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Perspectives on Politics vol. 4

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” -Benjamin Franklin

“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.” -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816

“A wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” -Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.” -Thomas Jefferson

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. Thomas Jefferson First Inaugural Address

“The U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.” Ben Franklin

“When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.” -Thomas Jefferson to Charles Hammond, 1821. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, (Memorial Edition) Lipscomb and Bergh, editors, ME 15:332

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” -Thomas Jefferson, letter to E. Carrington, May 27, 1788

“The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.” -John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1787

James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, elaborated upon this limitation in a letter to James Robertson: “With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.”

In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief of French refugees who fled from insurrection in San Domingo to Baltimore and Philadelphia, James Madison stood on the floor of the House to object saying, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” -James Madison, 4 Annals of congress 179 (1794)

“…[T]he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.” -James Madison

“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions.” James Madison, “Letter to Edmund Pendleton,” -James Madison, January 21, 1792, in The Papers of James Madison, vol. 14, Robert A Rutland et. al., ed (Charlottesvile: University Press of Virginia,1984).

“An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among the several bodies of magistracy as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.” -James Madison, Federalist No. 58, February 20, 1788

“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.” -James Madison, speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 16, 1788

The kind of government proposed by the framers of our Constitution was intended to serve the people. This meant providing protection, adequate infrastructure, the right to make a living, and the right to pursue happiness. The kind of government that the framers did not want was one that tried to control the lives of its constituents. They realized that the latter type of government would transform “we the people” from a “can do” society to a “what can you do for me” society. . Ben Carson (American the Beautiful)

Political and economic stability over a long period of time can breed complacency.    Ben Carson (American the Beautiful)

To take from one because it is though his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it. Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Joseph Milligan. (Founders Almanac)

“It does not take a majority to prevail … but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” —Samuel Adams, Founding Father

“A people may prefer a free government, but if, from indolence, or carelessness, or cowardice, or want of public spirit, they are unequal to the exertions necessary for preserving it; if they will not fight for it when it is directly attacked; if they can be deluded by the artifices used to cheat them out of it; if by momentary discouragement, or temporary panic, or a fit of enthusiasm for an individual, they can be induced to lay their liberties at the feet even of a great man, or trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institutions; in all these cases they are more or less unfit for liberty: and though it may be for their good to have had it even for a short time, they are unlikely long to enjoy it.” (John Stuart Mill, Considerations on Representative Government , p.6)

“The man must be bad indeed who can look upon the events of the American Revolution without feeling the warmest gratitude toward the great Author of the Universe whose divine interposition was so frequently manifested in our behalf. And it is my earnest prayer that we may so conduct ourselves as to merit a continuance of those blessings with which we have hitherto been favored.” – George Washington

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – U.S. Constitution 1st Amendment

“I have lived sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And, if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.; “I firmly believe this; and I also believe, that, without his concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel;... “I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers, imploring the assistance of heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business: and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.” (Benjamin Franklin as quoted by Jared Sparks, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, 1837, pp. 155-56)

“I support the doctrine of separation of church and state as traditionally interpreted to prohibit the establishment of an official national religion. But this does not mean that we should divorce government from any formal recognition of God. To do so strikes a potentially fatal blow at the concept of the divine origin of our rights, and unlocks the door for an easy entry of future tyranny. If Americans should ever come to believe that their rights and freedoms are instituted among men by politicians and bureaucrats, they will no longer carry the proud inheritance of their forefathers, but will grovel before their masters seeking favors and dispensations—a throwback to the feudal system of the Dark Ages.” (Ezra Taft Benson, “Freedom Is Our Heritage,” 10 Nov. 1970)

“When the great work was done and published, I was…struck with amazement. Nothing less than that superintending hand of Providence, that so miraculously carried us through the war… could have brought it about so complete, upon the whole.” (Charles Pinckney speaking of the U.S. Constitution, P.L. Ford, ed., Essays on the Constitution, 1892, p. 412)

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports… Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.” – George Washington, Farewell address

’’Why is it that next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most venerated festival returns on this day? Is it not that in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon the earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?’’ – John Quincy Adams, July 4, 1837 Address

“God rules this world. It is the duty of nations as well as men to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow… and to recognize the sublime truths that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.” – Abraham Lincoln

“As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, so they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities.” – George Mason, Father of the Bill of Rights

“The success, which has hitherto attended our united efforts, we owe to the gracious interposition of heaven, and to that interposition let us gratefully ascribe the praise of victory, and the blessings of peace.” (George Washington, To the Executives of New Hampshire, November 3, 1789)

