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A Troublesome Document: Musings on July 4

December 5, 2010
David MacGregor

The trouble started with “The Declaration of Independence of The Thirteen Colonies” – the underlying philosophy of which is encapsulated by those immortal and inspiring words:

“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.”

It’s a rallying cry for freedom that echoes far beyond the borders of the USA – and, in fact, has become a universal code of freedom lovers everywhere.

However, as a “political” document, I believe that what follows is equally important – the operational principle by which these “unalienable rights” are to be ensured:

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

The “trouble” I’m referring to is the explicit right asserted by the Declaration – the right to “alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government”.

And now… the rest of the story. …..

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