The Corner

Re: The Beating Heart of America

Among its other absurdities, the poster that Mark links to below misattributes to Thomas Jefferson a famous statement of Lord Bolingbroke’s:

Liberty is to the collective body, what health is to every individual body. Without health no pleasure can be tasted by man: without liberty no happiness can be enjoyed by society. The obligation, therefore, to defend and maintain the freedom of such constitutions will appear most sacred to a Patriot King.

It’s a nice sentiment, but it’s not Jefferson’s, and in fact it’s worth noting that the Bolingbroke essay from which it is drawn (“The Idea of a Patriot King,” written in 1738) became, later in the eighteenth century, the great manifesto of that most un-Jeffersonian character, King George III.

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.

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