Government by Thomas Jefferson

From the Declaration of Independence …

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

To secure these rights, Governments are instituted.   Repeat, to secure these rights, Governments are instituted.  The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The right to a plasma TV?  How about a nice new pram for your baby?

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40 Responses to Government by Thomas Jefferson

  1. Crossie

    deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

    The operative words are actually contained in the above quote: consent of the governed. In our present circumstances Malcolm’s Liberals just barely scraped in so they have very little consent from the governed. By proposing all sorts of taxes and proposing to fundamentally change society via the SSM they are breaking the compact and are therefore an illegitimate government.

  2. Leo G

    To some, owning a plasma TV is a source of happiness.
    Governments are instituted to secure the right of such people to pursue ownership of a plasma TV.

  3. iampeter

    Good post Spartacus.

    Sadly today the supporters of mainstream political movements don’t understand or support the concept of rights. Everyone believes the function of government is to push their particular gangs beliefs on everyone by force.

    Or as one of the posters here recently said:

    Yes, I do know what politics is – it’s what people can grab at any given time, using whatever justification suits. No one cares about your “rights”. They are meaningless.

    Jefferson is rolling in his grave.

  4. Fulcrum

    How about the right to rip up the constitution, right by enabling right.

  5. alexnoaholdmate

    You have the right to the pursuit of happiness.

    You have to catch it yourself.

    (Usually attributed – incorrectly – to Ben Franklin)

  6. Crossie

    You have the right to the pursuit of happiness.

    You have to catch it yourself.

    No, no, no. It means I have a right to happiness. Where is my happiness? You are depriving me of my happiness.

  7. Confused Old Misfit

    Sadly today the supporters of mainstream political movements don’t understand or support the concept of rights.

    Oh, they understand a concept of rights all right. THEIR concept. What is lacking is our understanding of our responsibility to supply them those rights

    They have no concept of the concomitant nature of rights & responsibilities.

  8. Crossie

    This is a major problem with the current educational theory. Children are taught their rights and nobody even mentions the responsibilities. I assume they all think the concept of responsibilities will be absorbed from their surroundings. That works for a generation or two and then nobody remembers it any more.

  9. Frank Carter

    In our present circumstances Malcolm’s Liberals just barely scraped in so they have very little consent from the governed

    Donald Trump was defeated in the 2016 presidential election by over 3,000,000 votes. He has absolutely no right to be President.

  10. struth

    Reading our constitution, although not a Bill of Rights, would give people a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities.

    Trump and America just had an election where following their constitution was an election issue.

    We need ours to be re-introduced to the people as a matter of urgency.

  11. alexnoaholdmate

    Donald Trump was defeated in the 2016 presidential election by over 3,000,000 votes. He has absolutely no right to be President

    Please point out how the election of Donald Trump was unconstitutional.

    Ta.

  12. struth

    Donald Trump was defeated in the 2016 presidential election by over 3,000,000 votes. He has absolutely no right to be President.

    You idiot.

  13. J.H.

    “The Pursuit of Happiness part”, means the right to pursue your own ambitions and not be enslaved to the ambitions of a ruling class….. The right to benefit from your own endeavours and the fruits of your labor, so that you can afford a new Plasma TV or Pram.

  14. incoherent rambler

    For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security. Thomas Jefferson

  15. Haidee

    There are good things here. I like this thread. It’s very neat.

    “a well-organised and armed militia . . best security”

    “Pursuit of Happiness” : J.H. comment, good.
    Said pursuit, not about chasing after happy feelings. Don’t doubt it, many think that’s what it means.
    Happy feelings are spasmodic – it goes without saying.. and still I’ve written it.
    Like tonight!
    Queensland’s win. When the elation dies down, the mind turns again to serious matters.
    Our constitution. It should be re-introduced to the people. I agree wholeheartedly.

  16. Arnost

    Inalienable rights… what a brilliant turn of phrase. I love it.

