Frases de Harry V. Jaffa

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Harry V. Jaffa

Data de nascimento: 7. Outubro 1918
Data de falecimento: 10. Janeiro 2015

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Harry Victor Jaffa was an American political philosopher, historian, columnist and professor. He was the Professor Emeritus at Claremont McKenna College and Claremont Graduate University and a distinguished fellow of the Claremont Institute. Robert P. Kraynak says his "life work was to develop an American application of Leo Strauss's revival of natural-right philosophy against the relativism and nihilism of our times."

Jaffa wrote topics ranging from Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas to Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and natural law. He has been published in the Claremont Review of Books, the Review of Politics, National Review, and the New York Times. His most famous work, Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, written in 1959, has been described as "the greatest Lincoln book ever."

Jaffa was a formative influence on the American conservative movement, challenging notable conservative thinkers including Russell Kirk, Richard M. Weaver, and Willmoore Kendall on Abraham Lincoln and the founding of the United States. He debated Robert Bork on American constitutionalism. He died in 2015.

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Citações Harry V. Jaffa

„The civil rights establishment, led by the NAACP, fought the good fight that led to the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 and the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965. They fought that fight under the banner of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which reflected the equality proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. The classic statement of this principle is to be found in Justice John Marshall Harlan's dissenting opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson,“

—  Harry V. Jaffa
Context: The civil rights establishment, led by the NAACP, fought the good fight that led to the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 and the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965. They fought that fight under the banner of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which reflected the equality proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. The classic statement of this principle is to be found in Justice John Marshall Harlan's dissenting opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson, the infamous 1896 decision that enshrined "separate but equal" into constitutional law for more than half a century, "In view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior dominant ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our Constitution is color blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved".

„DiLorenzo thinks that slavery was not the real issue in the Civil War, that it was the Whig economic program. Banks, tariffs, internal improvements, and what he calls corporate welfare. And he thinks that the slavery question was really only a sham that was not the real question; it was not the real issue. That's very strange for anybody reading the Lincoln-Douglas debates, since the subject of tariffs was never mentioned.“

—  Harry V. Jaffa
Context: DiLorenzo thinks that slavery was not the real issue in the Civil War, that it was the Whig economic program. Banks, tariffs, internal improvements, and what he calls corporate welfare. And he thinks that the slavery question was really only a sham that was not the real question; it was not the real issue. That's very strange for anybody reading the Lincoln-Douglas debates, since the subject of tariffs was never mentioned. The only time the word is used, I think, is when Douglas says that the tariff was one of the questions that the two parties used to discuss. But the only subject discussed in the Lincoln-Douglas debates was slavery in the territories.

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„If a Southerner came across from Virginia to Pennsylvania and saw a black man that he thought he would like to have as a slave, he had to say, 'Well, that’s my runaway slave', and this runaway slave would then be arrested and confined, and then there would be a hearing before a federal commissioner. And the would-be slave owner could summon witnesses—as many as he wanted. The man accused of being a slave could summon no witnesses, had no counsel. And if the federal commissioner decided he was a slave, he was paid $10, and if he decided he was a free man, he was paid $5. It’s hard to imagine any law passed in either Nazi Germany or Stalin's Russia that was more inconsistent with the principles of civil liberty than the Fugitive Slave Act.“

—  Harry V. Jaffa
Context: There were eight of them that had laws trying to protect black people who were free from being kidnapped as slaves, because under the law of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act. If a Southerner came across from Virginia to Pennsylvania and saw a black man that he thought he would like to have as a slave, he had to say, 'Well, that’s my runaway slave', and this runaway slave would then be arrested and confined, and then there would be a hearing before a federal commissioner. And the would-be slave owner could summon witnesses—as many as he wanted. The man accused of being a slave could summon no witnesses, had no counsel. And if the federal commissioner decided he was a slave, he was paid $10, and if he decided he was a free man, he was paid $5. It’s hard to imagine any law passed in either Nazi Germany or Stalin's Russia that was more inconsistent with the principles of civil liberty than the Fugitive Slave Act.

