Five Self Evident Truths of Independence

Thomas Jefferson penned a magnificent document declaring the just case for America’s independence. The bulk of the Declaration is an account of the Crown’s actions. Actions taken by monarchs for centuries. But why were the Crown’s actions evil? The power of the Declaration is seen in a single paragraph. What Independence means is found there.

We hold these truths to be self evident …

In contrast to today’s moral relativism, the Declaration says there is “Truth.” Absolute truth so obvious it earns the label “self evident.” Things like 2+2=4 and the sun rises in the East. Jefferson wrote, and the signers affirmed, that what followed were just such truths. They did so confident that reasonable men of integrity from all times and climes would recognize and affirm them.

That all men are created equal …

Not equality of ability. No one denies there are differences in ability. As such, neither can it mean equality of potential or outcome. Neither is it equality of circumstance. People are born at different times and places. It is equality of the nature of their being.  All men – regardless of gender, race, ability or any other qualifier are the moral equal of every other man. This is the first truth and the foundation of Independence.

That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights …

Endowed and unalienable. God is not denied or closeted. Independence is revered as God’s idea. Part of the equality of all men is that all were given gifts by God: unalienable rights. These are different from other things which might be called rights in that they cannot be taken away or even given away. They belong to every man by virtue of his existence as a special, unique and independent creation of God.

That among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness …

This is not an exhaustive list. There are other unalienable rights. It is illustrative. Unalienable rights belong to all men and are not transient or dependent upon the accidents of culture or time. The Constitution would later lay out more in the Bill of Rights. But in dealing with a concept so crucial as Independence, there could be no questions. Independence  had to be defined in a universal, unassailable way. It had to belong to every man or it could rightly be taken from any man.

That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …

If I am independent, no one can do for me what I must do for myself. To that end, independent men created government as a tool to secure their rights. It was not to define or grant them. It is certainly not to be their violator. Government is a means, not an end. Government is transient. Unalienable Rights are not. “Governments” and “powers” are plural as there can be different forms with different assigned tasks. Equality does not demand conformity and allows for differences. The one inviolate trait is that just government does not dictate to the people. Just government is the tool of and is obedient to Independent people exercising their unalienable rights.

That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government …

Here the Declaration reaches its zenith. Everything before it was written to support this statement and everything afterwards to demonstrate that the actions of the signers were godly, just and in keeping with self evident truths. The people, created by God and endowed with unalienable rights, who instituted a form of government to which they entrusted the securing of their rights were about to show that the current government had failed to do so. It had, in fact, become the greatest violator of them. Since institution of government was their responsibility, if one form refuses to do so or is incapable of doing so it is the right – dare I say it is the obligation – of the people to remove it and replace it with one that will. This relates to both the entire form of government, as in a change from Monarchy to Republic, as well as to specifics as in changes to laws and statutes. Government would do well to remember that.

Equal. Endowed. Rights. Instituted. Abolish.

This is what Independence means to me.

Happy Independence Day, America …

Cross posted from Blue Collar Muse.

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  • Olsoljer

    Well said. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution have not failed us, we have failed them. Revolution should not be waged against the government, but for the re- instatement of it,

  • Regardless of their ability, gender and race, all men are created equal.


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