Sunday, November 09, 2008
A pastoral word
"If [God] has made it a law in the nature of man to pursue his own happiness, He has left him free in the choice of place as well as mode, and we may safely call on the whole body of English jurists to produce the map on which nature has traced for each individual the geographical line which she forbids him to cross in pursuit of happiness."
--Thomas Jefferson to John Manners, 1817.
"What is true of every member of the society, individually, is true of them all collectively; since the rights of the whole can be no more than the sum of the rights of the individuals."
--Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1789
"No one has a right to obstruct another exercising his faculties innocently for the relief of sensibilities made a part of his nature."
--Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours, 1816
"No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him."
--Thomas Jefferson to Francis Gilmer, 1816.
"The spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may commence persecutor, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is while our rulers are honest and ourselves united."
---Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XVII, 1782
It is a supreme irony, but yet an obvious certainty, that those whose rights are most recently protected are those that would most viciously attack the same rights of others. Arrogance of this nature is a stench that can be tolerated in our Nation or Society. As Jefferson has said any right taken from one is a right taken from all. For any "protected class" of individuals to organize and join with others to destroy or deny the natural rights of another is inherently obscene.
Family matters have delayed my departure. Thus you are blessed with my wisdom today!
Kant is now being widely read in international law for his description of cosmopolitanism (the rights of the individual not secured by nation states but by universal principal [important now as national boundaries and responsibilities are being blurred by market globalization and environmental crisis].
If we could understand ourselves better as Americans, we would see that looking to our founders, Jefferson one of a few preeminent examples, should take us to Rousseau, Hume, Kant, and others since.