Saturday, August 16, 2008

Homeland Security Adviser Collects Information on His University's Founder?

The White House Homeland Security Adviser, Kenneth Wainstein, supports efforts to give state and local authorities broader powers to collect intelligence on America's domestic terror threat. Ken graduated from Mr. Jefferson's University. Thomas had much to say on the role of government, Ken's employer:

"It has been said... that our governments, both federal and particular, want energy; that it is difficult to restrain both individuals and States from committing wrong. This is true, and it is an inconvenience. On the other hand, that energy which absolute governments derive from an armed force, which is the effect of the bayonet constantly held at the breast of every citizen, and which resembles very much the stillness of the grave, must be admitted also to have its inconveniences. We weigh the two together and like best to submit to the former. Compare the number of wrongs committed with impunity by citizens among us with those committed by the sovereign in other countries, and the last will be found most numerous, most oppressive on the mind, and most degrading of the dignity of man." --Thomas Jefferson: Answers to de Meusnier Questions, 1786. ME 17:122

"I own I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive. It places the governors indeed more at their ease, at the expense of the people." --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787. (Forrest version) ME 6:391

"The people cannot be all, and always, well-informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty." --Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787. ME 6:372, Papers 12:356

One could conclude Mr. Jefferson might not approve of Ken's plans. But things could be worse for Thomas, if he were alive and speaking today. Consider:

"The oppressed should rebel, and they will continue to rebel and raise disturbance until their civil rights are fully restored to them and all partial distinctions, exclusions and incapacitations are removed." --Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Religion, 1776. Papers 1:548

"As revolutionary instruments (when nothing but revolution will cure the evils of the State) [secret societies] are necessary and indispensable, and the right to use them is inalienable by the people." --Thomas Jefferson to William Duane, 1803. FE 8:256

Might Ken be the student who imprisoned his teacher?