“Just think for a moment of George Washington, of Franklin, of Madison, of the Adamses, of Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and their associates who signed the Declaration of Independence or participated in the Constitutional Convention. Where in all the world today can even one or two such men be found, let alone the great aggregation who participated in the birth of America? “Can anyone deny that they were raised up unto this very purpose, that working together they brought forth on this continent an independent nation, at the risk of their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor? “It is my conviction that while we have had a few great leaders since then, there has not been before or since so large a group of talented, able and dedicated men as those whom we call the founding fathers of our nation. “For as long as they lived, they acknowledged the hand of the Almighty in the affairs of this republic.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, The Spirit of America, p. 153,)

“It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it [the Constitution] a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.” (James Madison, The Federalist, No. 37)

“I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another,...and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation.” – George Washington

In the nineteenth century a young Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, came to the United States to observe this nation. Afterwards he wrote: “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” (Quoted in The Spirit of America, p32,)

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization not upon the power of government—far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” (James Madison, Russ Walton, Biblical Principles of Importance to Godly Christians [New Hampshire: Plymouth Foundation, 1984], p. 361)

Abraham Lincoln was asked which side God was on in the Civil War. He responded: “I am not at all concerned about that, for I know that the Lord is always on the side of right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side.” (Abraham Lincoln’s Stories and Speeches, J.B. McClure, ed. [Chicago: Rhodes and McClure Publishing Co., 1896], pp. 185-86)

“Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (John Adams, In John R. Howe, Jr.’s, The Changing Political Thought of John Adams [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966], p. 185)

“God, who gave us life, gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are a gift of God?” (Thomas Jefferson, In Love with Eloquence, p. 30)

“We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!” (Abraham Lincoln, A Proclamation “to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.”)

“America, under the smiles of a Divine Providence, the protection of a good government, and the cultivation of manners, morals, and piety, cannot fail of attaining an uncommon degree of eminence, in literature, commerce, agriculture, improvements at home and respectability abroad.” – George Washington

“I thank God that I have lived to see my country independent and free. She may long enjoy her independence and freedom if she will. It depends upon her virtue.” (Samuel Adams, Wells, The Life of Samuel Adams, 3:175) “There are a number of policies that I don’t believe lead to the growth of our nation and don’t lead to the elevation of our nation. I don’t want to sit here and say all of his policies are bad. What I would like to see more often in this nation is an open and intelligent conversation, not people just casting aspersions at each other. I mean, it’s unbelievable to me the way people act like third graders. And if somebody doesn’t agree with them, they’re this and they’re that and, you know — it comes from both sides. And it’s just so infantile.” Ben Carson Feb. 17, 2013 on ABC tv.

The PC [Politically Correct] Police are out in force at all times … We have to get over this sensitivity … PC is dangerous, because you see, this country, one of the founding principles was freedom of thought and freedom of expression. And it [PC] muffles people. It puts a muzzle on them.” Ben Carson Feb. 7, 2013 National Prayer Breakfast.

“These are histories we should know. They can help us thoughtfully respond to questions we will be asked…, and they can enlarge our hearts with compassion and with greater resolution to become both unified and diverse.” Margaret Blair Young,

Capitalism is a system that works extremely well for someone who is highly motivated and very energetic, but it is not a great system for someone who is not interested in working hard or for someone who feels no need to contribute to the economic well-being of their community. People in the latter group frequently rationalize about their value to society and develop a sense of entitlement to the fruits of other people’s labors. Ben Carson America the Beautiful

People can generally find a way to do what they want to do, and they can find a hundred excuses for what they don’t want to do. When you have an entire society of people with a great work ethic and a sense of personal responsibility, that society will take off like a rocket and quickly achieve a position of power and leadership. Ben Carson

If you continually punish those who are economically successful through higher and higher taxes, at some point you extinguish the desire to work hard, since they will be working harder for a smaller return and their profits will increasingly go to the government. The Constitution is quite clear that the government has the right to tax in order to support is programs, but there is nothing in the Constitution to support redistribution of wealth. Some proponents of big government get around this be creating many programs and then argue that these have to be supported by taxes. In this way they redistribute wealth according to their agenda. Ben Carson

Stealth socialism has the ability to stay under the radar while co-opting legitimate entities such as unions, changing them into something that is barely recognizable. “ Ben Carson

One of the themes you may have begun to notice is that those entities that are bad for our nation tend to want what they want now, without thought to how it will affect future generations. If you use that principle as a measuring stick….you can easily determine which unions and entities are good and which are deleterious (harmful) to the prosperity of our nation. Ben Carson

