Sunday, March 21, 2010

Framers Believed in Virtuous (ie, Humane) Government

The Tea Party movement is not completely cuckoo. In fact, its focus on the Constitution should be welcomed by all Americans.

When tea partiers inquire closely into the Constitution’s original intent, they will find what they expect to find: it was created, first, to protect individual liberty from overzealous government.

Yet they may be surprised when they learn that Franklin, Washington, Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson and Madison – as bitterly contentious in politics as present-day politicians (if not more so) – all agreed on the one bedrock principle upon which any good government depended: VIRTUE – or, literally, “Public Spirit.”

As Thomas Paine (Common Sense, The Rights of Man, etc.) insisted: “Public good is not a term opposed to the good of individuals. On the contrary, it is the good of every individual collected. It is the good of all, because it is the good of every one.” Hence Paine advocated progressive taxation, aid to the unemployed, and free public education.

Healthcare-for-all, anyone?