The following is excerpted from a letter from Jefferson to Joseph Priestly that was included in a post by Fred Wilson in his blog that you can find here – – http://www.avc.com
“As the storm is now subsiding, and the horizon becoming serene, it is pleasant to consider the phenomenon with attention. We can no longer say there is nothing new under the sun. For this whole chapter in the history of man is new. The great extent of our Republic is new. Its sparse habitation is new. The mighty wave of public opinion which has rolled over it new. But the most pleasing novelty is, its so quietly subsiding over such an extent of surface to its true level again. The order and good sense displayed in this recovery from delusion, and in the momentous crisis which lately arose, really bespeak a strength of character in our nation which augurs well for the duration of our Republic, and I am much better satisfied now of its stability than I was before it was tried.”
The question for us all, now, is where does our Republic go from here. The election of Barack Obama is a hopeful step. Do we need more fundamental change to the nature of the country, or will tweaks to the basic formula bring us to a good place? It seems to me that our current financial crisis is an opportunity to rewrite the rules a bit. To have government intervention and some personal pain just get us back to where we were, a primarily consumerist and largely selfish society, does not seem like a victory. Maybe now is the time to look to some other countries and cultures to find examples that we might incorporate into our own thinking. I am not suggesting federally mandated change, though the actions of local, state and federal goverments in how they tax us and spend on our behalf does shape our society to a degree. I am more suggesting that we undertake an examination of our culture and what might be the logical extensions of the economic, political, personal consumption, religious, etc. decisions that we make.