Safeguarding Our Minds”

Jeffersonian Solutions for America’s Problems


The United States faces an abundance of problems, a weak economy, an abundance of public expenditures, out of control entitlements, and an over-expansive foreign policy, to name a few. These issues are getting worse, not better, with no end in sight. In recent decades, politicians of nearly every conceivable stripe have offered solutions, all to no avail. The only real solution to America’s woes is a return to Jeffersonian principles.

Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and D.R. Francis standing on a porch circa 1903. Courtesy of the POTUS Flickr archive.

Since the days of Grover Cleveland, who ended the harsh Panic of 1893 in less than a full term in office, the federal government has used Keynesian economic theory, or intervention, to fight every economic downturn. The results have been less than spectacular. What began as a severe recession in 1929 became the “Great Depression,” the worst economic calamity in American history. Many people will be surprised to learn that the Great Depression came after the government stepped in with its bag of tricks. It did not end until the latter half of the 1940s.

After the Panic of 2008, the government bailed out Wall Street to the tune of $700 billion. In 2009, the Obama administration kicked in another $800 billion in a stimulus designed to jump-start the sagging economy. A total of $1.5 trillion in stimulus money has been apportioned. The economy is still in a state of mild depression with a net job loss during the Obama presidency. Continue reading “Jeffersonian Solutions for America’s Problems”

Reshaping America with Jeffersonian Values


The United States began its existence as an independent nation during a pitched battle over what direction the federal government should take and which party – the Hamiltonian Federalist or the Jeffersonian Republican – would rightly carry the banner of the American Revolution. This first ideological fight took place in President Washington’s Cabinet, which found itself torn between Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. The philosophical clash that began in 1789 continues today.

US President Grover ClevelandHamilton’s arguments prevailed during both the Washington and Adams administrations, but Jefferson struck back with a great victory in 1800 and stopped the Federalist onslaught. The nation was governed, for the most part, by Jeffersonian principles for the next sixty years, and, despite some historians’ beliefs to the contrary, Hamilton’s entire big government program was eventually repealed.

However with Lincoln’s election in 1860 – Old Abe being from the school of Hamiltonian thought – and the secession of the Jeffersonian South, the Republican Party re-instituted all of Hamilton’s ideas – a strong central government, a national banking system, fiat currency, high tariffs and internal taxes, direct aid to corporations, loose construction of the Constitution, and suppression of civil liberties, with little opposition. Continue reading “Reshaping America with Jeffersonian Values”

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