Monday, July 23, 2018

Good Words

Sometimes when I look at what I’ve been randomly collecting in the Spherical Model quote file, I find a theme. That’s been happening lately. There’s something connecting what our Founders thought about government, and why it should be limited—and about the people, and why they must be virtuous.

I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom.”—James Madison (The Papers of James Madison, 11:163, June 20, 1788)
James Madison
portrait by John Vanderlyn
image from Wikipedia

“We must learn the principles of the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers.”—Ezra Taft Benson

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined…[and] will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.—James Madison, Federalist Paper No. 45

[N]o bureaucratic judgment condemning a sincerely held religious belief as “irrational” or “offensive” will ever survive strict scrutiny under the First Amendment. In this country, the place of secular officials isn’t to sit in judgment of religious beliefs, but only to protect their free exercise.—Justice Neal Gorsuch, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. CADA opinion, 6-4-2018

[T]he framers of the Constitution probably assumed that religious freedom would establish religion as a watchdog over government, and believed that free churches would inevitably stand and speak against immoral and corrupt legislation. All churches not only have the right to speak out on public moral issues, but they have the solemn obligation to do so.—M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, October 1992

Sometimes the dues we pay to maintain integrity are pretty high, but
the ultimate cost of moral compromise is much higher.—Michael Josephson

Samuel Adams
Painting by John Singleton Copley
image from Wikipedia
"Here therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man."—Samuel Adams ("The Life of Samuel Adams," 1:22)

"How our governments need standards of integrity! How our communities need yardsticks to measure decency! How our neighborhoods need models of beauty and cleanliness! How our schools need continued encouragement and assistance to maintain high educational standards! Rather than spend time complaining about the direction in which these institutions are going, we need to exert our influence in shaping the right direction. A small effort by a few can result in so much good for all of mankind."—L. Tom Perry, Ensign, May 1988

"No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency."—George Washington (from his First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789)

The hand of Heaven appears to have led us on to be, perhaps, humble instruments and means in the great Providential dispensation which is completing. We have fled from the political Sodom; let us not look back, lest we perish and become a monument of infamy and derision to the world!—Samuel Adams, speech at Philadelphia state house, August 1, 1776

Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.—Thomas Paine, Common Sense

George Washington
portrait by Gilbert Stuart, 1795
image from Wikipedia
The power under the Constitution will always be in the people. It is entrusted for certain defined purposes and for a certain limited period to representatives of their own choosing; and whenever it is execised contrary to their interest, or not according to their wishes, their Servants can, and undoubtedly will, be recalled.—George Washington (in letter to Bushrod Washington, November 9, 1787)

“In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover, and wickedness insensibly open, cultivate, and improve. Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves therefore are its only safe depositories. And to render even them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree…. The influence over government must be shared among all the people. If every individual which composes their mass participates of the ultimate authority, the government will be safe.”—Thomas Jefferson (The Works of Thomas Jefferson, P. L. Ford, 8:390-1)

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