The Alien and Sedition Acts According to Prudence

After many years, I am now of the opinion that the Alien and Sedition Acts were good and sensible, and moreover are to be preferred to the situation that now obtains: a surveillance state coupled with a professedly liberal want of prejudice and a corresponding support for abstract individual rights. Of such hypocrisies the very Pharisee was destitute. Instead I would see a forthright admission that, though nature and nature’s God have endowed man with certain unalienable rights, these rights take various shapes, and prudence requires that the treatment of these rights be in concord with the common good and with the circumstances in which we labour, not least with the fact of our corrupted human nature. If we cannot allow this fact freely, experience at last will force it upon us.


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