Jefferson was an abominable human being. That helped make him an irreplaceable Founding Father, and great American president.
Obama got the bright idea to celebrate the Francophile, long time Paris resident, and Franco-inspired Jefferson with Hollande, to celebrate their love and partnership. I want to thank him for giving me the occasion of firing a broadside at another celebrity, mounted on a colossal amount of darkness.
Civilizations are defined by, and articulated around, master ideas, and the celebrities that incarnated them. Jefferson became one of the greatest American presidents, because he was so abominable. Let me explain. First and foremost, please look at the image above.
Sorry to break the spell: the USA did not revolt just because of taxation without representation, but because of a frontier with limitations. (Details in past and future essays.)
The president of the USA showed the president of France the neo-classical palace where Jefferson, the third president of the USA, held his slaves. They both admired whatever they were supposed to admire. Ironical.
Jefferson turned into a great enemy of both France and people of African descent. Jefferson’s purchase of gigantic Louisiana (1803) was the result of his massive CIA-NSA like secret support of the black rebellion in Haiti, to weaken France. In spite of his fear that “the blacks are out to murder us”. But, for Jefferson, greed proved stronger than fear.
Jefferson was twice part of the crack diplomatic team in Paris coordinating crucial help from Louis XVI. The French police visited his residence and ordered him to pay his servants a living wage, and to free them, because slavery was unlawful in France. (Slavery had been unlawful for eleven centuries.) Jefferson is the nexus of the American Dark Side, the quintessential horror of winner take all exploitation.
When the time came to go home to fight the war, Jefferson’s slaves wanted to stay in Paris. However Jefferson promised them freedom. He lied. In his lifetime, Jefferson freed just two slaves.
Jefferson, one of the wealthiest plutocrats in Virginia, held more than 200 slaves. When Jefferson, an author of the Declaration of Independence wrote: “He has excited domestic insurrections among us,” he was actually condemning the English King for “inciting American Negroes to rise in arms against their masters.”
While governor of Virginia for years during the Revolution, Jefferson promoted military enlistment by offering white men “a healthy sound Negro.or £60 in gold or silver”. Hey boys, let’s boogie.
The cult of Jefferson is strong in Washington. Jefferson has his own memorial, much more interesting and beautiful than the massive, Nuremberg bunker like Lincoln Memorial. Inside engraved on the walls, soaring writings of Jefferson.
As president, Jefferson massacred Indians and stole their land. That was, of course, horrific. Only an abominable person could do such a thing. Jefferson was that abominable person. He had carefully trained by mistreating his slaves and raping children. (Sally Hemming, who he bedded when she was at most 14, was three quarter Caucasian.)
The Dark Side of Jefferson was strong. A friend of his, an idealistic Polish Count, who had fought in the American War of Independence, left Jefferson, in his will, a considerable amount of money, so that Jefferson could free his own slaves. Jefferson pocketed the money, and did not free his slaves.
Patriotic Americans, most of them more or less descendants of European immigrants to America (yes, even Michelle Obama) are supposed, implicitly, to be grateful to the child rapist, slave master, holocauster Jefferson. How do I know this? Well, that’s what the cult of Jefferson is all about. Or actually the cult of the USA, as the USA owes so much to Jefferson.
Let Jefferson speak in his own words:
our settlements will gradually circumscribe and approach the Indians. it is essential to cultivate their love. As to their fear, we presume that our strength and their weakness is now so visible that they must see we have only to shut our hand to crush them, and that all our liberalities to them proceed from motives of pure humanity only. Should any tribe be foolhardy enough to take up the hatchet at any time, the seizing the whole country of that tribe, and driving them across the Mississippi , as the only condition of peace, would be an example to others, and a furtherance of our final consolidation..this strategy would “get rid of this pest, without giving offence or umbrage to the Indians”.
In cases where Native tribes resisted assimilation, Jefferson believed that they should be forcefully sent west. Jefferson in a letter to no less than Alexander von Humboldt, 1813:
“You know, my friend, the benevolent plan we were pursuing here for the happiness of the aboriginal inhabitants in our vicinities. . On the commencement of our present war, we pressed on them the observance of peace and neutrality, but the interested and unprincipled policy of England has defeated all our labors for the salvation of these unfortunate people. They have seduced the greater part of the tribes within our neighborhood, to take up the hatchet against us, and the cruel massacres they have committed on the women and children of our frontiers taken by surprise, will oblige us now to pursue them to extermination, or drive them to new seats beyond our reach.”
Jefferson ordered his Secretary of War, General Henry Dearborn (top government official responsible for Indian affairs): “.we will never lay [the hatchet against any tribe] down until that tribe is exterminated, or driven beyond the Mississippi”
Obama did good to celebrate Jefferson with Hollande in their presidential field trip. Jefferson, ultimately, celebrated the Enlightenment. But the road to light led through darkness.
And what if France and Britain, instead of fighting with each other, had kept control of North America? Well, the place would have got more civilized, much earlier, and Prussian anti-semitic racial fascism, and thus the USSR, would never have arisen. The USA may not have become as strong. But then, there would have been no need.
Last, but not least. Jefferson implemented further what I call the “exploitative mentality“. That’s the mood attending, but not reserved, to foundation of the English North American colony (think of the “Virginia Company and her sisters, properties of bloodied plutocrats, the West Country Men). Some, in their naivety, will smart that this is the past. Not so.
The dominant economist system of thought claims markets ought to decide all.
That system is called “Austrian” (because of Hayek and company). That anachronistic name cover-ups its sinister nature. The exploitative mentality is how the USA was founded. “Markets” loved slavery & Indian holocausts, and thus implemented them. Markets sell everything, even civilization.