Go, TJ! It’s your birthday!

Erm, I mean: On this, the 262nd anniversary of the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, and founder of the University of Virginia

…what? That’s how he wanted to be remembered.

…anyway, on April 13, think for a minute about the man and his contributions to mankind, and these words of his, some of which I cited in 2003 and which seem even more relevant today:

  • “If there be one principle more deeply rooted than any other in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.” (To William Short, 1791)
  • “The government of a nation may be usurped by the forcible intrusion of an individual into the throne. But to conquer its will, so as to rest the right on that, the only legitimate basis, requires long acquiescence and cessation of all opposition.” (From Monticello, 1825)
  • “The most successful war seldom pays for its losses.” (To Edmond Randolph, 1785)
  • “Education is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” (to William C. Jarvis, 1820)
  • “Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’, thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.” (from R. to A. Danbury Baptists, 1802)

And check out this year’s Jefferson Muzzles awards, given by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression to “draw national attention to abridgements of free speech and press” and chosen from “an alarmingly large group of candidates.” Recipients this year, unsurprisingly, include the FCC, both political parties, various high school officials, the departments of State and Homeland Security, and the Virginia House of Delegates (for the “droopy draws” bill).