Your morning newspaper: Where nary is heard a contrary word

WaPo illustration accompanying Reid op-ed.

Many newspapers like to give their readers a full menu of commentary, often printing adjacent pro and con op-eds on a given topic.

Today the Las Vegas newspaper devoted its entire op-ed page to essentially a pro-pro stance.

The paper reprinted an op-ed by Sen. Harry Reid that first appeared Monday in The Washington Post as well as a column by Steve Sebelius taking an identical stance, fulminating over Republicans threatening to block any Obama nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

They both attacked Sen. Mitch McConnell and all the Republican presidential candidates who said the replacement for Scalia should be named by whomever is elected president in November.

Sebelius fumed, “For the record, anyone in federal elected office who advises ignoring a presidential nomination or rejecting a nominee before that person’s name is even announced is simply unfit to hold office.”

Reid ranted, “Pursuing their radical strategy in a quixotic quest to deny the basic fact that the American people elected President Obama — twice — would rank among the most rash and reckless actions in the history of the Senate. And the consequences will reverberate for decades.”

The senator also claimed, “Until now, even through all the partisan battles of recent decades, the Senate’s constitutional duty to give a fair and timely hearing and a floor vote to the president’s Supreme Court nominees has remained inviolable. This Republican Senate would be the first in history to abdicate that vital duty.”

Pay no heed to his role in filibustering the nominations of both Samuel Alito and John Roberts for purely partisan reasons.

He also seems to have forgotten the speech by Chuck Schumer in 2007, late in George W. Bush’s second term, in which he said:

“For the rest of this President’s term and if there is another Republican elected with the same selection criteria let me say this: We should reverse the presumption of confirmation. The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance.  We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts; or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito. Given the track record of this President and the experience of obfuscation at the hearings, with respect to the Supreme Court, at least:  I will recommend to my colleagues that we should not confirm a Supreme Court nominee except in extraordinary circumstances.”

Both of today’s op-eds pounded on the Senate’s constitutional duty to provide advice and consent for Supreme Court appointees. There is no criteria spelled out for refusing to consent.

In fact, both Reid and Obama — along with Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Schumer and Joe Biden — voted against confirming both Alito and Roberts as high court justices.

Both Obama and Reid stated of Roberts that he was not adequately committed to discrimination of the basis of race and gender — or was they euphemistically call it, affirmation action.

Reid said of memos written by Roberts, “But these memos lead one to question whether he truly appreciated the history of the civil rights struggle. He wrote about discrimination as an abstract concept, not as a flesh and blood reality for countless of his fellow citizens.”

Obama said of Roberts on the floor of the Senate, “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind Judge Roberts is qualified to sit on the highest court in the land. Moreover, he seems to have the comportment and the temperament that makes for a good judge. He is humble, he is personally decent, and he appears to be respectful of different points of view.”

But then he said he opposed Roberts because of his lack of agreement with him on matters of affirmative action:

“I want to take Judge Roberts at his word that he doesn’t like bullies and he sees the law and the court as a means of evening the playing field between the strong and the weak. But given the gravity of the position to which he will undoubtedly ascend and the gravity of the decisions in which he will undoubtedly participate during his tenure on the court, I ultimately have to give more weight to his deeds and the overarching political philosophy that he appears to have shared with those in power than to the assuring words that he provided me in our meeting.”

Of Justice Alito, Obama said he was eminently qualified for the job but he was supporting a filibuster of his nomination “because I think Judge Alito, in fact, is somebody who is contrary to core American values, not just liberal values, you know.”

Obama also said back then that “there are some who believe that the president, having won the election, should have the complete authority to appoint his nominee, and the Senate should only examine whether or not the justice is intellectually capable … I disagree with this view.”

How dare any Republican disagree with this view.

It is all about partisanship and rewriting the Constitution to fit their political solutions, not the least bit about constitutional duties.

Chuck Schumer in 2007:

Obama admits appointments are purely political:

He uses the everybody does it excuse.



Newspaper columnists lecture the dumb hicks about what is good for them

We’re just too stupid to know what is good for us, according to a couple of liberal columnists for liberal urban newspapers at either end of the state, and all us rubes and hicks should just shut up and let Harry and Barry do what is good for us.

