PDA

View Full Version : More attacks on the Founders




Danke
06-30-2011, 03:58 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/the-founding-fathers--unzipped.html

The Founding Fathers, unzipped
The Daily Beast – Thu, Jun 30, 2011

The Constitution’s framers were flawed like today’s politicians, so it’s high time we stop embalming them in infallibility.


By Simon Schama
June 26, 2011

He may have written the Declaration of Independence, but were he around today Thomas Jefferson wouldn’t have a prayer of winning the Republican nomination, much less the presidency. It wouldn’t be his liaison with the teenage daughter of one of his slaves nor the love children she bore him that would be the stumbling block. Nor would it be Jefferson’s suspicious possession of an English translation of the Quran that might doom him to fail the Newt Gingrich loyalty test. No, it would be the Jesus problem that would do him in. For Thomas Jefferson denied that Jesus was the son of God. Worse, he refused to believe that Jesus ever made any claim that he was. While he was at it, Jefferson also rejected as self-evidently absurd the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, and the Resurrection.

Jefferson was not, as his enemies in the election of 1800 claimed, an atheist. He believed in the Creator whom he invoked in the Declaration of Independence and whom he thought had brought the natural universe into being. By his own lights he thought himself a true Christian, an admirer of the moral teachings of the Nazarene. It had been, he argued, generations of the clergy who had perverted the simple humanity of Jesus the reformer, turned him into a messiah, and invented the myth that he had died to redeem mankind’s sins.

All of which would surely mean that, notwithstanding his passion for minimal government, the Sage of Monticello would have no chance at all beside True Believers like Michele Bachmann. But Jefferson’s rationalist deism is not the idle makeover of liberal wishful thinking. It is incontrovertible historical fact, as is his absolute determination never to admit religion into any institutions of the public realm.

So the philosopher-president whose aversion to overbearing government makes him a Tea Party patriarch was also a man who thought the Immaculate Conception a fable. But then real history is like that—full of knotty contradictions, its cast list of heroes, especially American heroes, majestic in their complicated imperfections.

Take another of the Founders routinely canonized in the current fairy-tale version of American origins that passes muster for history by those who don’t actually read very much of it: Alexander Hamilton. Outed by the Andrew Breitbart of his day, James Thomson Callender, for having had an “amorous connection” with the married Maria Reynolds, Hamilton responded by making an unapologetic preemptive confession—insisting that since on the truly serious issue of whether he had profited from the management of public finances he was innocent, the rest was nobody’s business but his own. Callender retorted that Hamilton had owned up to the sexual impropriety as a cover for the more serious financial one.

True history is the enemy of reverence. We do the authors of American independence no favors by embalming them in infallibility, by treating the Constitution like a quasi-biblical revelation instead of the product of contention and cobbled-together compromise that it actually was. Even the collective noun “Founding -Fathers” planes smooth the unreconciled divisiveness of their bitter and acrimonious disputes. History is a book of chastening wisdom to which we ought to be looking to deepen our understanding of the legitimate nature of American government—including its revenue-raising power, an issue that deeply captivated the antagonized minds of that first generation. But unfortunately, there is little evidence of citizens engaging in close, critical reading of The Federalist Papers, of the debates surrounding constitutional ratification, or of the dispute that pitted Hamilton and James Madison against Patrick Henry over what was at stake in Congress’s authority to make laws “necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the…Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States.”

Instead of knowledge, we have tricorn hats. Staring at a copy of the Constitution in the National Archives and making promotional pilgrimages to revolutionary New England didn’t prevent Sarah Palin from butchering the truth of Paul Revere’s ride, turning it into some sort of NRA advisory to the British to keep their gosh-darned hands off American firearms.

Facts, as John Adams insisted when defending British redcoats after the Boston Massacre, “are stubborn things.” He would be horrified by the regularity with which American history is mangled in the interests of confirming prejudices. It matters when Glenn Beck’s guest Andrew Napolitano pins the responsibility for the 17th Amendment, instituting direct election of senators, on a Wilsonian plot against American liberties, rather than the proposal of a Republican senator in 1911 that was approved by Congress before Wilson ever set foot in the White House. It matters when Bachmann mischaracterizes the Founding Fathers as working “tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” What made the Constitution acceptable throughout the Union was a Faustian bargain that counted slaves as three fifths of a citizen, thus artificially bloating the political representation of the slaveholding South.