„In its first sentence, the Second Continental Congress affirmed without equivocation that the idea of the ownership of some human beings by other human beings was an utter absurdity, and that to think otherwise was incompatible with reason or revelation. Thus from the outset—a year before the Declaration of Independence—the American people were committed to the antislavery cause, and to the inseparability of personal freedom and free government. The American people knew from the outset that the cause of their own freedom and that of the slaves was inseparable. This would become the message that Abraham Lincoln would bring to the American people, and to the world“

—  Harry V. Jaffa
Context: The Declaration of the causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms, on July 6, 1775, was the very first occasion for the American people to speak to the world with a single voice. In its first sentence, the Second Continental Congress affirmed without equivocation that the idea of the ownership of some human beings by other human beings was an utter absurdity, and that to think otherwise was incompatible with reason or revelation. Thus from the outset—a year before the Declaration of Independence—the American people were committed to the antislavery cause, and to the inseparability of personal freedom and free government. The American people knew from the outset that the cause of their own freedom and that of the slaves was inseparable. This would become the message that Abraham Lincoln would bring to the American people, and to the world, for all time.

„No result of the Civil War was more fundamental than the authoritative assertion of the inclusion of human beings of any color and any ethnicity in the proposition of human equality. A consensus in favor of the colorblind Constitution is provided by the logic of reality and the logic of history“

—  Harry V. Jaffa
Context: No result of the Civil War was more fundamental than the authoritative assertion of the inclusion of human beings of any color and any ethnicity in the proposition of human equality. A consensus in favor of the colorblind Constitution is provided by the logic of reality and the logic of history.

„You can not have free government if you can not bind the people who participate in the government to accept the results of the election.“

—  Harry V. Jaffa
Context: You can not have free government if you can not bind the people who participate in the government to accept the results of the election. It is the exercise of our inalienable right to life that enables us, and justifies us, in forming legitimate governments. When those governments are formed, we cannot reject them because we don’t like the results.

„There is not now, and never has been any such difference between one human being and another human being, or whatever race or color, such that one is by nature the ruler of the other, as any human being is by nature the ruler of any dog or any horse. For this reason, legitimate political authority can arise only by the consent of the governed, and consent can never be given for any reason other than the equal protection of the rights of the governed. Hence equal protection is the foundation of all constitutionalism, even apart from its specific inclusion in the Constitution itself. For more reasons than one, Justice Harlan's dissenting opinion ought to have been the opinion of the Court in 1896; even more ought it to have been the opinion of the Court in 1954“

—  Harry V. Jaffa
Context: Harlan's dissenting opinion in Plessy, that the Constitution was colorblind, and that it did not countenance different and unequal classes of citizens, was based upon a belief in the truth of the principle of equality in which the founders and Lincoln had so profoundly believed. But this belief had been buried by progressivism, and has not been resurrected, except by the intellectual heirs of Leo Strauss. On intellectual grounds, it has never been refuted, and ought never to have been abandoned. There is not now, and never has been any such difference between one human being and another human being, or whatever race or color, such that one is by nature the ruler of the other, as any human being is by nature the ruler of any dog or any horse. For this reason, legitimate political authority can arise only by the consent of the governed, and consent can never be given for any reason other than the equal protection of the rights of the governed. Hence equal protection is the foundation of all constitutionalism, even apart from its specific inclusion in the Constitution itself. For more reasons than one, Justice Harlan's dissenting opinion ought to have been the opinion of the Court in 1896; even more ought it to have been the opinion of the Court in 1954. As Professor Edward J. Erler has demonstrated in the pages of the Claremont Review of Books, the principle of equal protection has never become the opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States, nor has it been favored in the writings of conservative jurists.

