George Washington warned this Nation about political parties that,”alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities.” He called political parties..”a frightful despotism.”
He called plutocrats (wealthy, controlling capitalists) ,”powerful engines” of cunning and ambition that “subvert the power of the people and usurp, for themselves, the reins of government.”
Because a democratic government is compelled to enact the will of the people he gave this advice: “Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge.” He said, “In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.”
He denounced war that is coerced by “habitual hatred” and those who profit from it. He said “The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy… The government… makes the animosity of the nation [towards war] subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition and other sinister and pernicious motives.”
And he made all of these comments in his Farewell Address, with the hope that we would still be listening.
HT: StarLedger of NJ Feb 16, 2014