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Friday, July 04, 2014
The Fourth of July and the end of liberty
[bumped from 29 July. Freedom, freedom, freedom; oy.]
It has long been NRx's observation that the Declaration of Independence is no such thing, at least not if you define independence as liberty. The document argues for the end of America's then lawful hierarchy. Ultimately it overturns any hierarchy. The document supports instead equality - and equality cannot coexist with liberty. The Declaration's thesis rests at base upon a self-evident falsehood. (Often this observation is attributed to Calhoun.)
The pushback against the Declaration starts with governor Thomas Hutchinson. (I'd call him the Edmund Burke of America but, Burke came late to this party and tied himself up in knots over it.) More recently, with the benefit of hindsight, blogger Radish has pointed out that the end result of the Declaration wasn't our Constitution. It was Shays' Rebellion; across the pond, Robespierre (which is when Burke finally stumbled over his earlier idiocy).
It was the event of Shays which forged that Constitution - in reaction. The States retreated from the Declaration, and instituted some executive and oligarchic prerogatives.
The Left is well aware of all this - and always has been. The Abolitionists learnt to hate the document and burned it. FDR had his Four Freedoms, two of them antiConstitutional. The latest effort in that vein is Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality by Danielle Allen. Allen's main difference with us is that she thinks continual revolution is awesome; where we know it poses a problem.
Whether or not we on the Right support constitutional republicanism, we should agree on this much: the fourth of July is to be held on par with a celebration of the Communist Manifesto. A Constitution Day would be better.
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