Friday, July 3, 2009

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. . .

As we celebrate July 4th, let us remember what really happened on that special day in 1776. Our Founding Fathers not only declared independence from England, they boldly declared a new way for mankind with these simple words:

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.
And lest you think this hyperbole, consider that these rights were not self-evident at the time. They were, in fact, a radical departure from all that had come before.

Ancient Greece invented democracy, but it wasn’t the democracy you or I know. Their ideals were noble, but in practice, their democracy was little more than a club for elitists, ruled by tyrants. The Romans improved this system and expanded the club slightly, before they collapsed into Empire. For the next 1000 years, divine kings ruled the Earth. These kings claimed to speak for God, and their subjects were little more than property.

In 1215, the first cracks appeared in this model when British nobles imposed upon King John of England the Magna Carta, wherein he agreed that his will could be bound by the rule of law. Thus, parliamentary democracy was born, with certain rights being ensured to the King’s subjects.

Then came the Americans. On July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, an extraordinary group of men, declared to the world, their intent to form the first government to be established by the consent of the people it would govern and which could exercise no power to which those people did not consent. In so doing, they gave the world its first free men since the dawn of man.

Indeed, consider what this Declaration proclaimed:

Every America would have an inalienable right to life. That is, a right to be free in body and in spirit, a right to be their own person and not the property of the sovereign.

Every American would have an inalienable right to liberty. At the time, the concept of liberty connoted the right to truly own property, a right then reserved to the crown, all others being mere tenants. Thus, Americans would have the right to be secure in their possessions, particularly their lands and homes, and would no longer be tenants of the sovereign, subject to his control.

Every American would have an inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. This is not a promise to provide comfort to the people, it is something much greater, it is a guarantee that every American would have the freedom to act in accordance with their own free will.
Thus, at a time when even the freest of men belonged to his sovereign, our Founding Fathers declared that in America, it would be different. In America, every citizen would have an unchallengeable right to be free in body and spirit, free in their possessions and free in the exercise of their will.

No other government on Earth has ever surrendered such freedoms -- not then and not now. Even the most modern democracies today choose the rights to grant their citizens. Only in America, are our rights absolute, and the government must seek our consent. And while this declaration has not always been perfectly enacted, we strive toward its promise and we cherish its ideal. That is what we celebrate on July 4th.

God bless America.

Enjoy your holiday, and remember the men who made you free.

12 comments:

BevfromNYC said...

Let's not forget that behind every Founding Father was a "Founding Mother". Women kept the home fires burning, and the farms and business running while their husbands created a new world order. In the words of our "First Feminist" Abigail Adams - "...I long to hear that you have declared an independancy-and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors."

StanH said...

The greatest country in the history of mankind the USA. It boggles my mind how anyone can miserable in this great country. Sure there are challenges everyday, but with a little moxy and hard work any soul can become a success. The Founders of our great land risked it all, most where wealthy gentry that could of sat on their estates and simply enjoyed life. By declaring liberty from Britain in 1776 they ensured as Patrick Henry nobly stated, “give me liberty or give me death,” and King George was more than happy to oblige. We again are in a struggle for freedom this time from within and our challenge is to leave this great country as we found it, and as was guaranteed by our Founders in The Constitution, God bless America, we’ll need it!

Bev: These men would not be out gallivanting forming a nation without the support of the ladies, indeed : )

StlDan said...

Never, has there been a greater need for the awareness to the adage " Those who do not study history are doomed to re-live it" I remember in the Academy they told us of a time (18th century)when the Sheriff could file and sign all the paper work for 4th & 5th Amendment search and seizures, without Judicial review and thought how neat that would be. I was an eager twenty-five year old Deputy and did not realize the consequences of those thoughts and actions. I fear we are headed that way again, we must educate our neighbors.

Writer X said...

Happy Fourth, all! I wish we celebrated the history and sacrifice behind this holiday every day of the year.

Bev, thanks for the reminder about the women! What's the saying: Behind every smart man is an even smarter woman? Or something like that? ;-)

CrispyRice said...

Happy Independence Day everyone! As you guys have said, I am at a loss to understand how anyone cannot treasure our liberty, but instead be willing to hand more and more power so cavalierly back to the government.

