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The PJ Tatler

by
Scott Ott

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July 3, 2013 - 4:07 pm

“All men are created equal.” It’s a self-evident truth. But it’s not the point of “the Declaration.”

The point is revolution.

We no longer depend on tyrants. We’re breaking it off. We are free. We shall govern ourselves.

Thomas Jefferson cobbled together a series of non-debatable axioms, mostly borrowed from other writers, as a preamble to the litany of complaint, which, in turn, justified the action.

The matter at hand is the action. It’s not what they said, it’s what they did. The preamble comprises the set up, not the punchline.

The average colonial American, upon hearing of “unalienable rights,” or “just powers” derived from “the consent of the governed” & etc. would have merely nodded along: “Of course, of course, everyone knows this.”

And yet, in our time, many seem to think “the Declaration” was penned to proclaim eternal verities about the human condition — a poetic tribute to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” — as if it were a collection of fine words about high-minded ideals.

No! It was a rebellion against bad governance, against political arrogance, against oppressive laws, against restriction, constraint, and imposition without representation.

We call it “the Declaration,” but that’s not the object. It’s the “Independence,” stupid.

The members of the Second Continental Congress did not expect to forfeit their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor for stating the obvious about the “laws of nature and of nature’s God.” Their necks ripened for the noose because they altered, abolished, and threw off the yoke of their government.

They counted all as loss to obtain freedom; to be absolved of allegiance to their government, to dissolve all political connections between themselves and the state which they had always referred to as their own.

“The Declaration” offers exhaustive reasons for committing open treason, nonetheless, treason it was.

Independence Day then is not a celebration of government, but a regular reminder — albeit a fun one — of the necessity to reject corrupt, abusive government.

Happy Independence!

Scott Ott co-hosts a news, commentary and humor show called Trifecta on PJTV. He created and hosted the 20-part series on the Constitution titled Freedom's Charter. His satire site, ScrappleFace, spawned three books and praise from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin and many others.

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Top Rated Comments   
Scott, you are correct, in that we are celebrating citizens who turned their words into deeds ... and into a new, free nation. Their actions, not just their words, should inspire us to action today.

But let us not diminish the importance of that preamble - those self-evident truths. They are the mission statement of legitimate human governance: "to secure these rights" ... the objective that the elected leadership of ANY nation must focus upon if that nation is to remain a republic worth keeping.

As we have seen in our own time, the troubles of this nation are directly linked to government's deviations from this mission statement - not only do the benefits of our government's efforts diminish when that happens, our ability to watch over their efforts and interdict malfeasance is also impaired when government takes on more and more outside its legitimate mission.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (28)
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we could use another Revolution. it is probably coming...
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...the necessity to reject corrupt, abusive government..."

Rejection is easy when there's so much to reject.

41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Scott, you are correct, in that we are celebrating citizens who turned their words into deeds ... and into a new, free nation. Their actions, not just their words, should inspire us to action today.

But let us not diminish the importance of that preamble - those self-evident truths. They are the mission statement of legitimate human governance: "to secure these rights" ... the objective that the elected leadership of ANY nation must focus upon if that nation is to remain a republic worth keeping.

As we have seen in our own time, the troubles of this nation are directly linked to government's deviations from this mission statement - not only do the benefits of our government's efforts diminish when that happens, our ability to watch over their efforts and interdict malfeasance is also impaired when government takes on more and more outside its legitimate mission.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
"“The Declaration” offers exhaustive reasons for committing open treason, nonetheless, treason it was."

I would offer that the Declaration simply recognized and justified a formal action in response to an already-established fact...that we were no longer British.

The British didn't think so, and we didn't think so, so why pretend to be one nation anymore?

A strikingly similar set of circumstances obtains today that better writers than I have already noted in these very PJM pages, all stemming from the same fundamental reality, and that is that we are not one people anymore.

We do not share the same values.
We don't conceptualize Liberty the same way.
We don't worship the same God.

Why are we still living under the same house to be forever marred by strife amongst ourselves?

