Tag: Thomas Jefferson

Israeli political philosopher Yoram Hazony (’86) discusses the Enlightenment, the American Founding, his latest book: Conservatism: A Rediscovery, and Conservatism’s past and future.

Dr. Hazony is the the President of the Herzl Institute, based in Jerusalem, and the chairman of the Edmund Burke Foundation, a public affairs institute based in Washington D.C., which recently hosted the popular National Conservatism Conference in Miami, FL.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Alan Taylor, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor of History at the University of Virginia, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of the book, Thomas Jefferson’s Education. Professor Taylor shares some highlights of Jefferson’s career, his views on the importance of primary and higher public education in serving the political aspirations of his state and region, and Jefferson’s role as the architect of the University of Virginia, whose buildings embody his Neoclassical outlook. Professor Taylor reviews Virginia’s complex, 18th-century history as the most politically influential, populous, and wealthiest state, but one that was heavily dependent on agriculture and slavery. The interview concludes with Professor Taylor reading from his book on Jefferson.

Stories of the Week: A Washington Post column raises concerns about data showing that we are under-educating our children through low academic expectations, especially those from low-income and minority backgrounds. In Wisconsin, Act 31 requires that K-12 public schools instruct students in the history of the state’s Native Americans – but some estimate that less than half of the schools are implementing it.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Charles Hobson, a retired resident scholar at the William & Mary Law School, 26-year editor of The Papers of John Marshall, and author of The Great Chief Justice: John Marshall and the Rule of Law. Dr. Hobson shares what students should know about the longest-serving, most important chief justice in the history of the Supreme Court, and his influence on our understanding of the U.S. Constitution. He reviews some of the most important Court decisions in American history. He also describes Marshall’s relationship with President Thomas Jefferson and their divergent views on the authority of the Court; as well as Marshall’s paradoxical position on African-American slavery. They explore the “Marshall Trilogy” of foundational Court decisions about Native Americans; and Chief Justice Marshall’s role and legacy of using the Court to safeguard the rule of law under the Constitution.

Stories of the Week: In Arizona, 40 students enrolled in the Applied Career Exploration in STEM (ACES) Camp engaged in immersive, hands-on activities and explored a wide variety of STEM careers. All 50 U.S. governors have agreed to expand K-12 computer science education in their states, prompted by a letter from 500+ business, education and nonprofit leaders urging an update.

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I’ve become a huge fan of podcasts, or as they say in the craft, “on-demand media.” I subscribe to several, from radio talker Hugh Hewitt’s “The Hughniverse” (his radio show without the commercials) to “What the Hell is Going On” by American Enterprise Institute senior fellows Marc Thiessen and Danielle Pletka. There are others. But […]

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Friday Was the Feast of the Baptizer

 

John first penetrated my awareness in the gospels. He was an Elijah, a Jeremiah, an Isaiah, in an age when the prophets had been silent for 400 years, and in an age when, to my young mind, no other prophets were needed. The Son had come. The demon Baal and his profits were now truly and utterly and forever defeated and cast out.

If the feet of the Son trods the mountaintops publishing peace, what is this mere prophet doing here? And the Son tells us, John is the greatest of all the prophets. Not that the Son isn’t a prophet and immeasurably greater than John, but the Son is something that is the epitome of so many titles. Prophet, priest, rabbi, king, shepherd, son … friend. He chides John to baptize Him despite the odd asymmetries of that moment, to fulfill all righteousness. I have read commentaries, but I am still convinced that the full and exact portent of those words will not be shown to me until the fulfillment of the promise of the resurrection of the body, when I ask Him to His face.

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Several years ago, I began Dumas Malone’s magisterial biography of Thomas Jefferson. Reading it off and on since, I finally made a push to finish the sixth volume, some 3000 pages later. The last chapters are rather sad. Malone goes into great detail regarding Jefferson’s difficulties starting the University of Virginia. I was amused to […]

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Quote of the Day: Jesus and the Adulteress

 

It is an essential story of Jesus’ ministry. From John 8:

“3Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst,
4they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.
5“Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned.d But what do You say?”
6This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
7So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
8And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
11She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
12Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
– NKJV

Ronald Reagan, Thomas Jefferson, Roy Moore … and the Culture Wars

 

The usual names that come up when a Conservative thinks about Cancel Culture or the Culture Wars in general: Saul Alinsky, Herbert Marcuse, Antonio Gramsci, etc.

