The Key to American Liberty

Since the early 20th century America has entered into a century long romance with the leviathan of public debt. Since the year 2000 our debt has exploded from $5 trillion to over $17 trillion. Thomas Jefferson had interesting insights into this subject. America's third president warned against the centralization of power in the hands of an elite. He saw the people, not an elite, as the hope of preserving our republic:

"And to preserve their [the peoples'] independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and or creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes, have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow sufferers."

This description of England in his time sounds strangely familiar to us today. According to Jefferson, "private fortunes are destroyed by public as well as by private extravagance. And this is the tendency of all human governments.... Till the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery, and to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering.... And the fore horse of this frightful team is public debt.... Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression."

To maintain our freedom Jefferson said that we must go back to the "ancient principles." These principles are found in the self-governing model republic of the Hebrew nation. They were known by most Americans until the 20th century. In this model God instructs Moses, through Jethro, to elect godly representatives and judges to represent the people and to decentralize power at the local level. This model was in direct contrast to those of all the ancient nations which drove power to a dictator or tyrant.

[Read the rest of the article at World History Institute.]