“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington
July 03, 2009
Excerpts from an article by
When we celebrate the Fourth of July, we are celebrating one of the most important political documents in the history of the world. The Declaration is a statement to the world -- the people of the world was the audience -- about the very nature of government and its relationship to men. Sometimes we appreciate what this document was, but perhaps we need even more to appreciate what it was not.
It was not a poll-driven summation of current opinion. The men who gathered in Philadelphia did respect each other's talents and knowledge, but the document they signed was not not driven by the latest Gallup or Zogby poll results. What was right and true was not dependent upon popular opinion.
The signers did not even seek a vote of the people. No referendum was necessary for the Declaration of Independence and it might well have failed in some of the colonies. The "will of the people," so precious to demagogues, did not determine what was right and true. The purpose of government, as the Declaration clearly states, is to secure liberty and not to implement that dubious, inconstant sentiment "the will of the people."
The men who signed the Declaration of Independence represented the absolute opposite of "interest group politics" so slavishly worshipped in political science departments. They pledged their lives, their wealth, their liberty, and their honor -- everything -- on a toss of the dice. Often, even if the revolution won, these men personally lost. The game was not about them, their economic interest, or their political ambition. They won if America became a new order of liberty in the world. Interest politics would have led them all to make peace with the Crown. Moral principles led them to what Churchill would later call "blood, toil, sweat, and tears."
The brave men in Philadelphia were engaging in unconstitutional action. Britain had a constitution, albeit a largely unwritten one, and Jefferson knew that he was defying our equivalent of the Supreme Court. He and his colleagues defied the moral power of a system which no longer treasured liberty above advantage or caprice. Rulers making decisions which did not really affect them, living thousands of miles from their subjects, lacked the moral authority to wield law.
Moral authority was the heart of the Declaration as well.
It lacked a separation of church and state and instead there was a Unity of God and government.
All men were created equal by God.
That is the foundational point of the Declaration from which all else flows like the spring of liberty. If all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, politics is clear and simple.
If that is true, then -- of course! --
protecting these inalienable rights is the only reason that governments are instituted among men. These were truths which, in the magical pen of Jefferson, the brave authors and signers held to be "self-evident."
There is a Creator.
He made us. He made us, specifically, free in body and in conscience. We are not sheep or some sort of oddly self-domesticated animals.
We are creatures in the image of a Creator, unique in reality, and given the power to choose.
The men who wrote and signed the Declaration are all dead, long, long, dead -- they never expected otherwise. If we met their ghosts today, they would not ask about our technological marvels or our global economy or our medical breakthroughs or space travel.
If we told them about our partisan debates or the new King in Washington, they might cringe like a father over an addled child.
But when speaking of what they wrote in 1776 -- signing their own death warrants, in some respects -- they might ask us this:
"We did not mean to confuse you. That is why the words we chose were so clear. You are free creatures of God.
Government is your creature, your chattel, your tool -- nothing more.
We studied history long before we wrote our brief statement of liberty. You own government or rather the spirit of free men owns government. You fret about ‘stuff.' Why? We are all dead now, as we knew we would be. But we chose to die free, following our consciences - that is the only real choice in life. What confused you?"
The principle of liberty is easy.
All it requires is courage and honor.
President George W. Bush
“It is important for all Americans to remember that our Declaration of Independence states that every person has the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. It also states that these rights come from our Creator, and that governments are formed to secure these rights for all their citizens. And we believe every human life has value, and we pray for the day when every child is welcome in life and protected into law... As we move forward, we’ve all got to remember that a true Culture of Life cannot be built by changing laws alone. We’ve all got to work hard to change hearts... The Sanctity of Life is written in the hearts of all men and women. And so I say, go forth with confidence that a cause rooted in human dignity and appealing to the best instincts of our citizens cannot fail.” —
Alexander's Essay – 2 July 2009
"Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" --Patrick Henry
As we celebrate the 233rd year of our Declaration of Independence, let us look at the common parlance associated with the polar spectrum of current political ideology (while such a review is still permitted by the state), and explore what is meant by "Left versus Right," "Liberal versus Conservative" and "Tyranny versus Liberty"?
First, a little history.
On July 4th of 1776, our Founders, assembled as representatives to the Second Continental Congress, issued a declaration stating most notably: "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 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..."
In other words, our Founders affirmed that our rights, which are inherent by Natural Law as provided by our Creator, can't be arbitrarily alienated by men like England's King George III, who believed that the rights of men are the gifts of government.
Our Founders publicly declared their intentions to defend these rights by attaching their signatures between July 4th and August 2nd of 1776 to the Declaration. They and their fellow Patriots pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor as they set about to defend the Natural Rights of man.
At the conclusion of the American War for Independence in 1783, our Founders determined the new nation needed a more suitable alliance among the states than the Articles of Confederation. After much deliberation, they proposed the U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1787, ratified in 1788 and implemented in 1789 as subordinate guidance to our Declaration of Independence.
