A Monologue with the Ether

Oft Quoted Jefferson

If the legislature would add to that a perpetual tax of a cent a head on the population of the State, it would set agoing at once, and forever maintain, a system of primary or ward schools, and an university where might be taught, in its highest degree, every branch of science useful in our time and country; and it would rescue us from the tax of toryism, fanaticism, and indifferentism to their own State, which we now send our youth to bring from those of New England. If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves; nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe. [emphasis added]

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Colonel Charles Yancey dated 6 January 1816

Usually, one only sees the strongly emphasized part of the above quote, but I believe it is useful to place the quote in the context of its origin. All those who seek to bend Jefferson to their cause need to spend more time reading all of these quotes they so love in the context from which they are excerpted. There are two significant ideas expressed in the above excerpt. The first is that it is important that education be democratized; Jefferson believed that at minimum everyone should be capable of literacy and numeracy or as was often stated in my youth: the 3 ‘R’s — Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic. The second idea of import is that expressed in the final emphasized line of the excerpt to wit the free press. In Jefferson’s context that would be a press free of government influence and coercion.

While there still exists the peril of government propaganda as news, to it has been added the danger of corporate propaganda. An insidious form of propaganda that many fail to see the danger of because they believe that the “free market” will keep corporations “honest”. Unfortunately, as evidenced by such outlets as Fox News Channel and MSNBC, people are little engaged in questioning what they see and hear from these entities.

The point expressed by Jefferson is that a democracy and its citizens remain at liberty only so long as the citizens remain vigilant against all encroachments and actively engaged in the processes of democracy. Jefferson, however, believed in an utopian, hyper-libertarian form of democracy predicated on the belief that every citizen would be self-supporting subsistence agrarians. Jefferson consistently refused to acknowledge the reality that America was as much a nation of merchants as farmers, leading to the constant and unaddressed tension between the “Jeffersonian” ideal and the “Hamiltonian” reality even in the context of his own era.

None of this is new nor is it inevitable. The American Republic can only survive if the people begin to actively engage against the true forces of anti-democracy. We too often overlook what the founders of the American Republic meant by government which was an institution of arbitrary oligarchic forces in the form of kings and nobles rather than institutions of consistency — Rule of Law — and merit.

© 2014 David P Henderson. Some rights reserved.

The Sun Crests the Roofline

The sun crests the roofline This early still Fresh risen Here in the Central Valley The Golden Orb throws Upon me its full measure

© 2011 David P Henderson. Some rights reserved.

A Word on a Page

He began with a word on a page. One word, alone on a page, empty figuratively if not literally, for the word was not big nor robust enough to fill the page on its own. He stared at the word upon the page, the blank page. He wondered at its meaning void of context; he waited for another word to emerge as this one had with force, determination, and vigor to appear upon the page marring its pristine blankness. None came, yet. He continued to concentrate on the word.

The word was a good word, one that could offend certainly but rarely would. When it did offend, the offense was generally limited to those sorts of people who are offended by everything about them, the sorts of people who think the world and all its contents filled with an unacceptable audacity of existence. He thought these things and cared not whether he or his word upon the page would offer affront to those sorts of people; Others he knew would not.

After a time, a seemingly interminable time, a new word emerged, following the first upon the page. This second word added meaning to the first, giving context, but it came forth shyly without the assurance of place with which the first had arrived. He had a sentence almost now. Incomplete in meaning but a beginning. He knew more words were needed to finish what the first had begun. However, he did not know what those words should be, although he eagerly awaited the appearance of the next.

He waited not long; the third word came, more assured than the second but not so self-assured as the first had emerged to appear on the page. Soon the words came without pause falling from his pen tip in micro drops of ink. A torrent of words flowed from mind through hand to page. The first page filled with words its pristine whiteness forever marred by the blackness of the ink upon its face.

After a time, he began to tire, but the words did not slow. As slowly as those first words had come, all of the following flowed forth without pause. No rest for he from the words. He could not stop; the words demanded release. He was powerless to resist them.

His thirst grew. His hunger gnawed at him. But, these sensations were weak compared to the words. Hunger and thirst desired surcease, yet they were at best annoyances compared to the words. His arm ached, his hand cramped, yet no cessation of writing occurred. His only hope was to finish the words before his material vessel failed. Finishing would release the hold the words had upon him. He would be able to relieve his body’s desires only if he could finish the words.

❖ ❖ ❖

They found him collapsed upon his pages of words. Too late. He had ceased as had his words. The words had finished, but they left him with little strength to satisfy and revive his body. So like the words, he finished this world.

Those who found him lifted him from the pages. None paid the least attention to the pages upon which his emptied vessel rested. The words which had demanded release found no audience amongst those who came intent on rescuing him. The pages lay abandoned for the moment, unattended, unnoticed. The words had no choice but to be patient; they could not command others yet as they had commanded, he who spilled them forth.

Others soon appeared in the rooms of him who wrote the words. The new comers cleared the clutter from the rooms. They packed and boxed the things that might hold value for others. One came to the place where the words on pages rested. She glanced at the pages, lingering briefly upon the words. The words did not speak to her; she knew them, but they seemed to her incoherent and without meaning.

Perplexed she offered them to the others. No one of them understood the meaning of the words as put together. Finally, the leader took the words on the pages and placed them in the rubbish bin.

© 2011 David P Henderson. Some rights reserved.

Veiled Vale

I dwell in the veiled vale A bowl bounded and contained Broken and open only through a portal of gold All extant obscured e'er in haze

© 2011 David P Henderson. Some rights reserved.

Panaeolus subbalteatus

“Do this,” he said, grinning broadly and madly.

Panaeolus subbalteatus It’s spring break The kids from the mountain valleys have come to the coast to the big city bringing gifts of hallucinogenic substances fresh from the cow pastures Panaeolus subbalteatus

I have acquired my first From the older brother of a friend We make the exchange behind the Naro Expanded Cinema where I plan on trippin and watching the midnight showing of Stop Making Sense

When my hippie parents gave me the talk, they included detailed explanations of the psychotropic, addictive, and toxic tendencies of “narcotic” substances deemed illict by our all-knowing government

I’ve only ever tried dope and shrooms don’t like dope did like shrooms

I’m prepared except Among the crowd in the lobby near the stair to the balcony is Brian

“Hey, I heard you’re dropping shrooms,” he says

I had not long before dropped several caps on my tongue letting them soften and feed me their psychoactive toxins then chewed and swallowed

“Yeah,” I say smiling

“Do this,” he said, grinning broadly and madly. I do “Now stop,” he says

Son of a bitch

© 2010 David P Henderson. Some rights reserved.