“The whole aim of practical politics,” wrote famed journalist H. L. Mencken, “is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
Truer words were never spoken, which begs important questions: Will our “War on Terror” ever end? Will our need for national security ever diminish? Most likely not, as Washington is always on the lookout for more ways to protect us from our “enemies.” As Vice President Biden told recent graduates at West Point, “Prepare for new threats.”
But new laws designed for our safety threaten to reach deeper and deeper into our private lives with more intrusive surveillance, as many in our government have taken to heart words attributed to Cicero, “In times of war, the law falls silent.” Continue reading
When discussing the history of the two major political parties and their ideologies, most people have a tendency to get very confused and with good reason.
Both major parties of today have their origins in the early 1790s, coming out of disputes in George Washington’s Cabinet between Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. Jefferson opposed Hamilton’s entire fiscal program, arguing for a limited federal government and a strict interpretation of the Constitution. Hamilton wanted the new government to expand beyond its constitutional powers, the Constitution becoming what he hoped would be a “fail and worthless fabric.”
Though the Founders yearned for a nation without parties, or factions, as they called them, inevitably they did form. One was the Federalist Party, founded by Hamilton, which lasted from 1792 to 1816, the last year it ran a candidate for President, having succumbed to the might of Jefferson as well as its opposition to the War of 1812. The other was Jefferson’s Republican Party (sometimes referred to as the Democratic-Republicans), lasting from 1792 to 1824. The two parties in existence today can be traced to these two original organizations. Continue reading
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