The following comments are from Thomas Jefferson's letter to a Mr. William B. Giles. I did not post the entirety of the letter which can be found at Constitution.org. I did however think it noteworthy that Jefferson seems almost prophetic in his analysis. Keep in mind that while this was written 187 years ago, it might as well have been written this past year.
Please note the part highlighted is from me. It is very evident from reading this what Jefferson's views were on this question of separation. It was a last resort but it was a resort.
I submitted this letter because it seems like even among some who read this site on a regular basis, there is a continued meek and unresisting submission to steady incursions of the federal power over our lives and over the rights of the individual sovereign states of this Union. Despite a steady torrent of abuses to property rights and civil liberties by such unaccountable federal agencies such as the EPA, BATF, TSA, HHS, we are assured by some readers of this site that all is well and there is no need for concern. Surely such who state these things have never found themselves on the wrong side of one of these runamok and unaccountable but to themselves, agencies.
It reminds me of the story (whether this is true or no, I am not sure but it does serve as a wonderful example) of the frog put into a pot of water under which the heat is ever so gradually raised until the foolish frog is boiled to death. The same frog instantaneously put into a pot of already boiling water would leap out immediately. While suffering damage, it would have at least survived. In the former example, the pitiful creature becomes inured to the serious harm it is incurring and no doubt consoles itself that all is well as it always has been and that there is no cause for alarm or concern whatsoever.
Momentary false comfort for permanent ruin.
TO WILLIAM B. GILES.
MONTICELLO, December 26, 1825.
DEAR SIR, -- I wrote you a letter yesterday, of which you will be free to make what use you please. This will contain matters not intended for the public eye. I see, as you do, and with the deepest affliction, the rapid strides with which the federal branch of our government is advancing towards the usurpation of all the rights reserved to the States, and the consolidation in itself of all powers, foreign and domestic; and that too, by constructions which, if legitimate, leave no limits to their power. Take together the decisions of the federal court, the doctrines of the President, and the misconstructions of the constitutional Compact acted on by the legislature of the federal branch, and it is but
too evident, that the three ruling branches of that department are in combination to strip their colleagues, the State authorities; of the powers reserved by them, and to exercise themselves all functions foreign and domestic. Under the power to regulate commerce, they assume indefinitely that also over agriculture and manufactures, and call' it regulation to take the earnings of one of these branches of industry, and that, too, the most depressed, and put them into the pockets of the other, the most flourishing of all. Under the authority to establish post roads, they claim that of cutting down mountains for the construction of roads, of digging canals, and aided by a little sophistry on the words "general welfare," a right to do, not only the acts to effect that, which are specifically enumerated and permitted, but whatsoever they shall think, or pretend will be for the general welfare. And what is our resource for the preservation of the Constitution? Reason and argument? You might as well reason and argue with the marble columns encircling them. The representatives chosen by ourselves? They are joined in the combination, some from incorrect views of government, some from corrupt ones, sufficient voting together to outnumber the sound parts; and with majorities only of one, two, or three, bold enough to go forward in defiance. Are we then to stand to our arms, with the hot-headed Georgian? No. That must be the last resource, not to be thought of
until much longer and greater sufferings. If every infraction of a compact of so many parties is to be resisted at once, as a dissolution of it, none can ever be formed which would last one year. We must have patience and longer endurance then with our brethren while under delusion; give them time for reflection and experience of consequences; keep ourselves in a situation to profit by the chapter of accidents; and separate from our companions only when the sole alternatives left, are the dissolution of our Union with them, or submission to a government without limitation of powers. Between these two evils, when we must make a choice, there can be no hesitation. But in the meanwhile, the States should be watchful to note every material usurpation on their rights; to denounce them as they occur in the most peremptory terms; to protest against them as wrongs to which our present submission shall be considered, not as acknowledgments or precedents of right, but as a temporary yielding to the lesser evil, until their accumulation shall overweigh that of separation.
"When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe." … Frederic Bastiat
Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God. – Archbishop Chaput
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