Greg Prince's Blog

Musings and pontifications from a reality based progressive

Jefferson’s whole thought

Posted by Greg on August 14, 2009

Prooftexting is as dangerous in the political arena as in the spiritual.  Exhibit one would be the wingnut fetish with a certain quote by Thomas Jefferson to the effect that the tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of patriots.

Not surprisingly, the full context take it in a different direction.  This great piece at Firedoglake provides an analysis.

I wonder how many of the misguided wingnuts who intimidate and strive to thuggishly silence their fellow citizens have read the whole passage? They may be comforted by what seems to be stirring phrase, when torn out of context, but they shouldn’t. They misunderstand its meaning, and misunderstand their fate if they give in to violence.

Jefferson told the rest of the citizenry what to do in the face of any such violent watering. Jefferson’s advice to the peaceful is much more arduous than striking out in ignorant violence, but we cannot shrink from his instructions. It is our duty as patriotic citizens to remember the words that surround that disturbing phrase, and act on them if necessary.

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