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.Thomas Jefferson
We’re all conditioned to love Thomas Jefferson. I had to struggle to try to dim down his secular halo as I wriggled for objectivity.
I don’t know that objectivity is achievable, by me or anyone else,
George Bernard Shaw
but let me try looking at that famous statement from the US Declaration of Independence today, Eastertide, age 73, broke, half-broken … mostly unpublished, censored, jailed, perpetually interfered with …
Truths? What truths is he talking about? Is there anything anywhere in the statement that’s true?
All men are created equal.
First the idea that men are created is an idea, a belief; it’s not a truth, it’s not established.
How would that be established? Is there any evidence in its favor?
endowed by their Creator
again, that’s a belief, not establish-able: even if it’s true, it’s not establish-able, not by humans, not in this life.
Life, Liberty …
Life I get. Yes, we’re alive: I accept that as true. I accept that as self-evident; but Liberty?
Of course the style is Eighteenth-Century, we capitalized everything, not that Jeff was a stickler for spelling, God bless him. We capitalized everythng, like the Germans, especially if it was pretentious. Let’s take a gander at Jeff’s MS if we can: don’t trust historian to have copied him accurately, any editor feels free to edit: you can’t show the mis-copiers of the Bible that they mis-copying, no matter how manifest the differences from this source to that.
Anyway, liberty: all the evidence I’m acquainted with suggests that humans are born into one or another kind of bondage: have been for as long as civilization has been around, maybe longer, maybe always, since Eve.
And how many Eves have there been? Six thousand years ago, eleven thousand years ago, fifty thousand, one hundred fifty thousand … two million …
I’ve dedicated my life to my understanding of liberty, that’s why I founded the Free Learning Exchange in 1970. Had people supported my offer of digital, cybernetic, unregulated resource data bases, democracy, instead of fraud, might have been possible.
By the way, if you want to see the kind of bondage Jeff himself was born into, read Albert Jay Nock’s Jefferson. If his fellows departed from Anglican orthodoxy by one letter, they could get their tongues drilled. A second offense was mortal: the death penalty!
the pursuit of Happiness.
That’s the worst. Happiness, what a humiliating idea: the less likely of achievment the more actively pursued. I can practically guaratee that any culture which puruses happiness will not get it, will be bored, frustrated, spoiled rotten at best: absoolutely unworthy of all the ideas associated with today being Easter: if we’re not here to serve God, the God who may not exist, then we’re here to serve our fellow man, not ourselves!
OK, how much of what I’ve said is true? I don’t know. I doubt that knowledge of any serious sort is possible among civilized people, and maybe not among people whether civilized or not.