Quote of the day—John Randoph

I am an aristocrat. I love liberty; I hate equality.

John Randoph
US congressman from Virginia from 1799 with various absences until 1827.
From Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: A Cultural History)
[I was struck by this because I wondered if the same sentiment is shared by many of our current politicians. When they speak of liberty are they referring to their own liberty but not liberty for all?

One the primary revelations I had while listening to this book was the extreme differences between different settlements in North America. For example the Quakers in Pennsylvania were, essentially, Libertarian. The people in Virginia were an extremely status/class driven society who demanded the liberty to own slaves.—Joe]

8 thoughts on “Quote of the day—John Randoph

  1. Just going by the quote, absent the full context I’d surmise that his idea of “equality” was heavily influenced by the kind of “equality” they were chopping off heads in France over just prior to his taking up office. I know the word “reasonable” probably wouldn’t have overly bothered anyone from the late 18th century, but I admit I cringe a bit whenever I hear it now.

    Not that the aristocracy in the South is cool, but I’m not a fan of the Rousseau-esque definition of “equality” as preached by the progressives today so I may have some sympathy for his position, depending on the broader subject he was speaking on, and what exactly he meant by “equality” (i.e. of opportunity, or of outcome).

    Btw, if you find this book interesting, might I recommend one by James Webb called Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America? I’m biased as I grew up in that culture, but I do believe that what folks keep calling the gun culture is nothing more than another name for what’s discussed in that book.

  2. gentlemen:

    the whole idea of the republic when founded was that states were free to experiment with their own social structures. so, that some places were different was no hazard to the founders, but, expected.

    i am no fan of slavery, for various reasons. but, you should be reminded that slavery was quite common in those days, in many places. there was black slavery, which involved the denial of every kind of civil rights to those in bondage, but, even then, blacks could be restored of those right and free to participate in society with the full panoply of civil right & privilege. and, there were indentured servants, who entered into servitude by contract in exchange for many things, including passage to the free world, and even three hots and a cot for a number of years while they got established. so, servitude was many things.

    in many places.

    and, the idea behind the federal union was that such matters were to be regulated by the states, and it was expected that some states would follow paths different from others.

    john jay

    • ” that states were free to experiment with their own social structures” was most certainly not “the whole idea of the republic”. Liberty was inherently incompatible with the Evil Institution. Fortunately, the more important idea eventually won out. I find it appalling that anyone still defends the unmitigated evil of slavery on the specious grounds of federalism. If your definition of “gentlemen” includes those who would defend slavery as merely a different social structure, please count me out.

      • It’s interesting that Jefferson denounced slavery in his draft of the Declaration of Independence. (Read the draft some time; it’s got some nice bits in it that were edited out. It’s also amazing how impressive the prose is for a draft, though admittedly some of the true ringing phrases are only in the finished edition.)

        • Note also that, until the 13th amendment, it was indeed correct to say that slavery was a matter for the states. Lincoln said so quite explicitly.

  3. Yeah, we can’t discuss “equality” anymore without explaining ourselves. Depending on one’s allegiance it has polar opposite meanings. Nor can we discuss “freedom” nor “justice”. The outright kill, burn and loot communist revolutionaries thought they were killing, burning and looting for the cause of “equality, freedom and justice”, and right now there are millions of mind-controlled Progressives who think they believe in “equality” as they advocate for special legal status for different groups of people. They believe that to hold a gun to your head, steal your wealth and redistribute it to someone who’s never worked for living is the path to “equality” and “economic and social justice”.

    Anyone who uses the words without explaining themselves, then, is trying to deceive you. Anyone who receives those words without demanding a clear explanation is participating in, and encouraging, the deception.

  4. Be careful also in using the term “equality of opportunity”. You think you know what it means, but the communists use it also. “Equality of opportunity” to a fucking communist means he gets to take what you have, because unless he gets to kill you and take your land, he’s being denied his “opportunities”. You only have the “opportunities” you have because you selfishly hold control of your wealth and property at the expense of those around you, and that is totally, criminally unfair. This in fact is how every single member of the Obama administration thinks, for example.

  5. Pingback: Quote of the day—David Hackett Fischer | The View From North Central Idaho

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