Presidents’ Day Wonk Post

Clearly, Adams was a socialist. - promoted by david

Before the disconnect, there was a time when American conservatism cared about American values.

Of course that was a time when Americans knew their history.


9 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Adams also out this principle in the MA Constitution:

    Chapter V, Section II.
    The Encouragement of Literature, etc.

    Wisdom, and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of legislatures and magistrates, in all future periods of this commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them; especially the university at Cambridge, public schools and grammar schools in the towns; to encourage private societies and public institutions, rewards and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings; sincerity, good humor, and all social affections, and generous sentiments among the people.

  2. But...

    “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence” John Adams

    • Hence my reference

      …albeit somewhat oblique, of Adams as a conservative.

    • Is that quote somehow inconsistent

      with the one about education? I can’t see how, unless you think paying taxes (toward education, for instance) is the sort of “property” that Adams was talking about in your quote. But it seems fairly obvious that he saw a distinction between the two.

      • In fact I would say very consistent.

        If one aspires to be successful, success often manifested in the acquisition of material wealth (ie property), then one should first have access to a quality education.

  3. The GOP has a value.

    It’s called selfishness.

  4. Our modern conservatives

    are not at all enamored of the interventionist ways of the Federalist Party — and are likewise opponents of the younger Adams and his National Republicans.

    I’m not so sure our current liberal/conservative divide fits neatly into the debate of how “energetic” the federal government of the 19th century was supposed to be.

    • The modern Right isn't conservative

      Our modern conservatives…are not at all enamored of the interventionist ways of the Federalist Party — and are likewise opponents of the younger Adams and his National Republicans.

      Likewise the Whigs and the pre-1980 Republican Party.

      The irony is that the Republican Party has a more “energetic” tradition than the Democrats. Even Herbert Hoover supported public works.

  5. Adam Smith on government

    “Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is, in reality, instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.”

    Wealth of Nations (published 1776)

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