The security provided by socialistic governments can be addicting to the point that citizens are willing to give up many of their individual rights. When government interferes too much in the private lives of its citizens, the losses can become widespread. Those who advocate socialism are free to do so, but for the well read individual, it is easy to discern the agenda of the socialists and how they are implementing that agenda in an attempt to bring fundamental change to America. The agenda? Total government control. Anytime you give to government the responsibility and authority…it will control the lives of the people who live under its jurisdiction, and individual liberty and freedom of choice are sacrificed. …People planners who wish to impose their plans to control the moral and economic lives of other people. Socialism is an old dream. Some dreams are nightmares when put into practice. Ben Carson

..what appears to be good in the short run, but is harmful in the long run, is in the end not virtuous and does not contribute to societal morality. A truly moral nation enacts policies that encourage personal responsibility and discourage self destructive behavior by not subsidizing people who live irresponsibly and make poor choices. Ben Carson

Short term politically expedient fixes and morality are frequently incompatible, and moral values will only become a part of all our policis when we are willing to rediscover and embrace the principles that established our Constitution. Ben Carson

When the government becomes large and intrusive and feels that it has the right to as much of the resources owned by the people as it wants, then we have clearly strayed away from some of the foundational principles of this nation. It is commonplace today to find large groups of people who believe the government has a responsibility to take care of all the basic necessities of its citizens. …it is actually destructive to continually support the needs and habits of those who are lazy and irresponsible. By doing so, we only encourage the proliferation of these undesirable traits and the numbers of people who have to be supported. Ben Carson

…we are in the process right now of learning that our government is far too big—-and the bigger it gets, the more taxpayer money it needs to sustain itself. A gigantic, bloated government has to keep itself busy in order to justify its existence; hence you have more regulations, and meddling in the affairs of the people, whether they request it, need it, or not. …it is the natural tendency of government to expand if there is no conscientious effort to keep it under control” Ben Carson

“I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. The principle of spending money to be paid by future generations under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale. The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. Thomas Jefferson

If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare….the powers of Congress would subvert the very foundation, the very nature of the limited government established by the people of America. James Madison

Rather than spending so much time trying to figure out how not to offend people, it would be wonderful if we expended energy on teaching people not to be offended when someone offers a different opinion. Ben Carson

A large void in ethical world leadership has been present for quite a while… (we need) effective, morally consistent policies unconstrained by political correctness. When political correctness is not introduced into warfare, efficiency and smart economic policies can prevail. Ben Carson

Special interest groups….fight simplification of anything because they benefit from the complexities. As long as we continue to empower and submit to the influence of special interest groups, nothing we do will ever make sense or benefit the general populace. Ben Carson

...a government that continues to tax the rich until there are no more rich, and then begins to tax everyone else without ever curbing its growth or its appetite for money. Eventually it destroys itself. A much wiser government in need of money would examine the methods used by the rich to obtain their wealth and would try to create an economic environment that would cultivate even more rich people, all of whom would pay their fair share of taxes. The more productive people you have in your society, the bigger your tax base, and if those people are paying their proportionate share based on income, it will be a big win for the government. Ben Carson

(In our country) “the problem of not allocation of money, but rather how it is spent.” (system filled with waste and abuse) Ben Carson

One of the by-products of our society’s strong value on compassion is the development of an entitlement mentality among large portions of our populace. …there exists in our society today a vocal and highly sensitive minority who are constantly monitoring every word to try to find fault with the finer points, rather than examining the overall message and attempting to engage in constructive dialogue to help find solutions. Ben Carson

Once people learn that their irresponsible behavior, such as having babies that the cannot care for, results in larger paychecks from the government, those lifestyle choices have negative implications for the entire nation for generations to come . Any attempt to withdraw government charity is seen as a heartless attack upon the most vulnerable members of our society. …it is quite easy to become accustomed to an easier way of life, and after a while to believe that one has a right to that easier way. Ben Carson

When constructive compromise on the part of both political parties is supplanted with a winner takes all battle of wills, the wheels of US progress seize up. …when the party becomes more important than principle, we are in dire straits, for it reveals that our leaders are incapable or unwilling to think critically for themselves. No two people should think exactly alike,…because people have different experiences that have shaped their lives and their perspectives. …the polarity we see…suggests that many of our representatives have become puppets of their political party. Ben Carson

(What threatens our country)..today the issue is personal responsibility versus governmental responsibility. Ben Carson

