Oh, Chuck Schumer.
“I think if Thomas Jefferson were looking down, the author of the Bill of Rights, on what’s being proposed here, he’d agree with it. He would agree that the First Amendment cannot be absolute,” Mr. Schumer said.
Funny: I think that Thomas Jefferson is even at this moment being gently but firmly dissuaded from manifesting on Earth with a large stick and an eye towards beating United States Senators who are too ignorant of their own country’s history to be able to tell the difference between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison*.
Besides, Schumer’s not actually correct. From a 1791 letter by Jefferson to Archibald Stuart:
I wish to preserve the line drawn by the federal constitution between the general and particular governments as it stands at present and to take every prudent means of preventing either from stepping over it. Tho’ the experiment has not yet had a long enough course to shew us from which quarter incroachments are most to be feared, yet it is easy to foresee from the nature of things that the incroachments of the state governments will tend to an excess of liberty which will correct itself (as in the late instance) while those of the general government will tend to monarchy, which will fortify itself from day to day, instead of working it’s own cure, as all experience shews. I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. Then it is important to strengthen the state governments: and as this cannot be done by any change in the federal constitution, (for the preservation of that is all we need contend for,) it must be done by the states themselves, erecting such barriers at the constitutional line as cannot be surmounted either by themselves or by the general government.
Bolding mine. Mind you, knowing something of American history… I am not even remotely shocked that Thomas Jefferson mistrusted the federal government, and expected that the states would serve as a check on it. Neither am I surprised to hear that Jefferson would prefer the problems from a system that was too loose to the problems of a system that was too restrictive. Alas, neither am I surprised to hear that a Democratic Senator knows less about American history than I do. I’ve been presented with evidence along those lines for going on more than a decade, now.
Via Hot Air Headlines.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: Do read the entire letter: Thomas Jefferson did have some opinions on the subject of amendments that might actually have met the approval of modern Democrats. It’s a darn shame that apparently none of them are sufficiently intellectually curious to go look up the man’s actual opinions. Ach, well, this is how I earn my corn.
*Or George Mason.