The Other Jefferson
A FB friend posted a good quotation from Jefferson about the importance of the family. Since this aroused some mild skepticism, I posted this answer, one that has been strongly influenced by my reading of Jefferson's own words, the biography by Dumas Malone, and, above all, by the admonitions of my friend Prof. Clyde Wilson. It is a trivial observation and overstated, but perhaps it will help parents of children who are being taught the old Classical Liberal bilge.
One way of looking at our third President is to see him as a split personality. There is the typical Enlightened man of his time, full of nice idealism about the possibilities of human freedom and eager to tear down all the walls, someone who pretends to believe the pernicious nonsense of Locke and working tirelessly to put an end to entail and primogeniture, the foundation of propertied estates and stable family traditions.
Then there is the Virginian, a man of family and tradition, who worked tirelessly to improve his nephews and other family members, who championed the Virgininia he regarded as his country, the extreme skeptic on the question of the human capacity for self-government who trusted neither rich nor poor to leave other people alone and who harbored dark thoughts about the capacity of non-Europeans to live in a civil order, the brilliant and articulate defender of what Catholics would call the subsidiarity principle both in his plan for decentralized education in Virginia and in his vision of bringing self-government down to its roots at the level of wards. The first of these Jeffersons is the one we know from history classes--a nice man but a chump--while the second, whom we only know from reading his letters and studying his thought, was a profoundly original political thinker whose thoughts stretch back through the Middle Ages to the Greeks whom he so passionately admired.