Notes From Babel

Lessons from the Past Still Go Unheeded

with one comment

On the question of the limits of government, Cicero said this:

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.

Cicero – 55 BC

Our founders were avid students of Cicero and the rest of the great Roman statesmen, as they were intensely interested in what ailments would beset the new republic they were designing. The wise among us do not let the lessons of history go unremembered. Unfortunately, we might as well have left those words untranslated in their original Latin for how little the rest of humanity is able to appreciate them. Wisdom is its own language. Fools can neither hear nor heed it. This is why our founders put so many limits on the democratic function of government: although the common man will not tolerate a government in which he has no direct voice, the common man is an imbecile and will tear asunder the whole of our civilization if it adds a crumb to his own account.

For this reason, our founders separated our governmental functions from the violent and insane passions of the mob — the electoral college and the appointment of senators by the state legislatures being the most famous of these. Piece by piece, however, under cover of progressivist ideology, “we the people” are tearing down those barriers in order to overrun the Constitution and make encampment in the Capitol. The 17th amendment was a critical loss to those who still swear fealty to the rule of law.

For a long time we have prayed that Thomas Jefferson was being too modest about the accomplishment he and his brethren made in establishing our great republic when he warned that “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” The service of patriots may be again needed before long.


Written by Tim Kowal

February 21, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Posted in Politics

One Response

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  1. Very good posting—the Cicero quote is clutch. I agree with your your assessments of the Electoral College and the 17th Amendment, and I would also add that the degradation of the Spending Clause is key to our fiscal debacle. I don’t think federal money being spent to subsidize bad home loans and a skateboard park in Chula Visa was the Framers’ vision of the “general Welfare of the United States.”

    Ryan T. Darby

    February 24, 2009 at 8:17 am

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