skip to Main Content
Truth Is Truth, No Matter Who Says It

Truth is Truth, No Matter Who Says It

You may have noticed the change to the quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson on the homepage at at The great Dr. Tom Woods recently informed me, via his podcast, that the quote below is spurious:

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered…. I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”

It is sad truth that not all of it was said by Jefferson. Pieces of it were, in variation. It is also a marvelous thing that we attribute such a great thought to the man.  Jefferson did write this:

[to John Taylor in 1816] ”And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale”

While looking into this, I was drawn to as well as the Monticello Foundation to marvel at the writings of the great man on even the most mundane subjects. As much is I personally strive to be plainspoken, in Jefferson’s time, language itself was indeed also an art form. It treats its readers with the utmost respect, even during criticism.  It guides you down a beautiful path yet is emphatically sincere.

So who wrote the original?  Perhaps John William “Wright” Patman, a US congressman from Texas, who was known for attacking the banks, the banking system, and the Federal Reserve system.   Our kind of guy.  He is noted as the earliest (1933) user of the quote. Even if he didn’t write it, he was a very quotable person on our favorite subject, and I have added him to the noble ranks of the homepage.

After reading all these elegant phrases, I am reminded of a phrase which I hate: “dumbing down”. The concept that betrays its own sense of superiority.  But what is it really? To really not respect your readers. It is certainly true that the use of jargon specific to an industry or profession is a big problem with doctors, lawyers, bureaucrats and financial types. Communication is the responsibility of the communicator. No one is assumed to be more intelligent by using obscure terms—or at least I hope not.

So let us not dumb down our statements to each other. We may have to go further than a tweet, not be afraid of the culture of TL;DR, spend more time explaining, and spend a little more time listening or reading in the quest for knowledge.

One more from TJ before we go:

[to Richard Rush in 1819] “the eyes of our citizens are not yet sufficiently open to the true cause of our distresses. they ascribe them to every thing but their true cause, the banking system; a system, which, if it could do good in any form, is yet so certain of leading to abuse, as to be utterly incompatible with the public safety and prosperity. at present all is confusion, uncertainty and panic.”

Take that, tweeters!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *