A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States
by John Adams, introduced by Neil Pollack
John Adams is so easy to hate today. He believed that some people are smarter, some wealthier, and some more qualified than others to govern. But he also believed that everyone should receive an education, that ideas and laws and religion ought to be discussed, debated, and used as a foundation to better society and better government, and that the populace and the nobility both ought to have a hand in running the country. It’s not “all men are created equal”, but “all men ought to be judged on what they accomplish.”
This small booklet is the second in Akashic Book’s “U.S. Presidents Series”. They have engaged in the worthy task of reprinting obscure but enlightening texts from our leaders, accompanied by an introductory piece from a modern commentator. This book’s interpreter is Neal Pollack, and he actually gets more space than Adams. I don’t know much about Mr. Pollack, but he does take a dim, “end of society as we know it” view of modern events. He believes in liberty and freedom, yet is deeply concerned when a majority of Americans take these values and use them to believe things he opposes. It’s sort of the inversion of Voltaire’s comment about defending your right to speak, even if he did not agree with it.
This book closely addresses the sources of our government structure, rather than the religious and social views covered in the rest of the series to date. Adams promoted bicameral (you could look it up–ed) legislature, and acknowledged that smart people will always draw money and power to themselves. And even if you kill all the nobles, a new bunch will arise, and maybe not a better bunch. It’s pragmatic government advocated here, a state ruled by those educated and benevolent to the land and its people. There are bits of this idea in place, but not as many as we would all like to see. So, don’t complain, get out and run for office. Make a change YOU think is important.