Thomas Jefferson, not surprisingly, was the most important interpreter of his own work in his famous May 8th 1825 letter to Richard Henry Lee:

"This was the object of the Declaration of Independance. not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject; [. . .] terms so plain and firm, as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independant stand we [. . .] compelled to take. neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the american mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion. all it’s authority rests then on the harmonising sentiments of the day, whether expressed, in conversns in letters, printed essays or in the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney Etc."

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I'm sure you're incredibly busy, but if you ever thought of doing requests, I'd love to see something on Washington's farewell address and principles of foreign intervention, since it's such a hot issue right now (Ukraine/Israel).

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“At the heart of the Jeffersonian definition of a free society was the idea of self-government.” And what would Jefferson say about the hash Americans have made of that idea? Would he approve of the CIA, the FBI, state and local police—our standing domestic army? Would he approve of our military, the behemoth with which the USG violates individual rights on a global scale? When talk of secession comes up the first thing out of people’s mouths is, “Washington would never allow it.” Forget what they confess by reaching for force first: That fear of the US military being turned against people who want more freedom is a major psychological barrier to getting it.

There’s no warlord or criminal on earth who can threaten my freedom like Washington does. The FBI alone has done more to undermine the Bill of Rights than any foreign enemy ever dreamed of doing. The CIA has done more to undermine our elections and “interfere with democracy” than Russia and China combined. The meth addicts down the road won’t claim the moral high ground if they break into my house and kill me, but the local sheriff would. I’d be just as dead either way? I’m legally justified in fighting back if the neighbors kick in my door. And at least the meth addicts can’t freeze my bank account if they don’t like what I say on social media. They can’t put me on a list for donating to an unapproved cause. They can’t pull me over, accidentally film themselves planting weed in my car, and then arrest me with the state’s blessing.

I know what Rand said: police, courts, army, but my copy of the Constitution doesn’t contain the word “police.” I know the arguments for those government functions and I repeated them in good faith, until 2020. How far would the massive erosion of our remaining freedom have gone then if people hadn’t feared arrest and beatdowns for walking against floor arrows? How fast would the scam have fizzled if business owners hadn’t been given the choice of how they wanted to go bankrupt: by closing, or by ruinous fines--issued by the police--for staying open?

Men *are* capable of governing themselves without a master when governed by reason and truth. They are not capable of governing each other. The threat to humanity’s social order is now and always has been its governments, including this one. If the proper moral role of government is to protect life, liberty, and property, when has any government ever done it? Not just for the span of a couple of administrations or because it hadn’t consolidated its power yet or because the people were too poor to bother looting them: When in world history has a government taken seriously the idea that its job is protecting individual rights and then pursued that idea consistently over time? Every government in world history, including America’s, has ended the same way. Is more vigilance from the people the answer? Fine, but the nature and psychology of human beings is that they drop their guards when they’re comfortable, so with increased freedom, wealth, and peace comes the complacency that risks their loss.

I don’t know what the answer is, but people keep saying “government” like the next one will work better than the thousand that came before it. Just because it’s hard to imagine a social arrangement other than nation-states doesn’t mean they’re the best option for protecting individual rights. The weight of historical evidence is that combined with the abysmal state of humanity’s ethics, they’re the worst. Maybe it's time to abandon central governments as an evolutionary dead end before they're the death of even more of us.

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Not to disparage Jefferson whom I greatly admire but would he have been effective had Washington not declined a kingship thus becoming, in the words of George III, the greatest man in the world.

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