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Thanks for the Memories

Thomas Jefferson, binary code, digital,computer, quote

One thing for which I expressed gratitude, yesterday, was my site’s “Thought of the Day” feature, for it placed in original context a well-known maxim: “If your government is big enough to give you everything you want, it is big enough to take away everything you have.”

Thomas Jefferson is said to have written that. Back in 2005. Or more accurately, the year 2005 marks the first instance of those words being attributed to the Man from Monticello, according to research by the folks at Monticello.org.  

Thank goodness that Mr. Jefferson has the wherewithal to still, hundreds of years after his death, provide erudite quotations to freedom-loving people. 

Ah, the mysterious forces found on the Internet.

Yet, what the Internet gives . . . the Internet takes away. Seems another noteworthy American wrote those famed words in 1952 (half a century before a two-century deceased Jefferson). 

That’s the rest of the story provided by Mr. Rest-of-the-Story himself, Paul Harvey. In his 1952 book, Remember These Things, the late, great radio commentator wrote to those tempted by government handouts and subsidies:

What have you got to lose, you say? Why shouldn’t I take their offer of free medicine, money for work I don’t do, or crops I don’t grow? Why not?

Here’s why not, and don’t ever forget this. “If your government is big enough to give you everything you want, it is big enough to take away everything you have.”

Some four decades later, in 1992, Harvey was at the pinnacle of the radio world, his program carried on 1,200 stations along with over 300 newspapers running his derivative weekly column. I was working for U.S. Term Limits to place ballot measures limiting the terms of politicians in Congress and state legislatures, when I received Mr. Harvey’s encouraging call asking about our campaign. 

Mr. Jefferson? 

He never calls; he never writes.

I guess he’s too busy online. 

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.


Thomas Jefferson, binary code, digital,computer, quote

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By: Redactor

1 Comment

  1. Pat says:

    Others attribute the following quote to Jefferson, when it might have originated with Henry David Thoreau:

    That government is best which governs least.

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