Friday, September 29, 2006

When A Long Train of Abuses and Usurpations Evinces a Design to Reduce Them Under Absolute Despotism

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 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 shewn 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. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King... is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world....

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

-- The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

I just thought we should all reread that. These are just the second and antepenultimate paragraphs. I have edited out three words for clarity, and added the emphasis.

Update: I see these words are on others' minds as well. (via)

2 comments:

Holly said...

I just thought we should all reread that.

I needed to reread it.

My problem is that I honestly don't know what to do or how to deal with all of this in a way that I think will make any difference. By that I don't mean that I can't think of any positive actions to take--I discuss these issues in my classes as delicately as I can (having had to deal with students' complaints when they felt I was too strident in my criticism of the war and the war machine); I support organizations I think will help counter what's going on; I've even demonstrated. I just don't think it's going to help, and if I think very hard about all these things, I think despair is just about the only realistic response.

Stephen said...

Hey, Holly. Thanks for dropping by! I really like your blog (for you others, Holly blogs here) which, as I said in comments there, I just discovered.

I sort of agree with you: I too feel despair and helplessness -- frequently. I think there's a good moral argument to be made against despair, but it's an emotional response, and I feel it frequently. It might even be a realistic & rational evaluation of the situation -- I don't know.

I talked about these issues here, if you're curious about my more considered thoughts. Though no solutions there, either.