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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.
Thirty-six words that lie at the foundation of American life.
This is a dream. It’s a great dream.
“The first saying we notice in this dream is an amazing universalism. It doesn’t say, ‘some men’; it says ‘all men.’ It doesn’t say ‘all white men’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes black men. It does not say ‘all Gentiles’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes Jews. It doesn’t say ‘all Protestants’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes Catholics. It doesn’t even say ‘all theists and believers’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes humanists and agnostics.”
The quote above is by Martin Luther King, delivered in a sermon on July 4, 1965, at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. The words of the Declaration are a dream. Reality intrudes and, short of G-d’s justice, there is no assured equality of life, liberty, and happiness. It is only a statement of why our government was “constituted amongst men” in the form it was, with the limits expressed. Individual and personal freedom, liberty, and independence are the touchstones of the American dream. With it, everything else is possible. Without it, nothing is possible.
It is a dream that has animated America and called forth self-sacrifice for its preservation. But a new dream intrudes: That all men are either oppressors or oppressed; that there are privileges, not rights; that there is license, and not liberty; that there is identity, not individuality. Self-sacrifice is not called upon to support this dream. Instead, it is supported by assigned sacrifice — the selection by the State of whose sacrifice is to be demanded.
It has ever been the conception of Progressives that a society be perfected, and not individuals; that individuals be pruned or weeded to promote the perfection of that society. In that conception individuals must be subservient to society, not merely included or excluded based on personal conduct. Such conception is of necessity hierarchical, externally organized, and controlled. It is not organic; it must be molded, pounded, sanded, and buffed.
Thirty-six words, and a resolute commitment thereto, are all that stands between you and slavery. Hold fast to these words.Published in