To all my American friends, all the best for a very happy July 4th holiday!
The following is from an editorial in today’s Bangor Daily News and after that, an interview from a while back between Bill Moyers and Harvey J. Kaye, author of the book Thomas Paine and the Promise of America. By the way, I had wanted to run the last episodes of that excellent PBS series “Liberty” but unfortunately, they no longer seem to be available online. Anyway, cheers.
(Have a Sam Adams for me, eh?)
Two-hundred thirty-two years ago, representatives in the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and adopted their Declaration of Independence. It expressed frustration and anger with the policies of Great Britain and its king. It argued eloquently for the fundamental, universal rights of those who are governed. It emphatically conveyed the determination of the colonies to be free and independent states. Below is an excerpt from the document the Fourth of July holiday is about:
When in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
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 a 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 shown, 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.