9 Responses

  1. Splendid quote, from Adams at his best, in a letter responding to George Wythe’s Jan. 1776 solicitation to Adams, for his ideas on constructing a government. How ironic though that Adams’ own Presidency would be forever tainted by his zeal for the Alien & Sedition Acts…. “stupid & miserable” forerunner to the Patriot Acts of today, and predicated on fear.

  2. Perhaps, Adams was correct that Americans w/ spirit of the Revolutionary War were fundamentally different from most human subjects & would not approve a government founded upon fear, like most governments, according to his assumption. Yet, what’s it mean to found a GOV on fear, really? A good chunk of this paper (Thoughts on Government) promotes forms of republican government, checks & ballances, which are based upon fear of unchecked governmental power as inimical to the promotion of the utilitarian happiness of man.

    I think post-9/11 Americans have contradicted Adams’ prognostication, and demonstrated that exploited mass fear- & resulting stupidity & misery- lead vast majorities to reflexviely support any new form of government that promised to protect them from these new often exaggerated fears, which resulted in silencing of many voices of reason & opponents to a virtually unchecked, ever-expanding, unlimited, secretive executive powers of government that could never have ushered in such a radical constitutional re-ordering of the “republic,” or so severely restricted individual liberties & freedoms, blithely exterminated institutional “checks & balances,”if not for the fact that this new US governmental system emerged from the uterus of post-9/11 fears that have strategically been pumped & primed by those who enjoy- & profit from- the more authoritarian USA, which fundamentally depends on fear-induced stupidity that Adams mentioned & is now exploited every day on TV, by both parties.

    Paradoxically, while there is growing frustration & anti-pathy towards the current US democracy & economy as corrupt & unresponsive, a bi-partisan consensus emerged during the past 3 administrations, in favor of an executive branch w/ unprecedented powers never dreamed of by King George, only by convincing Americans their primed fears of a small groups of terrorists could only be assuaged by extending unprecedented powers to a new 21st century US government, which could no longer risk the pesky constitutional “checks & balances” & needed to suspend core Constitutional rights of citizens, of course, to protect us from some angry cave-dwellers, who could never have hated or stolen our freedoms as much or effectively as our ruling elite has done under Bush & Obama.

    So it seems Adams was right about fear inducing stupidity & misery in breasts of men afflicted, but wrong about trusting Americans would not approve a government based upon fear, as evidenced by an entirely new constitutional order only made possible by 9/11 & the fear machinery that exploited & terrified Americans into forgetting about Adams fear of unchecked executive power, or Jefferson’s belief that a government should be based upon distrust. Instead, we’re told to trust Pres. Obama or the CIA will secretly guarantee due process rights to US citizens it secretly decides to murder, indefinitely detain w/o trial, inject w/ psychotropic drugs, or systematically discredit for “providing aid & comfort to the enemy” just as Hoover’s FBI did in the 1950s-1971.

  3. Adams…spinning in his grave?

    Adam’s was speaking about a country and people of his own times, not ours. Whether he was speaking presciently or in hindsight, the High Federalists (war and imperialism lead by Hamilton)after 1800 were crushed by the Jeffersonians (Republican/Democrat Party) after 1800.

    Early Americans wanted nothing to do with foreign entanglements and empire, let alone the kind of centralization and intrusive governance as exists today. The Zeitgeist of the times was westward expansionism, the peopling and taming of a continent. Britain stood in the way and its rule was terminated. The same would have happened to the early Republic had it done the same.

    Leftists and haters of America often describe Manifest Destiny as imperialism, but they are wrong. It was a Great migration of peoples, of a many constituted Volk of nationalities, ethnics and creeds seeking a better life, adventure, fame and/or fortune.

    Regarding Hamilton and imperialism, it wasn’t until the last decade of the 19th century that Hamiltonian imperialism was resurrected among the elites and proselytized to the masses by yellow journalism, gun boat diplomacy & the jingoism of those times. With the conquest of Hawaii the US began its imperialist journey, a process still in a state of becoming, not yet completed.

    What became known as the ‘Founders’ were cognizant that America would follow this path, that every generation must step up to the challenges and threats of their times and win or lose liberty and the republic. Adam’s faced that challenge and triumphed by viscerally opposing Hamilton and all he stood for, even though he was a Federalist and that internecine party fight cost him his reelection.

    Adams wouldn’t be spinning in his grave, he would savagely be demanding what we are going to do. Not what we think, believe or our endless petulance and whining.

      • Volk translated means nation, people or masses and is exactly how I’m using it in describing the western expansion and peopling of the N. American continent by Americans during the whole course of the 19th century.

        Nothing more, nothing less.

        • The word Volk means “people” or “nation” in German (volkswagon) and “wolf” in Slovenan.
          Most languages it means only people and/or folk.

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