Writing in the Reno newspaper, longtime Reid sycophant Jon Ralston pilloried Rep. Cresent Hardy for daring to question President Obama’s single-handed designation of the 700,000-acre Basin and Range National Monument in his district as a payback to Harry Reid.

He reminded Hardy that much of his district is in urban and presumably urbane Clark County with this gibe: “Hardy may find that his position plays well in Bundyville, but many of his supporters do not live in anachronistic times.”

Ralston penned this vapid and tortured tweak of the ignorant opponents of Obama’s executive fiat:

Of course, the logic here is easily shredded. If the rural governments were consulted and objected, that would have had an impact? Really? Some of them favor Yucca Mountain. Does that mean policy should accommodate them?

What they really mean is that there should have been the illusion of a rural listening tour before jamming this through. It would taste so much less like political castor oil with that spoonful of sugar.

No need to waste time listening to those who have no idea what is good for them.

In the Las Vegas newspaper lefty columnist Steve Sebelius tried to ridicule Lincoln County Commissioner Kevin Phillips telling reporters that the monument designation was wrong. “It’s disgusting. It’s loathsome. It’s illegal. It’s unfair,” he said. “We feel like we’re not citizens.”

In his own hat tip to anachronistic times, Sebelius offered this too cute comparison: “But to hear some tell it, Reid put on a bandanna and robbed an old-timey stagecoach with his trusty Winchester Model 1873.”

Inexplicably, Sebelius, in a complete contortion of logic and democratic principles, wrote: “But Reid dismissed the critics, saying there was ‘not a chance in hell’ that Congress would have approved the designation through the legislative process.”

Sebelius ended his sermon from atop his high horse by writing:

Plus, it’s not as if the excitable Commissioner Phillips has a point. What Obama did is not illegal. It’s just as legal, and just as legitimate, as withdrawing the land through congressionally approved legislation.

And bottom line: Preserving the land from development was the right thing to do. History will bear that out, long after the wails of the disaffected have ceased to echo through the desert canyons of Nevada’s newest monument.

And anyone thinks otherwise is, well, too stupid to know what is good for them.

As for the action not being illegal, consider that the Constitution enumerates the powers vested in Congress and the president.

In the 1906 Antiquities Act, the Congress gave away this power to the president to designate monuments because the Congress was moving too slow for Teddy Roosevelt’s druthers, but Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution still reads: “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States …”

Could the Congress give away all its other enumerated powers and go home? That would solve the problem of there not being “a chance in hell” of Congress taking some action Harry or Barry wants. We don’t need no stinking Constitution.

Columnist has a strange view of how editorial boards work


In his op-ed column in today’s Las Vegas newspaper, Steve Sebelius uses the term majority a dozen times to refer to a “majority” of the paper’s editorial board and the decision to publish an editorial this past Sunday opposing the margin tax for education, Question 3 on the November ballot. He, of course, endorses the tax and I happen to agree with the editorial stance.

“Sunday’s editorial made the case against The Education Initiative, saying it would be economically destructive across a wide variety of businesses, and that, in fact, ‘it does guarantee a much worse economy.’ In these contentions, I believe the majority is simply wrong,” Sebelius writes.

The column leaves the distinct impression that a newspaper’s editorials are determined democratically by a “majority” of the editorial board members. At all the papers I’ve worked at since the early 1970s, that has not been the case.

People would ask me, when I was editor of the Review-Journal, how editorial decisions were made and I would explain that the editorial board would discuss the various aspects of an issue, the board would vote, and the publisher always won — a majority of one.

There is a tagline at the bottom of the editorial column that reads: “The views expressed above are those of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. All other opinions expressed on the Opinion and Commentary pages are those of the individual artist or author indicated.”

Unless things have changed far more than I could imagine at the R-J, the term “majority” is a misnomer.

In fact, in my current incarnation as a free-lance columnist and editorialist for a string of rural newspapers owned by the R-J’s former publisher Sherman Frederick, this distinction has in fact arisen.

Back in December I penned a column pointing out a better way to reduce the caseload of the Nevada Supreme Court than creating an appeals court, which is Question 1 on the ballot.

