Patriotism toward government opposed by founding fathers.

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by David Remer, June 11, 2003

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!
--Benjamin Franklin

The founding fathers of the American Constitution and Bill of Rights would be very concerned by what passes for Patriotism today. The "Love It or Leave It" patriots who would declare that any who speak against the actions of the American government were at least unpatriotic, and some would say traitors. The founding fathers had no love for government, not even our own. They assumed that power corrupts and that government is inherently a powerful force. Their lack of faith in politicians and government in general is to be found everywhere in the Constitution and Bill of Rights as well as many of their well documented quotes as Ben Franklin's above.

This is precisely why they protected individual rights against government in the Bill of Rights and constructed the checks and balances between the legislative, judicial and executive branches. The founding fathers knew there would be abuses of power by officials in power. This is why they lay such great oversight responsibility in the congress, since, congress was supposed to be the champion of the people's causes. The founding fathers could not then foresee the congress placing political power protection ahead of the people's causes as has occurred far too often today. Had they foreseen it, they certainly would have devised a protection against political parties influence in government as well.

For the founding fathers patriotism was not toward government, but, toward the union of people under the banner of liberty from oppressive government and justice for abuses of governmental power.

Note this from George Washington:

"Government is not reason. Government is not eloquence. It is force. And, like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

And these from Thomas Jefferson:

"Never trust a government that doesn't trust its own citizens with guns."
"When government fear the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny."
"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual."

And James Madison states:

"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."

Those today who claim to be patriots while deriding any who challenge the actions and motives of political leaders are foolish. They should take note of Ben Franklin's warning, "No man's life, liberty or fortune is safe while our legislature is in session."

Franklin also states:

"It is the fist responsibility of every citizen to question authority."

The patriotism of the founding fathers was not toward our government. They didn't trust our government or any government since government is the seat of power and power corrupts. It was to the peoples of the colonies who were willing to sacrifice their property and lives for freedom from tyranny and for self-determination that their patriotism was directed. Today, as then, our patriotism should be directed toward our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and to our brave soldiers who are willing to make the sacrifice to defend our rights to freedom and self-determination. BUT, we are foolish to direct our patriotism toward our leaders or the government that puts our young troops in harm's way, or which promises with the mouth and reverses those promises with their actions.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Our allegiance is to what the flag stands for, one nation guided by just laws which preserve and protect the liberty for all and administers justice to those who abridge those liberties for personal gain or profit. And that includes our politicians, who place the protection of their power above the interests of the public at large.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on June 11, 2003 3:03 AM.

Beware the Think Tanks ! was the previous entry in this blog.

High Crimes and Misdemeanor impeachment hearings for President Bush? is the next entry in this blog.

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