The following is an excerpt from The New American
Liberty Under The Law - William Norman Grigg
June 12, 1995, p.26
In a profoundly influential 1744 tract which did much to popularize Locke's ideas in America, the Reverand Elisha Williams, an evangelist of the Great Awakening, observed:
"Rulers have their infirmities as well as their subjects, and are too often carried away by the stream of temptation to play the tyrant." From Locke's perspective, the terms "tyrant" and "criminal" are interchangeable, because when an individual's rights are injured, "the injury and the crime is equal, whether committed by the crown or some petty villian."Because "nobody can transfer to another more power than he has in himself," as Locke observed, government cannot acquire or exercise the power to do anything which any individual cannot lawfully do. Furthermore, the government is more susceptible to the temptation toward lawlessness, as it places the power of coercion in the hands of flawed human beings; when force is wedded with illicit human ambition, abuses unavoidably occur.
In short, the Founding Fathers considered suspicion of government to be a patriotic duty, as it is indispensable to the task of preserving a government ruled by law. Madison wrote that Americans must "take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties" and that such "prudent jealousy [is] the first duty of citizens":
The freeman of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequence by denying the principle.
It could be said that Madison extolled what would now be derided as
a "paranoid" perspective on the capacity of government to abuse individual
rights. This same reflexive mistrust of government power was famously endorsed
by George Washington, who declared: "Government is not reason, it is not
eloquence, it is force! Like fire, it is a troublesome servant and a fearful
master." The Founders unmistakenably regarded government to be the greatest
threat to individual freedom.
Unquestionably to the right of center in the American political spectrum, it's a good place to look if you need a point of view you won't hear on the evening news (or you could try The Conservative Diner ).
I'd place them about as far from the center as Mother Jones, but in a different direction. Despite what I said above, I don't think "right" quite describes it. I think of it as "northeast". I guess that tells you about where I think the center is (definitely not where I think it should be). Hint: if I didn't have a strong conviction that socialism is exactly equivalent to slavery, I'd probably enjoy Mother Jones more. But they do have some interesting stuff on their pages. And every once in a while they have something I actually agree with.
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