There continues to be an element…who use abuses of the capitalist system to constantly evoke class warfare. …if they can get poor people to believe that they are the ones advocating for them…then it is very likely that the poor will vote for them. By attempting to associate Americans who are will off due to their extremely hard work and honest efforts with those despicable, greedy financiers, they distort reality. If we demonize, persecute, and overtax such people, they will become unsure of themselves and considerably less productive…with a devastating impact on the general economy. Class warfare is an artificial division created for political advantage, and it should be rejected outright by the American people—-for we have far too many real problems to devote t energy to artificial ones. Ben Carson

Class warfare is an artificial division created for political advantage and it should be rejected outright by the American people—-for we have far too many real problems to devote energy to artificial ones. Ben Carson

…It is quite easy to become accustomed to an easier way of life, and after a while to believe that one has a right to that easier way. Ben Carson

When constructive compromise on the part of both political parties is supplanted with a winner-takes-all battle of wills, the wheels of US progress seize up. When the party becomes more important than principle, we are in dire straits, for it reveals that our leaders are incapable or unwilling to think critically for themselves. …the polarity we see suggests that many of our representatives have become puppets of their political party. Ben Carson

Today is issue is personal responsibility versus governmental responsibility. Ben Carson

It is rarely necessary to divide ourselves into special interest groups to gain advantages, and much more progress can and will be made when we place our emphasis on creating opportunities for everyone as opposed to creating unfair advantages for those with the power to do so. Ben Carson

Give power to human beings and corruption naturally follows. Ben Carson

By attempting to associate Americans who are well off due to their extremely hard work and honest efforts with despicable, greedy financiers, they distort reality. If we demonize, persecute, and overtax such people, they will become unsure of themselves and considerably less productive, which will have a devastating impact on the general economy. Ben Carson

IF we integrate compassion and logic into our decision-making processes, I am convinced that we will deal with newly emerging ethical dilemmas appropriately. Ben Carson

Far too often instead of looking for reasoned, rational approaches to our problems, we play the race card or the religion card or some other card in an attempt to evoke an emotional response. Have we become a nation moved more by emotion than logic when it comes to our governance and legal judgments. If we just tone down the rhetoric and discuss things like rational human beings, applying justice equally and not based on some political philosophy, we will validate that phrase at the end of our Pledge of Allegiance, which advocates justice for all. Ben Carson

In this country, we must guard against a tendency to require monolithic thought as imposed by political correctness. This is an insidious evil that robs people of their God-given desire to think for themselves. Ben Carson

…we go to great lengths to protect the legal rights of fringe elements while at the same time imposing massive social restrictions on speech through political correctness. The real question is, will we as Americans…continue to sheepishly submit to the purveyors of political correctness without recognizing its erosive effects on our freedom? ..we are a people who never surrender, who never give up, who are historically rooted in a faith in God rather than in the vicissitudes of man. Ben Carson

..hard work and innovation….this belief was and should continue to be a basic part of the American dream. ..you should resist any attempts to establish the government as your overseer rather than your facilitator. If we abandon it--even by accident because we are sleeping—our fall will be just as rapid as was our rise. Ben Carson

When rights an freedoms are not exercised, they become meaningless. Ben Carson

…we proclaim to the world that godly principles are essential to our way of life. We have been favored by God because we have acknowledged him, but as the forces of political correctness attempt to push God out of our lives, we must have courage to resist them. We must stand up and be counted. …by no stretch of the imagination should we allow them to force their beliefs on us. Ben Carson

Compromise is good when dealing with issues about which there are legitimate differences of opinion. A problem arises, however with the compromise of principles. Ben Carson

As a nation we need to spend more time understanding who we are and what those principles are that define us. …there should be no apology and no compromise in applying them. Our elected leaders need to spend much more time understanding the values and principles that made us into a great nation, and much less time worrying about what their party platform has on its agenda. Ben Carson

As God-fearing people, we should absolutely exercise tolerance, but changing our way of life to accommodate everyone is not only impractical, but it is also very unfair to the existing culture. …we must have a firm grasp of who we are… if we don’t, the forces of political correctness will gradually blur the lines between tolerance and acceptance, to the point that we will soon have no idea who we are or what we stand for. This process has already begun in our nation, and we must recognize it in order to stop it in its tracks. Ben Carson

Today the forces of political correctness would expel God from every public sphere in American life, and the hearts of minds of every man, woman, and child in America are up for grabs in the cataclysmic battle between the lovers of men and the lovers of God. Some would rather never choose between the two, but life is full of choices, and our individual and collective choices determine the quality of our existence. Ben Carson

The majority of the Ben Carson quotes are from the book America the Beautiful……………………