This Country Was Founded on Freedom…and Big Government

History  -

Were the Founding Fathers proponents of small government? Not so says guest writer John Liming.


Some of the more vocal of the radicals on the far right fringes of nutter-topia like to blather on about how “this country” ( The United States ) was founded on “freedom” and not on the idea of ” big government. “

There is some truth to that if you look at it a certain way but if you are any student of “Real” History – not the revisionist kind that you might find in some Bible Belt  school textbooks since their great revisions took place some months ago – you might run across the fact that the original “government” of the U.S., ( the one that based operations on things called ‘The Federalist Papers’ ) – before the writing of the present-day Constitution was seen by the Founding Fathers as “Too Small” and weak and inefficient to be up to the task of seeing to the best interests of the nation – and it was because of this fear of small government’s disadvantages that led to the adoption of the Constitution which was written to ensure a large Central Government that would actually be big enough and powerful enough to get the job done.

Some of the big-government-hating fanatics who like to  call themselves “modern-day patriots” are either going to spin those facts and embellish them or they are going to do what a lot of them do anyway which is simply to ignore or deny them.

So I hate to break Rightie’s bubble this morning, but The Founders, being very wise, very Liberal in their views, somewhat adventurous and possessed of great faith ( If not necessarily a whole lot of virtue) created a large central government, came up with a Constitution by which to govern and persuaded the various states to give great amounts of what had previously been powers reserved exclusively to the individual states over to the Fed so that the new nation could truly be “Of the People, By the People and For the People” in every possible aspect.

That is how the nation was started and that is how She ran for at least a couple of centuries before today’s radical rightists came along with what I believe to be a power grab as their primary motivation and started inventing all the propaganda and changing all the history to suit their own purposes so that a relatively small group of dissidents, sore heads and born losers might somehow bulls**t  their way into a power and prominence they had never known because of their regressive ways, their materialistic greed, their selfishness and their lack of respect for anyone but their own ilk.

Once the age of electronic communications dawned, this bunch finally had the ultimate weapon and believe me when I say they know how to use it – and they do use it 24-hours-a-day and you know what the sad thing about some of this is?

The sad thing about what I believe to be some of the most prominent of the Right Wing propaganda myth media machines is that some of the biggest and the loudest of these did not originate in America and are not totally controlled by truly American interests.

That fact does not seem to faze some of the “true believer” bubbas however, because at least 6 or 8 million of them worship at these blaring altars and soak up every word they spew out as if it were Gospel Itself . . . getting their daily dose of mis-information and created facts – and they have been doing this for more than 40 years now.

Is it any coincidence that so many of them seem to be so dumbed down?

Yes, America was founded on “Freedom” and “Big Government” because the Founders knew full well that “small” government could never protect and preserve the degree of freedoms they envisioned for their generations.

Imagine what it would be like in America right now  if the Righties who always try to run the government down today had lived in the small government America they seem to relish having so much when the Second World War broke out?

Glenn Beck - George Washington    : the Righties had their cherished “small” government back then, there is every possibility that we might all be speaking another primary language right now.  I don’t think the Right Wing idea of small militias could have held back the tide of terror and carnage that was raging all over Europe and Asia’s Pacific Theater.

This horrific war machine threatened our own existence and I think it is a damned good thing we intervened with our “Massively large” and efficient fighting machines when we did.

I do not think that Rightie’s idea of muskets and bayonets would have helped much in the face of those kinds of odds.

So try to remember why I am firmly convinced  there is every possibility that when some Right Winger starts preaching against our”Big Central Government” and proposing that we all regress to the days of plowshares, log cabins and muskets, what they are really proposing is a weakening of the government to the point where they can swoop in, take control and run things from their own twisted views of a world that was but can never be again.

Something to think about isn’t it?


John Liming publishes American Liberal Times.


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15 thoughts on “This Country Was Founded on Freedom…and Big Government

  1. You might want to revisit your reasoning on this one Mr. Liming. Here’s a quote for you.

    “I think we have more machinery of government than is
    necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the
    industrious.” –Thomas Jefferson

    I can give you more of these if you’d like. No, the founding fathers were not for big government no matter how much you’d like to believe it.

