"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but
the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to
exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not
to take it from them, but to inform their discretion."
Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
letter to William Charles Jarvis, 28 September 1820; The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Memorial Edition, Lipscomb and Bergh, eds., vol. 15 (278)
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Anonymous      
Most people in this country seem so far past taking any responsibility for their actions that this philosophy is lost on them.
 -- warren, olathe     
    Absolutely. Imagine if the government spent 100 billion dollars this year on educating the public -- we could have the smartest citizenry in the world. (But then they would also be smart enough to know when they are being lied to.)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    WOW!!! can I quadruple the stars on this one. I truly believe that if the schools in America and the 4th branch of government (the press) weren't so fervently bent on dumbing down the populous, just the slightest light of the here subject expression might start a return to the States United Representative Republic.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Double ditto....
     -- Art V., Chicago     
    A slippery slope methinks. Who educates the public and to what end? That guns kill and they should be banned? I think that it is the role of our political system, not the government itself - to educate the people. Else the Teachers become the Masters. On the other hand, compulsory education (not training) is a blessing far outweighing the price we pay for it, and somehow we avoid the worst excesses of tyranny, notwithstanding the 'Patriot Act' an excreble assault on our liberties as any thought up by King George (the British king, not the American wannabe) and an insult to any right thinking American that has taken the time to read and understand it.
     -- Eric Engstrom, Wichita, KS     
    We have not made much progress at "informing their discretion". How else can you explain the multitude who believe that 2500 world scientists and hundreds of governments are all part of a left wing commie plot because of their warning about the global warming issue. There are so many among us that politcize every thing first and then back into their "informed" opinions from their political perspectives. You know the idiots in the church kicked Galileo out. In order to get along with them he lied about scientifc truth as he knew it to be. In order not to be called a commie by my right wing friends I have to give up on the common sense we see all around us. These politicized folk will never allow their "discretion to be informed"
     -- Bruce, Alabama     
    Many of the 2500 so called scientists are suing the propagandists for putting them on the list with out their permission. I doubt that all the rest of the people on that list even know they are on it let alone have the financial means to force the removal of their names. It is amazing that so many can be sucked into something like "man made" global warming with out one viable piece of evidence to support such an outlandish claim. Then to add insult to our intelligence we are supposed to disregard those scientists that are actually working in that field who maintain that it is nothing but hype. For years I would listen with interest to theories of global cooling, global warming, ozone holes, Jets damaging ozone, coffee bad, coffee good, and on and on. The only thing I have learned for sure is that any "scientific discovery" almost always turns out to be wrong. The worst is when a bunch of leftists hijack some piece of junk science like global warming and turn it into a political cause. The object is always the same ONE WOLD GOVERMENT with them in charge of course. Think about what kind of tyranny would inevitably result in that and how helpless we would be to stop it once it was in place.
     -- Warren Giese, Olathe ks     
    Still our greatest president.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
    I'm with Cal on this.
     -- jim k, austin tx     
    It's no longer a question of empowering our fellow citizens of this great nation with the honest truth about everything always, but rather if there is still enough time for that to possibly make enough difference to save us from the kind of freedom that ignorance has already sadly enslaved us all, and our noblest aspirations, in.
     -- y.d.dandy, Laguna Woods, CA     
    To inform their discretion. Enlightenment, Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. The divider that goes with the ruler. Separating oppression from freedom. The most criticized doctrine in the Rock. Rightfully so, it is the point of the sword. Able to divide asunder. We are not as of yet, pressed out of measure. Symbolism takes root, and holds the ground upon which the Republic rest. Thank our founding fathers for their foresight and longsuffering. Knights still hold the rank, for they are Ambassadors for Christ. Amen.
     -- Ron w13, Or     
    just hold on; how did global climate change (which has been proven BTW) enter into a discussion on an informed society? Real scientific information needs to be broadcast so that we have an informed society. So that our children grow up knowing that evolution is real, that it is the reason that we and our world exists today. Yes, climate change occured in the past, but never in history of the earth has it occurred so rapidly and with such results that it can be undeniably related to human activity. Again scientific evidence provides this proof.
     -- L. Hanson, Edmonton, Canada     
    The truth keep from the public concerning the scientific studies, is shielded very well. Water studies, air quality, are at the forefront. Dead zones are a fact ! Weather in the seas or cities, mans impacts, dirty industry at the helm guided by the elite and their stockholders. Many retire and say nothing of their findings, but do move to higher ground for a reason. Of course they still draw a pension. Not wanting to stick their neck out. Some predict it will not be wars but bad water, bring about the demise. But this is only discussed within the family. Not wanting to alarm the public. It is an irreversible damage, traced to its source as well as can be mapped. Evolution, to evolve from one thing to another is evident, not rocket science. Just as plants adapt and grow, so also is the conscience of man and the new creature, to come to pass. Like a clock, it matters not if one understands or not, the full mechanics of Gods clock. Or the application of a ( Paul ), which means to pause. Once released the spring resets and the hand moves forward. Much knowledge is kept behind closed doors. As also the knowledge base understood by a few. Loose the few it sets us back, as also the Library of Alexander. Many things are excluded from the canons, for a reason, to simplify the point of access. The God of nature created the universe in which we live. And God provides the rule with which we measure. It is much longer than seven thousand years. This is also kept behind closed doors.
     -- Ron w13, Or     
    The most vivid of imaginations brings the greatest degree of discovery !
     -- Ron w13, Or     
     -- jim k, Austin      
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