With adult history buffs so deluded about the reality of the American past, it’s even more alarming that the National Assessment of Educational Progress recently rated history as the subject at which students are least proficient. This wouldn’t matter if history were just some recreational stroll down memory lane. But it isn’t. In the fiery debates of Americans long dead can be discerned the lineaments of the same core issues that divide us today. Right now, the education that might inform such a debate has turned into a schoolyard shouting match.

As the electioneering rises to a din, those who dare to read history for its chastening wisdom will be fatuously accused of “declinism.” But it is those who reduce history’s hard and honest reckonings to exceptionalist chest-thumping who will be the true agents of degeneration. As one of Jefferson’s favorite books, Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, so luminously argued, there is no surer sign of a country’s cultural and political decay than an obtuse blindness to its unmistakable beginnings.

Schama, a professor of history at Columbia University, debuts as a NEWSWEEK/DAILY BEAST contributor in this issue.

Chieppa1
06-30-2011, 04:05 PM
comments are encouraging.

YumYum
06-30-2011, 04:06 PM
Interesting read, Danke. Dilorenzo pointed out how Lincoln was a myth. Why is that not true of our "Founding Fathers"?

heavenlyboy34
06-30-2011, 04:12 PM
Excellent article!! :D

heavenlyboy34
06-30-2011, 04:13 PM
Interesting read, Danke. Dilorenzo pointed out how Lincoln was a myth. Why is that not true of our "Founding Fathers"?
He touched on that in "Hamilton's Curse". ;) :) :cool:

Brian4Liberty
06-30-2011, 04:42 PM
Just another piece of the continuing agenda:


Here's what they do believe in: they believe in a vast legal system, where all laws are open to debate and litigation. A system where any position can be defended or attacked on a "legal" basis. A system where the most powerful generally get their way, regardless of the letter or intent of the law. A system where anything can be justified. A system which enables power to reside with those with the most knowledge of the law, and how to use and manipulate it. A system where maximum employment is enjoyed for all those who desire to support, sustain and profit from the legal system.

They believe in no law at all, expertly disguised as a society fully enveloped in law.

The Constitution is the worst sort of law for them. It's far too clear, simple and supreme. The best law in their eyes is ambiguous, convoluted, complex and with no priorities at all.

tpreitzel
06-30-2011, 04:55 PM
Just another piece of the continuing agenda:

Sure, a large body of law enables the criminal class with the resources to exploit loopholes resulting from it. I've pointed this very fact out numerous times over the years.

Cutlerzzz
06-30-2011, 05:01 PM
Well, the Founding Fathers were not infallable. They ultimately created a central bank, Sedition Act, and a few other anti Liberty laws. They were the greatest generation, but they made their own share of awful mistakes.

blocks
06-30-2011, 08:13 PM
Well, the Founding Fathers were not infallable. They ultimately created a central bank, Sedition Act, and a few other anti Liberty laws. They were the greatest generation, but they made their own share of awful mistakes.

Exactly. Don't let us fall into the trap of deifying the founders nor the Constitution for that matter.

tnvoter
06-30-2011, 09:11 PM
look at who wrote it.. If I'm correct, it wasn't even written by an american. Which makes even more sense :).

heavenlyboy34
06-30-2011, 09:16 PM
Exactly. Don't let us fall into the trap of deifying the founders nor the Constitution for that matter.
qft and +rep

Vessol
06-30-2011, 09:57 PM
Exactly. Don't let us fall into the trap of deifying the founders nor the Constitution for that matter.

No kidding. There is way too much unwarranted worship of the 'Founders' on these boards.

