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We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident

Posted by | October 28th, 2012

The below, insightful, words, are from Chapter 1 of Judge Andrew Napolitano’s great book, “It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom“:

“Most Americans are aware of the existence of the Declaration of Independence, but when was the last time you read it? Or better yet, when was the last time you heard someone quote, speak, or teach about the Declaration of Independence? Many times when I quote this document in conversations I have with many Americans, highly educated people nonetheless, they have not the slightest clue of where the quotes I speak of originate. Some even maintain that it was something written by Karl Marx! Let us now look at the text of the Declaration of Independence. The most important section is the second paragraph, because it is where all of the meat is found of the colonists’ moral and political philosophies on which they were basing the need for independence:

“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.”

As we have seen, a self-evident truth is a statement of fact that proves itself; one that needs no explanation. As we have also seen, one of those self-evident truths is that all men are created equal. An important distinction must be made here. The meaning of equal is not meant to be construed as the equality of ability, brain power, wealth, or that all men are equal in every conceivable sense. However, it restated Locke and Paine’s position, which was that no man has a mandate from God to rule over other men. What this moral position sets up is a governmental system or a society where the king, even if his name is George, or Abraham, or George W., is not a superior moral instrument with power over the natural rights of the people whom he attempts to govern. Put differently, no man is endowed with rights superior to anyone else; and this is the absolute fundamental principle on which Locke and Jefferson wrote and upon which the American government was formed. No scientific study or knowledge should be needed to conclude that it is a self-evident truth that the best system of governance is one that recognizes and guarantees equality of rights for all. The next part of the Declaration goes on to state

“that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

In the old days, the king could essentially do no wrong since he was actually regarded as the only person who had the power to create the laws, which power the ancient beliefs held was given to him from God. Since this was the case, then the king was to make all laws and rule all of his subjects, and this was seen as the only means of achieving peace. When Jefferson recognized the truism that all men are created equal, he was introducing a government in which the rights of every man were recognized and respected by every other man, even those in the government. When Jefferson stated that all humans are endowed with “certain unalienable Rights,” he meant that not only are we all born fully possessed of our rights, but these rights are unalienable, meaning they can only be surrendered by conscious intentional criminal behavior. As Jefferson wrote, “Everyone would agree that each of us is born without governmental permission or involvement. It is evident our very lives come from nature or God. The government does not breathe life into anyone.” Jefferson certainly was not introducing the system we have today; where Congress gains its powers from a majority vote and then has the ability to right every wrong, and regulate every behavior. Where does a government get its power from? Jefferson answered.

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

The common usage of the word secure has been corrupted over the years to mean “to obtain” as well as “to safeguard.” When this line was penned, however, secure only meant “to protect,” so, just as Locke said men are born with certain rights, to make certain no one can take these rights away from them, men created governments. This sentence also restates the Western premise that governments can only come about, and gain just powers, through a contractual agreement between those who are governed and the government. You must take note that nowhere does Jefferson assert that a government may attain its just powers from the consent of a majority. This means that the consent to be governed must be given by every single person, which also means that if any single person does not give his or her consent to the powers the government exercises over him or her, then they may in fact be unjust powers.

Conclusion:

Wouldn’t it be in every American’s best safety and economic interests to bring an end to this madness? The stranglehold the federal government has over our everyday lives is almost impossible to escape without a complete abolition of the government. How has the government been able to gain the powers necessary to grow so large? Having explored the history and original understanding to the Declaration of Independence, we are now in a position to delve into the Natural Laws which the Declaration sought to secure. And we shall also see that throughout our history, the principles of the Declaration have been trod upon time and time again. If we, as the colonists, continue to live under the yoke of an unjust government, then we must similarly exercise our natural right to disobey the government.”

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