On this day 220 years ago, Thomas Jefferson was born and 33 years later he wrote these words that brought the US of A to life.
“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 educated experts whose main claim to fame consists of holding a profound capacity to ignore all 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 considered God-like and held absolute power. The ordinary Egyptians of those days were considered 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 hide construction knowledge and thwart grave robbers.
Dear reader, that social structure became known as the Egyptian principle, a system that has no regard for individual human beings and only considers you to be expendable property, conferring absolute authority on the ruler.
Early Greek history shows a marked contrast to the Egyptian standard. 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 shows 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 today, obeying a 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, tyrannical rule. In Rome, feeding human beings to lions was widely considered fine entertainment. Individual freedom completely disappeared in 500 AD when the Roman Empire finally collapsed and 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 breach 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 breached.
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 were developed that, some 550 years later, for the first time in political recorded history, in June of 1775, Thomas Jefferson penned that profound idea into the immortal words ‘all men are born equal’. On that day, individual rights were finally, openly declared 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 that the USA has failed to live up to the Declaration of Independence. Among other shortcomings, the new government accepted slavery and denied the vote to women. But the American Civil War was to erase the contradiction of slavery, as pointed out in Mr Jefferson’s founding document. No nation can tolerate slavery after declaring all men to be equal. Abraham Lincoln simply 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 that 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 very 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 firmly hold that belief we will fight to retain those freedoms; turn complacent and we’ll be draped in chains.
A reminder; there are a couple of other relevant words inscribed in that famous document.
Mr Jefferson also noted that we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and in a bit of personal correspondence wrote, “..the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately …”. The right to life, of course, means that no man can own another, that we are born without chains or obligations to anyone. 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 come together. 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 includes but is not limited to acquiring the food, the shelter, the soul mates, the safe environment to raise our children, etc.
And let’s also 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, having taken hold but sporadically in the rest of the world. The vast majority of the people on this earth still live under brutal and tyrannical 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 getter good for all’, in the name of collectivism.
Our history documents Hitler, who, stating the goal of ‘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, an oxymoron of epic scale. Yes, all killed to fit a collective mould, documented in Paul Johnson’s book, ”Modern Times”.
Even in our own country, the catchphrases 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 have been 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 Khomeini, Idi Amin, Robert Mugabe, and Moammar Khadaffi mainly grab their power with a gun. But they hold that power because people who should know better, the intellectual leadership of the western world, condone their brutality.
And so it is that I urge you 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 to.
… 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 highest law, our birthright laws.
“Similarly, under natural law, any government that slaughters its own people, as the Assad regime of Syria does, is illegitimate and has no right to exist. To argue that anything goes in governing a country, actually and bizarrely claims that there is no such thing as right or wrong.”
To again invoke Ayn Rand, claiming 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 dictatorship. 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 shows why the lock step approval of a stay-at-home is simply needed to tap into an already intellectually-disarmed populous. As a people, we no longer seek freedom, the right to control our own lives.
That’s not to say there are no champions for freedom. Anyone still reading these words obviously is. If we, you and I dear reader, want freedom back only an argument that resonates with those who have never learned to cherish a culture of freedom, our neighbours, our fellow citizen, and other passengers on this space-ship, our earth, can build a movement that will once again inject immortality into those words written by Thomas Jefferson.
And on this day, in 2020 most of us are complying with orders from our political leaders, to do nothing, to stay home, to stop supporting our lives and to stop enjoying our lives And tragically, some are even snitching when they see someone that rejects that dictatorial order.
How far we have come in 220 years. Will you fight the insanity that implies life remains possible without productive action? Do you recognize the price we will pay for letting such an ignorant political claim utterly destroy the economic system that supports our lives?
We need to fight. Sitting on a comfortable couch won’t do it.