Watch
06-30-2011, 09:58 PM
This reminds me of the arguments in the 1840's in the constitutionality of slavery. Quoting Lysander Spooner's Wiki page :

Although he recognized that the Founders had probably not intended to outlaw slavery when writing the Constitution, he argued that only the meaning of the text, not the private intentions of its writers, was enforceable.

Danke
06-30-2011, 11:56 PM
The Constitution’s framers were flawed like today’s politicians, so it’s high time we stop embalming them in infallibility.

Comparing today's politicians with the Founders? LOL



He may have written the Declaration of Independence, but were he around today Thomas Jefferson wouldn’t have a prayer of winning the Republican nomination, much less the presidency. It wouldn’t be his liaison with the teenage daughter of one of his slaves nor the love children she bore him that would be the stumbling block. DNA, evidence it might have been his brother, but let's put the blame on him.


It is incontrovertible historical fact, as is his absolute determination never to admit religion into any institutions of the public realm. For the Federal government. The Union had sanctioned religion in the States' governments.


So the philosopher-president whose aversion to overbearing government makes him a Tea Party patriarch was also a man who thought the Immaculate Conception a fable. Tea Party, another misrepresentation. RP started the Tea Party in 2007. Yes, it has been co-opted, by the MEDIA!

Hamilton? Please, already discredited by libertarians.


True history is the enemy of reverence. No, just the opposite.



..., turning it into some sort of NRA advisory to the British to keep their gosh-darned hands off American firearms. What?!?! Another attack on the 2nd Amendment.


It matters when Bachmann mischaracterizes the Founding Fathers as working “tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” What made the Constitution acceptable throughout the Union was a Faustian bargain that counted slaves as three fifths of a citizen, thus artificially bloating the political representation of the slaveholding South. Again, doesn't understand the goal of ending slavery. Plans written about said subject by none other than Jefferson himself, amongst others.


I agree with many of the posters in this thread. But I see this as an attack on the Constitution, that there is nothing wrong with progressives trying to change it as it is archaic.

idirtify
07-01-2011, 12:46 AM
... But I see this as an attack on the Constitution, that there is nothing wrong with progressives trying to change it as it is archaic.

Yeah, and let me add:
Be careful what you tear down. Others who you think are your friends might want it torn down for opposite reasons. I mean are you certain those telling you the walls of your house are too restrictive and to tear them down aren’t just thieves wanting your stuff? So while the walls may not be perfect, let’s not forget their main function.

MaxPower
07-01-2011, 12:47 AM
Many of the points made in that article are entirely legitimate; in fact, I think he let Hamilton off pretty easily, seeing how the man (for example) encouraged John Jay to rig an election in New York State. I actually would place Hamilton on a level little, if at all, above that of a typical modern politician.

Regarding Jefferson, I do think the bit about him not admitting religion into "institutions of the public realm" needs clarification- Jefferson did believe that tax money should never be used to support religious institutions and that the law should neither favor nor attack said institutions, but adopt a position of total neutrality. However, he did not wish, as many liberals now do, to effectively censor religious expression by individuals in public settings, and in point of fact made many overtly-religious expressions in the capacity of his own public career, as in the Declaration of Independence.

PaulConventionWV
07-01-2011, 01:50 AM
Comparing today's politicians with the Founders? LOL


DNA, evidence it might have been his brother, but let's put the blame on him.

For the Federal government. The Union had sanctioned religion in the States' governments.

Tea Party, another misrepresentation. RP started the Tea Party in 2007. Yes, it has been co-opted, by the MEDIA!

Hamilton? Please, already discredited by libertarians.

No, just the opposite.


What?!?! Another attack on the 2nd Amendment.

Again, doesn't understand the goal of ending slavery. Plans written about said subject by none other than Jefferson himself, amongst others.


I agree with many of the posters in this thread. But I see this as an attack on the Constitution, that there is nothing wrong with progressives trying to change it as it is archaic.

Even Ron Paul acknowledges it's not all about the Constitution. It's about the ideas of liberty and the law of the land and holding our government to that law.

