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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Thomas Jefferson on Merchants and the English Gov't. (Read 4,241 times)
Frank1
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Thomas Jefferson on Merchants and the English Gov't.
Jun 8th, 2015 at 10:31am
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I have a book of Mr. Jefferson's letters and was flipping through it casually before bed the other night.

The posters here may or may not be aware of Jefferson's vision for America - he was an agrarian.  He envisioned a nation of independent and independent-minded small farmers and artisans.  His great enemy was Alexander Hamilton who was a late-mercantilist/early capitalist.

It should be obvious that though Jefferson is better known than Hamilton we have in reality become Hamilton's country. 

Anyways, thinking of the TPP and the 'behind closed-doors' way it is being constructed made me think of a letter between Jefferson and one John Langdon in which Jefferson lambasts the British gov't as run by merchants (businessman) and says of course that one can expect no good faith from people whose main goal is to make as much money as possible.

The sad fact is, we live in a world today where money is power and those who have the desire and ability to earn as much as possible rule over us...this is not how things were for most of world history, and it was certainly not Jefferson's vision for our country.

Anyways, 'Tommy J' himself on the British gov't and merchants.  He is speaking on the idea some had of America making an alliance with Britain against Bonaparte, letter was sent to John Langdon, March 5, 1810:

Her faith! [her being Britain] The faith of a nation of merchants!  The Punica fides of modern Carthage!  Of the friend and protectress of Copenhagen!  Of the nation who never admitted a chapter of morality into her political code!  And is now boldly avowing that whatever power can make hers, is hers of right.  Money, and not morality, is the principle of commerce and commercial nations.  But, in addition to this, the nature of the English government forbids, of itself, reliance on her engagements; and of any nation of Europe, since the period of her history wherein she has been distinguished for her commerce and corruption, that is to say, under the houses of Stuart and Brunswick.  To Portugal alone she has steadily adhered, because, by her Methuen treaty, she had made it a colony, and one of the most valuable to her.  It may be asked, what, in the nature of her government, unfits England for the observation of moral duties?  In the first place, her King is a cipher, his only function being to name the oligarchy which is to govern her.  The parliament is, by corruption, the mere instrument of the will of the administration....The question whether a measure is moral, is never asked; but whether it will nourish the avarice of their merchants, or the piratical spirit of their navy, or produce any other effect which may strengthen them in their places.


He then goes on to lambast the monarchs and aristocrats of Europe generally.  Though I disagree with his views on monarchy, he did come onto the scene at the tail end of the European monarchies when they had been corrupted with all the avarice of mercantilism and furthermore when many merchants had, over the previous few centuries, bought their way into the aristocracy, meaning that there were literally at least some "merchant princes" in Europe.



The bigger question though, is have we not become the England of our day?  I think we have...our politicians are mere ciphers for the will of the giant corporations and their leaders who flood the system with money and whose only goal is to increase their wealth.

One can expect no or very little morality from such people...perhaps this is why Jesus said: "It is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle."


Oh, but we do not listen to Jesus, we listen to Oxycontin Rush Limbaugh, and he tells us corporations are good for us!!   Roll Eyes
« Last Edit: Jun 8th, 2015 at 10:37am by Frank1 »  


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Limey.
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Re: Thomas Jefferson on Merchants and the English Gov't.
Reply #1 - Jun 8th, 2015 at 3:22pm
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He was dead right about England's Government, and it's not changed much.

Apart from the stand against Nazism (when, in effect, Britain saved the world), the establishment of socialised medicine and the (generally) voluntary and non violent withdrawal from Empire, there's little in the last 250 years that sits outside Jefferson's description as quoted.
  

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Re: Thomas Jefferson on Merchants and the English Gov't.
Reply #2 - Jun 8th, 2015 at 9:32pm
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It is not the corporations themselves that are necessarily bad for us.

Organizing together, however large the organization, can be vastly beneficial.  And often, it is.

It is when government authority works on their behalf that the problems come in.  And this is what Jefferson was alluding to.

That is how you get tax-funded bailouts of banks, interest rate manipulation to the benefit of asset holders, the TPP, legal protection of large unions, etc.

But that is just one arm of the welfare state.  The other being the individual welfare state.  America is suffering under an individual welfare state that is also massive.

So you have each of these forms of welfare, one gotten via campaign contributions and one gotten via the vote.

And the ones getting crushed are the ones too poor to make campaign contributions and too moderately financially comfortable to qualify for all of the individual government benefits.  These are the small businesses, the family farmers (although many of them have gotten a good chunk of benefits), the wage earner, those who work in non-favored industries or organizations, certain savers, etc.

