We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men were created equal … that all men were created equal. Those immortal words, written by Thomas Jefferson are from the second paragraph of the American Declaration of Independence. They were an ultimatum to a tyrannical English king and they mark a turning point in the history of mankind. They are in fact, the basis of the standard of living we take for granted today.
And that message is particularly relevant today, with our world overwhelmingly populated with intellectual experts whose main claim to fame consists of holding a profound capacity to ignore context in all their thinking. Tragically, the message they send out vilifies the very people who did so much to move our society from despotism toward freedom. Hence, this effort to put meat on the dry bones of history.
… to elaborate my point. The Egyptian civilization, beginning some 5 thousand years ago, is among the earliest from which we have a written record showing us the social structure of the period. Their leaders, Pharaohs, were consider God-like and held absolute power. The ordinary Egyptian of those days were consider to be his property, and the people accepted that Pharaoh could do with them as he pleased. Often, he did just that. In many cases the builders of the pyramids, both workers and engineers, were killed and buried upon completion of that monument, the intent being to hid construction knowledge and thwart grave robbers.
Ladies and gentlemen, that social structure became know as the Egyptian principle, a system that has no regard for individual human beings and only considers them to be expendable property, conferring absolute authority on the ruler.
The early Greek history shows a marked contrast to the Egyptian. Here the rules were made democratically and no hereditary rulers held private citizens as pawns. Yet there was a glaring crack in this facade of freedom. I’m sure you have all heard of Socrates, that outspoken critic of the period. Socrates willingly committed suicide at the insistence of the rulers of Athens. This show the Egyptian principle was still in force, even in democratic Greece. Socrates accepted that the rulers had the right to demand his death, he drank the cup of poison voluntarily. Can you imagine obeying a Canadian government that asked you to commit suicide? In our nation today, few people can comprehend that degree of obedience to the ruling body.
And freedom couldn’t survive in such an unstable state. Democracy disappeared under Roman rule. Society degenerated into a state of whimsical rule. In Rome, feeding human being to lions was widely considered fine entertainment. Individual freedom had completely disappeared in 500 AD when the Roman Empire finally collapsed and the history entered one of its bleakest periods. Medieval Europe marked a level of depravity almost incomprehensible to our modern minds. The divine rights of kings had resurrected the Egyptian Principle.
Finally in 1215 there was a minor breech in the depravity. A reluctant King John I of England was forced to sign the Magna Carta, a document that stripped a bit of power from the monarchy. Ordinary citizens gained little but the nobility, the church, and municipalities gained some controls previously held by the king. The idea of absolute power being vested in a single individual by way of birth was broken.
It in fact, fractured the dam holding back freedom. Through a significant number of writers and speakers, culminating with the work of John Locke, ideas developed that, some 550 years later, for the first time in political recorded history, in June of 1776, Thomas Jefferson penned into the immortal words ‘all men are born equal’. On that day equal, individual rights were finally openly declare in a founding document of a country. It smashed the Egyptian principle. Was it the end of despotism? … of course not. Human incarnation never could end quite so easily.
Today, it’s easy to see the USA failed to live up to the Declaration of Independence. Among other short-comings, the new government accepted slavery and denied the vote to women. But the American Civil War was to erase the contradiction of slavery, pointed out in Mr Jefferson’s founding document. No nation can tolerate slavery after declaring all men to be equal. Abraham Lincoln carried out a legacy that could no longer be held back.
Yet this is the cairn upon which the blind experts of our day are building their fire to burn freedom. They are unwilling to see human progress is incremental, that time is needed for a radical idea to become acceptable to enough people that it finally is considered self-evident, the words used by Mr Jefferson.
Every aspect of the freedoms that we enjoy today is held in place by our personal conviction that no one may own us. That we are born with the right to legal equality. As long as we hold that belief we will fight to retain those freedoms; turn complacent and we’ll be draped in chains. For there are a couple of other relevant words inscribed in that famous document.