But the Constitution was neither for nor against slavery. Keep in mind, the word slavery never actually appears in the Constitution. It was a very touchy subject, and they knew the implications of effectively engraving stuff in stone, so they were cautious about it. The founders actually did create an environment in which slavery could and probably would eventually be abolished by establishing the 3/5ths clause. It wasn't "bolstering" the South's numbers, rather, it was simply a compromise in order to satisfy both sides. However, it is pretty clear that full representation of each person would be better than 3/5ths, providing an incentive to free all slaves so that they would all be free men, and thus be counted as a full person. Whether or not this is what they really intended or whether they had the foresight to realize this may be a result doesn't really matter, as it is the Constitution that must be interpreted, not the will or secret desires of those who wrote it. We didn't come out of slavery by some miracle of our goodwill. It took decades of fighting and political debate akin to that of the Iraq War's "If we leave it now, everything will be chaos!" However, the 3/5ths clause does not provide a basis for slavery. Quite the opposite, actually.

This is not to say that Bachmann's assertions were accurate. They were a gross misrepresentation of how the founding fathers actually went about things. It was not their concern to abolish slavery, for the most part. It was their concern to found a nation that would be hospitable to future generations, providing the citizens were knowledgeable enough to educate themselves of its laws and hold its government accountable. That's our job right now, and that's why we're here, supporting Ron Paul.

JohnEngland
07-01-2011, 02:11 AM
look at who wrote it.. If I'm correct, it wasn't even written by an american. Which makes even more sense :).

Technically speaking, until they gained independence, the founders were British.

So in my opinion, Washington, Jefferson and co were the greatest British generation, as well as the greatest American generation :D

YumYum
07-01-2011, 07:09 AM
Technically speaking, until they gained independence, the founders were British.

So in my opinion, Washington, Jefferson and co were the greatest British generation, as well as the greatest American generation :D

I never understood why they had a Revolution. Canada remained with the Crown and they are in a lot better shape than we are. I really don't know what the "tyranny" was the Britain inflicted. Britain kept its word with the Indians, and made it a punishable crime for Colonists to encroach upon their lands. Being that Washington and Co. were land speculators, that didn't sit very well with some of the "Fathers". The Founding Father worship is so goopy at times, it is somewhat embarrassing. We need to be more open and honest about this part of history so people don't think we are misinformed.

Travlyr
07-01-2011, 01:07 PM
Columbia University - Founded in 1754 as King's College by royal charter, it is the oldest institution of higher learning obfuscation in the State of New York.

This is dumb. It is sad that a government university would endorse this garbage. If you are sending your children to Columbia University they are getting dumbed down by high paid professors.


The Constitution’s framers were flawed like today’s politicians, so it’s high time we stop embalming them in infallibility.

By Simon Schama
June 26, 2011
Schama, a professor of history at Columbia University, debuts as a NEWSWEEK/DAILY BEAST contributor in this issue.

True history is the enemy of reverence. We do the authors of American independence no favors by embalming them in infallibility, by treating the Constitution like a quasi-biblical revelation instead of the product of contention and cobbled-together compromise that it actually was.
Who is claiming that the founders were infallible? I've not read that anywhere. Of course there were flaws, we live in an imperfect world, but the founders certainly weren't like today's politicians. Politicians today swear an oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution while most of them have not even read it. That is disingenuous and pathetic.

The Founders studied history. Then, they WROTE the Constitution, so they KNEW what it said, and when they swore their oath, they meant it. Their construct, as flawed as it is, was much better than any previous effort to form a government in the history of the world as evidenced by the design of the republic States, Counties, Townships, Cities & Towns. Alex De Tocqueville, "Democracy in America", demonstrated that early America was indeed a land of opportunity and freedom for most people.


But unfortunately, there is little evidence of citizens engaging in close, critical reading of The Federalist Papers, of the debates surrounding constitutional ratification, or of the dispute that pitted Hamilton and James Madison against Patrick Henry over what was at stake in Congress’s authority to make laws “necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the…Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States.”

Those were serious discussions of the day by anyone interested on the birth of the republic. Plenty of people even today are reading and debating "The Federalist Papers."


