Happy Independence Day!

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Rereading the preamble to the Declaration of Independence always brings to light ideas which seem to get shuffled off or deliberately ignored in today’s political arena. It’s not that we are any more or less partisan today than we were in 1776. In fact those guys got down and dirty when it came to impugning the motivations of their political opponents. There was almost no nuance in their verbal attacks on one another. In the election of 1800 which pitted Jefferson against Adams, Adams accused Jefferson of wanting to teach murder and rape in the schools, and Jefferson accused Adams of wanting to destroy the Constitution and create a tyranny. There was no mincing of words.

The difference from today is that the 18th century politicians and leaders of the British colonies in the Americas almost unanimously agreed on the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence. Where they differed was in how the people and the government could best insure those principles. Today we’re arguing about the existence of those principles.

Revisiting them is necessary, now more than ever.

Let’s look at some of the phrases that I think get overlooked today. And, yes, I will say it. I believe that these phrases most often get overlooked by the Left in the U.S. Marxism forms the basis of most of the policies put forward by Democrats and their allies, despite some protestations to the contrary (the radical fringes are screaming the truth about the philosophies of the left – believe them when they tell you what they’re doing).

Marxism is not about consent of the governed, despite it’s utopian sounding “withering away of the state.” Marxism is about telling average people (proletariats) what is good for them. And for those who will argue that “it just hasn’t been done right yet,” I will argue that the biggest flaw in Marxism is its ignorance of human nature. Humans who gain control and power only rarely, if ever, are willing to give up that power and control. Marx argued that the state would wither away leaving only a utopian global community with no government. But for the state to wither away, the humans who make up the state have to willingly give up total control. Ain’t happening. They’re human.

Back to the Declaration of Independence.

The opening sentences of the Declaration are, as it says, self-evident. All men are created equal. And, no that phrase does not deliberately leave women out of the picture. Men was a word used to indicate humanity, mankind. Bear in mind, that while the Declaration used “man,” thus leading people to accuse the Founders of intentionally subjugating women, nowhere in the Constitution, our governing document, does the word “man” appear. The Constitution uses “citizen(s)” everywhere. Last I checked, that’s a gender and race neutral term.

First phrase: “…That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Here, “consent of the governed” and the idea that the governed get to choose that new form of government most likely to secure safety and happiness are the crucial points. Those of us not in government must consent to be governed. We are not told we are governed, we are not mandated to be governed. We consent, permit, allow a government to function. Secondly, if we see or decide that the government is in fact not acting in a manner designed to secure our safety and happiness, we get to decide whether the form of government continues, or whether we institute a new form. WE make that decision, not the government however defined. Not bureaucrats, not elected or unelected politicians, not cabinet members, and most definitely not the press.

Second phrase: “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” Note that the Founders understood that such a change in the form of government was not something that a citizenry should undertake lightly. People are comfortable with the known, even if that known is less than helpful. Today’s left is attempting radical changes for what I argue are “light and transient” reasons. Seriously, is making sure nobody, nowhere, nohow is ever offended a serious cause for undermining and usurping those natural, unalienable rights of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness? No. No, it’s not. There is zero excuse for political correctness and censorship. Mature adults know not to offend on purpose and mature adults will calmly point out to others if offense has been given. Mature adults will also not worry about words used in a conversation that has nothing to do with them (i.e. quit eavesdropping for the purposes of attempted public shaming).

Finally: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

I put it to you that the Democrats and the Left are not “throwing off such Government” but are rather suborning the current structure in order to insure that they and theirs remain in power indefinitely. Those of us who disagree with them are the ones “throwing off such Government” in the sense that we are refusing their forced changes and are throwing off the government that is removing our freedoms.

Yes, we are “obsessed” with our freedoms. Those freedoms are the only way that we get to decide how to live our lives. I don’t know about you, but having somebody else, especially politicians and bureaucrats, decide how I’m supposed to live my life is an abhorrent idea.

Those freedoms are how we protect ourselves and our families. They are how we thrive. Do you honestly trust that the government will do that? And, if you do, why would you turn over such an important task to some faceless bureaucrat?

Those freedoms are how innovation happens, how societies move forward, how citizens improve their own lives.

Those freedoms mean that the government does not tell us what to do, rather we tell the government what to do (or where to go if we’re feeling especially ornery).

Review this document, the Declaration of Independence. Remember these freedoms are your God-given rights. Remind the government and politicians that they govern at your behest, not the other way around.

Stand up as an American. Celebrate our independence.

Happy Independence Day!

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