I am very happy to see Mr. Gore pursuing this avenue in speaking his mind on these issues. Being out of the political beltway that I don’t believe ever truly appreciated his prescience and intelligence on these matters has certainly given him the chance to be a great advocate for the people and for Democracy.My comments on this topic are then as follows:
Can we truly get back to this way of thinking as a nation after years of debasement from media and those in government who liken themselves to the very despots we sought freedom from to begin with? I suspect if Thomas Jefferson were alive today he would not run for office in this debased, corrupted, corporate owned political system WE have made either. He would not only be vocally calling out those who not only have debased it at our expense and at the expense of reason and true Democracy, he would also be forcefully excoriating US for allowing it to happen and to continue and to be perpetuated by our own inaction while looking the other way when time for responsibility for it rolled around.
A man like George W. Bush nor his ilk would EVER have been tolerated by the likes of a man of reason like Thomas Jefferson. The fact that he is now tolerated only illustrates how far down we have come from the reason that bore this country. Therefore, if Al Gore’s new book can in any way shed a light on that and bring us towards turning to that reason again to guide us in our decisions it would be a great contribution to this nation and generations to come that may otherwise never truly understand and respect the brilliant men of reason who believed in this grand experiment and OUR part in making it a success.
The questions I then must pose on that after the last six years are: Is it too late? Are we beyond reason? Beyond truth? Beyond being able to even fight for it on our own? Have we become too complacent to care? Can we even place ALL of the blame on media and government, or does some of it also fall on our laziness to even seek the knowledge we need to make change? It is there. All we need is the will to seek it out.
Why then could our founders be victorious over ignorance and yet we find it so difficult to do as they did? Well, they READ BOOKS. They discussed events of the time amongst themselves and had an interest in them because they were important to their lives. Government wasn’t just some secret, mysterious, distant entity out of touch with them… THEY WERE the government. They also had a sense of pride in working to build a country that would last the test of all despotism… and their work wasn’t completed, because they handed off this country to US to continue building that more perfect union.
However, we have dropped the ball. We have become complacent. We have lost our ability to use reasoned debate and truly Democratic means to secure policy that benefits America as a whole. We have become debased, bought and sold by entities caring not for freedom and Democracy but only their bottomline and getting votes at the highest price. In short, we have become all that Jefferson and others of that time warned against.
It is then past time for us as a nation to come back to the reason that bore us. It is then time to hear our voices in the townsquare again. It is time for us to take a good hard look at what we have become and take responsibility for it. For change can only come once we admit our own part in it. Where our country stands today didn’t just happen without our help in one form or another. Inaction and complacency breed corruption and lead us farther away from that reason Jefferson so believed in. And we can no longer allow it to stand.
Therefore, thank you once again to Mr. Gore for being the statesman and advocate for Democracy he is. We most definitely could use more out here.
“My hope [is] that we have not labored in vain, and that our experiment will still prove that men can be governed by reason.” –Thomas Jefferson to George Mason, 1791. ME 8:124″I have so much confidence in the good sense of man, and his qualifications for self-government, that I am never afraid of the issue where reason is left free to exert her force.” –Thomas Jefferson to Comte Diodati, 1789. Papers 15:326
“Let common sense and common honesty have fair play, and they will soon set things to rights.” –Thomas Jefferson to Ezra Stiles, 1786. ME 6:25
“It is comfortable to see the standard of reason at length erected, after so many ages, during which the human mind has been held in vassalage by kings, priests, and nobles; and it is honorable for us to have produced the first legislature who had the courage to declare that the reason of man may be trusted with the formation of his own opinions.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1786. ME 6:10
“[Our] principles [are] founded on the immovable basis of equal right and reason.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Sullivan, 1797. ME 9:379
“A government of reason is better than one of force.” –Thomas Jefferson to Richard Rush, 1820. ME 15:284
“The idea of establishing a government by reasoning and agreement, [the monarchists] publicly ridiculed as an Utopian project, visionary and unexampled.” –Thomas Jefferson: The Anas, 1797. ME 1:419
“Our people in a body are wise because they are under the unrestrained and unperverted operation of their own understandings.” –Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Priestley, 1802. ME 10:324
“This blessed country of free inquiry and belief has surrendered its creed and conscience to neither kings nor priests.” –Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Waterhouse, 1822. ME 15:385
“No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804. ME 11:33
“Truth and reason are eternal. They have prevailed. And they will eternally prevail; however, in times and places they may be overborne for a while by violence, military, civil, or ecclesiastical.” –Thomas Jefferson to Rev. Samuel Knox, 1810. ME 12:360
“Truth will do well enough if left to shift for herself. She seldom has received much aid from the power of great men to whom she is rarely known and seldom welcome. She has no need of force to procure entrance into the minds of men.” –Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Religion, 1776. Papers 1:547
“A patient pursuit of facts, and cautious combination and comparison of them, is the drudgery to which man is subjected by his Maker, if he wishes to attain sure knowledge.” –Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.VI, 1782. ME 2:97
“Shake off all the fears and servile prejudices under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.” –Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1787. ME 6:258 Papers 12:15
“I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led, and bearding every authority which stood in their way.” –Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, 1814. ME 14:85
“It is surely time for men to think for themselves, and to throw off the authority of names so artificially magnified.” –Thomas Jefferson to William Short, 1820. ME 15:258
“Lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything because any other persons, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it. Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven, and you are answerable, not for the rightness, but uprightness of the decision.” –Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1787. ME 6:261
“In a republican nation whose citizens are to be led by reason and persuasion and not by force, the art of reasoning becomes of first importance.” –Thomas Jefferson to David Harding, 1824. ME 16:30
“Nothing is so desirable to me as that after mankind shall have been abused by such gross falsehoods as to events while passing, their minds should at length be set to rights by genuine truth. And I can conscientiously declare that as to myself, I wish that not only no act but no thought of mine should be unknown.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Main, 1808. ME 12:175
“There is not a truth on earth which I fear or would disguise. But secret slanders cannot be disarmed, because they are secret.” –Thomas Jefferson to William Duane, 1806. ME 11:94
“Unlearned views… are, perhaps, the more confident in proportion as they are less enlightened.” –Thomas Jefferson to Caspar Wistar, 1807. ME 11:243
“I think it is Montaigne who has said, that ignorance is the softest pillow on which a man can rest his head.” –Thomas Jefferson to Edmund Randolph, 1794. ME 9:280
“Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason, and the mind becomes a wreck.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Smith, 1822. ME 15:409
“It was more in our spirit to let things come to rights by the plain dictates of common sense than by the practice of any artifices.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 1800. ME 19:120
Thomas Jefferson Quotations