Mr Jefferson also noted, we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The right to life of course means that no man can own another, that we are born without chains or obligations to any one. It was not until Ayn Rand clearly explained that to be meaningful, the right to life also means that one must be free to take the actions required to sustain that life. That’s where liberty and property rights comes in. We must be free to apply the necessary effort and have ownership of the products of our effort so that we are able to sustain our lives. The pursuit of happiness is the food, the shelter, the soul mates, the safe environment to raise our children, etc.
And let’s not forget the words of William Allen White, “Liberty is the only thing you cannot have unless you are willing to give it to others.” It is only the implementation of individual rights that ensures we all may live and flourish
Today, concern for individual rights is disappearing at an alarming rate in our western world, while only taken hold sporadically in the rest of the world. The vast majority of the people on this earth still live under brutal rules with no legal recourse when stripped of their rights, their property and even their lives. And it’s usually done in the name of ‘the greater good for all’, in the name of collectivism.
Our history documents Hitler, who, stating the goal ‘perfecting the Aryan race’, was responsible for the death of some 30 million individuals. And in that barbed-wired enclosed hell hole, the Soviet Union led by Stalin, 40 million paid with their life-blood. Not to be outdone, Mao’s communist China spilt the blood of some 60 million individual citizens in their attempt to make a totalitarian utopia, a oxymoron of epic scale. Yes friends, all killed to fit a collective mould, documented in Paul Johnson’s book”Modern Times”.
Even in our own country the catch phrases of the day are related to group rights. We hear calls for women’s rights, native rights, labour rights, employer rights, tenant rights and landlord rights. On and on – individual rights thrown out in favour of group rights. While we seek to protect minorities from exploitation by majorities we forget that as Ayn Rand said, “The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.”
The evils of terrorism and human destruction have their root in that ancient Egyptian Principle, that some people are worth more than others are. When the masses, the large number of individuals who make up the citizens of a country accept personal insignificance and elevate their rulers … civilization disappears. Inevitably, human lives will be the fuel that feeds the despots. The modern agents of destruction, Ayatollah Khomeni, Idi Amin, Robert Mugabee, Mommar Khadaffi mainly grab their power with a gun but hold because people who know better, the intellectual leadership of the western world condone their brutality.
And so it is that I urge to stand up for those who cannot. Speak out. Make your voice heard. Remember there is but one fundamental choice, individual rights and freedom or collectivism and slavery.
And the real reason to speak out? Well our expert won’t … or can’t … or don’t know how.
… some closing words from Robert Zubrin … on Natural Law; “There is a philosophical idea that goes back to Socrates called Natural Law that states that there is a standard of Justice that stands above the laws made by governments, which can judge them to be just or unjust. This is the basis of the doctrine laid out in the American Declaration of Independence when it states them all men possess natural rights to life liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that “to ensure these rights governments are instituted among men.” Therefore any government that does not protect such rights is illegitimate. It is also the doctrine under which the Nazis were convicted at Nuremberg for “crimes against humanity.” Everything the Nazis did was legal under their own laws, but crimes under the higher law.
“Similarly, under natural law, any government that slaughters its own people, as the Assad regime does, is illegitimate and has no right to exist. To argue against this is to say that there is no such thing as right or wrong.”
To again invoke Ayn Rand, today’s conceptual muddle is at the root of the problem. Our experts imply that any form of rule over a population may be labelled a government, that any form from dictatorial to limited democratic can be considered governing. I say that meaning of governing must carry an element of both persuasion and accountability and reject the very idea of dictatorial. That is the idea that was clearly articulated in America’s Declaration of Independence … and still unlearned or ignored by so many.
It seems inconceivable that the descendants of the brilliant thinkers that created the freest nation ever can be swayed to stupidity by a has been NFL quarterback that dislikes an originating flag image on a shoe. That thousands of people will for that flimsy reason denounce the founders of this country.
I rest my case.