Facts, as John Adams insisted when defending British redcoats after the Boston Massacre, “are stubborn things.” He would be horrified by the regularity with which American history is mangled in the interests of confirming prejudices.
Professor, it is YOUR job to teach history. You and your colleagues are failing miserably. It is time for truth.


It matters when Glenn Beck’s guest Andrew Napolitano pins the responsibility for the 17th Amendment, instituting direct election of senators, on a Wilsonian plot against American liberties, rather than the proposal of a Republican senator in 1911 that was approved by Congress before Wilson ever set foot in the White House.

Republican senator? Please... nobody always speaks perfectly.

Why the divide, professor? While that may have been a Republican senator, history proves that it was Princeton, Harvard, and the University of Chicago that propagandized for the "Aldrich Plan", concocted at Jekyll Island, which would eventually become the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. Wilson stepped down as President of Princeton University in 1910, so Wilson's hands are filthy dirty plotting against the American people and the U.S. Constitution. His deceitfulness carried out as President of the United States is even more disgusting.


It matters when Bachmann mischaracterizes the Founding Fathers as working “tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” What made the Constitution acceptable throughout the Union was a Faustian bargain that counted slaves as three fifths of a citizen, thus artificially bloating the political representation of the slaveholding South.

Slavery is a blight on the history of America for sure, but it is a blight on the history of the WORLD as well. Both whites and blacks have suffered at the hands of the ruling class, not just in America but throughout time. Let's face the facts honestly and quit trying to pit people against one another, please ... Mr. Professor of history, or do you have an agenda?


With adult history buffs so deluded about the reality of the American past, it’s even more alarming that the National Assessment of Educational Progress recently rated history as the subject at which students are least proficient. This wouldn’t matter if history were just some recreational stroll down memory lane. But it isn’t. In the fiery debates of Americans long dead can be discerned the lineaments of the same core issues that divide us today. Right now, the education that might inform such a debate has turned into a schoolyard shouting match.


Those who are learning history from any government institution are not learning history because the instructors are still lying. Why has it been so hard to record history truthfully, Mr. Schama? Why? Why were so many books banned and burned in the past?

We no longer need to rely on "history professors" to give us the straight scoop. They are still stuck in the 20th century. Liars no longer get to write history thanks to the Internet.

Brian4Liberty has it exactly right in this post (http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthread.php?301287-More-attacks-on-the-Founders&p=3372690&viewfull=1#post3372690) folks. They do not want to be bound by rule of law. We are in an information war, yet we have the truth on our side.

robert68
07-01-2011, 01:21 PM
Blasphemy.:mad: The Constitution was divinely inspired.

josh b
07-01-2011, 01:23 PM
No kidding. There is way too much unwarranted worship of the 'Founders' on these boards.

I concur. Trying to rationalize some of their stupider decisions might actually be dangerous for liberty.

Travlyr
07-01-2011, 01:27 PM
No kidding. There is way too much unwarranted worship of the 'Founders' on these boards.

It is not worship of the 'Founders' any more than it is a 'cult' of Ron Paul followers. The rule of law is important to maintain a free society, imo. You may disagree, but I think you are missing the target. The design of the State is a minor problem compared to the theft by the counterfeiting cabal of the laws do not apply to us powers-that-be.

I am in constant amazement that the anarchists on this forum cannot see that their world is being run by anarchists. The rulers in charge are immune from the laws of the land ... they call it 'diplomatic immunity', and then they hire a team of security thugs to keep everyone else in their place.

Sola_Fide
07-01-2011, 01:32 PM
It is not worship of the 'Founders' any more than it is a 'cult' of Ron Paul followers. The rule of law is important to maintain a free society, imo. You may disagree, but I think you are missing the target. The design of the State is a minor problem compared to the theft by the counterfeiting cabal of the laws do not apply to us powers-that-be.


I am in constant amazement that the anarchists on this forum cannot see that their world is being run by anarchists. The rulers in charge are immune from the laws of the land ... they call it 'diplomatic immunity', and then they hire a team of security thugs to keep everyone else in their place.

Good point.