On the 9th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution President George Washington gave to his cabinet his farewell address. He also had it printed in the Philadelphia Daily American Advertiser primarily to let everyone know that he was not going to seek a third term as president of the United States.
When reading his farewell address one learns of the man’s humility. However, the greater portion of his comments admonishes the nation on several subjects all of which have validity today.
For instance, President Washington discusses the need for unity and to guard against factions developing between sections of the country. He states that the different areas of the country are dependent upon one another for their economic survival. Because of the equal protection of the laws of a common government and the gigantic free trade zone allowing goods and people to cross freely between the states, the people of the north, south, east, and west all benefit and there is significantly less fighting and less need for overgrown military establishments within the border of the United States, which, “under any form of government is inauspicious to liberty and particularly hostile to republican liberty.”
President Washington also states that, “The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution, which at any time exists, until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all.” In other words, besides the fact that individuals have a right to form any type of government they choose, if the Constitution, as is now written needs to be modified, then it must be modified through the amendment process outlined in the Constitution itself. Doing it through usurpation as is done today (i.e. declaring war and all of the activities for which the federal government pays without any constitutional authority), spells death to a free society.
President Washington also warned of the development of political parties that lead to national antagonism resulting in the gradual inclination of individuals to seek security over liberty resulting in the absolute power of the individual who becomes the chief of the prevailing faction and ends up destroying the very liberty that individuals possess. Witnessing the takeover of authority of opening mail without a warrant, inspections at the airports, and essentially the obliteration of the Bill of Rights makes one wonder if President Washington was not omniscient.
He knew and understood that war increases the public debt, though. One understands this by witnessing the debt situation of the country over the last five years as a result of the Iraq War. However, he recommended that during peace time, that debt is to be discharged as fast as possible, of which current and past leaders do not appear to take heed.
He reminds us that public credit is always paid for through the revenue of government. The revenue of government is taxes and no tax can be devised that is not convenient and unpleasant. As such this ought to be the motive not to incur public (government) expense to begin with.
The primary warning, though, President Washington gave the nation and that must be heeded today, is his warning on foreign relations. He states, “Observe good faith and justice toward all nations, cultivate peace and harmony with all. Have as little a political connection as possible with foreign nations because those that are your allies may very well become your enemies.”
Having alliances with everyone as government does today facilitates bitterness among both
George Washington was a smart and honorable human being. He knew and understood the value of human liberty and the significance of the United States Constitution, the document he greatly helped to create. Individuals today must heed the sage advice of Mr.
People for the
Mr. Michael Badnarik, 2004 Libertarian Party presidential candidate and author of the book, “Good to be King,” will be the keynote speaker at The Freedom Library annual awards ceremony to be held Tuesday, April 10 at 7 PM at the Booth Machinery conference hall located at Araby Road and 30th Street.