Required reading

In Editorial on June 24, 2011 at 11:04 am

BAH! Humbug.

In a few days the Fourth of July, nee “Independence Day” will be upon us.  The deluge of advertising has already begun, trips “to the lake” have been finalized, the hot dogs have been purchased, and the perpetually thirteen year-old fingers of the adult male in the house are itching to set off his coveted stash of fireworks.

The Phyne Dyner’s household will mark the day as it has for about ten years.

There will be grilling, drinking, and sitting about in the (hopefully) hot sun.  An obligatory United States flag will flutter prominently at the front of the house.

The high point of the day will be when we will take turns reading paragraphs from the American Declaration of Independence aloud.

By this point, about half of those who began reading this post reflexively clicked off the page as their eyes began to glaze over.  Reading the Declaration holds as much excitement for them as does a discussion of economics or thermodynamics.

And it is precisely why they fall for nonsense, like “derivatives” and ethanol-blended gasoline.

It is also why they run, lemming-like, to the polls where they dutifully follow the exhortations of Republican and Democratic party bosses and “dutifully” vote for their choice from ranks of equally abysmal candidates.

They may not have read the Declaration since high school and, given the state of education (indoctrination) since the early 1970s, they may not have read it then either.

It is why, when I once brought up the Articles of Confederation, an educated professional (?) in the group commented, “Isn’t it about time the South admits that the North won that war?”

Quick, without looking…

…What are the opening words of the Declaration of Independence?

The opening words...NOT!

“We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

Dead wrong!

“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another,…”

The first paragraph is among my favorites in the Declaration.


It is devoid of the emotional tugs and appeals that have become the staple manipulation devices used by our national (non) leaders in these latest years.  There are no dire warnings, calls to arms, or angry words.

The first paragraph calmly asserts the right of a people to cast off relations with their lawful government.  The colonists were, after all, British citizens who were lawful subjects of the Crown.

They were no more (or less) expected to remain duty-bound to subjects of the King than contemporary Americans are expected to be “loyal Americans”.  Their King, like our hundreds of mini-kings in Washington, had a legal expectation that the colonists would do exactly as the Crown wished.

They did not do so.  Rather, they issued a document stating their reluctant, but firm defiance of the central state.

“…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…”

The “separate and equal station” among the powers is not merely available to all powers (nations formed by “political bands”).  It is an entitlement of all nations provided either by “Nature” or by “God”.

The irony!

For well over one hundred years, the United States has stomped around the globe telling other powers how they must behave.

If the “land of the free and the home of the brave” can be dismissive of the natural rights of entire nations, what expectation do the citizens of such a nation have that the American central state will respect individual rights of “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…”

“Just” powers?


The only permitted use of power is as “just” power, granted by the consent of those under that power.  Not only must exerted power be just, it must be power granted with the consent of those it will impact.

Contrast that with how, nowadays, edicts flow downward to the ruled and how those edicts no longer need be “just”.

Our national satraps and potentates now demure responsibility for their edicts by claiming “The Bill was so voluminous that there simply was not time to read every page of it before enacting it.”

Sealing their fates.

Yet, we are expected to abide by every letter of the enacted law.

Is such a condition conducive to, or destructive of, the ends spoken of in the beginning of this, the second paragraph of our Declaration of Independence?

 And, then, is it not also stated that it is not only our “right”…but…our “duty” to abolish or alter such a government?

The only “duties” we hear of these days, are “jury duty” and a non-existent “duty” to vote.  Patriotic “duty” consists solely of signing up to be cannon-fodder in imperial wars no different than those mounted by King George III.

Patriotic “duty” is, in fact, our obligation to hold our leaders accountable, our laws just, and uphold the natural rights of others.  It also includes our duty to abolish or alter any erected government (of ours) when it “…becomes destructive of these ends…”.

Prior to issuing the Declaration the Colonists appealed, lawfully, to Parliament for redress of their grievances.  These grievances were not for the sake of light and transient causes.

Parliament acquiesced to the King and left the Colonists with only violent recourse to their plight.

There is a growing undercurrent of discord today in America.  Fewer than half of eligible voters routinely cast ballots.  Party bosses dismiss this as “apathy”.  However, when you ask non-voters why this is so, their response is typical and predictable:

“It just doesn’t matter.  They (the newly elected and the re-elected) will just do as they please.”

George III initially regarded the Colonists to be “too apathetic to their condition” to rouse themselves.

Apathy gave way to anger, and anger prompted appeals to the Crown.

The appeals were ignored, as they routinely are by “unlawful” governments, and the Colonists were left with the final option.

Today’s America is entering the early “appeal stage” of the same political process.  How then, do we direct our appeal and against what do we appeal?

I hopefully direct readers to digest the Colonial rebel’s list of the Crown’s “injuries and usurpations” and compare them to our current condition.  I will not deign to offer my own comparisons, but will leave the reader to draw his/her own conclusions.


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