But the publisher wanted to endorse Question 1. I told him an editorialist is like a gunslinger or a hooker. Who do you want shot or screwed? The price is the same. (Borrowed from a description a lawyer once used for his profession, but it works in this case as well.)

By the time I finished the editorial I may have convinced myself to vote for the appeals court, since the better solution is not on the ballot and the current situation is untenable.

That’s how it really works at the vast majority of newspapers. It’s hardly a democracy.

(By the way, at this year’s Nevada Press Association contest my columns and editorials won first places in the community newspaper division. I also had first places in both categories while at the R-J. Both of those were deservedly captured this year by Glenn Cook.)

Never let the facts get in the way of your ponderous pontification

There is simply no point in arguing with steel-trap logic.

Under the syllogistically undeniable headline, “Uncertainty is bad, but so is mediocrity,” Las Vegas Review-Journal left-listing columnist Steve Sebelius recounts a few quotes from Monday’s UNLV 2014 Economic Outlook in which experts warned that the potential passage in November of a margins tax on businesses is not good for the economy because it creates uncertainty.

But then he bulls his way forward with certitude and confidence, boldly saying the state’s public education system needs more money to improve the level of performance of high school graduates, which will be better for the economy than a tax that sucks the profit out of doing business in Nevada.

The Education Initiative proposes a 2 percent margins tax on all Nevada businesses that gross more than $1 million a year.

“Certainty may be good for business, but it’s not always a good thing. It’s almost certain that if we keep running our schools the way they’re being run now, we’ll continue to reap the disappointing results we’ve seen up until now,” Sebelius writes. “It’s almost certain that if we don’t provide future businesses with an educated workforce capable of performing in new, high-tech jobs, businesses that offer those jobs will continue to set up shop elsewhere.”

Who can argue with that? It sounds reasonable. It sounds logical. It makes sense.

It simply isn’t based on any factual evidence whatsoever.

This is what throwing ever more money at public education in this country has so far accomplished:

Cato Institute graphic.

Tried and true, right?

The only thing that has a chance of improving education outcomes in this country is competition and choice.

And don’t think for a minute that Nevada hasn’t already been pouring more and more money into its public education system:

NPRI graphic using National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education.

Also to no avail:

NPRI graphic, and, yes, it should read eighth grade.

Besides, there is no assurance any of the margins tax revenues would ever be spent on education.

But those are just pesky facts.

‘If the law supposes that … the law is a ass — a idiot’

A victory for free speech is a victory, even if it is for the wrong reason.

Carson City Senor District Judge Robert Estes tossed a lawsuit from the Nevada Secretary of State against Americans for Prosperity nearly a month ago, saying the statute in question applies only to those spending money “on behalf” of a candidate, according to the AP.

The AFP —  funded by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch — sent out mailers in 2012 during the election campaign of Kelvin Atkinson for state Senate in 2012. Those mailers criticized Atkinson for co-sponsoring a 2011 renewable energy bill, AB416, It has been estimated the bill would have cost power customers as much as $1 billion in higher bills.

“There can be no argument whatsoever that the fliers were sent on behalf of Assemblyman Atkinson,” Estes wrote in his Oct. 17 ruling, but he the state’s claim that the meaning of “on behalf” is the same as “about” a candidate is a “strained argument.”

“Certainly many people benefited by mailing fliers, even the post office,” the judge wrote. “Simply because an entity may benefit from a political activity, it is not a given that the activity was done on the beneficiaries’ behalf.”

Secretary of State Ross Miller said he won’t appeal and noted he has prevailed in two similar cases.

“This court based its decision on a factual determination of a specific political mailer,” Miller told the AP. “The facts of each case are different and I don’t anticipate that this ruling will prevent us in any way from enforcing the rules moving forward.”

Of course the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s drooling liberal lapdog columnist Steve Sebelius doesn’t believe billionaires should allowed free speech and called on the state’s lawmakers to “revise the law to encompass all electioneering communications designed to influence the public in any way, and attach a requirement to report donations and expenditures. With the U.S. Supreme Court expanding the rights of corporations to influence elections, and the increasing use of nonprofits that can legally shield donors, it’s more important than ever that the people know who’s trying to buy their votes, and why.”

