As we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, here are some reflections on its key concepts:
Life: Life is the basic right of every human being. All good laws should contribute to its protection and edification. What life should be protected? All of it, as much as can be. Civilized humans avoid needless violence and killing. Killing animals for food and other resources is the way of life, killing purely for sport, or out of cruelty is the way of death. The unborn? We’ll if it’s a life, then yes. The old and the sick? Death is also part of life, but again, it should not be brought about wantonly or casually. People talk about dying with dignity, especially as a rationale for euthanasia. I prefer the idea of living with dignity. How is it beneath anybody’s dignity to fight until their very last breath? Being in a pitiful physical state does not equal being pitiful in a spiritual state, on the contrary, it is often the opposite.
Liberty: Liberty is the chance to use our gift of life to its fullest advantage. Without basic liberties, mankind is held back from reaching its fullest potential. That is why liberty curtailing forms of government like Communism and Socialism are immoral, or at best, amoral. Liberty comes with the freedom to fail, and learn from our mistakes. Liberty, the Founders knew, is a fragile thing, easily destroyed. We must protect our liberties jealously because once lost they are very difficult to regain. Of all the laws that have ever been passed, how many have increased liberty? Very few compared to the number of those that limit it.
Our American government has done well extending liberty to classes of people that once lacked it. That is government at its best. The problem is that government rarely expands the freedoms of its citizens at large. Upon gaining the rights of the majority those same formerly oppressed groups find themselves at the lifetime high water mark of their freedom, only to have other liberties gradually taken away and suppressed by mountains of regulation. It’s like a castaway that washes up on the beach of an island to safety, only to find the beach is eroding into the sea. Our freedoms are like those grains of sand, being eroded one by one until someone decides to fight it.
The Pursuit of Happiness. “The U. S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.” –Benjamin Franklin. The Declaration of Independence only suggests that humans have that right to pursue happiness, but the achievement of it can only be done by ourselves. The biggest mistake is to confuse happiness with pleasure. Drugs can produce pleasure, but never happiness. Pleasure is fleeting, true happiness can be maintained over much longer periods of time. The other mistake we humans make is to think that happiness will just happen. Sometimes it does, but most of the time it must be earned. Members of the Armed Forces often forgo the happiness of home and family for long periods of time so that they and others can have it to a fuller degree when they return. The miracle of happiness is that giving it produces more of it.
On Wednesday occurred a tragic shooting of Steve Scalise (R) LA, and three others by progressive activist and Bernie Sanders supporter, James T. Hodgkinson, who opened fire on a group of Republican lawmakers practicing for a baseball game to be played today. It was yet another violent incident perpetrated by a member of the far-left.
In the name of their cause, which has apparently degenerated into blind hatred of President Trump and by extension all Republicans, they have committed many acts of violence from hitting a Trump supporter on the head with a bike lock, to politically motivated riots on college campuses intended to shut down the free speech of conservatives, most notably an incident at UC Berkeley that prevented outspoken Milo Yiannopoulos from a scheduled speech at that campus.
Trump was not particularly beloved at first even among Republicans, who fought bitter primary campaigns against him during last year’s presidential election season. Conservatives for their part have long since made peace with the fact that he is our President and have showed support where they agree, but have also pointed out where they disagree on many occasions. For the most part, they are prepared to coexist with Trump nation.
This hasn’t been the case of the anti-Trump legions on the left. Far from coexisting with him and his fellow Republicans, they have deemed themselves a sort of resistance, fighting, all to often violently, against anything Trump has attempted. They have called for his opposition, his impeachment, his imprisonment, and his death and the death of other Republicans, both implicitly and at times explicitly. The anti-Trump movement on the left has a particularly vicious streak. So called “comedian” Kathy Griffin recently released a photo of her holding up a bloody, fake severed head of the President. Even William Shakespeare has been co opted by the the malevolent Left, with a recent live performance casting a Trump doppelganger in the role of a modern-day Julius Caesar, who at the climax of the play is brutally murdered by former supporters to the cheers of the NYC crowd. If you’re at all in touch with conservative politics, you know the list goes on and on. That’s just the problem.
While yes, there have been isolated incidents of violence committed by those on the right, but those sorry displays of misguided fervor pale in comparison both in scope and intensity to those committed by the alt-left. While those acts of violence are both uncommon and roundly condemned by vast majority of conservatives, violent rhetoric and actions have the tacit and not so tacit support of progressives. Malice towards Republicans, especially Trump, is widely and actively expressed by the left, among them was James T. Hodgkinson, who attempted the mass assassination of Republican lawmakers. It was the evil act of an evil man who pursued to the end an evil, malevolent path of hate. It’s a path shared by all too many progressives. While they might not travel it to the farthest destination that Hodgkinson did, they are firmly on it. If they have a shred of decency and civility, they should abandon that path. They can still protest, advocate, speak all they want against Trump or any politician, but if they want to call themselves civilized human beings they will let go of their hate. In short, they need to decide what kind of movement they want progressivism to become; one of malevolence, intolerance and hatred, or one of peace, real progress, and coexistence with those who might disagree with them politically.