    Most today have no idea what an inalienable right is. They think that it is one of a collection of freebies granted to them by the compact of government; and then figments of avarice.

    An inalienable right is something you have or can do that does not pose an obligation or responsibility on another. You may have a right to free speach, but not to be heard as that infringes the others rights by placing an obligation on them. A right to a job? A right to minimum pay? Not inalienable: that poses an obligation on someone to employ you and pay you… A right to freely seek a job? Or to move between jobs? Or to write and publish a treatise? Yes those are inalienable…

  17. Anne Kerr

    You can’t have a right to something you expect someone else to pay for. The concept of inalienable rights is totally lost today.

    Agree with Crossie, the consent of the governed is what’s missing today.

    Re Trump’s election, the US was never designed to be a democracy…it is a republic.

  18. Roger

    The right to a plasma TV? How about a nice new pram for your baby?

    The right to divorce my spouse of several decades for no other reason than that I’ve found a younger option?

    The right to abort my baby because the pregnancy is inconvenient right now?

    The right to marry my same sex partner?

    The right to identify as a woman even though I’m a man?

  19. Peter

    For today’s youth the only way of pursuing happiness IS to have said government provide, free of charge and gratis, that plasma TV and pram (of course the pram is for the baby conceived out of wedlock and birthed in a public hospital and raised at society’s expense to provide the next generation of Labor voters and freeloaders).

    And why not – it’s their human right don’t you know! And not only that, it is their human right to have an ipad and iphone (and internet connection) provided at someone else’s expense too. So get off their back all you right-wing nazis. How dare you suggest otherwise. “Other People’s Money”. Piffle! I am entitled to “My Fair Share” hence by definition other people’s money is really MY money. Mine!…me! What don’t you understand about the me me me me me me me me generation.

  20. Roger

    The rot started before today’s youth came on the scene, Peter.

  21. Sorry, but libertarians really have no justification in referring to such a declaration given they generally do not believe “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”, and the certainly do not believe these truths to be “self-evident”.

  22. old bloke

    dover_beach
    #2439495, posted on July 13, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Not only libertarians DB, but anyone who does not believe in a Creator has no justification to believe in unalienable rights.

  23. Peter

    “dover_beach
    #2439495, posted on July 13, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Not only libertarians DB, but anyone who does not believe in a Creator has no justification to believe in unalienable rights.”

    Isn’t that the point? Socialists in particular believe that there are no inalienable rights – and if there were such rights, that they certainly were not endowed by a Creator. To the Left, the only rights that exist are ones bestowed upon you by the state and these are only “”. They can be redefined or removed at the whim of the great leader or ruling party and of course in any event are only granted for political or ideological reasons until a new idea comes along or it benefits the ruling class to remove them. And of course there are no rights if you are an ideological enemy. In which case you have no rights at all. Just ask the occupants of the Soviet Union’s Galags or of Cambodia’s killing fields. Well, sorry they were all murdered so don’t bother.

  24. Tel

    Not only libertarians DB, but anyone who does not believe in a Creator has no justification to believe in unalienable rights.

    Given that there’s no way to unequivocally prove what this Creator intended, seems that belief of non-belief would not make any significant difference.

    Thomas Jefferson was a believer, and about the closest political equivalent to a modern libertarian. The people he spoke to mostly were also believers, although not all believing exactly the same things.

  25. And this from a man who keep slaves and make have had a child with one.
    http://freedomnews.today/

  26. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    And this from a man who keep slaves and make have had a child with one.

    I would have thought most, if not all, of the signers of the Declaration Of Independence kept slaves?

  27. max

    According to Jefferson, all men are created equal no matter what the lord says.

    If government is to have a role in society, it is to protect lives, liberty and property, not to promote “equality”

  28. I am Spartacus

    Max

    If government is to have a role in society, it is to protect lives, liberty and property, not to promote “equality”

    Disagree. In securing the inalienable rights of citizens, specifically Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, Government’s need to ensure equality of opportunity. That starts with the rule of law and equal access to same. Not, as too many would suggest, equality of outcome through diversity programs and affirmative action.

