Would Canadians Even Object to This?

I know Thomas Jefferson gets bad press among certain Christians and some conservatives, but what exactly is wrong with this understanding of government?

About to enter, fellow-citizens, on the exercise of duties which comprehend everything dear and valuable to you, it is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government, and consequently those which ought to shape its Administration. I will compress them within the narrowest compass they will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations. Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none; the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against antirepublican tendencies; the preservation of the General Government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad; a jealous care of the right of election by the people—a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are unprovided; absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism; a well-disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war till regulars may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil over the military authority; economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burthened; the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith; encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid; the diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public reason; freedom of religion; freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation.

If you are a Covenanter, Neo-Calvinist monarchist, or pre-Vatican 2 Roman Catholic, maybe you do. But would Jesus, Peter, or Paul? Or Peter, Paul, and Mary?


39 thoughts on “Would Canadians Even Object to This?

  1. And here he is on education:

    To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business; To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts and accounts, in writing; To improve by reading, his morals and faculties; To understand his duties to his neighbors and country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either; To know his rights; to exercise with order and justice those he retains; to choose with discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor and judgment; And, in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed. To instruct the mass of our citizens in these, their rights, interests and duties … are the objects of education.

    That’s a lot of accent on the common life. Are some neo- Calvinists sure they want to appeal to the founders as much as they do?


  2. Our aims are POGG, peace/order/good government. Our Constitution was crafted to not mention private property and some day this will be an issue.

    Canadian beer sucks? The horses who fill our beer bottles have more protein in their oats than those that the US employes.


  3. I’d be happy to see America actually following those principles to the letter; if America would do so, and we could see that in action, and America thriving by doing so, then maybe Americans could have a bit more moral authority in encouraging others to follow their lead.

    Esp. if this were adhered to:

    “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none”

    An end to getting involved in other countries’ wars, trade with all nations? That’d be wonderful!


  4. Darryl, and kent, I’m wet behind the ears, re: Canadian beer. As in many things here, I take all the help I can get, yo.


  5. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted February 6, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Permalink
    I know Thomas Jefferson gets bad press among certain Christians and some conservatives

    Cite, por favor.

    Ooops. No reply.

    Dr. Hart obviously saw the above request. Crickets in response. If he had a response, he’d have trumpeted it to his followers here. You never resist a shot at a fish in a barrel, Darryl.

    As a matter of historical fact, the “conservative” Christian, the Religious Right argument is that even the most notorious “deist” of the American Founding was nowhere near the “strict separationist” that modern Supreme Court decisions have painted him to be.


    The author of the above, Daniel Dreisbach, has a doctorate from Oxford and a law degree from the University of Virginia and no doubt would love any invitation to eat Dr. Darryl G. Hart for breakfast in any public debate anywhere anytime.

    Perhaps Dr. Hart’s employer, Hillsdale College, would host it. In fact, I’m sure they would welcome it. I’ll help set it up, Darryl. I know people. You only have to ask.

    This I would pay to see, unlike Erik Charter’s youtube links. No offense, “Erik.”


  6. Tom, it’s a general statement by DGH. I can’t imagine what you are after, with you post. Care to clarify for me?

    Also, do you really think Erik Charter is a false person, or online fictional character? Why the scare quotes around his name?/ Just curious.



  7. Cw, like Kenneth, Tom can’t understand why DGH won’t respond to someone who regularly lobs lame insults and drunken rants his direction. It’s called narcissism, and we all suffer from it. But if we can indentify the problem in ourselves, we get to sit back and eat popcorn while these guys dig their own holes (as sean points out to Kenny, on the other thread, kW is the real pony boy around these parts, yo).


  8. TVD,

    The question on the table is what’s wrong with the way Jefferson describes the purpose of government in his first inaugural address? In other words, what do Christian Jefferson haters dislike in this address? Justice, peace, commerce, freedom. Don’t theonomists value these things? I think a theonomist and a satanist might actually be able to live as neighbors in this crazy Jeffersonian idea.


