Among the reasons I enjoy Independence Day is that it makes Leftists squirm. They despise the American Revolution. If they could, their scotus judges would gut the Declaration as thoroughly as they have the Constitution. To them, our Noble Declaration, this expression of God-given reason is subversive of social justice; they are right.
Since the Declaration is indeed hostile to their moral relativism, the Left has long attempted to minimize our founding to a fuzzy faith in the people. The “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” and “all men are created equal,” translates in their Marxist minds as widespread democracy accompanied by equal stuff to all. It is in the democratic atmosphere alone in which their demagogues can rise to incite the people into various factions constantly at each other’s throats.
Despite their efforts, the Declaration cannot be twisted into a statement of majoritarianism. A few minutes in actual reading and contemplation puts their slogans to rest. In the Preamble, the Founders dissolved political bands, the statutory power of Great Britain. However, left untouched were the moral bands which connect all men (equal station), which are derived from the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.
Our Founders recognized their duty, as equals among mankind, to explain why separation was necessary. Only a decent and civil people would even bother. The Declaration isn’t a crude manifesto of political separation and power to the people.
Consent of the governed is not a rule for democracy. Consent is the means to an end, the security of our unalienable rights. Majoritarian consent alone is insufficient to make political power just, for we are all subject to the Law of Reason, the Natural Law. If numbers alone made right, the American Revolution would be deprived of its moral justification. Absent moral justification, our revolution could be regarded as littler better than a Black Lives Matter riot. Modern resort to dangerous majoritarianism is heard when the media often describe a congressionally passed bill as having “bipartisan support.” That is Left-speak for just law.
Before resorting to force to correct abuses of government, civilized men will appeal to reason and even sentiment. So imbued were the Founders with introspective reason, they asked if they weren’t making too much of their complaints against George III. The same reason convinced them that America was headed for despotism, and it was necessary to “throw off such government.” Being rational yet knowing that one should not sit alone in judgment of one’s actions, they not only submitted facts to a candid world, but asked God himself, “the Supreme Judge of the World” to determine if they were right.
The Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed by the chairman of a peoples’ committee. No demagogue-in-waiting stood ready to assume authoritarian power. Individual men, through reliance on the protection of divine Providence, mutually pledge(d) to each other (their) lives, Fortunes, and sacred Honor. There is nothing more to pledge beyond one’s life, possessions, and especially honor. In an age when a man’s word carried more force than law, these men were so convinced in the righteousness and truth of their cause, they swore to never dishonor themselves and suffer the disdain of their peers.
This coming fourth of July, I suggest the reader take some time for fun beyond BBQ and fireworks. Engage your liberal friends and in-laws in discussion of Our Noble Declaration of Independence.
Eidelberg, Paul. On the Silence of the Declaration of Independence. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1976. Page 56.