This is inevitable when government is granted more than minimal, decentralized power (and minimal, decentralized power is what Jefferson, et. al. sought in forming the USA). 

The only solution is massive new limitations on government power.

Power corrupts.  And in many cases government authority has led to massive corruption.
  
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Re: Thomas Jefferson on Merchants and the English Gov't.
Reply #3 - Jun 8th, 2015 at 10:06pm
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wyattstorch2004 wrote on Jun 8th, 2015 at 9:32pm:
It is not the corporations themselves that are necessarily bad for us.

Organizing together, however large the organization, can be vastly beneficial.  And often, it is.

It is when government authority works on their behalf that the problems come in.  And this is what Jefferson was alluding to.

That is how you get tax-funded bailouts of banks, interest rate manipulation to the benefit of asset holders, the TPP, legal protection of large unions, etc.

But that is just one arm of the welfare state.  The other being the individual welfare state.  America is suffering under an individual welfare state that is also massive.

So you have each of these forms of welfare, one gotten via campaign contributions and one gotten via the vote.

And the ones getting crushed are the ones too poor to make campaign contributions and too moderately financially comfortable to qualify for all of the individual government benefits.  These are the small businesses, the family farmers (although many of them have gotten a good chunk of benefits), the wage earner, those who work in non-favored industries or organizations, certain savers, etc.

This is inevitable when government is granted more than minimal, decentralized power (and minimal, decentralized power is what Jefferson, et. al. sought in forming the USA). 

The only solution is massive new limitations on government power.

Power corrupts.  And in many cases government authority has led to massive corruption.



Because giant corparations can always be trusted to work so as not to harm the public interest. The free market will make sure they do!!!!

Grin Grin Grin
  
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Re: Thomas Jefferson on Merchants and the English Gov't.
Reply #4 - Jun 8th, 2015 at 10:25pm
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Because giant corparations can always be trusted to work so as not to harm the public interest. The free market will make sure they do!!!!

Grin Grin Grin


Do you have an argument to make?
  
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Re: Thomas Jefferson on Merchants and the English Gov't.
Reply #5 - Jun 9th, 2015 at 3:31am
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wyattstorch2004 wrote on Jun 8th, 2015 at 10:25pm:
Do you have an argument to make?


He just did.

Corporations do not have anybody's interests in mind except their own.

It's a fantasy to think they'd take any real care of their customers, workers, suppliers or environment unless forced to.

Market pressures won't force them, at least not fully or reliably and certainly not quickly.

Anyone who has had dealings with corporations knows this, on the evidence of their own eyes.
  

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Re: Thomas Jefferson on Merchants and the English Gov't.
Reply #6 - Jun 9th, 2015 at 3:49am
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Sigh.   Roll Eyes

From Adam Smith, an exponent of the Scottish Enlightenment that inspired the American Founders:

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.

It is this idea that left wingers will never grasp, even if you tried to pound it into their heads with a sledge hammer.
  
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Re: Thomas Jefferson on Merchants and the English Gov't.
Reply #7 - Jun 9th, 2015 at 4:04am
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patrick2 wrote on Jun 9th, 2015 at 3:49am:
Sigh.   Roll Eyes

From Adam Smith, an exponent of the Scottish Enlightenment that inspired the American Founders:

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.

It is this idea that left wingers will never grasp, even if you tried to pound it into their heads with a sledge hammer.


Well, obviously (actually, didn't someone say "genius is stating the obvious that no-one had noticed" or words to that effect? Grin).

I'd not pretend for a moment that no good comes from commercial activity.

I'd say, 'cos l know it's true, that you have to watch them carefully because they don't seek your benefit and you don't weigh up against profit.

"Never give a sucker an even break" could be carved above the door of most firms.
« Last Edit: Jun 9th, 2015 at 4:14am by Limey. »  

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Re: Thomas Jefferson on Merchants and the English Gov't.
Reply #8 - Jun 9th, 2015 at 8:12am
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wyattstorch2004 wrote on Jun 8th, 2015 at 10:25pm:
Do you have an argument to make?


It's the very arguement that you believe, in your heart of hearts.

Of course, it has failed.

Repeatedly.
  
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Re: Thomas Jefferson on Merchants and the English Gov't.
Reply #9 - Jun 9th, 2015 at 11:27am
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It's the very arguement that you believe, in your heart of hearts.

Of course, it has failed.

Repeatedly.



eh?
  

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