  9. TVD,I hope you chime in on this thread.

    This seems like your chance to shine. Really, Alex Trebec just showed US religious history as one of the categories. Make it a true daily double, show us what you are made of, yo.


  10. Kent: “Our aims are POGG, peace/order/good government. Our Constitution was crafted to not mention private property and some day this will be an issue.”

    Remember the Writs of Assistance? Where British agents could self write a warrant to search and seize your stuff… . 1776 occurred in part because of it.

    The protection against that was:

    Amendment IV

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”

    And a typical rejoinder of State Constitutions:

    Modern Pennsylvania State Constitution

    Inherent Rights of Mankind
    Section 1.
    “All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation, and of pursuing their own happiness.”

    And, what would be the founding principle behind Constitutional protection of your stuff?

    Commandment VIII. “Thou shalt not steal”, which was generally taught in virtually every public school setting from 1620 till 1963. Usually with a posting of the Decalogue in classrooms. Yes, Public education, and American legal doctrines (see Blackstone’s Commentaries ) were literally Torah based till ’63…and I’m old enough to remember !


  11. Are there some good things in what he wrote? Yes. But note this part of the quote:

    Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none;

    Equal and exact justice was extended to neither women nor those of other races. And history shows that Jefferson walked the talk here so this is no small point to make. Perhaps if you are a white male, you have no objection. But would Jesus, Peter, or Paul object? Or would Peter, Paul or Mary object?

    In addition, republicanism was not just contrasted with monarchies, it was also distinguished from direct democracies. Realize that when the Constitution became law, voting was prohibited to most who did not own land. I am not sure when that was changed. Also realize that the original Constitution protected Senators from being accountable to popular vote.

    The point in listing direct democracy with republicanism is that we can either choose to favor one or the other based on our preference for their political mechanics, or we conditionally favor one or the other based on their effects on society. The point being that we need to know why republicanism is so extolled. And if republicanism isn’t meeting the why we favor it, perhaps we should change–but not to a monarchy or other authoritarian government.


  12. He’s not only the 8th most trusted man in America.


    He has been honored with a coveted star on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Canadian Walk of Fame in Toronto, making him one of only a handful of entertainers honored by both the United States and Canada. In 2013, Trebek was ranked #8 in a Reader’s Digest poll of the 100 Most Trusted People in America.http://www.jeopardy.com/showguide/bios/alextrebek/


  13. Curt Day: “The point being that we need to know why republicanism is so extolled. And if republicanism isn’t meeting the why we favor it, perhaps we should change–but not to a monarchy or other authoritarian government.”

    Either we have Republicanism, or we suffer under any other form, which no matter what it is called…by its nature will be authoritarian. For the U.S., it can literally be “Choose this day whom you will serve”.

    The “WHY” of Republicanism, and what is at stake for all citizens, especially Christians… .

    John T Kirkland, Pres., Harvard. 1816 Massachusetts Election Sermon… .

    “The fortunes of OUR country are, under Heaven, staked on the issue of popular constitutions. The Supreme Disposer has assigned to these American States the solemn, the interesting destination of being the subjects of an experiment, on an extensive scale, on the capacity of men in society for self government.” p. 8.

    Reuben Puffer, D.D. 1803 Massachusetts Election Sermon… .
    “The human race claims a share in the events of this day.

    “America arrests the attention of all nations. “We are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.” The experiment is here making, whether, human guilt and depravity considered, mankind are capable of preserving the spirit, and supporting the form of a free, republican government. God forbid! that the negative should receive its last and decisive proof in
    us.” pp. 12-13.

    Are we going to be that last generation to “prove” self-government cannot work?


  14. Andrew, Labatts lite beats Miller Lite.

    DG, I think Michigan is rubbing off on you. The “s” is the giveaway.


  15. Interesting piece in the Des Moines Register today on the Iowa Legislature extending the civil and criminal statutes of limitation for sexual abuse. Guess who is lobbying against it big-time?


