Independence Day

Posted by Helen Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Undoubtedly many of this blog’s readers will disagree with it celebrating American Independence Day. It is undoubtedly true that at the time many Tories opposed the presumptuous Colonists’ Rebellion and it was a Whig, though one who has been seen as one of the founders of Conservative political thought, Edmund Burke, who spoke most eloquently in their favour.

It is, however, the 230th anniversary of the ringing proclamation of what can be seen as modern conservative values:

“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.”
Whatever one’s views are on the Colonists’ Rebellion; whatever one’s views are on the way the United States developed in the eighteenth century and subsequently; few of us can fail to be touched by those words.

Another excellent quotation posted on Chicagoboyz.

2 comments

  1. PJ Says:
  2. These words that appear to move you so much make no sense. If they really are a statement of conservative values, maybe I'll become a liberal. They wouldn't have survived long had there been blogs in the 18th century. For example:

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,"

    How exactly is that self-evident? Are all men equally tall, equally intelligent, equally rich? And how exactly does that justify the King's subjects rebelling?

    "that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    Did Jefferson or Madison see that happening? How do they know? Is there any evidence that this Creator exists at all?

    "--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --"

    Funny how when the South withdrew its consent, the North coerced it. What price the "consent of the governed" then?

    Etc. etc.

    Face it, there is no excuse for treason, now or then, no matter how much the French back you up.

     
  3. If I were you PJ, I'd become a liberal, too.

     
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