Thought on Government from Henry David Thoreau

“This government never of itself furthured an enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it (the government) got out of its (the enterprise’s) way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got it its way.”

This correlates with this quote from Dwight Eisenhower posted by Reluctant. The character inherent in the American people that Thoreau credits with accomplishing all that America has accomplished may be in danger of eradication unless we can regain a love for freedom at the sacrifice of false sense of security that government provides when it oversteps its bounds.
The government really has a limited role. As soon as it expands that role, it gets in the way of freedom. This is the topic of the next John Adams post.


The prophet Isaiah was another critic and idealist, and was so popular among the elite in his time that rumor has it that he met death by being “sawn asunder.”

Chapter 1, verse 23 I think has much applicability to politics of our day:

“Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts and followeth after rewards; they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.”

(Judge not in this chapter seems to mean not giving equity before the law).

Does this describe our current and past Congress? Unfortunately it describes the weak nature of almost all men who have a little authority.

Stay tuned for more philosophical and political idealism from Isaiah.

Separation of Powers

I just read significant portions of The Political Writings of John Adams, a collection of writings from 1765-1820’s; some letters, some critiques of political writings of others. The main portion of the book is made up of his A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States of America written in 1787 in response to calls from some French and more democratic-leaning English writers for a single representative assembly embodying the executive, legislative, and judicial powers.

Continue reading “Separation of Powers”