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Independence Day Reading

I’m off to visit my folks this week. My mom turns 88 today and my dad turns 88 on Wednesday. I’ll post whenever I have wifi access.

Today, I thought it would be a good idea to read an important document that is often mentioned, but that many people have never actually read…
_____________________________

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another 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, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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. — 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.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

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21 comments to Independence Day Reading

  • Scott

    To the extent “We the people” realize liberty as defined in our written national foundation, is the extent we naturally realize life and the pursuit of happiness, and all of the rights granted in our Constitution.

    Liberty as a self-evidently naturally-given and unalienable right by law (ninth amendment) — what I call “true liberty” to simplify communication — is undeniably the most brilliant social construct possible.

    The reason for that ultimate brilliance is liberty is your greatest asset (it defines what you can do with your life) and true liberty is optimal liberty in a civilized society — the only limit against true liberty is true liberty.

    We are still the only nation with that social construct embedded in its foundation.

    However, that brilliant social construct has never been realized in our country, a serious challenge left unmet.

    Instead, we have the people effectively in power defining liberty, despite true liberty.

    The reason that true liberty is ignored is that right demands that only acts directly infringing upon another person’s rights (e.g. murder, assault, theft, etc.) can be banned or regulated.

    Since the act of breathing indirectly leads to all rights-infringing acts, people are inevitably forced to define which indirectly-rights-infringing acts are legal or not, undermining the essential naturally-given and unalienable parts of true liberty.

    Possessing marijuana is an act that has been banned, despite no conclusive science proving it directly or indirectly infringes upon another person’s rights. That is a blatant violation of everything our nation is supposed to stand for.

    Who cares? Obviously not enough Americans to come down hard on those people who support such treason.

    Why do they not care? Because they were never taught why true liberty is essential to any truly free society (it is a simple rationale that can be publicly wielded against corruption). True liberty is the power of the minority as well as the majority.

    That all said, reality dictates that people will always be relied on to define liberty, because people make and enforce laws.

    However, “We the people” need to reverse course. Public pressure must always exist to encourage the human defining of liberty be with respect to true liberty (no exceptions), not despite it.

    That pressure will only happen when all Americans through posterity understand the basics of true liberty. Please share those basics, because the people in power will never do it for you.

  • BruceM

    Yes but we can oppress ourselves as much as we want. The point is the oppression is OUR oppression and not the oppression of some King across the sea.

    Every single complaint against George III listed in the DoI are things We the People now proudly do to ourselves – in the name of freedom and, of course, FOR THE CHILDREN! But we’re doing it to ourselves, which is totally different than it being done to us by a 3rd party oppressor.

    There’s a huge difference between shoving something up your ass in the privacy of your own home versus having someone hold you down and shove something up your ass involuntarily (masturbation vursus rape).

    We the People are fucking idiots and We the People get the government we deserve – just like all people do. We’re all so disgustingly stupid, fat, revolting, disgusting, moronic, simpleminded, reactionary, fearful, brainwashed, zombified, mentally enslaved, and eager to demand our rights be taken away that Bush and Obama on their worst days are both too good for us, Bush declaring wars and cutting taxes at the same time was better than We the People deserve.

  • Malcolm Kyle

    “We’re all so disgustingly stupid, fat, revolting, disgusting, moronic, simpleminded, reactionary, fearful, brainwashed, zombified, mentally enslaved, and eager to demand our rights be taken away.”

    Looks like a clear case for “revolutionary mass suicide”

  • claygooding

    I ma proud to be an American,I am just ashamed of my government. We have allowed the industrial sector the same rights allowed for people,and in doing their bidding,our legislators have brought us to the brink of complete financial and spiritual breakdown. I am not speaking of religious spiritual,but the spirit of the individual,we live in paranoia of our own government kicking our doors down and shooting us,or members of our families over a plant.
    I will not participate in any 4th of July celebrations until we are free.

  • BruceM

    I’m not proud to be an american – what do I have to be proud of? I didn’t do anything other than pop out of my mother on US soil. Really had no choice in the matter. I love American history and what America used to be. People like Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin are my absolute heroes and some of the most brilliant men to ever live. America was great, and we ruined it. Gradually, little by little… then FDR came along and turned the commerce clause into a means of giving Congress universal power to pass any law conceivable, America no longer had a government of limited powers. The federal government can ban growing wheat in your backyard, wearing a green tie, stapling more than 30 pages together at once, whatever – anything and everything. Even intrastate noncommerce counts as interstate commerce. Even after FDR there was still an understanding of restraint. But once the late 60’s came along and hippies flaunted their use of drugs, scaring the crap out of everyone not using drugs (rather than using them responsibly), the last remnants of restraint died off and the majority of We the Idiots demanded the federal government ban everything that scared us. Once the government had the right to prosecute individuals for merely possessing a certain type of leaf, power to make laws became unlimited, and then all our rights – the limits on government power set forth in the Bill of Rights – had to be killed off one by one. It’s impossible to meaningfully enforce a ban on possessing certain leaves when the people have rights to privacy, rights against unreasonable search and seizure, rights to freedom of speech and assembly, rights to due process and fair trials… so those all had to go. For the children. If I had a dollar for ever time an american politician has invoked “the children” over the past 100 years, I’d not only possess every single dollar in existence, but they’d have to run the printing presses for 5 years nonstop 24/7/365, printing nothing but $100 bills to make up the difference.

