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Vail Daily letter: What Jesus would think?

Fredric Butler
Eagle, CO Colorado
letters@vaildaily.com

In his recent column, Jack R. Van Ens compared the political philosophy of John Adams with that of Thomas Jefferson and seemingly implied that the collectivistic government version of Adams was more Christlike than the individualistic and delimited form espoused by Jefferson.

Van Ens asserts that “if government didn’t harness greed in Adam’s American dream, then the rich few might act thanklessly toward the many who need help.”

I submit that Christ never made that kind of statement, since he himself was quite a remarkable individual in his age. In fact, Christ eschewed the empire of Rome, for which he paid dearly.



John Adams, like Alexander Hamilton, was a Federalist and believed in a strong central government, contrary to the conservative or libertarian leanings of Jefferson and Rep. Boehner of today. If ever there was a strong central government in the times of Christ, it was Rome.

Mr. Van Ens admits that Boehner “adored economic freedom, individual liberty and personal responsibility” and likens him to Jefferson.



Yet he places Adams (a central government advocate) in the same belief system as Christ (an individual and an antagonist of Rome).

No, Mr. Van Ens, Christ was more of the Jeffersonian persuasion; ergo, Jefferson was the individual and a rebel patriot who stood against the central government of King George III.

As Christ would rather teach individuals how to fish and become self-sufficient, Jefferson would have it that the early American frontiersman also acquire that trait with the fighting, hunting, fishing and agricultural skills so necessary for survival and to aid in the establishment of a free people with a government that is constrained to recognize the individual’s worth.



Christ did not opt to establish a collective welfare system to feed fish to the poor. Rather, he recognized that an individual had self-worth and the capacity to feed himself from his own endeavors – to fish, if you would.

Mr. Van Ens has simply missed the mark with his long rifle when he avers that Americans carved out a great nation from the wilderness in the face of a formidable foe (England) under the Federalist government envisioned by Adams.

No, this country formed, grew and prospered through the individual efforts and blood of rebels, refugees and patriots on a disconnected frontier. If there were poor folk at the time, it was the classic generosity of the American individual who fed them and, in turn, taught them how to fish in the manner of Christ – not a fledgling central government and certainly not the government for which Adams pined.

In the face of this history, Mr. Van Ens still believes that it takes a collective (community) to feed the poor or raise a child and that our Federalist government of today has the heart, soul, resources and ability to do that task. To this I say poppycock.

Government does not have a soul, a heart or any altruistic mindset whatsoever, unless it is to rob from Peter to pay Paul – that’s still robbery.

Our federal government manufactures and produces nothing. By definition, it must rely upon the taxes it levies on individuals and private businesses to dole out alms to the poor. Christ would not approve of the massive welfare class that the federal government has created in today’s American society. That class simply doesn’t know how to fish!

Mr. Van Ens then ends his editorial with the question, “Which version of the American dream makes you thankful? Which dream reflects Christ’s vision to help those who can’t help themselves?”

Do you think of Rome? Do you think of England of the 1700s? Do you think of the federal government in our time? I think of Christ, that remarkable individual of AD 33. I think of the American people and am thankful that a good portion of them are still individuals forged from the mold of the Judeo-Christian tradition of self-sufficiency.


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