My thoughts on Cancel Culture made some other names pop up in my head; Roy Moore, Ed Stack, Brett Kavanaugh, Ben Shapiro, Andrew Breitbart, Stanley Kurtz, Thomas Jefferson, Jared Polis, Michael Corleone, John Roberts, Heather Mac Donald, Ronald Reagan, Michael Lind, etc.

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Ace of Spades links to a recent article at the Federalist by David Marcus, in which he notes of conservatives who have offered little resistance to the toppling of certain statues: [A]fter you write your little op-ed about how of course the evil Confederate statues have to come down, they still think you’re a racist. […]

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Among These Rights

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, That to secure these rights Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

Among these. A government that doesn’t secure for its citizens the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is illegitimate. Ol’ Tommy J. was specific about that point when he penned the Declaration. But he implies the existence of others. Heck, he does more than imply it; let me quote from further down the Declaration, in the list of complaints:

Quote of the Day – The Meaning of Laws

 

“Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure.” – Thomas Jefferson

The good news for woke activists judges and the Living Constitution advocates is that Thomas Jefferson was a slaveholder and therefore anything he says that disagrees with their viewpoint can be disregarded. And certainly they will disagree with this – that the plain wording of the law is the plain meaning of the law. It was the foundation rock of this republic; the rock Progressives are trying to dissolve to sand.

Progress, Immigration, and the Question of Rule

 

One of the complaints in the Declaration of Independence addresses the king’s position on immigration. Let’s have a look, shall we?

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States, for that reason obstruction the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

Formidable to Tyrants Only

 

The title comes from the Declaration of Independence. Third on the list of grievances, Ol’ Tommy J. has this to say:

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

Deep Dive on the Declaration of Independence and Its Relevance Today

 

In honor of Independence Day, for this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast I take a deep dive into the Declaration of Independence, discussing:

  • Its unique place in human history and the cause of freedom
  • The link between natural law and natural rights, faith and freedom
  • The Founders’ emphasis on virtue and morality to sustain a free system of limited government
  • Parallels between the charges laid out against King George III in the Declaration and modern America from the administrative state to sanctuary cities
  • The Founders’ views on slavery, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and failing to live up to the values and principles of the Declaration
  • The imperative to defend liberty against tyranny
  • And much more

You can find the episode on iTunes, everywhere else podcasts are found or download the episode directly here.

Lionized in print and on theater stages, Alexander Hamilton is a curious bookend for a new president who likewise calls Manhattan home, is steeped in capitalism, and uses the media to joust with his rivals. Elizabeth Cobbs, a Hoover Institution senior fellow and author of The Hamilton Affair: A Novel, separates fact from fiction regarding the famed Founding Father.

Quote of the Day: Common Sense

 

Today’s quote is again from the movie musical 1776. It comes at the point in the story where John Adams and Ben Franklin, desperately looking for a way to delay a vote on independence that they know they will lose, propose the writing of a Declaration of the colonist’s intent. Pressed by the other delegates for an explanation of why the Declaration is necessary, Adams and Franklin are foundering, unable to come up with a satisfactory answer, until Thomas Jefferson steps up and saves them, saying:

“To place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent.”

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“To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the […]

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The Twenty-Four-Year Itch Revisited

 

24 FlagIn a piece posted two weeks ago, “Donald Trump and the Twenty-Four-Year Itch,” I claimed to have seen this movie before more than once: Twenty-four years ago, when Ross Perot led an insurgency, and twenty-four years before that when, as a cub reporter, I covered the George Wallace campaign as it unfolded in Oklahoma. It was my contention, then, and is my contention now that, in American politics, things tend to come apart roughly every 24 years — which is to say, once a generation — when a neglected part of the electorate erupts in fury at our masters in DC.

In the interim, I have found myself musing about the Trump phenomenon time and again, and I am prepared to defend the following hypothesis — that something of the sort has recurred every quarter-century or so in this country now for nearly 250 years.

In 1776, for example, there was a real revolution directed at our masters in London. In 1800, there was, so Thomas Jefferson tells us, a second revolution, when his Republicans ousted the Federalist Party from power. There was another such event in 1824 when Andrew Jackson outpolled John Quincy Adams. That development did not reach fruition until 1828 when he replaced Adams, but the writing was on the wall in 1824. The era in which the grandees of the revolutionary generation dominated American politics was over.

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Benjamin Franklin drew as his design for the Great Seal of America, a picture of the Egyptians (i.e. the English) drowning in the Red Sea (i.e. the Atlantic), with the caption, “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” Thomas Jefferson was so struck by the sentence that he recommended it to be used on the […]

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