  29. Given that there’s no way to unequivocally prove what this Creator intended, seems that belief of non-belief would not make any significant difference.

    The question here is not whether you can prove anything. My criticism is that they themselves do not think that rights are an endowment, whether by nature or God, but rather they believe it is a creation of wills, which would make it an endowment of political society.

    BTW, what do you mean “what this Creator intended” and by “that belief of non-belief”?

  30. iampeter

    Not only libertarians DB, but anyone who does not believe in a Creator has no justification to believe in unalienable rights.

    I’m pretty sure ISIS agrees with this too.

    Half-jokes aside though, why do rights become “unalienable” once their source moves from an earthly totalitarian to a supernatural one?

    Another question: what do you think rights are?

  31. equality of opportunity

    In horse racing, this is called handicapping.

  32. I’m pretty sure ISIS agrees with this too.

    Half-jokes aside though,

    No, I don’t think they do think that at all.

    why do rights become “unalienable” once their source moves from an earthly totalitarian to a supernatural one?

    Lol, so very 2006. No, they are ‘inalienable’ because human beings as human beings are endowed with them.

    Another question: what do you think rights are?

    Rights are a shorthand, a way of saying that since the pursuit of certain goods (shelter, education, food, friendship, family life, etc.) are natural to human beings as human beings,that human beings should be unhindered, all things considered, in their pursuit of them.

  33. Paul

    that all men are created equal
    Exactly why Clinton and the demorats stood on a policy of replacing the constitution with government rule by the elites.

  34. GerardO

    The only right I’m interested in is the right to look at titties on the internet.

  35. Leo G

    The only right I’m interested in is the right to look at titties on the internet.

    The Five Titties (Scot sisters of Kintail).

  36. Awake

    Funny, Frank the troll did not complain when a Democrat won the presidency under the same rule.

    Leftists, get over it, move on, accept Trump won fair and square

  37. Awake

    My mental exercise on this post.

    That all men are created equal — to me that’s not self evident. Each one of us, has his distinct abilities, so we can’t be equal. And this is where the leftists are wrong. Artificial means to make us all equals are wrong and will fail because we have our individual abilities, inclinations, motivations and of the choices we make. A comment earlier was made that we are only equal before the law and access to opportunity. And that the govt should facilitate that.

    The Declaration is a framework on how their nation should be governed and the propositions the citizens made to establish their ideal society.

    The framers were believers so in that context, that means, human beings have fundamental rights
    Right to life ( no one has the right to take away my life)
    Right to liberty, ( freedom to speak/express my mind, including religious belief)
    Right to pursue happiness (in whatever you find happiness, maybe by way of property rights and commercial endeavours).

  38. That all men are created equal — to me that’s not self evident. Each one of us, has his distinct abilities, so we can’t be equal.

    The framers are not claiming that all men are equal in abilities, they are saying that all men must be judged equally as human beings. It is that truth they take to be self-evident.

  39. max

    “equality of opportunity”

    in order to have true equality of opportunity, sweeping government intervention is necessary. For how can someone in a poor household with indifferent parents seriously be said to have “equality of opportunity” with the children of wealthy parents who are deeply engaged in their lives?

    https://mises.org/library/menace-egalitarianism

    The doctrine of natural law that inspired the 18th century declarations of the rights of man did not imply the obviously fallacious proposition that all men are biologically equal. It proclaimed that all men are born equal in rights and that this equality cannot be abrogated by any man-made law, that it is inalienable or, more precisely, imprescriptible.

    https://mises.org/library/equality-and-inequality

  40. Leo G

    … in order to have true equality of opportunity, sweeping government intervention is necessary.

    “The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.” – Laurence J. Peter (Aristotle’s Axiom)

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