I'll be at a Tea Party tomorrow morning to show that I'm still willing to stand up for what this country is meant to be.

//flagwaving :)

AndrewPrice said...

Happy Independence Day everyone!

I hope this reminds everyone of just why we are special. I think that teaching people that the revolution simply brought us independence from Britian shortchanges what really happened. This truly set us on a new course.

And we need to protect that from those, like Barack O, who would take that away and make us more like the rest of the world -- see Barack's garbage about the Constitution being a document of negative rights.


Bev, good reminder. Certainly no slight is meant to the Founding Mothers. I think that modern victimology has often short-changed the influence of women in the past so as to gain political influence (by claiming victim status) in the present.

I believe that the sentiments enshired in the Declaration of Independece where meant to be applicable to all, even at the time. I don't think that the Founding Fathers (the accepted terms), included a mental disclaimer at the time.

Sadly, when it came time to form a government, politics took over and they did begin to include such disclaimers, but not at this point. And even though we got off on the wrong foot, we have slowly but surely rectified those errors, primarily because the idea of freedom is so enshired in our psyche's that we instinctively believe to the applicable to all. That is the power of these words, they changed the way the world thinks.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Let me also echo everyone else's sentiments, and CrispyRice, I wish you good luck with the Tea Party! Do us proud!

patti said...

your posts continue to humble me. thanks, bub.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Patti! I'm glad to hear you approve! Happy 4th!

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: Your article is timely and a great reminder of what the Founders had to consider. From Jefferson to Hamilton, from Madison to Washington, and all those in-between, one constant theme emerged--government is the servant of the people and not their master, and the obligation of that government is to protect the people from loss of their freedoms. That is the theme that our current government has entirely abandoned, and your article reminds us of exactly that.

WriterX: My ex-wife had the correct version of that saying posted in the kitchen: "Behind every great man stands a woman--who couldn't be more surprised." LOL

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY TO EVERYONE

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Very good post, Andrew!

This really caught my eye:
"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.And lest you think this hyperbole, consider that these rights were not self-evident at the time. They were, in fact, a radical departure from all that had come before."

Indeed. And yet, our Founding Fathers saw this, and I believe anyone hat earnestly seeks the Truth will see this as well, because it cannot NOT be.

This goes well with another post I was reading at Gagdad Bob's, and since he writes much better and more succinctly than I ever could I would only butcher a summary so I'll just quote him:

"...the possibility of truth is rooted in freedom. Likewise, the possibility of freedom is rooted in truth. That is, if truth isn't freely discovered, it isn't truth (i.e., you can't compel truth, as the left tries to do). And if freedom doesn't lead to truth, then one isn't really free (i.e., to live a lie is only the illusion of freedom).

There are people who do not believe in free will. For them, truth is impossible. Others do not believe in objective truth. For them, freedom is impossible. And there are others who do not believe in the soul, or an essential self. However, that sophistry can be easily disproved, for if man had no essence, he couldn't know it. To speak a truth is to know -- to be -- an essence.

The same principle applies to beauty and morality. If these were not objective categories, we couldn't even know about them. So when our liberal founders said, "we hold these truths to be self-evident," they said at least two things that are offensive to the modern left, that there is objective truth and that it is self-evident to the intellect (which transcends the reason, or empirical ego).

But for the Founders to add that all men are created equal and that they were made this way by their Creator -- I'm surprised that the ACLU hasn't found a way to overturn the Declaration of Independence on the grounds that it's unconstitutional.

There is horizontal freedom and vertical freedom. The former is "freedom from," the latter "freedom to." The former doesn't necessarily lead to the latter, while the latter always implies the former. That is, if one is truly spiritually free, one is free. But the horizontal (or secular) freedom of the left -- which is only horizontal -- might as well be tyranny. Note as well that it necessarily excludes beauty and morality, except accidentally, not essentially."

Seems apropos to many of the posts you all have been posting. Which is one of many reasons I get so much out of your blog. Bravo Zulu my fellow patriots. :^)

AndrewPrice said...

USS Ben, thanks! That's an interesting quote you found, because it's really rather accurate. The left does not believe in either freedom or truth. To them, it's all relative, which seems to be the result of years of deconstructionist thinking.

It has ruined whatever philosophy they used to have and caused them to devolve into basically a mob that wants their share.

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