Since that time, generations of American Patriots have laid down their lives "to support and defend" our Constitution -- and I would note here that their sacred oath says nothing about a so-called "Living Constitution" as advocated by the political left.
Given that bit of history as a backdrop, consider the lexicography of our current political ideology.
On the dark side of the spectrum would be Leftists, liberals and tyrants.
(Sidebar: One should not confuse "classical liberalism" with "contemporary liberalism." The former refers to those, like Thomas Jefferson, who advocated individual liberty, while the latter refers to those who advocate statism, which is the antithesis of liberty.)
Statism, as promoted by contemporary American liberals, has as its objective the establishment of a central government authorized as the arbiter of all that is "good" for "the people" -- and conferring upon the State ultimate control over the most significant social manifestation of individual rights, economic enterprise.
On the left, all associations between individuals ultimately augment the power and control of the State. The final expression and inevitable terminus of such power and control, if allowed to progress unabated, is tyranny.
The word "tyranny" is derived from the Latin "tyrannus," which translates to "illegitimate ruler."
Liberals, then, endeavor to undermine our nation's founding principles in order to achieve their statist objectives. However, politicians who have taken an oath to "support and defend" our Constitution, but then govern in clear defiance of that oath, are nothing more than illegitimate rulers, tyrants.
(Sidebar: Some Leftists contend that Communism and Fascism are at opposite ends of the political spectrum. Properly understood, however, both of these forms of government are on the left, because both have as a common end the establishment of an omnipotent state led by a dictator.)
Over on the "right wing" of the political spectrum, where the light of truth shines, would be "conservatives," from the Latin verb "conservare," meaning to preserve, protect and defend -- in this case, our Constitution.
American conservatives are those who seek to conserve our nation's First Principles, those who advocate for individual liberty, constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and the promotion of free enterprise, strong national defense and traditional American values.
Contemporary political ideology is thus defined by tyrannus and conservare occupying the Left and Right ends of the American political spectrum, defining the difference between liberals and conservatives.
Though there are many devoted protagonists at both ends of this scale, the space in between is littered with those who, though they identify with one side or the other, are not able to articulate the foundation of that identity. That is to say, they are not rooted in liberal or conservative doctrine, but motivated by contemporaneous political causes associated with the Left or Right. These individuals do not describe themselves as "liberal" or "conservative" but as Democrat or Republican. Further, they tend to elect ideologically ambivalent politicians who are most adept at cultivating special interest constituencies.
That having been said, however, there is a major difference between those on the Left and the Right, as demonstrated by our most recent national elections. Those on the Left tend to form a more unified front for the purpose of electability; they tend to embrace a "win at all costs" philosophy, while those on the right tend to spend valuable political capital drawing distinctions between and among themselves.
I would suggest that this disparity is the result of the contest between human nature and Natural Law.
The Left appeals to the most fundamental human instincts to procure comfort, sustenance and shelter, and to obtain those basic needs by the most expedient means possible. The Left promises that the State will attain those needs equally, creating a path of least resistance for that fulfillment.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Right promotes the tenets of Natural Law -- individual liberty and its attendant requirements of personal responsibility and self-reliance.
Clearly, one of these approaches is far easier to sell to those who have been systematically dumbed down by government educational institutions and stripped of their individual dignity by the plethora of government welfare programs.
That easy sell notwithstanding, the threat of tyranny can eventually produce an awakening among the people and a reversal of trends toward statism. But this reversal depends on the emergence of a charismatic, moral leader who can effectively advocate for liberty.
(Ronald Wilson Reagan comes to mind.)
For some nations, this awakening has come too late. The most notable examples in the last century are Russia, Germany, Italy and China, whose peoples suffered greatly under the statist tyrannies they came to embrace. In Germany and Italy, the state collapsed after its expansionist designs were forcibly contained. In Russia, the state collapsed under the weight of 70 years of economic centralization and ideological expansionism.
The Red Chinese regime, having witnessed the collapse of the USSR, has so far avoided its own demise by combining an autocratic government with components of a free enterprise economic system. (My contacts in China, including that nation's largest real estate developers and investment fund managers, believe the Red regime will be gone within five years.)
It is yet to be seen whether the current trend toward statism will be reversed by the emergence of a great conservative leader, or by revolution, but if you're betting on another Ronald Reagan, I suggest you hedge your bet.
Our Declaration's author, Thomas Jefferson, understood the odds.
He wrote, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground," and he concluded, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
Accordingly, George Washington advised, "We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times."
Indeed we must.
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
My thanks to Mark Alexander and to the editors of The Patriot Post, advocates for individual liberty, the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and the promotion of free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values
The Declaration of Independence
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here.
We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.
We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare,
That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States;
that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
JOHN HANCOCK, President
CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary.
Lois J. Crawford