The Character and Conduct of Rulers

John Adams

John Adams

Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge; I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers. – John Adams

This article is printed with the permission of the author(s). Opinions expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the article’s author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of American Clarion or Dakota Voice LLC.

Comment Rules: Please confine comments to salient ones that add to the topic; Profanity is not allowed and will be deleted; Spam, copied statements and other material not comprised of the reader’s own opinion will be deleted.

Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
Bob Ellis
View all articles by Bob Ellis
  • retiredday

    The first word of the quote is what Adams was talking about: liberty. Today, I’m not sure there are enough voting citizens of this nation to sustain the diminishing liberty we still claim to enjoy. The numbers of those who want a Nanny State are increasing. Fewer people really want liberty, that is, the kind of liberty Adams was talking about. His kind of liberty cannot exist unless those who exercise it actually take on the responsibility that it demands.

    The kind of liberty people seem to want today has no real responsibility attached to it. People just want to do what they want to do, so they vote for leaders who promise them whatever they want. The non-sequitur of this kind of liberty is that it’s always dependent upon whatever your leader is willing to do for you. Rather than being liberty, this so-called liberty is really just dependence. And because the people become dependent upon their leaders, they allow themselves to be controlled by their leaders.

    Living in liberty begins by assuming the responsibility to think for yourself. A person cannot begin to live free until they have learned to think free. All you have to do to understand how far away the American psyche has moved from freedom is to listen to the talking heads — wherever you find them in the media. Every presentation of the news tells people who never learned to think for themselves how they should look at the issues.

    It amazes me how many people are intimidated by news commentators — intimidated into thinking they know more than you do because they’re “professionals”. But behind the great suits and ties, the hair dos and make-up, the celebrity and eye candy, the polished delivery and fast talking, are people who are paid to craft public opinion. And all the smiling pleasantries and entertaining banter serve no more than the proverbial spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down.

    That’s what swallowing the Kool-Aid is all about. And I am amazed at how many people are addicted to it. They are unworthy, undeserving of liberty.