„The events of this story are morally indefensible. But the greed that motivated the human actors—excluding of course the slaves themselves—was so overwhelming as to be irresistible. It is impossible for us today who condemn the slave trade to imagine any effective opposition to it in the 17th century. A parallel in our time would be the unstoppable trade in narcotics. We can't stop the supply because we can't stop the demand. To the limitless demand for labor in the new world the slave trade was a limitless response. Like drugs today, laws against it were powerless, because the profits were so great“

—  Harry V. Jaffa
Context: The events of this story are morally indefensible. But the greed that motivated the human actors—excluding of course the slaves themselves—was so overwhelming as to be irresistible. It is impossible for us today who condemn the slave trade to imagine any effective opposition to it in the 17th century. A parallel in our time would be the unstoppable trade in narcotics. We can't stop the supply because we can't stop the demand. To the limitless demand for labor in the new world the slave trade was a limitless response. Like drugs today, laws against it were powerless, because the profits were so great. Opposition to the slave trade did come in time, in the principles of the American Revolution, but not before slavery had formed deep roots in the economy and polity of the United States. The foreign slave trade was outlawed by the United States in 1808, and it was made a capital crime in 1820, but the trade continued right up until the Civil War. It is good however to remind ourselves that no black slave was sold to a white slave trader, on the west coast of Africa, who had not already been enslaved by a black African. Slavery was an equal opportunity employer!

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„Slavery was lawful in every one of the original thirteen states. There was accordingly nothing remarkable in the fact that slavery was not abolished immediately on independence. What is remarkable is that a slave-owning nation would declare that all men are created equal, and thereby make the abolition of slavery a moral and political necessity. To accomplish that task would not be easy“

—  Harry V. Jaffa
Context: But one may ask, how is it that slavery, or any other form of invidious discrimination, has played so great a role in American history? How could a nation, dedicated at its birth to the proposition that all men are created equal, have tolerated slavery and its effects so long? If we look to the long history of mankind, however, we will ask a different question. Slavery was lawful in every one of the original thirteen states. There was accordingly nothing remarkable in the fact that slavery was not abolished immediately on independence. What is remarkable is that a slave-owning nation would declare that all men are created equal, and thereby make the abolition of slavery a moral and political necessity. To accomplish that task would not be easy. We need to see the dimensions of that task to appreciate its difficulty.

„But South Carolina does not repeat the preceding language in the earlier document: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal'.“

—  Harry V. Jaffa
Context: South Carolina cites, loosely, but with substantial accuracy, some of the language of the original Declaration. That Declaration does say that it is the right of the people to abolish any form of government that becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established. But South Carolina does not repeat the preceding language in the earlier document: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal'. p. 231

„What was lost sight of was that the evil of the past, whether of slavery or of Jim Crow, was evil not because it was done by whites to blacks, but because it was done by some human beings to other human beings. The purpose of the law was to end evil acts“

—  Harry V. Jaffa
Context: Suddenly, however, remedies for something called 'racism' became the order of the day. The word itself, like 'sexism', is of recent coinage and will not be found in any older dictionaries. The civil rights movement, premised upon individual rights, suddenly became the black power movement, premised upon group rights. 'Affirmative action' became a euphemism for the baldest kind of racial discrimination. That whites had long enjoyed preference over blacks was now taken to be a justification for blacks having preference over whites. What was lost sight of was that the evil of the past, whether of slavery or of Jim Crow, was evil not because it was done by whites to blacks, but because it was done by some human beings to other human beings. The purpose of the law was to end evil acts, not continue them in the guise of 'affirmative action'.

„From that perspective, it was now for never or Southern independence, if slavery was to be preserved“

—  Harry V. Jaffa
Context: The South knew that it would never in future possess the same power relative to the North that it did in 1861. From that perspective, it was now for never or Southern independence, if slavery was to be preserved.

