Thomas Jefferson’s Thoughts On Big Government And Big Tech

Thomas Jefferson

We live in the age of exponentiation. Everything is evolving at an almost unimaginable speed. New tools, techniques, iterations, breakthroughs, and game-changing discoveries happen almost daily. Today, just staying on top of what’s happening is practically a full-time job. This raises a question: If free unencumbered commercial enterprises are struggling to keep up with the pace of change, what hope do governments have?

We’ve seen this question asked many times this year. Facebook (FB), Google (GOOGL), and Twitter (TWTR) all testified before Congress about data privacy. The big telcos have been lobbying for favorable pathways to 5G. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) went into effect, and American legislators are thinking about a version suitable for the United States. But all of this is symptomatic of a larger problem. We have evolved past our current business rules, regulations, and laws.

Our Founding Fathers were exceptionally smart, well-educated people with a common goal. Many of them were very deep thinkers. So, it should not surprise you that Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), the second vice president of the United States (1797–1801), and the third president of the United States (1801–1809), thought deeply about laws and institutions. Here’s an excerpt from a letter Jefferson wrote to Samuel Kercheval on July 12, 1816. I added the paragraph breaks to make it easier to read. The text in bold is carved into panel four of the Jefferson Memorial. He writes:

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Shelly Palmer is Fox 5 New York's On-air Tech Expert (WNYW-TV) and the host of Fox Television's monthly show Shelly Palmer Digital Living. He also hosts United Stations Radio Network's, ...

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