2nd Carnival of Principled Government, Axioms of a Free Society
Welcome to the second edition of the Carnival of Principled Government. Again, we have a mix of views on a variety of topics central to our liberty, offered for further thought and discussion. Somewhat unintentionally, Thomas Jefferson seems to have come up predominantly in preparing this post, so I begin with a picture of the man whom Abraham Lincoln venerated with the words, "The principles of Jefferson are the axioms of a free society."
In an 1821 letter to Nathaniel Macon, Thomas Jefferson wrote,
Our government is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction; to wit: by consolidation first and then corruption, its necessary consequence. The engine of consolidation will be the Federal judiciary; the two other branches the corrupting and corrupted instruments.
How prophetic.

Beginning at the beginning, T.F.Stern tackles the foundation of American government: God-given, unalienable rights as claimed in the Declaration of Independence.

Hell's Handmaiden might disagree with that as he argues that the foundation of America is not at all Christian.

My views on that are perhaps a little complex. I am prone to talk now and again of America's Christian founding, but it has little to do with the faith (or lack thereof) of any particular framer of our founding documents. But you can read my views on what it means to have a "Christian" form of government for yourself.

February 15, 1791, Thomas Jefferson wrote his opinion on the creation of a national bank that is considered "one of the stellar statements on the limited powers and strict construction of the Federal Constitution." Ironically, he is arguing against Hamilton's broad interpretation of the Constitution which he defended in the Federalist Papers as inherently limiting.
I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground--that all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, or to the people (10th amend.). To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition. Thomas Jefferson, Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, 1791
There is that consolidation of power Jefferson warned against in 1821, and Brad Warbiany takes a look at the effect America's economic difficulties and the Federal Reserve. Jason Pye looks at the tenth amendment and the erosion of personal liberty with the consolidation of power. All for the "common good," of course.

Rick Sincere shares some information about two new books looking at the history and future of libertarian thought in America.

Since the federal appeals court 2:1 ruling that D.C.'s ban on handguns is unconstitutional, I've been coming across a lot more information about what significant people early in our founding thought on our right to bear arms. Was it merely for militia purposes? Was it based in the fact that the late 18th century was a vastly different time when survival perhaps depended on owning a gun? Both arguments would be admittedly out-of-date now. But if the power of the state rests with the people, why should the people give up their arms to the state?
The constitutions of most of our States asserts that all power is inherent in the people; that...it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824
Greg from Rhymes with Right notes that two out of three isn't bad, but perhaps Judge Henderson should rethink who the Bill of Rights applies to.

Recently, our frenetic fear of guns seems to be slipping. Maybe my perception of that comes merely from the fact that Nebraska recently passed its own concealed carry law and I've been seeing the reminder in all our local haunts such as the children's museum and the library. This editor's choice comes from a local (NE) blogger who is chronicling some of these issues in Joe's Crabby Shack. I had some difficulty selecting a post...he has a lot of good ones...but this one caught my attention. Probably because I immediately took his suggestions and replaced "gun owner" with "homeschooler." Guns and ideas seem equally dangerous these days. So long as you are over there, you might as well check out his master's thesis idea, as well.

If life, liberty and property are considered among our basic, unalienable rights, certainly this extends also to our own health care, particularly in cases where these choices have no effect on anyone but ourselves. There has been a lot of discussion recently about the new vaccine against cervical cancer. Judy at Consent of the Governed has been discussing some of these issues, and offers praise for the Texas legislature.

Susan from Corn and Oil takes a look at some of the founding principles of the Republican Party and how they have strayed from that vision, in this case with the passage of a mental health screening bill (EC).

One of the powers our federal government undeniably has is the power to declare and wage war. When to go to war and when to hold to the neutrality we professed early on, however, has long been a subject of disagreement. Thomas Jefferson long argued for neutrality in the affairs abroad and particularly in Europe, but he was not a complete pacifist, either. As Secretary of State and later as President, he was faced with issues which would result in him deciding to maintain a strong naval force. In one of our first relations with international terrorists, Jefferson argues for war against the pirates of the Barbary Coast:
I acknolege I very early thought it would be best to effect a peace thro' the medium of war. Thomas Jefferson, to John Adams, 1786
Citizen Phil takes a looks at the fundamental liberties we hold dear and America's position in the world as a sort of standard-bearer for liberty. When we should entangle ourselves in foreign affairs and when we should stay bound to the neutrality we professed early on is a subject of much debate and disagreement.

On the broader subject of rights comes Reasoned Audacity with Same Sex Marriage: A Foreign Precedent? The only direct references I could find to what our founding fathers may have thought on this issue was a vague reference to Thomas Jefferson arguing for a "liberalization" of Virginia's laws against sodomy. He thought they should be spared the death penalty and castrated instead. I don't know why, but the whole issue reminds me of an interesting discussion on some internet forum a while back about why it is that any marriage is recognized and licensed by the state.

Fundamental to our liberty is a topic closest to me: education. Education should be about more than imparting certain, fundamental skills, but should also produce in the individual discernment, the recognition of his basic rights and the ability to converse intelligibly on the topics which effect him an his nation. An educated citizenry does not as easily fall prey to hollow arguments and political platitudes which have no foundation in anything other than what "sounds good." On this note, Terresa Monroe-Hamilton offers One Individual's Voice.

If you would like to join the conversation about our fundamental rights, the vision for our government to be found in our founding documents and how these views have shaped (or been abandoned by) our current political landscape, please consider submitting an entry to the Carnival of Principled Government. More information can be found here. The next edition should be posted April 9.


Photo Credits:
Thomas Jefferson
Federal Reserve Notes
Weapon Free Zone

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