    I love what America began as. But I have no pride in America or being American. I felt horrendous shame in watching nearly everyone demand the last remnants of their remaining liberties be taken away after 9-11 in order to relish in the illusion of safety from faith-based terrorists. I feel shame every time an American goes to church instead of school. I feel shame every time a reality show is on primetime network television. And most importantly I feel shame in America having more of its citizens locked up than any other country in the history of the world, close to 800 out of every 100,000 Americans is behind bars, the vast majority of them didn’t even commit a real crime; they just possessed something harmless (or were in the vicinity of someone who did so and were charged as a party to the crime).

    The great America began to die about 80 years ago, it’s been on life support since the Bush administration, and Obama is going to pull the plug. The only solace I get is the slight hope that things may actually get better when its 40 or so states (at least 10 of them will be bankrupt by the time the federal government goes bankrupt or are only getting by due to federal welfare money – California will collapse first, not sure who will go second).

    America was a beacon of freedom (well, at least for white people) for a solid 120 years. That’s gotta count for something, I think, when historians look back and judge it from the viewpoint of a post-America world.

  • fela

    “I’m not proud to be an american – what do I have to be proud of?”

    I agree. There is not much to be proud of when you’re country is fighting foreign wars based on lies, and harasses, mains, murders, and loots it own people while doing it all in our name.

  • Shap

    And you know what is another extremely fucked up thing? That generation of Americans that stood idly by as FDR’s welfare state with unlimited federal power came into existence is known as “the greatest generation.” You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me. The generation may have fought in World War II (involuntarily I might add as a result of the military draft), however this generation will ultimately be responsible for bankrupting our nation with their social security and their medicare all justified by a clause in the constitution that any American that I would deem to be of basic intelligence would be astounded to learn that such a clause could be interpreted to mean that the federal government can prohibit a person from growing a certain amount wheat in their own backyard for personal consumption. And we only have one current member of the U.S. Supreme Court who stands against this type of judicial misinterpretation. As for being proud to be an American, all I can say is that as fucked up as things may be here, there is no other country in which you have the same opportunities as exist here (even though those opportunities may be different depending on what neighborhood you were born in).

  • claygooding

    If you are not proud of being an American and you feel it is instead a shameful thing,there are no gates on the way out of this country and you don’t have to sneak out. Just go where you are proud to be. I will stay here and try to fix what I got.

  • claygooding

    And addressing the FDR and S/S bitch,I hear a young person that doesn’t believe he will ever get to retirement age or thinks he’s bulletproof and will never need any disability.
    If you were to get disabled tomorrow,your tune would change.
    I bitched about paying taxes and S/S out of every paycheck,until I started getting it back,just as you will.

  • Shap

    I don’t believe that I am bulletproof or invincible. I only believe that it is every American’s personal responsibility to provide for their OWN retirement. Legitimate disability is one thing. “Taking care of our elderly” is another. People should live within their means during their life even if that means cutting back to make sure that in their old age they can take care of themselves. NOTE: this may mean not having as many or even any children if they cannot afford it. As much as I do see the argument for making sure the disabled are not left on the street to rot, it is not the federal government’s responsibility or within their constitutional power to provide for them. If a state wants to do it, and can make the necessary budgetary allowances to do so, then they can do so. I may be young, but I am lucky enough to have been able to get an education in which I am very knowledgeable about commerce clause jurisprudence and what were supposed to be limits on the powers of Congress.

  • claygooding

    And I still say your ideas would change if you were to have a car accident tomorrow and were unable to continue
    your good fortune of a good education and the resulting employment. What if you had not been born into a family with finances that gave you that education? Just because you are satisfied that you can provide for your future today does not mean the circumstances will remain for the rest of your life.
    Social Security would not be in the financial trouble they are in now if the congress had not “borrowed” from them for the last 20 years. As the administrator of S/S said,He went into the vault where the S/S funds were kept and all that is in there are IOUs. The people living on S/S and disability today are still using cash that was already paid in and the funds would still be there,if not for politicians.
    When I was about 30,there were no rumors or even warnings of S/S running out. Now you are living under the threat of it failing and I feel for you but the plan FDR and “the greatest generation” were viable and working
    well,until Nixon.
    I have said it before and will say it again,if America ever figures out how thoroughly he screwed this country
    in every thing he did,they will dig his bones up and burn them.
    And they will drag Reagan’s statue down Pennsylvania Ave
    and beat it apart,the same way the Iraqi’s did with Sadams,its just too bad that they are not alive to hang.

