Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Liberty requires Knowledge

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”
--James Madison

Thomas Jefferson said: "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." He also stated: "I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome direction, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power."

The diffusion of knowledge and an enlightened citizenry are essential elements required to maintain liberty. In this regard, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison wrote that the “best guides” to the “distinctive principles” of the government of the United States of America are found in:

· The Declaration of Independence;
· The "Federalist Papers"; and
· George Washington’s “Farewell Address.”

Have we read and considered each of these works? Have we studied and learned the principles of the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers? Are the Constitution and principles of liberty as espoused by the Founding Fathers being taught in our schools? Has their history and significance been diluted? Vigilance in learning and imparting liberty's knowledge is part of liberty's price.

By: J. David Gowdy

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