Of course this is palpable nonsense and contrary to the principles and actions of the Founders who often penned anonymous screeds. The voters are perfectly capable of using their own noggins to evaluate any message that reaches their ears. They do not need tax-funded protection against their own gullibility.

In 1988, Margaret McIntyre was fined $100 for distributing leaflets opposing a school tax levy at a public meeting in Westerville, Ohio. She had violated a state law prohibiting unsigned leaflets.

In declaring the Ohio law unconstitutional, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote:

“Under our Constitution, anonymous pamphleteering is not a pernicious, fraudulent practice, but an honorable tradition of advocacy and of dissent. Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. … It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation — and their ideas from suppression — at the hand of an intolerant society.”

In the Citizens United case — the case that Obama blasted the high court for in a State of the Union address with justices sitting in front of him — the court held that groups, corporations and unions may not be singled out and barred from spending their own money in support of or opposition to a candidate or a cause.

Justice Antonin Scalia explained in a concurrence:

“The (First) Amendment is written in terms of ‘speech,’ not speakers. Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker, from single individuals to partnerships of individuals, to unincorporated associations of individuals, to incorporated associations of individuals — and the dissent offers no evidence about the original meaning of the text to support any such exclusion. We are therefore simply left with the question whether the speech at issue in this case is ‘speech’ covered by the First Amendment. No one says otherwise.”

But in an inexplicable self-contradiction, the ruling let stand reporting and disclosure requirements similar to those in Nevada law. How can you remain anonymous if you must disclose?

But Justice Clarence Thomas, in a partial dissent, chided his comrades for this duplicity:

“The disclosure, disclaimer, and reporting requirements in (the law) are also unconstitutional. …

“Congress may not abridge the ‘right to anonymous speech’ based on the ‘simple interest in providing voters with additional relevant information …’ “

Free speech is a right, not a privilege that requires a permit or disclosure of identity. The entire Nevada law needs to be either repealed or declared unconstitutional. Abridging is abridging is abridging.

This law is a ass.

I wonder what R-J columnists would write if the Stephens family and Club for Growth started sending out political mailers without first paying homage to Ross Miller.

For a thorough discussion of this topic, read Steven Miller’s three-part series, ”R.I.P., Publius,” at Nevada Policy Research Institute — Part IPart IIPart III.

I see your Light Brigade and raise you a Hidden Imam

Charge of the Light Brigade.

Metaphors to the left of me. Metaphors to the right of me. It’s a double flanking maneuver!

Kimberley Strassel compared the Republican effort to win a few concessions of ObamaCare and federal spending by daring the president to allow the country to hit the debt ceiling to the charge of the Light Brigade, commemorated by Tennyson’s famous poem:

On an October morning in the Crimea, 1854, British Lord Cardigan led his 600-strong cavalry force into a frontal assault of a fully dug-in and alerted Russian artillery battery. The charge was courageous. And it was suicidal.

The Light Brigade was ripped apart in the Valley of Death. Commenting on the bravery and utter futility of the attack, French Marshal Pierre Bosquet declared: “C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre. C’est de la folie.” (“It is magnificent, but it is not war. It is folly.”)

This she says is what happened to the Republicans.

On a far, far lower journalistic level than Strassel, we have Las Vegas newspaper scribbler Steve Sebelius comparing Rep. Mark Amodei’s principled vote against the budget and debt ceiling deal (which is how Obama and Harry Reid voted in 2006, by the way) to a Japanese solider on some distant atoll still fighting World War II:

“My conscience is clear with respect to an all-out effort in a four-against-one fight,” Amodei said. “I now know how those folks at the Alamo felt.”

But Amodei wasn’t defending American soil against hostile invaders — he was intentionally grinding his own government to a halt in an already-lost cause. A better example would be a Japanese soldier on a deserted Pacific island, fighting anyone who comes ashore, pathetically unaware that the war ended long, long ago.

No, Republicans mistakenly thought they were dealing with rationale people who would compromise before hitting the full faith and credit wall that every side said would be apocalyptic in scale and end in financial ruin and deprivation. That is actually what they were willing to do. They sat on the ammo dump and dared the GOP to shoot.

Harry and Barry were in it to win, even if it was a pyrrhic victory.

