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Posts Tagged ‘President Thomas Jefferson’

To demonize the press, to characterize it as not just mistaken but malign, is to lay the groundwork for repression.
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The enemy in any democracy is not dissent, from either within or without.  Dissent, in fact, is essential.  The enemy is dishonesty, ignorance, indifference, intolerance.  The ability to hold journalists accountable has never been greater, and we take legitimate criticism as a challenge to do better.  Attempts to suppress, dismiss and control, on the other hand, we understand as exactly what Thomas Jefferson warned against.
   —  Nancy Gibbs
Editor of Time Magazine
From her editorial: “Jefferson’s Warning to the White House“, dtd: 13 February 2017
[Thomas Jefferson’s comment was that given the choice of government without newspapers, or newspapers without government, he’d choose newspapers over government.  —  KMAB]
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The tumults in America I expected would have produced in Europe an unfavorable opinion of our political state.  But it has not.  On the contrary, the small effect of those tumults seems to have given more confidence in the firmness of our governments.  The interposition of the people themselves on the side of government has had a great effect on the opinion here.  I am persuaded myself that the good sense of the people will always be found to be the best army.  They may be led astray for a moment, but will soon correct themselves.  The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution.  To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty.  The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs thro’ the channel of the public papers, and to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people.  The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.  But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.  I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under European governments.  Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, and restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did any where.  Among the latter, under pretence of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves and sheep.  I do not exaggerate.  This is a true picture of Europe.  Cherish therefore the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention.  Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them.  If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, judges and governors shall all become wolves.  It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions; and experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor.
   —  Thomas Jefferson
Letter to Edward Carrington
16 Jan. 1787
[All emphasis, italics, bolding and underlining were added by me and do not appear in the original.  —  KMAB]
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I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
   ―   Thomas Jefferson
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We in America do not have government by the majority.  We have government by the majority who participate.
   ―  Thomas Jefferson
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I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.
  ―  Thomas Jefferson
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On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.
  ―  Thomas Jefferson
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I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
  ―  Thomas Jefferson
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Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind; for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor.
  ―  Thomas Jefferson
[I don’t know about Europe, but Tom is definitely correct about here in the U.S. of A.   —  KMAB]
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Every day is lost in which we do not learn something useful.  Man has no nobler or more valuable possession than time.
  ―  Thomas Jefferson
There isn’t time, so brief is life, for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account.  There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.
   —  Mark Twain
[Hopefully you did not wake too late this morning or regain consciousness too painfully from last night…  Happy New Year, all!!  —  KMAB]
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I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give.
   ―  Thomas Jefferson
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The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
  ―  Thomas Jefferson
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If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
  ―  Thomas Jefferson
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Dubbed “Prospero’s Precepts”, these eleven rules culled from some of history’s greatest minds can serve as a general-purpose guideline for critical thinking in all matters of doubt:
1.   All beliefs in whatever realm are theories at some level.  (Stephen Schneider)
2.   Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own.  You may both be wrong.  (Dandemis)
3.   Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.  (Francis Bacon)
4.   Never fall in love with your hypothesis.  (Peter Medawar)
5.   It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.  Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.  (Arthur Conan Doyle)
6.   A theory should not attempt to explain all the facts, because some of the facts are wrong.  (Francis Crick)
7.   The thing that doesn’t fit is the thing that is most interesting.  (Richard Feynman)
8.   To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.  (Charles Darwin)
9.   It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.  It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.  (Mark Twain)
10.  Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.  (Thomas Jefferson)
11.  All truth passes through three stages.  First, it is ridiculed, second, it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident.  (Arthur Schopenhauer)
  —   Peter Surrock
From his book: “AKA Shakespeare: A Scientific Approach to the Authorship Question
[Found at a site I like to visit every now and then:   http://www.brainpickings.org/
The specific post was found at:  http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/04/01/aka-shakespeare/
Well worth a visit…   —  KMAB]
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The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles.
  —  President John Adams
second President of the United States
(In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, June 20, 1815)
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History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government.
  —  Thomas Jefferson
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