James MadisonJames Madison, (1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President

James Madison Quote

“A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

James MadisonJames Madison
~ James Madison

letter to W. T. Barry, August 4, 1822, Ref: Letters and other Writings of James Madison, vol. 3

Ratings and Comments

Brian, Little Rock, AR

The importance of information, which, after all, is the source of all knowledge, must at least try to be complete, unbiased, and pure. Otherwise, compromised information systems produce compromised decisions, which do spawn real consequences. The citizens of this country will suffer the consequences of their failure to demand complete information from the government, and probably more importantly, the media. The media must, in turn, do it's job and focus on the lies of the current government. However, people do have the means to make inquiry on their own (the Internet) and must do so because the television and print media are compromised. It is a pity I couldn't express this as purely as Madison, but his statement does presume knowledge on the part of the reader whereas mine does not. I predict both a farce and a tragedy because the ignorant do govern without knowledge. Alternatively, those with knowledge connive to govern the ignorant but we deserve no better because knowledge is free to those who take even a second to look for it.

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Anonymous    1/22/09

The press has to lie and keep secrets, The president has to lie and keep secrets. The professors have to lie and keep secrets.. The pope has to keep secrets and most likely he lies. The most repeated lie is that government spends money. The Fed said their system :works only with credit. James Madison said: "History shows that the money changers use every for of abuse, intrigue and violent means possible to maintain control over government by controlling the money and the issuance of it." www.morpix.biz/dc

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RBESRQ    1/22/09

Yes, if only we could procure knowledge instead of arms perhaps we could learn to prevent wars - when will we learn that intelligence is better than brawn...

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Those individuals who think they have kinowledge and that governments have none are a bit of a problem to don't you think. Government information about private persons is and of a right ought to be kept secret.

jim k, austin

I'm not sure that "knowledge will forever govern ignorance". The election of Obama causes me to doubt this.

Mike, Norwalk

The dumbing down of America does, as Madison so aptly explicates it, explains today's farce and tragedy. The study of history has been reduced to politically correct news bites. Schools, media, government, etc. that offer reading, writing watching. listening and other forms acquiring information have lead to a knowledge meiosis (the current collective knowing only half of their predecessors - and so on, and so on for generations) Knowledge that comprised liberty and freedom's concepts, impressions, perceptions, thought, insight, interpretations, mental pictures, etc. are hidden or lost to Republican or Democratic acceptable forms of socialism, despotism, and tyranny.

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    RBESRQ    1/22/09

    The election of Obama has vindicated America throughout the world - with of course the exception of a few on this blog. Please see Obama's press conference this morning.

    E Archer, NYC

    Obama has promised 'transparency' and greater access to information via the Freedom of Information Act -- we will see. Talk is cheap, and politicians talk more than anything else -- they specialize in telling us what we want to hear and in making excuses for breaking their campaign promises. Look if we are banking our future on one man -- any man -- we are deluding ourselves. The entire premise of being 'saved' by someone else is the same old tired religionist dogma humankind has been subjugated under for eons. The information we need is not what the government tells us -- we need to know what the MEDIA is NOT telling us.

    E Archer, NYC
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    E Archer, NYC E Archer, NYC 9/10/20

    Just a recap: Obama's presidency was the most NON-transparent in history.  He armed the intelligence agencies against threats to the Party.  More corrupt than Nixon.

    Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

    Obama is no more a messiah than McCain would have been or Bush or his people thought he was. Obama is a statement concerning the messianic abilities of the American people to overcome racial and cultural edivides such as cleanising etc to elect a well spoken, intelligent, family man. He was elected in a landslide, Bush was the narrowest elected President of all time twice. RBESRQ I will look for the press conf. immediately.

    Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

    I saw the signing ceremony, an event I am sure all of the constitutional types would be happy to see, closing Gitmo and stopping the torture etc. I was a fence sitter on this issue a coward I guess, Cheney claims life saving info was gained by torture. So the high ideals of the American way are again enshrined into our body politic and I guess that is a good thing.

    E Archer, NYC
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    E Archer, NYC Waffler, Smith, Arkansas 9/10/20

    Obama did not keep any of those promises.  He did try to fundamentally transform America, resulting in the 2nd Depression, and the subordination of the USA to globalist organizations.  We gave Black Marxism a try  NEXT!