Perhaps, California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock said it most succinctly:

Given the ruthless and vindictive way the shutdown has been handled, I now believe that this president would willfully act to destroy the full faith and credit of the United States, unless the Congress acquiesces to all of his demands, at least as long as he sees political advantage in doing so.

Bring on the Hidden Imam to hasten victory. Look it up.

Another reason why background checks for private sales of guns is wrong

When Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed Senate Bill 221, he said that requiring background checks for the private sales of firearms is an erosion of Second Amendment rights.

A certain know-it-all pundit gave the governor a hearty horse laugh and said:

“To accept the governor’s argument, it’s constitutional if I buy a gun in a gun store and undergo a background check, but it’s an unconstitutional erosion of my Second Amendment rights if I buy a gun from some guy in the parking lot of that same gun store? That’s simply ridiculous.”


No, the real and pertinent reason background checks are wrong is that they are racist. The federal government says so.

Gov. Brian Sandoval (AP photo)

An editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal reports that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has unloaded both barrels against companies that conduct background checks on potential employees.

The EEOC discovered that retailer Dollar General rejected 10 percent of black job applicants over failing a criminal background screening but only 7 percent of whites. The editorial noted, “The EEOC calls that three-percentage-point difference a ‘gross disparity’ that is ‘statistically significant’ enough to qualify as discrimination.”

There you have it, background checks are racist.

One of the main reasons for the passage of the post-Civil War 14th Amendment was to assure blacks could not be deprived of their civil rights, as outlined by the Bill of Rights, by the various states. Until then the Bill of Rights only applied to the Congress, not the states. The 14th assured that blacks could not lawfully be deprived of Second Amendment rights, which is precisely what was taking place.

Ridiculous? No, racist.

Come to think of it, what about that requirement that gun stores conduct background checks?

R-J columnist reveals just who he is looking out for, and it’s not his readers

When one columnist lights into another for slighting some group, it can reveal just where that columnist’s fealty lies.

Take Steve Sebelius’ Friday column in the Las Vegas Review-Journal on one of its few remaining op-ed pages. He employs the column to unleash a full fusillade against Nevada Policy Research Institute in general and its president, Andy Matthews, in particular.

Sebelius — under the headline “Distortions, insults don’t solve problems” — claims “the erstwhile folks at NPRI have stretched the truth like saltwater taffy to create tasty-but-misleading info-chews, full of empty calories for the body politic. If truth is the first casualty of war, intellectual honesty buys it second. And this op-ed shatters any pretense of intellectual honesty by hurling numbers and invective at cops in the hopes of killing a proposed quarter-cent sales tax increase now pending in the Nevada Legislature.”

Within a couple of paragraphs the columnist reveals symptoms of the Stockholm Syndrome, showing more sympathy for his news sources than the subscribers of the paper who should expect their dollars to buy honest reportage with their interests in mind. He brags of his acquaintance with an assistant sheriff, Ray Flynn, who he met while he was a cops reporter for the Las Vegas Sun. “I covered more than one SWAT event alongside Flynn back in the day, and I can testify he worked for his money.”

Most people work for their money. The question in this contretemps is whether the boss — the taxpayers — is getting a good value for that money.

Sebelius takes umbrage with the fact NPRI pointed out in a commentary accompanying the release of 2012 Metro police salaries on its website Transparent Nevada how many Metro staffers were paid “total compensation” north of $200,000, the amount that comes out of taxpayers’ pockets. He seems to think it is unfair to include the police department’s ample benefits and cashing out unused sick leave at retirement.

Matthews reported that more than 149 Las Vegas police employees made at least $200,000 in “total compensation” in 2012. But Sebelius huffed that R-J cop reporter “got the real answer: Just 17 employees made more than $200,000 in salary alone in 2012.”

I suspect he’d also blanch at the figures I came up with: “When you tally the total for each officer, you find 3,307 fetched more than $100,000 in tax dollars in 2012. That is 58 percent of all the salaries listed, which includes several hundred school guards drawing pay more in the range of less than $1,000 a year.”

The R-J news story went to the trouble to back out some of the compensation, though it is not clear just what, so it could report a smaller number: “1,134 employees of the agency’s 5,684 full-time and part-time employees received more than $100,000 in pay alone.”

