Paul Zummo weighs in on the Jefferson versus Adams debate at First Thoughts:
I'll admit to a certain bias when it comes to Mr. Jefferson. My doctoral dissertation was, in essence, a diatribe on why the Jefferson/Rousseau philosophy was leading us down a path of destruction and it continues to annoy and distress me when I see conservatives hold Jefferson up to such lofty standards. The man was no conservative--in any sense of the term. The fact that he claimed to support limited government makes him no different than any of his peers, and in fact--as Ebell aludes to--his ultimate governing philosophy had quite the opposite impact. His true progeny are men like FDR and Barack Obama, not Ronald Reagan.
I've said on this very blog that some of these abstract academic musings are somewhat futile because America is not a deeply ideological country. I stand by that, but it is important to have some kind of grasp of our philosophical heritage. We need to understand that there are two decidedly different pathways: the path of Jefferson and Rousseau, and the path of Adams and Edmund Burke. Choose wisely.
When it comes to their political philosophy, you can put me firmly in the corner of Mr. Adams as well.