  2. And Thomas Jefferson, being a slaveholder, was one of those “parasites living on the labor of the industrious,” his own slaves! The pot calling the kettle “black.”

  3. Traditional Histories tell the story as I told it.

    Right Wing revisionists like a different version – – one that has been crafted by cherry-picking statements here and there.

    Let the record reflect that America rejected all such reasoning in the last election and rather chose the more Liberal path – – the proven path – – the dependable path – – the path of common sense and reason.

    Nothing the other side has to offer is valid anymore until and unless they can win an election again in the future. If that happens, we can talk about it some more.

    I know that many of those on the losing side are still smouldering from their defeat.

    I am sorry about that.

    But it changes nothing.

  4. Explanation of the text: ” – -“I think we have more machinery of government than is
    necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the
    industrious.” –Thomas Jefferson – – –

    I know there are some right wing types who are going to fume when I explain this Jeffersonian statement but they are just going to have to get over it and over themselves.

    When Jefferson said this, I am sure he was speaking of all the rich land-owners ( the only ones who could vote in early America) – – the landowners who were collecting taxes and other monies from their many share-cropper tenants and who were living high on the hog from the labors of the common everyday folk just like the rich live off the labors of the so-called 47% today.

    As much as some of the righties may not like it, Jefferson was NOT referring to people on social security or financial aid programs when he spoke of “Parasites.”

    He was speaking of the fat cats of his day.

  5. Nice try Mr. Liming. Try explaining away the “more machinery of government than is
    necessary” part of Jefferson’s statement. That’s the part I was focused on.

    Try to not put your back out as you get into full pretzel shape.

  6. Under the heading “Bureaucracies and Their Derelictions”

    The Jeffersonian Perspective
    Commentary on Today’s Social and Political Issues
    Based on the Writings of Thomas Jefferson

    tells us that the “parasites” Jefferson spoke of was NOT the American people of whom Marcus mistakenly would like to think, but rather the parasites would be a “bureaucratic government”:

    “The consolidation and growth of central bureaucracies are like a spreading cancer that consumes resources and depletes energy.
    The bureaucracy itself proliferates, creating layers upon layers of office holders.

    Pouring more money into such a system only makes matters worse, because the major portion of the money is invariably diverted into building an even greater bureaucratic organization.

    If cuts are ever needed, these are most often made in essential, front line services, and rarely if ever in the central bureaucratic structure.

    This is often done quite deliberately in order to make the public feel the “pinch,” and force them to clamor for more funds to feed this growing monster.

    All bureaucracies have this tendency to become a parasitical growth that saps our substance, even as Jefferson noted in his time” —

    “I think, myself, that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. I believe it might be much simplified to the relief of those who maintain it.” –Thomas Jefferson to W. Ludlow, 1824.

    As I see it, the real meaning is that, bureaucratic ideology like that of the GOP who promote spending cuts “quite deliberately in order to make the public feel the “pinch”, are the ones who are the parasites.

    As far as “big or small” government:

    “The Jefferson Perspective” goes on to tell us that Thomas Jefferson believed….
    “government was to be shaped and determined by certain principles, not by some set rule for its size or scope without reference to those other principles. Experimentation and the will of the people would resolve the question of size, not some arbitrary limitation”……

    “We are now vibrating between too much and too little government, and the pendulum will rest finally in the middle.” –Thomas Jefferson to S. Smith, 1788.

    Right wingers taking quotes from the Founding Fathers out of context and blindly and mistakenly applying them to a meme that fits their narrative is the way they re-write history and the main reason, when researched, they are found to truly be the “Stupid Party” !


  7. It is possible to find writings of Jefferson that express his ideas of optimal government, and NONE of them propose the “least government” possible.

    The only near exception to that is when he considers the little government employed by the Indians, which he concludes is impracticable for a great nation.

    If Jefferson were to complete the statement, “That government is best which… ” he more likely would state it as follows:

    That government is best which does the will of its people and secures the greatest degree of happiness and prosperity possible to the general mass of those associated under it.