    Victims in decades-old cases of alleged sexual abuse could bring new lawsuits under proposed legislation that church and school officials say could leave their organizations vulnerable to huge legal liabilities.

    The bill would undoubtedly have its biggest effect on clergy abuse lawsuits involving the Catholic Church, which has paid out more than $2.5 billion in damages nationwide because of past incidents involving more than 16,500 victims allegedly abused by religious members.

    The Iowa proposal, Senate File 107, is strongly supported by victim advocates, including the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, which says the crimes are often psychologically repressed for decades.

    “This really becomes kind of a no-brainer when you look at it. It is putting first the children of Iowa and the children who have been victimized,” said an adult man only identified as “John,” who spoke before the Senate panel about his experience as a victim of child sexual abuse.

    The legislation is opposed by the Iowa Catholic Conference and the Iowa Association of School Boards. Lobbyists for both groups contend it could have a huge negative financial effect on Iowa churches and school districts, which would find it nearly impossible to mount a legal defense against such lawsuits long after witnesses have died and records have been destroyed.

    The Iowa Catholic Conference, the official policy voice for the Catholic bishops of Iowa, pointed out that the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul was forced to file for bankruptcy in January after the Minnesota Legislature approved the Minnesota Child Victim’s Act. The Minnesota law, passed in 2013, opened a three-year window for filing new lawsuits alleging sexual abuse that otherwise would have been barred by the statute of limitations. About 20 alleged victims of clergy abuse have filed civil suits against the Minnesota archdiocese because of the law, and church officials have reportedly received more than 100 notices of potential claims.

    “As everybody knows, the Catholic Church has had some painful lessons to learn over the past 20 years,” said Tom Chapman, lobbyist for the Iowa Catholic Conference. He noted initiatives within Iowa’s Catholic churches to advocate for victims and to provide widespread training to prevent future incidents.

    The Iowa bill as drafted “would pose a great danger to Catholic ministries. It will end up hurting people who help other people,” Chapman said. The Davenport Catholic Diocese has already gone through bankruptcy as a result of sexual abuse cases involving its priests.

    No vote was taken on the proposed legislation in last week’s subcommittee meeting. But Sen. Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, who is chairing the panel studying the bill, said she plans to discuss the proposal with other senators and will likely schedule another subcommittee meeting. The subcommittee also includes Sens. Julian Garrett, R-Indianola, and Kevin Kinney, D-Oxford.

    John, the sexual abuse victim who testified before the panel, described child sexual abuse as a “perfect crime for predators” because children often try to repress the horrors of what they have experienced. It’s common for victims to be unable to talk about their abuse until their early 40s, which justifies the 25-year window for filing civil lawsuits, he said.

    Amy Campbell, a lobbyist for the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said her organization is very supportive of the bill. Once one victim comes forward, it can spur other victims to speak up, she said.

    Several other lobbyists said while they have sympathy for victims of child sexual abuse, they questioned the fairness of opening a window for lawsuits they believe will be very difficult to defend.

    Emily Piper, lobbyist for the Iowa Association of School Boards, said her organization is concerned that an entirely new school board and school administration could have to deal with allegations that occurred long ago. It’s not fair to impose the legislation upon a future elected school board when it had no input on a how a situation was handled 25 years ago, she said.

    Scott Sundstrom, a lobbyist for the Iowa Defense Counsel Association, expressed similar concerns.

    The justice system is an adversarial system, which allows both sides to present evidence, Sundstrom said. But under the proposed legislation, an allegation could be made about an incident that occurred decades ago and there would be no evidence available to defend against the claims, he said. That’s because employees and witnesses would be gone, and documents that detailed policies and procedures at the time would have been destroyed, he said.

    Lisa Davis-Cook, a lobbyist for the Iowa Association of Justice, said her organization has lawyers on both sides of the issue. She said it’s important to recognize that even if the bill is approved to extend the window for civil lawsuits, plaintiffs would still need to prove their cases in court.