Let us have done with each other and end the "shotgun marriage" that has been in place since Appomattox.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
On the contrary. Most Americans very much thought of themselves as British. Their great outrage was not being allowed a voice in Parliament. If Parliament had allowed the colonists to sit in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the American Revolution wouldn't have happened.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Most Americans very much thought of themselves as British."

A misapprehension that lasted right up until the British redcoats marched in and burned the town..

Instead of having an MP in the House of Commons, the Colonial Tories got themselves a succession of Military Governors.

Not QUITE what they had in mind, eh?

41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
From the list of grievances:

"He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance."

Sound familiar?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you read through the Declaration, we are now suffering only about a third of the items listed there. And we still have a voice in our government (we get to vote, and elected officials step down when they lose elections). We are not at the point the Declaration says is sufficient to revolt.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
In the 1960's, college professors told us the American Revolution was secondary, that the French, Russian & Chinese actually "overthrew" everything. Well, subsequent failures of these revolutions leave the uniqueness of the American Revolution more dramatic: It was first (and only to date) that envisioned SOVEREIGN INDIVIDUALS.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, the uniqueness of the American revolution is it is the only one where the post revolutionary gov was better than the pre revolutionary gov.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I bill it as the Revolution That Worked! (tm)

This distinguishes it from the others...
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would not be surprised if Obama had the Declaration of Independence,the Constitution and the Bill of Rights woven into a rug so that he can step on it at will and wipe his muddy shoes on it.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
We The People respect the Office of POTUS. We The People don't respect "occupiers" of the Office of the POTUS who abuse and demean Our Founding Fathers original intent of separation of powers, to wit: Executive as
established in US Constitution;Legislative as specifically chartered in the US Constituttion; and Judicial as guardians of US Constitution's original intent.
Today, this form of governance, as envisioned by Our Founding Fathers, has morphed and has been streamlined into a corporate form of government whereas the Executive branch and office of the POTUS acquire an all important role NOT CONTAINED IN THE US CONSTITUTION (ex:Executive Orders must be abolished).
One could say this trend began with LBJ's administration and accelerated in each of the eight successive administrations.
Legislative (lawmakers) have bequeathed to their august body, members, crony-capitalists, lobbyists, donors,industry, political parties, and significant others benesses(porkulus) far beyond Founding Fathers original scope as contained in the US Constitution and lastly, alas, Americas Judicial
system of meting out "blind justice" decisions now has a heavily politicized agenda bordering on dictatorial powers never, ever imagined by Our Founding Fathers...SCOTUS and lower courts have ventured so far and wide in adjudicating Our US Constitution, its original meaning and intent has been "bastardized" into irrelevancy(ex: Roe vs. Wade, DOMA and California's Prop 8).
We The People, this 4th of July, must reflect upon Freedom and what it means.
This Fourth of July, as we celebrate the Declaration of Independence and our break from Britain in 1776, we should recognize that our current government has amassed more power than King George III could have ever possibly imagined.
We The People's current government routinely searches your bags when you travel(Pariot Act). They access your financial records, credit card history and bank statements(abolish IRS). They can track your movements via your car’s GPS system or your mobile phone’s signal(NSA). They routinely breakdown doors and search homes without knocking or asking for permission (Katrina, Sandy). Soon, they‘ll have total access to your medical records. And if you’re over 65, they have the right to deny you medical care.
We The People, respect and admire the America of Our Founders and forebears.
But on this Fourth of July, as We look around, are bewildered by our fellow Americans who have allowed their government to fleece them, abuse them, track them and catalogue them. A sinister change has come to our great nation (control by a central power structure), but it’s barely even noticed. We The People pray this is wrong, but it seems that freedom is just a forgotten way of life…because of We The People's Washington DC's Elites insatiable hunger for:1)greed, 2)power, and 3)corruption.Pray. Amen.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Welcome, Scott! I hope we will see you more often. (You decided not to recontinue Scrappleface after all?)
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
The American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence ushered in something new and threatening to the rest of the world. We have been undermined by numerous forces, but none more than this group of Harvard social psychologists in the early 1940s: see http://clarespark.com/2011/03/27/progressive-mind-managers-ca-1941-42/.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
You know, Claire, just once I'd like to see you post without flogging a link to your blog. Especially to a 2 year old article.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
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