Would Jefferson be ticked?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006
dafydd says he would be. Why? Because bloggers like Dean Barnett claim that we have failed to establish a Jeffersonian Democracy in Iraq. Dafydd's point being that we never said we would. Jeffersonian Democracy was not the model. He also makes a good point that if violence is a sign of a country that can not live under a democratic system then our Civil War should have made it plain we were incapable of it long ago. Dafydd's most interesting comparison however, is with Greece. Not so long ago that country seemed to be locked in hopeless violence.

Personally I don't think that most people today even know what Jeffersonian Democracy is. And that includes Americans.

Joyce Appleby, a modern day historian of Thomas Jefferson says that the true Jeffersonian legacy is to be hostile to legacies. The man was a contradiction, a libertarian slave holder, a believer in states rights and the author of the Declaration of Independence. Let us not burden him with the responsiblity of creating a democratic model for the Middle East.

Europeans and Japanese and Turks have each managed their own form of representative government. It is the only modern style of government which mandates accountability and that is what the Middle East is most in need of.

4 comments:

Knucklehead said...

Well now, Jeffersonian democracy.

Ol' Jeff was nothing if not adaptable. Those who curse him, I find, pick portions (either time or topic) of his life with which to do so.

The point of his life is that he always learned and adapted. I personally don't believe the US itself can be a democracy of the form Jefferson strived to create during his lifetime. Heck, during his lifetime he changed and adapted his own notions of the body politic.

If he were alive today I suspect he'd be among the last of us to demand that we be what we were two centuries ago.

BTW, for all the casting about I do trying to figure out where, on the historical spectrum, I fit I generally come back to believing myself to basically be a Jeffersonian. The advantage and disadvantage of that is that it isn't a spot in time or space. Democracy, Jeffersonian or otherwise, is what it is. That seems to drive far too many of us bonkers. It's bothering me mightily at the moment but I've long since learned to get over it and keep the Big Point of democracy in mind.

The point of it is to give us what we want. If want we want is stupid and petty that ain't democracy's fault.

terrye said...

I prefer Washington. Or even Adams.

Seneca the Younger said...

Thomas Jefferson still lives. --- John Adams

terrye said...

seneca:

Thomas Jefferson survives.