Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Clinton Wrong to Compare Sanger with Jefferson

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently compared Planned Parenthood Foundress Margaret Sanger to Thomas Jefferson, in response to criticism for expressing admiration Sanger. Clinton was testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives for a hearing. When Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) questioned how Clinton could express admiration for Sanger, the racist promoter of eugenics, Clinton stated that she admired Jefferson, despite his persistence in holding slaves.

Clinton's criticism of one of the Founding Fathers of the United States is part of a pattern of Clinton defenders. The Founders were accused -- unfairly and falsely, at times -- of all sorts of immoral behavior in order to make Bill Clinton's immoral behavior seem less evil than it was, even though none of the Founders ever committed perjury. Indeed, radical liberals like the Clintons and their defenders often like to criticise the Founders while professing to support the liberties the Founders championed, even though they tend to subscribe to the "fruit of the poison tree" theory that nothing good can come from evil people. Instead, they simply dismiss the Founders as "hypocrites" and attempt to co-opt the parts of the Founders' principles they like while ignoring or dimissing those parts they do not like.

Jefferson is often a target of these iconoclastic liberals when attempting to defend wrongdoing by one of their own or dismissing some principle handed down since the founding they find not expedient. Hillary Clinton's criticism of Jefferson for holding slaves, especially in comparison to Margaret Sanger, suggests her ignorance of history.

Thomas Jefferson inherited from his father-in-law both his slaves and the debt incurred in purchasing those slaves. He suffered from financial difficulties throughout much of his life and even had to borrow money from his slaves. Yet Jefferson provided for his slaves' education. He was not a proponent of slavery. In fact, Jefferson regarded slavery as repugnant because he believed in liberty for all, but struggled to find an accetable solution.

The Constitution did not immediately ban slavery, although it is important to remember that Jefferson was not a Delegate to the Constitutional Convention (a point that is often neglected by liberals when attempting to elevate Jefferson's opinions about the "separation of church and state" as constitutionally relevant). However, the Constitution provided for the phasing out of the slave trade by 1808 and limited the growth of slavery through the Three-Fifths Rule, which diluted the representation of slave states in the House of Representatives by only counting slaves as three-fifths of persons for purposes of apportioning representatives. Note: the biggest myth in the United States today is that the Three-Fifths Rule was some kind of a racist provision, which is claimed in order to besmirch the reputations of the Founders and the United States itself; it was an important anti-slavery provision!

It is worth remembering that Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and Virginia's religious liberty statute, as well as founded the University of Virginia. Jefferson served as Secretary of State under President George Washington and Vice President under President John Adams, and then two terms as president himself. In short, Jefferson's legacy of promoting liberty, as well as Virginia and the United States, is profound, despite his holding of slaves.

In contrast, Margaret Sanger's legacy is one of denying the most basic liberty -- the right to life -- to the most defenseless of human beings. Sanger advocated not only sexual immorality, but eugenics -- the elimination of classes of people deemed inferior through the promotion of artificial birth control and abortion. One group of people in particular Sanger though ought to have been eliminated because she regarded them as inferior was black people. An embarssing fact for the pro-abortion movement is that Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in the U.S., was founded, in part, because its foundress was a bigot who wanted to eliminate the black race.

Only radical liberals like Hillary Clinton could equate an elightened slave-owner whose promotion of liberty led to the elimination of slavery in the United States with an evil bigot who believed in eliminating people she deemed inferior whose legacy has undermined the institution of the family and nearly destroyed the black family in America.


Chevalier Family said...

This was an excellent article. The problem for me is the double standards of persons like Hilary Clinton. She is a strong advocate for abortion in this country, yet condemned it when she was in China when her husband was President. Unfortunately, the double standard is ignored, when she and others are confronted.

I have read a book on the 3rd President. It state that Jefferson thought that the black person was inferior to whites. I wonder if he meant socially inferior at that time with the hope that they would some day be socially equal to the white race.

The Definitive Word said...

Thank you. Yes, Jefferson did regard blacks as inferior. Although it is difficult to tell whether he meant merely that they were culturally, or as you put it, socially inferior, or genetically inferior in a racist sense. It is worth noting, however, that racism only arose later in the nineteenth century as a pseudo-scientific theory after the publication of Charles Darwin's theory of the "survival of the fittest." Certainly, Jefferson strongly believed in education, even for his slaves, so he must have had some confidence in blacks, unlike Sanger, who preferred to eliminate them. Regardless, his ideas about liberty, that they are "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights" are applicable to all human beings.