    What’s in the bill

    The proposed Iowa legislation to expand the statue of limitations on child sex abuse cases has four key provisions:

    • It specifies that victims of alleged child sexual abuse who would be barred from filing civil lawsuits under Iowa’s current statute of limitations be given a three-year window to commence lawsuits.

    • The time for filing a civil lawsuit relating to sexual abuse of a minor would be extended from the current one year after a person turns 18 to a period of 25 years after a person reaches age 18.

    • It provides that a lawsuit for damages for alleged sexual abuse when the victim was under age 14 must be brought within 25 years from the time of the discovery of both the injury and the relationship between the injury and the sexual abuse.

    • Criminal charges for sexual abuse in the first, second or third degree involving a person under age 18 must be filed within 25 years after the victim reaches adulthood. The charges must now be filed within 10 years.


  16. Russell,
    Republicanism is not the only form of a nonauthoritarian government. And, in fact, if you read the Constitutional debates along with documents regarding why the Constitution was written and how it was sold, you will find that the republicanism of our Constitution centralized power rather than distributed power. And the reason was simple. Our nation’s new elite felt threatened by widespread dissent as well as Shays Rebellion.

    There are other forms of government besides republicanism which are not authoritarian. In addition, republicanism is a political structure, not a state of being for society. And we need to always check of our current political structure is producing the desired state of being for society.

    Finally, trying to prove your point merely by quoting people from the past is, in itself, authoritarian–it is an appeal to authority.


  17. Curt: “Finally, trying to prove your point merely by quoting people from the past is, in itself, authoritarian–it is an appeal to authority.”

    Yes, I do quote people from the past quite frequently, since they were the educators of their generation of the Founding Era, and were the most proficient at teaching the original intent. That is how knowledge is transferred, otherwise every generation would have to “burn the books”, erase all of human learning, and start all over again… . Imagine theological seminaries with no books, including a main text originally, oh, 2-3.5 millennia old.

    Imagine if Chemistry or Medicine was taught on that pedagogic model… . Nearly all of our modern medicine would not exist, since the body of knowledge accumulated “precept by precept” over many generations would be expunged. In reality, all knowledge is historical, whether discovered 5 minutes ago,(I have a family member working in one of the leading Boston research institutes who knows the thrill of making discoveries), or a critical doctrine of 5 centuries ago, say, from the quill pen of a lawyer known as Jean Cauvin.

    As for the “Elite’s” Constitution, a careful reading reveals that the supreme powers it had were quite limited in scope to issues of trans-State concerns. Otherwise, the Sovereign States were where most political power was held, since local issues were State/County/Municipal administered.

    Princeton’s John Witherspoon educated the greatest number of political figures of the times, including James Madison. And theological studies were part of the curriculum.

    JW’s 1776 Sermon The Dominion of Providence Over The Passions Of Men” you may find interesting reading… .

    Having handled many of the original documents of that era, (including those of Signer Benjamin Rush at Princeton’s Luce library), I certainly appeal to that form of “Authoritarianism” since they were the Authorities who designed it all, and therefore I am not using the logical fallacy of ” appealing to authority.” It’s more like quoting the learned sages… .


  18. Russell,
    Perhaps the following links would provide context for the Constitution:




    BTW, you didn’t understand my point and that is clear from when you quoted me. You quote assessments as facts. Without logically examining those assessments after quoting them, you are merely taking an authoritarian approach. Because X says this about republicanism, it is true.

    I will read Witherspoon today. One of the links I provided might take a few days to read especially if you are busy.


  19. Curt, quite a newsletter you have their, at flaming fundy.

    I gave up fundy when I was a teenager, around the time I was on the price is right.

    How is the world of fundamentalism? Is the jello salad still scrumptious?

    I’ll give your blog a read, you seem like a hoot.



  20. Andrew,
    It all depends on how one defines fundamentalism. I prefer to define it by the basic tenets of Christianity that were historically used to distinguish Christianity from liberalism. And then I recognize that fundamentalism is not a monolith. my concern is to keep subcultures and personality types from discrediting Christianity’s basic tenets.

