Monday, 10 November 2008

The Smartest US President

Barack Obama's impressive résumé and obvious intelligence have the world in raptures, but there was at least one President before him who could give him a run for his money in the intellectual department.

That President was Thomas Jefferson, horticulturist, statesman, architect, archaeologist, paleontologist, author, inventor, and founder of the University of Virginia (source: Wikipedia). Rather than reference the tons of material written by and about Jefferson, I will only quote one example of his many prescient words:

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all their property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.

Beat that, Barack Obama. Jefferson predicted the current mess in 1802. (And yes, the Fed is a private organisation, not owned or controlled by the US government.)

No wonder Kennedy said when welcoming a group of 49 Nobel laureates to the White House that it was "the most extraordinary collection of talent and human knowledge that has ever been gathered together at the White House - with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

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