Thursday, June 26, 2008

James Madison: Patriot or Paranoid?

James Madison was a Founding Father, the 4th President of the United States, and the "Father" of both the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. By all accounts, a man who understood what individual liberty and freedom were all about.

It's interesting then that based on some of the things he said, by today's standard Madison would probably be considered a paranoid, a terrorist sympathizer, and an "America Hater".

Personally, I don't think 200 years has diminished the warnings implicit in his words one bit, regardless of what might be said against them today. We should ignore the wisdom he shared at our own peril:

“If Tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”

“Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.”

“No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

“The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.”

“There are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

“It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”

“Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.”

“We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.”

1 comment:

Mama Hen said...

Oh! I actually have one of those quotes in my signature line for my e-mails.

I think he was right on the money...