Neither did Sebelius much care for Matthews comparing Metro’s dire warnings about “dangerous consequences,” unless the sales tax is raised to cover the cost of princely-paid cops, to the mob’s protection racket.

“Now, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is telling the public the same thing — pay up or face ‘dangerous consequences.'” Matthews writes. “Department bureaucrats want the Legislature to authorize a quarter-cent sales tax increase and give the department ‘flexibility’ in using the money. Originally in 2004, tax increase proponents had pledged that the ‘more cops tax’ money would be used to hire new officers.” (A version also appeared in the R-J.)

The R-J columnist also found it ironic NPRI fails to reveal its salaries and donations, while not bothering to publish his own.

Finally, Sebelius asks this series of questions: “Does the system need reform? Is the base pay for officers right (it starts at $45,500 per year)? Should officers who aren’t suffering a medical disability have to wait until age 62 to receive their taxpayer pensions? Should they contribute more to their retirement? Should the pension system be replaced with a 401(k)-style retirement plan for future retirees? Should we switch to a use-it-or-lose-it vacation/sick day policy in local government? And should we eliminate binding arbitration and make elected officials finally and fully accountable for approving each contract? These are all perfectly legitimate questions.”

Of course, not wanting to step on any toes, he doesn’t even attempt to answer any of them.

He concludes with this cliché about cops: “It’s a thankless enough job as it is.”

No, ample pay and substantial retirement benefits and early retirement are the taxpayers’ way of saying thanks. The question is: Are they being too generous for what they get in return.

In 2004, Metro salaries were ranked ninth highest in the nation — behind North Las Vegas, Henderson and Reno and a couple of others. And those are just salaries.

After reading Sebelius, I had to find something to rinse out my mouth

Having just finished reading Las Vegas Review-Journal residing Fabian opiner Steve Sebelius’ tortured screed giving “advice” to Republicans as if he were one, I went in search of something sweet to wash the taste of bile from my mouth.

It was a hard-fought and bitter presidential campaign, and now that Obama has emerged the victor, Sebelius takes the opportunity to let Republicans know they lost because they are stupid — “Now you and I both know that many of the people in our base don’t really know anything about the Constitution. Most have never read it and some would be shocked if they did.” — and now that the Democrats have won it is time to sack and pillage — “They’re saying we can’t be the party that always says no to taxes, or stands in the way of ‘progress.'”

He chortles over GOP appeals to ‘traditional values’ of Christians and immigrants. He belittles Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater and Sharron Angle.

(A parenthetical aside from one of today’s Investor’s Business Daily editorials that is not a feeble attempt at parody: “‘How can he be free if the fruits of his labor are not his to dispose of, but are treated instead as part of a common pool of public wealth?’ he [Goldwater] demanded in ‘The Conscience of a Conservative.’ ‘Property and freedom are inseparable: To the extent government takes the one in the form of taxes, it intrudes on the other.'”)

It was a snide, sniggering, snarky and smug piece of gloating by a self-aggrandizing stuff-shirt. “Clearly, we lost — as Romney himself said — because of the increasingly socialist nature of this government and the masses of sheeple who are its subjects and the recipients of its many gifts,” he writes in a feeble attempt at parody that has a ring of truth.

It only took a few minutes to find the mouthwash I was looking for, Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural speech, which followed a particularly vicious and bitter presidential campaign against incumbent John Adams.

Adams was called a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”

Jefferson was called “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.”

The campaign got ugly after that.

But unlike the “we won, take that” crowd, Jefferson showed grace in winning.

Here is a portion of Jefferson’s first inaugural address, in which I have bold-faced a particular sentence:

During the contest of opinion through which we have passed the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the Constitution, all will, of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good. All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.

Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions. During the throes and convulsions of the ancient world, during the agonizing spasms of infuriated man, seeking through blood and slaughter his long-lost liberty, it was not wonderful that the agitation of the billows should reach even this distant and peaceful shore; that this should be more felt and feared by some and less by others, and should divide opinions as to measures of safety.

But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. I know, indeed, that some honest men fear that a republican government can not be strong, that this Government is not strong enough; but would the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment, abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm on the theoretic and visionary fear that this Government, the world’s best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve itself? I trust not.

I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest Government on earth. I believe it the only one where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern. Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.