Sunday, October 2, 2011


For reasons unknown, I ran into a picture I took of a statue of Jefferson in Paris (it is along the Seine, near the Musee d'Orsay).

Then I saw something else which led me to this quote from Jefferson, mainly about the meaning of July 4th.  I think it has a wider meaning, and so I quote it here:

… May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains, under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings & security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of god. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.

Do we each for ourselves, and for those we manage, respect the opportunities and responsibilities of freedom?

Adam Smith described well how the invisible hand allows the economic participants to enjoy the economic benefits of freedom.  In, say, a country.  We are still learning how the same basic things happen in a group of 100 people.

I do not think waiting for others to tell us what to do, or to wait for them to change, or to wait for them to fix some things, I do not think these things will enhance our freedom. Or really do much for our lives.

No comments: