Reading this 1791 letter from Benjamin Banneker, the son of a former slave, to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson makes me understand Jefferson better. How could someone who penned the lines Banneker quoted and who received the letter Banneker wrote not be, as Jefferson’s enemy Hamilton kindly put it, “a man of sublimated and paradoxical […]
What then saves us from this extreme individualism – the individualism, I might point out, that so many Tea Partyers advocate? Priestley answers:
“The great instrument in the hand of divine providence, of this progress of the species towards perfection, is society, and consequently government.”
How are legitimate governments created? Priestley tracks Locke again by stating that individuals entrust some of their rights (some police powers, for instance) to society and to government, and government in return protects society and individuals and helps them achieve their notions of happiness.
These are some of the Framers’ first principles of government, perhaps the most essential ones. This is Lockean liberalism, the kind of liberalism we all share. This is where the Declaration of Independence gets its notion of inalienable rights – rights that we entrust to the government but never fully transfer. The Framers’ political philosophy is based on the idea that we need society and government to help us improve ourselves.
The mosque. Must I get involved in this, too? º º º Did you know that twenty percent of Americans now believe that the president is Muslim? The polling took place just before he first spoke about the mosque last week. Do the remaining eighty percent correctly identify Obama as a Christian? Hardly. “The number […]
Even after Michael’s suggestion, I didn’t set out to write a book. Instead, I wrote the script for six half-hour videos, and I filmed myself. But summarizing stuff to the point of comprehension makes me despair of comprehensiveness. I am more advocate than teacher, more adept at writing briefs than textbooks. So as soon as I finished the videos, I started the footnotes. By the time I forced myself to stop (school was starting in two days), I had written over ten thousand words of footnotes. The book took most of the summer to research and write.