Tuesday, July 04, 2023

On the Importance of Jefferson's "Declaration"

 Unforeseen Contingencies -- like Ukraine, not dead yet!

Happy American Independence Day to all!  Two hundred forty seven years ago Americans declared their independence from Britain and King George's government.  The idea of people declaring their independence from a government was something radical, and it remains so today.  For centuries, the received view was the one Plato described in Republic: an elite of "experts" will run everything for the supposedly unenlightened rest of us, including every aspect of our lives.  Supposedly it's for our own good; that's the thin disguise used to clothe the otherwise naked lust for power.  People are means to the government, which pursues the end of the "good society," which really means the ends of those who control the government.

The Declaration of Independence expresses an entirely different view of society and government.  Government is a mere means to the ends of people.  People have various goals and interests.  They have a common interest in holding society together in order to pursue these.  "Holding society together" means stopping predation, i.e. protecting the rights of people to freedom of action, the right of each to control his or her own life.  That's it.  If government fails in this, and worse, if it becomes the threat to their rights, people have the right to get rid of it and set up an entirely new system to protect rights.

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.

This is not the fake radicalism of leftists with their beer hall putsches, bolshevik revolutions, fabianism, "progressivism" and "New Deals," "Great Societies," "hope and fundamental changes," or "Great Resets," all of which are designed to restore power to self-described "guardians" who know better than us how our lives should be run.  This is the true radicalism of protecting the right of of every individual to run his or her own life.

We are not the means to others' ends.  And we have the right and duty to insist on that, by force if necessary.  Caesar had his Brutus; Charles the first, his Cromwell; George the Third, his Jefferson, and today's opponents of individual liberty...may profit by their example.

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