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„It was nearly inevitable that someone would turn to tribal Africa for some, at least, of this labor. It is paradoxical but true that a large measure of the labor that turned America into a sanctuary for freedom came from slavery. The slave trade that developed between North America and the west coast of Africa is one of the great horror stories of western civilization“

—  Harry V. Jaffa
Context: Slavery came to the English colonies in North America in the 17th century because the colonists found themselves in possession of a vast continent, needing only cultivation to make it the homes of millions of free, prosperous, God-fearing human beings. Those who came from Europe would be refugees from the tyranny and oppression of feudalism, divine right monarchy, and religious intolerance. But converting this vast wilderness into cultivated lands required labor. It was nearly inevitable that someone would turn to tribal Africa for some, at least, of this labor. It is paradoxical but true that a large measure of the labor that turned America into a sanctuary for freedom came from slavery. The slave trade that developed between North America and the west coast of Africa is one of the great horror stories of western civilization. It resulted also from the unlimited greed of the African chiefs who enslaved their brother Africans, and then sold them to white slave traders. They in turn sold them, for vast profits, into the new world.

„A law is foolish which does not aim at abstract or intrinsic justice; and so is it foolish to attempt to achieve abstract justice as the sole good by succumbing to the fallacy to which the mind is prone, which regards direct consequences as if they were the only consequences. Those who believe anything sanctioned by law is right commit one great error“

—  Harry V. Jaffa
Context: Lincoln was again and again to refer to the proposition, 'all men are created equal', as an 'abstract truth', a truth which was the life principle of American law. The implications of this truth were only partially realized, even for white men, and largely denied as far as black men were concerned. Yet it supplied the direction, the meaning, of all good laws in this country, although the attempt at that time to achieve all that might and ought ultimately to be demanded in its name would have been disastrous. A law is foolish which does not aim at abstract or intrinsic justice; and so is it foolish to attempt to achieve abstract justice as the sole good by succumbing to the fallacy to which the mind is prone, which regards direct consequences as if they were the only consequences. Those who believe anything sanctioned by law is right commit one great error; those who believe the law should sanction only what is right commit another. Either error might result in foolish laws; and, although a foolish law may be preferable to a wise dictator, a wise law is preferable to both. Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln Douglas Debates http://archive.li/CFqbg (1959), p. 195

„Dogs and horses, for example, are naturally subservient to human beings. But no human being is naturally subservient to another human being. No human being has a right to rule another without the other's consent“

—  Harry V. Jaffa
Context: The equality of mankind is best understood in light of a two-fold inequality. The first is the inequality of mankind and of the subhuman classes of living beings that comprise the order of nature. Dogs and horses, for example, are naturally subservient to human beings. But no human being is naturally subservient to another human being. No human being has a right to rule another without the other's consent. The second is the inequality of man and God. As God's creatures, we owe unconditional obedience to His will. By that very fact however we do not owe such obedience to anyone else. Legitimate political authority—the right of one human being to require obedience of another human being—arises only from consent. The fundamental act of consent is, as the 1780 Massachusetts Bill of Rights states, "a social compact by which the whole people covenants with each citizen and each citizen with the whole people that all shall be governed by certain laws for the common good." The "certain laws for the common good" have no other purpose but to preserve and protect the rights that each citizen possesses prior to government, rights with which he or she has been "endowed by their Creator." The rights that governments exist to secure are not the gift of government. They originate in God.

„Well, it was not a semantic difference, it was a fundamental difference“

—  Harry V. Jaffa
Context: DiLorenzo in his book thinks that the right of secession and the right of revolution—that that's a semantic difference. Well, it was not a semantic difference, it was a fundamental difference. The right of revolution is referred to in the Declaration of Independence when it says, “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, the people have a right to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness.” That is what has been referred to ever since as the right of revolution. It’s the right to resist intolerable oppression. It's the right to prevent anyone from being reduced under absolute despotism, which is what the Declaration of Independence says. And this Declaration gives a long catalog of the abuses, of usurpations of power practiced by the King and Parliament of Great Britain, which justified the colonies in their rebellion.

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