    Ken, Allyn. WA

    'Non-violence can't tackle terror: Dalai ,' The Times of India, NEW DELHI: The Dalai Lama, a lifelong champion of non-violence on Saturday candidly stated that terrorism cannot be tackled by applying the principle of ahimsa because the minds of terrorists are closed: "It is difficult to deal with terrorism through non-violence," the Tibetan spiritual leader said delivering the Madhavrao Scindia Memorial Lecture here. He also termed terrorism as the worst kind of violence which is not carried by a few mad people but by those who are very brilliant and educated: "They (terrorists) are very brilliant and educated... but a strong ill feeling is bred in them. Their minds are closed," the Dalai Lama said. He said that the only way to tackle terrorism is through prevention. The head of the Tibetan government-in-exile left the audience stunned when he said, "I love President George W Bush." He went on to add how he and the US President instantly struck a chord in their first meeting unlike politicians who take a while to develop close ties.

    J Carlton, Calgary

    In order that we remain ignorant enough to think our government is benevolent, they must go to extraordinary efforts to keep us misinformed. The "News" isn't news anymore, it's propoganda.

    A.WOODS, Gloucester

    Madison was correct, and many of his peers shared this view. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.” This is a danger of current times, when we are surrounded by an ever-growing glut of information, and so much of it is inaccurate. The reporting before the second invasion of Iraq is a good example. It is true that knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and that being misinformed is worse than being ignorant. I am by no means a Marxist, but as an economist and sociologist Marx had some sound insights, especially on the division of society into haves and have-nots. We are witnessing the acceleration of our society into a division of information have and have-nots. I have no doubt who will govern whom.

    Dave Wilber, Saint Louis

    The late Merrill Jenkins, Monetary Realist, said: "If you don't have information, you are unaware. If you ignore information, you are ignorant. He invented the dollar bill changer and wrote 7 books with the first title being "Money", The Greatest Hoax On Earth, It took me 10 months to undersand that title. His last 6 books are free at: www.morpix.biz/x15

    Mike Duquette

    This is my all-time favorite quote. I think most Americans are not even trying to arm themselves with knowledge on politics, and religion. They all too often just follow the religion or party of their parents blindly.
    The information is available to us, but we must seek it out. Read or view both sides of the debate thoroughly.

    Patrick Henry, Red Hill

    The classless contemporary American "journalistic" class, which is constituted, primarily, of beings who want, utterly, for probity, integrity, credibility, moral authority and gravity, exists to be a clear and present danger to the continuation of the frayed and further fraying American Republic.
    Were it not for the stalwarts of our indigenous rendering of the Soviet Era samizdat, the nation's journalistic landscape would be the most barren of wastelands.

    Ronw13, Oregon

    Foundational truth and the blessings of knowledge. Sound doctrines resonate ever so clearly. From the Popular Monarch of 1611, to the Popular Republic and the Wake Up Call of 911.
    Most, if any, will not speak of the bloody religious battles endured in defense of/behalf of the individual sovereign. Prior to 1859. the Rock was ever being ridiculed by its adversary, the vulgate. Due to the nature of revolt in England and ever expanding private interpretation of doctrines, denominationalism became an ever increasing threat to Individual sovereignty. Separation of church and State, paramount. One finds within the Rock provided in 1611, all codification needed in defense of our Declaration and Constitutional intent. Two competing factions forever present in debate. But the unity provided by the Rock, forever guarding the Mysteries and yes the Secrets. It is no wonder Now in 2017, the election of President Trump, all resistance by the opposition, even to defy logic, lets one Know those who care not for our Constitution and the True Values it protects. Semper FI

    Robert, Somewhere in the USA

    Money and greed will forever govern knowledge, unless of course, knowledge get off its %&$ and does something about our state of affaires... At the moment knowledge is acting as if they were ignorant!

    E Archer, NYC

    Robert, the Truth is ever in front of us, ready to be known. It is my responsibility to discern the truth -- 'information' alone does not enlighten.

    We are being 'pitched' constantly to buy another's view of the world. The amount of coercion applied to accepting this knowledge is a tell-tale sign of a power play.

    I do not think most people seek truth -- I think they seek safety from the oppression of others. And when a school furthers 'safe' spaces, they are advocating the oppression of the mind. House slaves teach the benefits of being a house slave.

    The Truth will be revealed as I am willing to accept it. What I willfully ignore or am unwilling to accept will set the tone for the life lessons to come. ;-)


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