  • Lexington Green

    Don’t they use that document as toilet paper in the district of corruption?

  • claygooding

    There is an idea,lets petition the government to change the name of DC tomorrow.

  • Ed Dunkle

    A little off topic, but today should be a fun one.
    http://bit.ly/aorxs9

    Happy Independence Day!

  • Team America World Police

    America…Fuck Yeah!

  • Brucem

    Nobody should feel actual pride over where they live, it’s as arbitrary as skin color. White pride, black pride, gay pride, ethnic pride – they are all things you had no choice in. Moreover the only legitimate pride is pride over an accomplishment.

    The fox news line of “if you’re not proud of America you are free to leave” is intellectually dishonest and a refuge for asinine jingoistic scoundrels.

    As someone who hates religious people (and being religious is not like skin color, there is a choice), I have no moral issues with America killing Muslims. But I’m not proud of it, especially since we do it with flying assassin drones, the use of which under any circumstance in incompatible with pride.

  • claygooding

    “The 40-year jihad launched by Richard Nixon in 1970 was supposed to eliminate the scourge of street drugs and protect America’s youth. Street drugs, however, remain readily available to any determined 16-year-old seeking a joint or damn near any other drug du jour.”

    This is from a senatorial candidate from AZ.

    John Dougherty
    Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Arizona

    Forty years later and $1 trillion in federal funds expended, 1.3 percent of Americans are addicted to drugs, the same per percentage as in 1970.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-dougherty/deadly-drug-war_b_632119.html

  • Scott

    It is sad to read so many negative comments in this thread.

    I confess that I used to be the same negative way. Screw nationalism, I thought. Damn lines people make up and then start wars over.

    My Dad had been a trial lawyer for four decades, a conservative who believed in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

    I convinced him to abandon that belief.

    He then pointed to our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution for reasons why the CSA-mentality (ban that which the powerful people want to condemn as evil) is clearly unauthorized.

    These reasons are unique to our nation, and they transcend any effective oligarchy spanning the public and private sectors (i.e. the true people in power here).

    That transcending is no accident. What the oligarchy wants you to keep ignoring is the people who established our nation were rebels.

    Like many activists today, they fought the abuse of power exercised by their government (the British monarchy).

    The written American foundation was written by rebels, and it contains every social construct activists need to publicly expose the similar abuse of power.

    Our written foundation contains the power of the minority, even though the rebels’ generations themselves ignored that power (owning slaves, degrading women, etc.), a sin we are still paying heavily for.

    If you read my comment at the top, I have intentionally consolidated all of those constructs into a simple one I call true liberty.

    To realize true liberty is to naturally realize every right mentioned in the entire written foundation.

    The consolidation makes it easier for the public to embrace (too many Americans struggle to pronounce unalienable).

    That simple social construct can be wielded against the CSA, and other objective corruption in the private and public sectors. Any prohibitionist who publicly counters it, sets himself up as un-American.

    However, the power of that construct can only be realized when the majority of “We the people” give a shit, instead of publicly behaving like self-righteous fools only pointing their fingers down at our national sins.

    As long as Americans continue to piss on their country, they give the oligarchy what they want, an ineffective response to their blatant self-serving rights-infringement allowing them to illegally grab more power for themselves.

    As long as “We the people” continue to generally demonstrate a complete lack of understanding about true liberty, our national direction will be to continue generally embracing what our Founding Fathers justly rebelled against, rotting in the hypocrisy generated by illegally, selectively opposing true liberty.

    True liberty is the right way for our movement, and our nation in general. It is an ideal that is supposed to always shape the evolution of our legal structure.

    Instead of just bashing our nation for our sins, let us encourage each other to use the positives provided by previous generations to fix the damage caused by those sins (and to prevent new ones).

    Think globally, act locally. Think internationally, act nationally.

  • Brucem

    The majority will never again care. Our country was founded at a unique time when all threats were external, unfair taxes by the British and Indian attacks. The solution was freedom. Now, in the eyes of most people, freedom is the problem. Most people believe the first amendment goes too far. There is no hope for freedom, it can’t compete with 24 hour news

  • claygooding

    Brucem,and you think the best fix for this is to just give up. You can’t fix anything with criticism and negative
    rhetoric.
    The last thing I want is too sound like Fox News,but in the case of people that can only cast doubts and run down
    this country and our efforts to “fix” the problems,if they are so convinced that this country cannot repair the damage done by the industrial complex,why are you still here?

  • Brucem

    It can be fixed but it would require america to do things it will never do and people with a lot of money and power to give it up. Voluntarily. So yea I have given up. The country will collapse before it could ever be fixed anyway.