By Michael Sweeney
Massachusetts –-(Ammoland.com)- Have you heard the Jefferson quote, “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery”?
It’s been popping up here and there lately, on tee shirts, bumper stickers and the like, it got me wondering, what is the story behind it?
A quick Google search of the term “dangerous freedom quote” gives us over 24 million hits, the net is an amazing tool isn’t it? The first page that I opened had some great info, like all things with Thomas Jefferson it’s an interesting read. From www.monticello.org:
i prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.
This is actually a translation of a Latin phrase that Thomas Jefferson used: Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem. It has also been translated as, “I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.”
Here is the sentence in context:
“Societies exist under three forms sufficiently distinguishable.
- 1. Without government, as among our Indians.
- 2. Under governments wherein the will of every one has a just influence, as is the case in England in a slight degree, and in our states in a great one.
- 3. Under governments of force: as is the case in all other monarchies and in most of the other republics.
To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep. It is a problem, not clear in my mind, that the 1st. condition is not the best. But I believe it to be inconsistent with any great degree of population.
The second state has a great deal of good in it. The mass of mankind under that enjoys a precious degree of liberty and happiness. It has it’s evils too: the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject. But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem. Even this evil is produc – tive of good.
It prevents the degeneracy of government, and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs. I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”
Of the three optional societies that he writes, it is interesting that our current government is sliding to – wards the 3rd description. We are indeed a republic, and it seems that we have let ourselves become so compliant in our management of liberty that we have let our government become wolves, who now, ride around in up armored vehicles and point rifles at those who have the audacity to protest what they feel to be an unjust government.
As Jefferson wrote, the principal of this form of government is the turbulence to which it is subject.
I would say that we are certainly seeing the beginnings of turbulence. He also wrote and believed that the turbulence was preferable to living under the weight of monarchy. I believe this to be true, I hope that going forward we as a country can wake up and become more active in the process of civil action.
As Jefferson noted, the turbulence can wake people up and prevent government from degenerating. As a country we certainly seem to be in a downward spiral of degeneration. There are many people who have lost faith in our government at any level. We have a Congress that changes rules as it suits them, a President that skirts the rules to go around congress and local legislators who seem to be constantly trying to avoid the whirlpool of corruption centered on the current House Speakers office.
I only hope that the current unrest does indeed nourish the will to change the status quo.
We are the government, that’s what being a republic is all about, representation. Yet, we have failed in our upkeep, letting our government become a self sustaining machine run year after year and term after term by the same bureaucrats and elected officials, who seem to win one election after another, often running unopposed, feeding their sense of infallibility.
During the 18 month long debate in Massachusetts over what is now known as Chapter 284, there seemed to be a paradigm shift as to how the Massachusetts legislature reacted to their proposal to further restrict our freedom. They were shocked, and yes, I’d even say appalled at some of the feedback they received to their various anti freedom proposals.
Many, if not all of them had never experienced the kind of feedback they received from constituents. Not all of it was polite and some legislators took exception to it.
I would respond to their complaints with the following, “what do you expect, you are supporting violating our god given rights, what part of that being offensive do you not understand?”
Jefferson’s final line in the above quote, “I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” Speaks to the need to hold our government accountable, or face the consequences.
To be clear, I’m not talking about starting a revolution, rebellion or staging a coup, not the violent kind at least. The rebellion that I want to see would be one of citizen activism. As a collective we need to re-engage our elected officials, hold them accountable and should they not represent our interest, replace them with someone who will.
Surely it will be no small task, we’re up against a well-funded machine. It seems impossible to change, I know, thinking about what has transpired over the last 18 months here in the Commonwealth gives me confidence that we can accomplish the task, it actually brings another favorite quote to mind.
From another of my favorite framers, Samuel Adams: “It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”
What do you say, who wants to shake up Beacon Hill, again…
Gun Owners' Action League is the official state firearms association in Massachusetts. We are an association of law-abiding citizens who believe in the basic right of firearms ownership for competition, recreation and self-protection. GOAL works hard to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights against those in Massachusetts who wish to infringe upon the freedoms guaranteed by our forefathers. The programs sponsored and developed by Gun Owners' Action League are supported by competitors, sportsmen, recreational shooters and law enforcement throughout the state. We were formed in 1974 to protect the right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We are recognized as the state's premier gun rights association. www.goal.org