That sure sounds trustworthy.

Barack Obama was giving a commencement speech the other day and said the following:

Still, you’ll hear voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s the root of all our problems, even as they do their best to gum up the works; or that tyranny always lurks just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, creative, unique experiment in self-rule is just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.

Wow… Yeah. That sure sounds trustworthy, Darth Drone-Strike.

Let’s see… The first American president that’s actually had to argue that he’s not a dictator, who has to have a big debate over whether it is okay to just waste American citizens on US soil without any due process, who broke thousands of federal laws in order to ship guns to Mexican drug cartels to drum up phony stats against his political enemies, and who blamed a terrorist attack on a YouTube video, says that the idea that potential tyranny looms is just silly.

Sounds legit to me!

Sure, Barack Obama has grown the federal leviathan bigger and stronger and more intrusive than it has ever been, and it was already bloated, absurd, and terrifying before, but talking about how this government could become too powerful and thus tyrannical like all of the other governments in human history which did the same thing before… well, that’s just crazy talk!

Or we could listen to the actual brave, creative smart folks that actually came up with our unique experiment in self-rule, like Thomas Jefferson. “When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.

So crazy right wing kook Thomas Jefferson is out there gumming up the works saying that people fearing the government equals tyranny.  But as our wise, all knowing, always helpful government has taught us, if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to fear, unless you do something totally evil, like drink milk not approved by the USDA, or your kids chew a Pop Tart into something vaguely shaped like a firearm.

Funny. When you go through and you read what the actual smart folks who started this whole big experiment in self-governance had to say about the subject, they were scared to death of tyranny and they talked about it almost like it could be lurking right around the corner. Well, good thing they were all racist white guys so their whole small government political philosophy can be safely dismissed in favor of the big government political philosophy pioneered by racist white guy Woodrow Wilson instead.

Yeah, but still! He’s Barack Obama! He’d never screw us over or lie to us, which is why everybody who makes less than 250K hasn’t seen their taxes go up and why Obamacare has made health insurance cheaper.

Hmmm… On one hand you’ve got the example of all of recorded human history showing us that tyranny can spring up quickly and brutally with very little warning, and on the other hand you’ve got FDX telling us to chill out… I’m going to have to go with history on this one.

Not a founding father, but one of the smartest, most eloquent men ever and all around philosophical badass, G.K. Chesterton once said: “The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt. It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt. People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. It is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists.”

46 Responses

  1. Well said! Now to watch for trolls.

  2. I sometimes despair for the future of our country. I’m firmly in middle age, so the worst of the burden won’t be borne on my shoulders, but my nieces and nephews and their children may have to endure grinding poverty and ridiculous government interference in their lives.

    It’s at times like this that I remember Clair Wolf’s words, “America is at that awkward stage. It’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.”

    If things keep going as they are, at least we’ll be out of the awkward stage.

  3. > Darth Drone-Strike.

    Luke. I am your …president.

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

  4. Sooo… he’s hearing voices now?

  5. Shamefully this was here in my home of Columbus, Ohio this past weekend. Too bad for him we’re not buying it. It is like I keep telling people: all these folks going out and buying the gun stores out of every gun and ammunition box they can get in aren’t doing that just to spend money or turn them over to the government. If they think that, they have a nasty surprise coming.

  6. “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was to convince everybody he didn’t exist”.

  7. I’m not so concerned with this president abusing the new regulations and interpretations and ‘newly discovered’ powers. Not because he’s a good guy, but because too many eyes are on him.

    I resist the impulse towards a more centralized, less free society because I’m really worried about the president two or three administrations down the road.

  8. Well, or course, don’t you know that “the government” as something to be feared, something separate from the “you and me” folk, is a completely new invention? Quotes from folk like Sam and John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and the like are just made up propaganda and anyone who believes otherwise is clearly a mentally ill enemy of the State and needs to be “re-educated” . . . for his own good of course.

    Okay, I think that’s about all I can write without vomiting.

  9. While I often agree with things you say, Larry, I must point out that Thomas Jefferson never said that. According to the Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia, that phrase has never been found in any of his works: http://wiki.monticello.org/mediawiki/index.php/When_governments_fear_the_people,_there_is_liberty…(Quotation)

    In fact, he DID say almost the exact opposite: “No government can be maintained without the principle of fear as well as of duty. Good men will obey the last, but bad ones the former only.”

    http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=advanced_search.php

  10. I’ve had several liberal friends (they’re State Department, so it’s pretty much mandatory they be liberal) tell me I’m nuts for worrying about tyranny, and that tyranny isn’t a valid reason for our rights as enumerated in the Second Amendment.

    My answer has been that I’m sure the Germans didn’t realize when their government had become tyrannical until after that time had passed. I’m also sure Cambodians didn’t recognize it until after. Just like I’m sure the Chinese didn’t realize it.

    If we worry now, we might be able to keep from crossing that line. Those governments didn’t.

    • I’m pretty sure most Chinese DID realize it. After all, tyranny has been the default state of the Chinese government for their entire history. They may have thought that they were backing the Warlord who would treat them best, out of a bunch of lousy choices. They may have thought that they were simply picking the clear winner, in the hope that it would buy them something later. A few deluded Chinese intellectuals may have thought that Communism would not be Tyranny, but the average John Chinaman in the street? I seriously doubt it.

      • An interesting book, worth reading, is “Wild Swans.” It’s the biography of three generations of women spanning from the Manchurian period through WWII and up until the youngest of the three emigrate from Communist China.

