By Thomas Madison
Some people worship sports figures as heroes, others military leaders, a few even look to politicians, like FDR, JFK, and Ronald Reagan as heroes.
My heroes have always been our Founding Fathers, which is why their likeness is the header for this website, captured forever in a painting by John Trumbull, depicting Mr. Jefferson’s presentation of the Declaration of Independence to President of the Second Continental Congress, John Hancock. This 12′ x 18′ painting hangs in the Capitol Rotunda. I wonder how many of our elected representatives and senators pass by this painting daily without a clue.
Two Founding Fathers in particular are my favorites, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, both homeboys where I grew up in the mountains of Virginia. Both Monticello and Montpelier are about 30 to 40 miles from my family’s farm. Thomas Madison is the pseudonym I write my blog under. Can you guess how I chose that particular name?
In my opinion it was nothing less than Divine Providence that such a collection of geniuses as Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, et al, together assembled in the same place at precisely the same point in history, for which the entire world is the fortunate, if not always grateful, beneficiary. Their bold experiment in a nation and a society founded upon the principle of individual liberty has blessed all the free nations of the world, all of which modeled their own free societies after the American model, using our Constitution as a model for their own.
Our patriot pals at Connor Post reminded me of how I missed my hero, Thomas Jefferson’s birthday, which was yesterday. So, here is wishing a belated Happy Birthday to Mr. Jefferson, whose genius and talent, combined with his altruistic and benevolent spirit, have been a blessing to us all.
When honoring a group of Nobel Prize winners at a White House dinner in April, 1962, President John F. Kennedy remarked, “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”
Happy Birthday, Mr. Jefferson! May we be worthy of the nation you have blessed us with.
The Connor Post Editorial – April 13, 2016
Today is the birthday of a remarkable sire of American ideals, Thomas Jefferson, 3rd president of the United States, drafter of the Declaration of Independence, purchaser of most of the U.S. continent, and all-around father of our country. Jefferson means many things to many people, and his writings are extensive and often quoted as exemplars of Enlightenment wisdom. He exemplified Classical Liberalism, a concept virtually forgotten today. But what is perhaps most significant about Jefferson was that he created a tradition of liberal democracy that would, if instantiated today, cut through the dross of antisocial and artificial left-right, liberal-conservative dichotomies that divide so much of politics today and force people into choosing camps that fail to meet their needs.
Are you in favor of libertarian freedom from government intrusion into our private lives, of freedom of speech and worship, of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Then you may decide to vote Republican or Democrat, it’s not always clear which side supports your vision, but you are definitely a Jeffersonian.
Are you opposed to foreign wars and entanglements that damage us? You may not be a neocon or a neoliberal, leaving you out of both parties, but you are certainly a Jeffersonian.
Do you believe in personal responsibility as the price for liberty, education and effort as the keys to prosperity, in the free part of free enterprise? You may not be a Republican corporatist or a Democratic entitlist, but you are emphatically a Jeffersonian.
Jeffersonian Democracy inhabits a world of limited governmental powers and strong social bonds, held in place by Constitutionally guaranteed limits on governmental excess and a firm belief in the importance of public involvement in social government. For Jefferson, government was not the problem (conservatives today) nor the solution (liberals today) but a tool of the people to be used wisely.
Wisdom comes from responsible living. Responsible living comes not from being cared for by the state, but by earning one’s rights to live in accordance with one’s freedoms. Freedom, as they say, is not free. But it is not too expensive, either. Liberal conservatism does not demand too much of us, just what we should be doing anyway as responsible citizens.
May the spirit of Jefferson live on!
— Sylvester Connor