    As for being a hoot, I haven’t yet figured out how to mix comedy in with my writing. Part of that is because I associate comedy with a personal connection with the audience and I can’t feel that connection when writing articles. It’s a struggle for me.


  21. Curt,


    I can keep myself short, serious, and without links to articles or youtube. I promise.

    I try to follow along with your thoughts as best I can. You certainly do like to post here, and the tenor of what I get from Darryl is it gets a little tiresome for him. He doesn’t need me to say any of this, and likely you don’t either.

    Enjoy your conversations with the 2k reformed folk. As a little bit on the younger side of the bell curve of average ages here at OL, I desire more to lurk than really contribute. I have many working days ahead, and time spent here is time I could be spending somewhere.

    Just know that I’ve noticed you have a pretty long standing presence here, and I see you around a lot of other blogs too. I hope you are able to bring peace to whatever tension you feel exists, through your commenting in online blogs and through your own website.

    Oh, and I get that you like Marxism, one of the “drunk ex pastors” interlocutors asked me an interesting question: “can one be a political liberal while being a doctrinal conservative?”

    I responded: 1000 times yes.

    I’ve read Carl Trueman’s Republocrat, and enjoyed it (as I do most of his writings).

    Also, it appears you are a teacher, from your public profile. Anyway, thus my thoughts. I need to be going.



  22. Andrew,
    I like Marx’s analysis of Capitalism. However, his solution still puts an economic class in charge of society rather than having economic classes try to share society as equals. Should note that, even with Trueman, there are no major Western Christian theologians who escape the conservative-liberal capitalist continuum with the possible exception of Wolterstorf. I haven’t read him enough to determine his position on economics. To escape the Capitalist Continuum, one must be some sort of anti-Capitalist, which I am. But what is essential in taking such a contrarian position is to remember the parable of the two men praying.

    As for my profile, I am a retired teacher waiting for the wife to retire.

    I am selective on which blogposts I comment. The number of my comments will also be due to the replies others make.


  23. Erik,

    Good to hear from you.

    Have some Paul Tillich, your favorite:

    It is the dignity and the danger of Protestantism that it exposes its adherents to the insecurity of asking the question of truth for themselves and that it throws them into the freedom and responsibility of personal decisions, of the right to choose between the ways of the sceptics, and those who are orthodox, of the indifferent masses, and Him who is the truth that liberates. For this is the greatness of Protestantism: that it points beyond the teachings of Jesus and beyond the doctrines of the Church to the being of Him whose being is the truth.

    I had a pastor who named his dog Tillich. And he’s OP.

    No joke, yo.


  24. Curt, thanks for those links, mighty good reading… .

    Madison’s notes on July 2, Mr. Morris’s Rich v Poor solution. Please compare with Justice Yates.

    Interesting to remember, that “The Rich” in America were assembled as a body at the 1787 Convention. Debating a more effective framework for a limited Federal Government.

    “The Rich will strive to establish their dominion & enslave the rest. They always did. They always will. The proper security agst them is to form them into a separate interest.

    The two forces will then controul each other.

    Let the rich mix with the poor and in a Commercial Country, they will establish an oligarchy.
    Take away commerce, and the democracy will triumph.

    Thus it has been all the world over. So it will be among us. Reason tells us we are but men: and we are not to expect any particular interference of Heaven in our favor. By thus combining & setting apart, the aristocratic interest, the popular interest will be combined agst. it. There will be a mutual check and mutual security. ”


    BTW, on these blog comments, I keep remarks short, and quote count high, due to the brevity of the venue, and use the space provided to give the readers additional views to ponder. As Dr. Machen said “the materials of thought are facts.” The facts related to the discussion at hand are contained in the original records and speeches of the Framers.


  25. Not too sure about the quote below:

    There will be a mutual check and mutual security. ”

    Not too sure about the above quote because it is the wealthy who have been in charge for most of our nation’s history. That is especially true now.

    Will read Yates some time this week between periods of shoveling snow.


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