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14. An Interview With James Madison.

James Madison -- Going back to the beginning

James Madison.
James Madison.
"A people armed and free, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition and is a bulwark for the nation against foreign invasion and domestic oppression."
--James Madison

We are here today with one of our founding fathers, James Madison, to get his view on some important happenings going on in America.
Mr. Madison, Regarding the second amendment, many people in this current administration including the president, does not believe that the citizens of the United States should be armed. Do you believe they should be armed?
Madison-- "Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."

Why do you feel that they have the right?
Madison--"A people armed and free, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition and is a bulwark for the nation against foreign invasion and domestic oppression."

You’re saying the second amendment’s primary reason is to keep the government in check?
Madison--"Oppressors can tyrannize only when they achieve a standing army, an enslaved press, and a disarmed populace."

Do you really think an armed populace can keep our country safe from foreign invasion?
Madison--"A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained in arms, is the best most natural defense of a free country."

One of your fellow countrymen, George Washington, endorsed the “Peace Through Strength” strategy. He said “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” Do you agree with this doctrine?
Madison--"How could a readiness for war in time of peace be safely prohibited, unless we could prohibit, in like manner, the preparations and establishments of every hostile nation?" "Every man who loves peace, every man who loves his country, every man who loves liberty ought to have it ever before his eyes that he may cherish in his heart a due attachment to the Union of America and be able to set a due value on the means of preserving it." "It is a principle incorporated into the settled policy of America, that as peace is better than war, war is better than tribute."

Thank you sir, Lets move on to another hot topic item. What are your thoughts about the 1500 page stimulus package and the fact that many in congress didn’t even read the bill?
Madison--"It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood."

What about the spending? Do you think we should be spending so much that the national debt has increased from 6 trillion dollars to 14 trillion dollars in just 10 years?
Madison--"Each generation should be made to bear the burden of its own wars, instead of carrying them on, at the expense of other generations." "If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions."

Your thoughts are that the Federal Government has grown too powerful and centralized as compared to the States powers?
Madison--"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite." "No political truth is certainly of greater intrinsic value, or is stamped with the authority of more enlightened patrons of liberty than that on which the objection is founded. The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

We have one last question for you, sir. Do you believe that the Federal Government has the authority to pass a national health care law?
Madison--"The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government."

Thank you, Mr. Madison for your views and your time and your energies in helping create the foundations for the United States of America. We hope we can preserve these foundations and keep alive the spirit and intent of the constitution and the separation of powers in the federal and state governments.

13. Rugged Individualism

1. Herbert Hoover -- Rugged Individualism Speech

We need more Rugged Individualists
We need more Rugged Individualists.
"America - a great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far-reaching in purpose."
-- Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover, "Rugged Individualism Speech" (October 22, 1928)
“I intend... to discuss some of those more fundamental principles upon which I believe the government of the United States should be conducted....
During one hundred and fifty years we have built up a form of self government and a social system which is peculiarly our own. It differs essentially from all others in the world. It is the American system.... It is founded upon the conception that only through ordered liberty, freedom and equal opportunity to the individual will his initiative and enterprise spur on the march of progress. And in our insistence upon equality of opportunity has our system advanced beyond all the world.
During [World War I] we necessarily turned to the government to solve every difficult economic problem. The government having absorbed every energy of our people for war, there was no other solution. For the preservation of the state the Federal Government became a centralized despotism which undertook unprecedented responsibilities, assumed autocratic powers, and took over the business of citizens. To a large degree, we regimented our whole people temporally into a socialistic state. However justified in war time, if continued in peace-time it would destroy not only our American system but with it our progress and freedom as well.
When the war closed, the most vital of issues both in our own country and around the world was whether government should continue their wartime ownership and operation of many [instruments] of production and distribution. We were challenged with a... choice between the American system of rugged individualism and a European philosophy of diametrically opposed doctrines,¬ doctrines of paternalism and state socialism. The acceptance of these ideas would have meant the destruction of self-government through centralization... [and] the undermining of the individual initiative and enterprise through which our people have grown to unparalleled greatness.”

Herbert Hoover correctly theorized that the best way to keep the United States economy growing was to keep the people free and the Federal Government small. He, like our Founding Fathers believed that the proper role of government is to protect equal rights, not provide equal things. A government that is big enough to provide everything to everyone is big enough to take away everything from everyone. A government that provides for a society makes for a lazy society.

Herbert Hoover and our Founders held the concept of “Freedom to Prosper”. This concept is based on the belief that man’s instinctive will to succeed in a free society would result in the whole people prospering. The poor could even lift themselves out of poverty through education and individual initiative to become independent and self-sufficient.

In a free society, some would prosper more than others. That is inevitable as long as there is liberty. There are many reasons people would prosper; talent, good fortune and inheritance are a few. However, most people would prosper because of hard work. People work harder when they work for themselves and not for the collective. When the government is small and requires the people to be more self reliant and the people are allowed to keep more of what they work for, this creates the atmosphere for rugged individualism and self sufficiency. Rugged individualism was the backbone of prosperity in the early days of the United States of America. Rugged individualism is needed now more than ever to bring back prosperity and growth to our great nation.