"If you can, bathe your feet every morning in cold water."
— Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson
Drifting down the river in the afternoon, gazing up at the blue blue sky, slipping past golden eagles as if they were sparrows or wrens, examining the famous White Cliffs that Lewis said had the feeling of “scenes of visionary enchantment,” and at times just pulling the paddles into the canoe to feel the gentle but inexorable tug of the continent, this too is paradise on earth.
I thank God that I was alive when it happened. It was surely the greatest human achievement in my lifetime, one of the handful of greatest moments since we crawled out of the sea and found a way to stand upright.
There is no greater freedom than being somewhere in the American West with nowhere you have to be, ambling in search of the perfect platonic campsite, living on little, and just giving yourself to all that astonishing open public land.
Stay tuned, my friends. If you never hear from me again, it’s because D.B. Cooper and I have disappeared into the vast wilderness of America or joined a peyote cult in New Mexico.
Some of the things Jefferson did were not designed to make a statement about democracy or self-government. In some respects, Jefferson was just weird.
“Having been among the early converts, in this part of the globe, to [the smallpox vaccine's] efficiency, I took an early part in recommending it to my countrymen.”
— Thomas Jefferson, 1806
Jefferson talks about his own smallpox inoculation, as well as John Adams’ experience. Jefferson admired Dr. Edward Jenner, the physician and scientist who was a pioneer of smallpox vaccination. Smallpox killed millions of people during Jefferson’s time, and continued to do so until the 20th century. The World Health Assembly declared smallpox eradicated in 1980.
A number of infectious diseases are making a comeback thanks to vaccine refusers, among them true plague, mumps, measles, tuberculosis, chicken pox, and scarlet fever.
"The French ... thought it was an assassination, a war crime, that Washington was a murderer."
— Peter Stark
We speak with Peter Stark, author of Young Washington: How Wilderness and War Forged America’s Founding Father.
We discuss George Washington’s formative years and character traits, his travels into the Ohio country, and his relationship with lieutenant governor Robert Dinwiddie. We talk about how Washington’s involvement in the Battle of Jumonville Glen touched off the French and Indian War.
"This book reveals [Washington] as a man of emotion, raw emotion."
— Clay S. Jenkinson
In anticipation of our conversation next week with Peter Stark, the author of Young Washington, we speak with Jefferson about our first president. Jefferson also comments on the time change, and the importance of using available daylight.
"I am a loyal, proud, cheerleading sort of North Dakotan."
— Clay S. Jenkinson
A listener in Texas admonishes Clay for offering to give up a North Dakota senate seat, and we take questions about the Fourteenth Amendment. Our constitutional discussions continue by reading additional correspondence from listeners.
In the course of my long strange trip through life I have had the chance to do some really satisfying things. One of my favorites is to do a varied series of public presentations in a short space of time.
We can get into the arena and fight for our republic. You are going to make some enemies, and even your friends are going to roll their eyes or worry a little about you, but you have to go to the city council meetings, the Iowa caucuses, the town hall forums, the hearing about the wind towers or the waste disposal project. When people of modesty and integrity stand up and speak with muted passion about republican values, others listen.
The American people regard the US Constitution as a sacred document—even though Jefferson specifically asked us not to—and historically we have been very reluctant to tamper with it. Too bad, because it is badly in need of fundamental revision. Our Constitutional order has broken down. After years of thinking about this, I offer the following amendments.