    That is not a direct quotation of Jefferson, of course, but it is a composite taken from the following quotations that definitely are by Jefferson:

    “[Ours is] a government founded in the will of its citizens, and directed to no object but their happiness.” –Thomas Jefferson: Reply to North Carolina General Assembly, 1808. ME 16:300

    “The only orthodox object of the institution of government is to secure the greatest degree of happiness possible to the general mass of those associated under it.” –Thomas Jefferson to M. van der Kemp, 1812. ME 13:135

    “The happiness and prosperity of our citizens… is the only legitimate object of government and the first duty of governors.” — Thomas Jefferson to Thaddeus Kosciusko, 1811. ME 13:41

    The idea that the “least government” is the best focuses too much on government as an institution existing in its own right.

    Jefferson focused on government as a service, doing the will of its people. Arbitrarily making it govern least will not necessarily make it perform that function better.

  8. You notice how Marcus hasn’t given a source like I asked, and has to double back to his just-so statements to defend himself, ignoring anything posted that contradicts him.

    He’s a troll, plain and simple, and isn’t worth the time until he’s ready to respond to things like an adult.

  9. Liming and GoldenSun

    Boy ! you surpass me 50 times on the history of things. That is better than some text of Jefferson taken out of context. I got used to that in the 2008 and 2012 elections where Republicans distorted,lied and exaggerated on many topics.

    History wise,I know for sure that a government is of the people,by the people and for the people and will not perish. This to me is a fundamental right of every american to be as successful and should not be in the hands of the 2%. The rich use fear and subterfuge so the masses fight for jobs and reduce wages from the plight of others. Politicians are so influenced by money that I am a true believer that it is not government that guides this country but rather influential companies. To see Congress whimper,cajole and bend to lobby groups makes me sick. Get some cohones and do what is right for heaven’s sake

    We are going in the wrong direction and if we don’t change things as they are,our children will surely perish.

  10. Re: “- – -We are going in the wrong direction and if we don’t change things as they are,our children will surely perish….”

    O.K., this is almost rote similar to arguments I have heard from the period before the Industrial Revolution, during the time of the dominion of Tammany Hall, during the time of Prohibition, during the time of The Great Depression, During the time of the Eisenhower Recession – – – this is a common argument that has been voiced by many people in many places at different times in American History – – and it has never yet become the self-fulfilling prophecy that I think it was intended to become.

    You know what I think about it?

    I think America is always equal to whatever the challenge.

    I would not be quick to sell America short.

  11. John Liming

    We will need to have another conversation in ten years. With the Koch brothers using their money to influence Republican states to change laws with Right to Work legislation, I can easily see companies in America gradually reduce union influence that will permit them to reduce wages.With no more pension plans within company benefit programs,there will not be sufficient wealth for many americans to have middle class puchasing power in thirty years hence.With the Supreme Court having accepted billions of dollars poured into political parties,I am afraid politicians can be bought by lobby groups and Obama cannot complete his promise to change Washington before he leaves.

    I will be watching very diligently the progress of these tactics and I can only hope that the challenge you speak of uprises in this interim. I pray for my grand childrens’ sake.

  12. Once the American People feel the pressure from all this the changes will be made because that is what Americans do – – they sleep for awhile and when the lion roars, the tiger awakens. The ship of state will right itself like it always has and the future generations will make their own mistakes and learn from them the same as we are. The dreadful economic and political conditions you are talking about will be temporary and transient, the intransigents and the obstructionists will become history – – although remnants will remain with their teeth pulled and their power squandered – -all the corruption you are describing is already rampant and just like corruptions of the past will be moderated by the will of a People on the march – – – just like in the days of the great industrial barons when the unions first formed – – America responds to need and America will work her way out of this mess too.

  13. Let’s be honest; Republicans don’t want small government, just a government that does what they want it to do, which is to enforce their ideology on all of us. They want government that interferes with what women do with their own bodies, they want a government that blocks gay people from getting married and they want a huge war machine, even if it is no longer efficient in today’s modern times.

    Great article John.


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