Skip to comments.The Declaration of Independence is of no consequence
Posted on 08/08/2012 9:51:07 AM PDT by ProgressingAmerica
In one of his speeches titled "What is Progress?", Woodrow Wilson said the following:
Some citizens of this country have never got beyond the Declaration of Independence, signed in Philadelphia, July 4th, 1776. Their bosoms swell against George III, but they have no consciousness of the war for freedom that is going on today.
The Declaration of Independence did not mention the questions of our day. It is of no consequence to us unless we can translate its general terms into examples of the present day and substitute them in some vital way for the examples it itself gives, so concrete, so intimately involved in the circumstances of the day in which it was conceived and written. It is an eminently practical document, meant for the use of practical men; not a thesis for philosophers, but a whip for tyrants; not a theory for government, but a program of action. Unless we can translate it into the questions of our own day, we are not worthy of it, we are not the sons of the sires who acted in response to its challenge.
As you read this, keep in mind that Wilson was the guy who wrote that "nonsense has been talked about the inalienable rights of the individual", the Declaration of Independence is the document which enshrines all of this "nonsense" as a foundational bedrock. But if that isn't enough, Wilson also stated that "If you want to understand the real Declaration, do not repeat the preface.". The "preface" is where all of the important stuff is at. Unalienable, god given rights. That "nonsense". Knowing that helps to put all of this into context.
As he continues, he attempts to re-define "tyranny":
What form does the contest between tyranny and freedom take to-day? What is the special form of tyranny we now fight? How does it endanger the rights of the people, and what do we mean to do in order to make our contest against it effectual? What are to be the items of our new declaration of independence?
By tyranny, as we now fight it, we mean control of the law, of legislation and adjudication, by organizations which do not represent the people, by means which are private and selfish. We mean, specifically, the conduct of our affairs and the shaping of our legislation in the interest of special bodies of capital and those who organize their use. We mean the alliance, for this purpose, of political machines with selfish business. We mean the exploitation of the people by legal and political means. We have seen many governments under these influences cease to be representative governments, cease to be governments representative of the people, and become governments representative of special interests, controlled by machines, which in their turn are not controlled by the people.
What he's getting at is plutocracy.(or oligarchy, the two are similar) But he goes too far in that he doesn't include himself in the equation. He was very sly in his wording(see what I bolded and italicized in the last paragraph) about control by small groups of individuals.
Wilson believed in control by a small group of individuals. He believed that administration needed to be separated away from politics, as Goodnow believed. He believed that "Administration cannot wait upon legislation", that it "must be given leave, or take it, to proceed without specific warrant in giving effect to the characteristic life of the State".
Just do it. If the people object? Oh well. If the congress objects? Oh well. If the courts object? Oh well. This gets at his wording, he says "by special bodies of capital" - what he means is that it's ok for central planners to be academics. It's ok for central planners to be unaccountable to the people, as long as they aren't rich. That's the wrong kind of small body of special interests, but we are the right type of small body of special interests.
What Wilson appears to never have considered, is that documents like the Declaration and the Constitution were designed specifically to put a halt to men like Woodrow Wilson. The declaration does mention the questions of Wilson's day, he just didn't like what he heard. He would often times go around re-defining anything 1 2 that didn't fit his worldview, to advance the statist agenda.
Here’s a little something about the views of conservatism in the psychiatric field that you might consider for a little more examination of progressivism.
Wilson and Lincoln destroyed the republic.
The Declaration of Independence is the justification for our existence as a nation. It is also our escape clause should the leaders of this nation ever stray too far from their legally established powers. It precedes and supersedes the covenants that bind us should that sad day ever happen when an ascendant tyranny has extinguished all chance for peaceful redress. Let us hope that day never comes.
However, what is of great consequence is The Constitution. Should tyrants decide to ignore the limits laid out there, then The Declaration should be the anvil on which We forge the hammer to crush them.
"This country belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it."
Many Americans don’t realize it, but until Obama, Woodrow Wilson was the worst, the most statist, the most anti-freedom president the United States has ever had. And in light of Carter, Clinton, the Roosevelts, and in some aspects, Lincoln, that’s saying something.
Our Founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes. -- Barack Obama, February 7, 2012
``If the personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution inhibit the governments ability to govern the people, we should look to limit those guarantees. -- President Bill Clinton, August 12, 1993
``The purpose of government is to reign in the rights of the people - Bill Clinton during an interview on MTV in 1993
``We cant be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans that we forget about reality. -- President Bill Clinton, quoted in USA Today, March 11, 1993, Page 2A, ``NRA change: `Omnipotent to powerful by Debbie Howlett
When we got organized as a country and we wrote a fairly radical Constitution with a radical Bill of Rights, giving a radical amount of individual freedom to Americans, it was assumed that the Americans who had that freedom would use it responsibly
that they would work for the common good, as well as for the individual welfare
However, now theres a lot of irresponsibility. And so a lot of people say theres too much freedom. When personal freedoms being abused, you have to move to limit it. Bill Clinton, April 19, 1995
The Constitution must be viewed in the light of the Declaration. It's not something totally independent.
Justly revered as our great Constitution is, it could be stripped off and thrown aside like a garment, and the nation would still stand forth in the living vestment of flesh and sinew, warm with the heart-blood of one people, ready to recreate constitutions and laws
- Woodrow Wilson
But, the President has limited power to adjourn Congress.
You are as wrong, though in a different direction, than was President Wilson in the address that you quote. Certainly the Preface is important, in setting forth the basic understanding of the proper relationship of a people and their Government; moreover, an understanding validated both in the experiences of the settlers over six generations, and in their heritage, dating at least from Magna Carta.
But certainly the declaration of State sovereignty--the legal function & purpose of the Declaration--is of immense importance, as is the long recital of specific grievances, leading up to it. While all of those grievances may not have seemed still relevant in Wilson's day, they illustrated pragmatic examples of the theoretic, which served as still applicable guides to what was proper. (Today, actually, more of those grievances have present day parallels, than they did in Wilson's era.)
Never ceases to amaze me that any document will not be deciphered in it’s historical context unless the person wants to skew or destroy the principles put forth in that document. NO federal employee should be working for the government unless they adhere to and defend the original intent of the Constitution and Declaration including Biblical principles. Every employee should take an oath to defend those documents in historical context or be fired. Amend the Constitution.
Of course Ol’ Woody would say that. The Constitution represented the last barrier to him becoming the elitist dictator over the Great Unwashed he dreamed of.
So in your opinion they haven't?
To the extent that it precipitated a Revolution? To the extent that caused men to take up arms and kill the soldiers of their sovereign? No. I do not.
They have tried and are still trying to trample the Constitution but we are still free to speak as we please, carry personal firearms, face our accusers before a jury of our peers and many more freedoms that were non-existent in 1765.
Indeed they are
...but we are still free to speak as we please,...
Unless you commit hate speech against certain favored groups or step outside "free speech zones" at political rallies.
...carry personal firearms,...
Provided you get the proper government permission in many/most cases.
...face our accusers before a jury of our peers...
So long as you don't invoke the Constitution as part of your defense and after the Judge warns the jury against nullification and how they may or may not consider the evidence presented (or not presented).
...and many more freedoms that were non-existent in 1765.
Yes so long as you don't run afoul of the myriad rules, regulations, laws, taxes and fees as you go about exercising those freedoms.
So while the peasants may indeed be revolting, you are correct in that they have not revolted.