Friday, July 04, 2008

George Washington on Economic Freedom

Stuart K. Hayashi

Since it is July 4, I thought I should mention that George Washington understood that the United States could prosper only to the extent that it maintained economic freedom. And he credited the Enlightenment for having brought about this understanding.

On June 8, 1783, he wrote in his "Circular to the States":

...The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition, but at an Epocha when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period, the researches of the human mind, after social happiness, have been carried to a great extent, the Treasures of knowledge, acquired by the labours of Philosophers, Sages and Legislatures, through a long succession of years, are laid open for our use, and their collected wisdom may be happily applied in the Establishment of our forms of Government; the free cultivation of Letters, the unbounded extension of Commerce, the progressive refinement of Manners, the growing liberality of sentiment, and above all, the pure and benign light of Revelation, have had a meliorating influence on mankind and increased the blessings of Society. At this auspicious period, the United States came into existence as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be intirely their own.

We have gone from that sort of wisdom to . . . John McCain and Barack Obama. And who can we Americans blame for this but ourselves? :-(

America must rediscover what freedom is all about. Reading "Man's Rights" and "The Nature of Government," linked to in the post below, is a good start.


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