Do we still hold these truths as self-evident?

Permit me a few questions as we approach the celebration of the United States of America’s Independence. Do we still agree with the very underpinning of this entire, world-shaking experiment?

Our Declaration of Independence centers on this sentence:

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.

Do we still?

Do we even believe in universal truths? Is there such a thing, in our conception, of self-evident truths? Things that are so true that everyone knows them intrinsically?

Do we believe that everyone is created equal? Do we consider the least of these as of equal worth as the greatest? For that matter, do we believe in a Creator?

Do we believe that Rights are intrinsic in each person as an equal creation? Or do we now consider a “Right” to be something bestowed by government?

Do we believe that Life is a Right? Do we think that all Lives are equal? Or do we believe that some Life is less worth protecting than others?

Do we believe that Liberty is a Right? Do we believe that people should be free to believe, to speak, to publish, to associate, to choose, and to be as they please? Or do we think that some beliefs, comments, statements, associations, and choices are to be shut down?

Do we believe that everyone should be allowed to pursue Happiness? Do we honor the dreaming, the striving, the individuality? Or do we try to dictate dreams, cut off paths, squelch individuality, prevent exceptionality?

Would we stand up for these ideas? Or would we be fine with having our lives ordered for us, our Creation denied, our rights portioned out by government, our beliefs and thoughts bound by political concerns, and our dreams denied?

Do we hold these truths are self-evident? Or are they confusing words on a yellowed parchment? I wonder.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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