If progressives were honest, says David Azerrad, they would rewrite the Declaration of Independence to fit the age of Obama. Here’s how he suggests they would begin:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one People to abandon the Principles which have hitherto guided them, and to embrace the more progressive Ideals which their quest for Equality, Fairness, and social Justice demands of them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of the global Community requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation.
We hold these Values to be self-evident, that all human Beings are born into vastly unequal Conditions, that to attain their full Potential they are to be endowed by the State with an ever-expanding Set of Rights, that among these are day Care and health Care; Contraception and Abortion; higher Education, a Placement Service, and a remunerative Job; affordable Housing, pension Plans, and whatever else may contribute to Happiness—That to obtain these Rights, administrative States are established over Men and Women, deriving their just Powers from the impartial Expertise of those administering them—That whenever any new strong Desires take hold of the People, it is the Duty of their Leaders to declare them to be Rights, and to expand the scope and reach of the State, laying its Foundation on such Values and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their economic Security and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Programs once established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that the People are more disposed to suffer, while these Programs are new, than to wrong themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are not yet accustomed. But when a long Train of Benefits and Payments, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to elevate them to effective Freedom, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to consolidate these Gains, and to demand new Programs, Entitlements, and Rights for their future Security. [National Review, July 3]
On the other hand, here are some words from silent Calvin Coolidge:
About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restfull. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers. [Speech in Philadelphia, July 5, 1926]
Happy Independence Day!