        From at least the perspective of the women told about in the book there really wasn’t much to choose from between Chiang Kai Sheck and Mao Tse Tung in the period from just before through just after WWII. The author of the book, the third generation daughter, was at least somewhat disillusioned with the communists since her father, originally (along with her mother) one of the strong supporters of the Communists in China ended up, because of criticizing some of the policies of the Party (IIRC–it’s been a good many years since I read it–mostly related to “The Great Leap Forward”, that horribly misnamed spasm), being one of the folk “persecuted to death” over the course of a good many years.

        My own take is that it rings true. She didn’t appear to be idealizing the Chicoms, nor particularly demonizing the others. YMMV, of course.

  11. Matthew–uhh, that’s NOT the opposite of the quote Larry used. Because duty (as Robert E. Lee said a few decades later) is sublime and is apparent to good men. Good men who see their duty and do it will do the things to maintain the government with as little fear as possible.

    You’re wrong on your analysis of what your chosen quote means.

    • How do you figure? The actual Jefferson quote says that ANY government must use fear in order to function. That’s the opposite of the misquote, in that it says that only tyrants are feared by their people.

      • Because it leaves the possibility of good governance by minding the duty aspect more than the fear. Sheesh. Taking Jefferson’s writings as a whole, do you HONESTLY believe this one quote means he advocated using fear as a method of governance? He was making an observation of the two primary methods of maintaining governance.

        Read for content with the entire context.

      • Also not all fear is created equal. A potential criminal being afraid of being caught and punished or a would be invader being afraid of being repulsed and possibly having the tables turned is not the same as “the people” being afraid of the government.

        Conflating the former with the latter is fallacious.

  12. Reblogged this on Enlightening, i'n't it? and commented:
    nope, dont think i need to add anything

  13. excellent TJ quote

  14. For the Left, this comes under the banner of “It’s OK When We Do It!(TM)”.
    How many of the Left who raised the banner of Impending Tyranny under the Bush years have since quieted down, even though Obama does many of the same things (drone strikes, Gitmo, et al)?
    And, if the next president is a Republican, how many will resume the complaint, even if he cuts back on much of the same?

    • Hmmm…..It really has little to do with left, right, Democrat, Republican. It’s large government and control or small government and personal responsibility. I’ll take the second choice.

  15. Darth Drone-Strike!

    ROTFLMAO!!! I’m stealing that, Larry.

  16. Darth Drone-Strike FTW, and ahistorical quote aside, this is absolutely dead on. Ace of Spades had a glorious go at this today. But then Ace is great for epic rants.

  17. If we’re going by Star Wars standards, shouldn’t it be more like “Darth D’roun-Stryke”?

  18. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

  19. Forget Jefferson, then. As a much better President (and man) than Obama put it, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”

  20. Why is it that when someone I don’t know personally says “trust me” I get the sensation of an icepick waiting to plunge?

    And since when does the Constitution permit the President and now the Vice-President to spend taxpayer dollars jetting around the country drumming up support to alter a Constitutional right? Didn’t they both take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution?

    I really don’t recall anyone ever giving them the right “To reject and amend” the Constitution.

    • The Right to Reject and Amend is right after the Right to Not Be Offended. . . it’s in the Invisible Section of the Constitution, written in that special ink made from Unicorn Farts and Pixie Dust. . .

  21. The first American president that’s actually had to argue that he’s not a dictator,

    In point of fact, this was Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=15618&st=&st1=

    Many thanks for your letter telling me that you are concerned over the charges in several newspapers that the reorganization bill now before the Congress, would make me a Dictator.

    1. As you well know I am as much opposed to American Dictatorship as you are, for three simple reasons.

    A: I have no inclination to be a dictator.

    B: I have none of the qualifications which would make me a successful dictator.

    C: I have too much historical background and too much knowledge of existing dictatorships to make me desire any form of dictatorship for a democracy like the United States of America.

    [etc etc]

    Thus you will see that charges of dictatorship are made out of whole-cloth—even if I Wanted to be a dictator, which Heaven knows, I do not.

    • He then proceeded to throw US citizens in prisons for having the wrong parents.

      • Don’t worry, we’ll get there. It’ll just be different kinds of parents this time.

  22. So true Larry,good luck on your “semi” retirement,I’m just happy that you can write more.

  23. I want to bottle G.K. Chesterton and use it to spritz liberals like cats that are clawing the furniture.

  24. It’s interesting that most of Larry’s political posts get over 100 comments and this one has to struggle to break 60- and the largest dialogue isn’t about the post itself, but a discussion about Jefferson quotes. Are people getting “Obama-Atrocity-Fatigue”, is the point so obvious even the leftie trolls agree, or is there a curling grand championship on somewhere I haven’t been notified of?

  25. First article I read on this blog and I gotta say I was impressed. Darth Drone Strike. I love it.

  26. Sure, Barack Obama has grown the federal leviathan bigger and stronger and more intrusive than it has ever been,

    Uh-huh.

    End of Term Date # Government Employees (GE) Population (P) GE/P Ratio

    Obama Dec. 2012 21,925 315,255 6.9%
    GW Bush Dec. 2008 22,555 306,004 7.4%
    Clinton Dec. 2000 20,804 283,696 7.3%
    GHW Bush Dec. 1992 18,878 258,413 7.3%
    Reagan Dec. 1988 17,736 246,056 7.2%

    This must be one of those right-wing definitions of “bigger”…

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