Friday, December 4, 2009

Why did Jefferson say "We hold these truths to be self-evident"?

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.

These words are the most well known in American history. The Declaration of Independence, penned by Thomas Jefferson, is the mission statement for the American republic. Every principle that America was founded upon can be traced back to those words Jefferson wrote in the Summer of 1776. Of all those words, so carefully chosen, and so eloquent, these two have been on my mind of late. "Self-evident." Why self-evident? Why did Jefferson choose those words?

I would submit that Jefferson chose those particular words because they best defined the most basic of American principles. That principle? That our rights, our basic liberties are natural rights. Not rights selected, alloted and limited by any government. Rather these rights, which would later be listed in our Constitution, are not man's, or government's to give, or to restrict. They are our rights at birth. Jefferson believed, as did Franklin, Mason, Madison, Washington, and the rest that it is the natural condition of mankind to be free. Alexander Hamilton defined the source of our liberties quite eloquently.

The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records.

They are written, as with a sun beam in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of  the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.

So, it was quite natural for Jefferson to use the words "We hold these truths to be self-evident" wasn't it? That liberty is the natural right of people was not a great discovery for our founders. To them, saying that humans are blessed with the freedom to pursue happiness, and live as they choose, was as simple as saying the sky is blue, or that grass is green. Again, Jefferson saw the great truth that birthed this great nation. We are created with certain liberties as surely as we are born with lungs, eyes, or toes.

To ask if a man ought to have liberty was to the founders a non-question. Men are free, because they were created to be free. Again, this, to men like Jefferson was what we might refer to today as a no-brainer. The importance of understanding this cannot be overstated if we are to understand why this country was founded. The words "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" ARE America.

Those words define the most basic principles that Americans must defend today. The Left does not believe Jefferson was right. Their ideology is so clouded witth delusions that they are not able to truly honor Jefferson's words. To the Left, despite their cliams of loving freedom, people are not created free. Take any issue that divides Left and Right and weigh it on the scales of Jefferson's words.

The right to self-defense? To keep and bear arms? To the Left, no such individual right should exist. In the Jefferson model, that right is not up for question. We are free, and being free means being free to defend ourselves, period!

Take the current debate over health care "reform". The plan that the Left favors mandates everyone have health insurance. It does not respect individualism. Again, this is completely anti-thetical to the principles of Jefferson.

Examine any position the Left argues for, and put in on the scales of Jefferson's principles. Government regulations, high taxes, laws that invade our personal lives, or that place the government in the role of restricting basic liberties, such as seat belt laws, laws dictating that a restaurant owner cannot allow smoking, or tax laws that punish the productive.

Take a close look at the relentless campign of political correctness the Left has been waging for years. How would Jefferson react to speech codes? The Fairness Doctrine? Net Neutrality? The war on Christmas? The war on any viewpoint that dares dissent from Leftist (Marxist) doctrines? What would Mr. Jefferson say about these?

I think Jefferson might see the real goal of the Left. I think he would have two very apt words to describe their agenda. Self-evident!

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