walter russell mead peter berger lilia shevtsova adam garfinkle andrew a. michta
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The Declaration of Independence, Fixed

As part of our ongoing project to update and improve the core documents of American history, we present the opening sections of the Declaration of Independence as they ought to have been written, and indeed as it would have been written if the still primitive colonial political process had only been sophisticated enough to restrict participation at important conferences to the appropriately certified, trained and peer-reviewed experts who could have produced a document worth remembering.

The unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen Post-Colonial, Multi-Racial Societes of North America

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to strengthen the political bands which have connected them with the Global Community, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the cooperative and deferential station which a careful review of the relevant peer reviewed literature suggests is most appropriate for long term win-win outcomes, a decent and rigorously equal respect to the opinions of woman- and man- and transkind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the ever deeper union.

We hold these views to be consistent with the evolving cultural consensus, that all humans are equally obliged to the performance of certain Duties, that among these are the Participation in the Struggle against Racism, Economic Injustice, Genetically Modified Organisms, Homophobia, Nationalism and the Excessive Emission of Carbon Dioxide and Other Greenhouse Gasses. That to secure the performance of these Duties, Governments are instituted among humans, deriving their just powers from the considered Opinions of the Educated Classes, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Duty of the Enlightened and Credentialed Guardians of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect the Unquestioning Performance of their Duties by the Less Enlightened Members of the Public. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Change cannot come too quickly to suit the Convenience and the Predilections of an Enlightened Minority; ¬†Governments long established should be changed the Moment a Sufficient Number of Well Regarded Contributors to the New York Review of Books have determined that such Change is Morally Incumbent; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that intellectuals who have never run anything in their lives are the Fittest of all Living People to remedy virtually any evil by abolishing the forms of Government, Laws and Customs of Society to which the brutish and unreflective Common People are accustomed. And when a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same Failed Dogmas of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy evinces a design to allow said Common People to evade all obligations to the Global Community, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide New and Expanded Regulations for the future better restriction of the Lower Orders as they deem Meet for the Purpose.

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  • Randy

    New words are necessary to express how magnificent this is.

  • vanderleun

    Best of Show

  • Kyle Winter

    Outstanding. A bases loaded, home run.

  • JimK

    Everybody take their place. Be Happy!

  • Joe Eagar

    Truly world-class satire.

  • http://www.randomthoughtnetwork.com Cory

    Brilliant.

    Now all that remains is for you to rewrite the Constitution:

    We the elites in order to form a more perfect world, establish social justice, insure world peace and harmony, deter the common defense, provide the general Welfare, and secure the blessings of progressivity to ourselves, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Communal States of America….

  • http://facingzionwards.blogspot.com/ Luke Lea

    Wish I could laugh.

  • http://hypermoxie.blogspot.com GTChristie

    PC skewered, slapped over a spit and roasted to a fine shade of red. Profoundly brilliant.

    Will spread.

  • MichaelM

    For how much this is intended to be satire, it would take a great deal of time and effort to express how accurate it is to its origins.

    The American Revolution, or at least the proto-state center of the American Revolution represented in the Continental Congress which originally adopted the Declaration written by Jefferson, was driven first by the well-educated, liberal gentlemen whose best modern equivalents are the college educated naivetetes which the VIA MEDIA specializes in mocking.

    Truthfully, the choices before the American people make a mockery of the dualistic ‘this side is right, the other side is wrong, everybody else is a moron’ choices presented in this blog. I read your writing, Russel, because you’re one of the better informed men writing on the international situation. Really, though, I can’t find any reason to take any one post of yours seriously. You have all the information, but the total is always more than the all available at any one blog, or even available at the whole group of worthwhile blogs.

    Go ahead, make fun of the lefties. They’re an easy target. But there’s a hardcore of righteousness that you can’t overcome with sarcasm. I hate them as much as anyone else here, but they are people, too, and what they have going for them is something that none of us can overcome.

    The primary lesson of Independence Day is that it takes more than one narrow interest or ideological group to accomplish something worth accomplishing. Whether you’re a Jeffersonian or a Hamiltonian or something in between, what July 4th represents is the idea that it takes both and everything in between to achieve national independence, or any other political goal REALLY worth achieving in the long run. The long run that takes centuries or millennia to pass by. Screw the Right, screw the Left. Abortion and universal healthcare are short run issues that divide us against ourselves. Yeah, they might matter in that short run, but a day will come where that short run seems like the anxiety of a child.

    I hope to God, to whatever there is that REALLY exists, that America is able to make the mature choice when that day comes. I hope that we are able to remember that our short-run political divisions of conservative/liberal, of left-wing/right-wing are just short-run divisions, and that the polity depends on republican virtue and absolutely nothing else. We won’t know what the right choice is until that moment, and I pray every day to whatever God or Material or Production Force there is that we make that correct decision in the breach.

    All I can say with any certainty is that this kind of hateful, vindictive vitriol isn’t part of the right choice. Walter Russel Mead is an intelligent man, but with this post he lets sentiment get the better of him. The situation we live in today isn’t ideal, isn’t anywhere near ideal, but shutting one’s mind off to the truth to the extent necessary to enjoy this post is nothing but harmful to idealism.

  • Jrr

    I, for one, welcome with open arms the sweet embrace of their superior mind. Understanding my lowly estate in this world makes it easier for me to toil unrelentingly for the good of their newest and best pet project. Ah the good life!

  • jim shootie

    bff
    (best founding fathers)

  • gringojay

    First Ammendment rewritten:
    Whereas the truth of multi-culturism is self evident no acts or powers claimed under Sharia law doctrine shall ever be infringed upon by state or national elected assemblies.

  • WigWag

    Sophomoric.

  • Patrick Carroll

    The Solution
    Bertolt Brecht

    After the uprising of the 17th June
    The Secretary of the Writer’s Union
    Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
    Stating that the people
    Had forfeited the confidence of the government
    And could win it back only
    By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
    In that case for the government
    To dissolve the people
    And elect another?

  • http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com/ Patrick Armstrong

    Alas — it’s already out of date.

    You forgot to add “the struggle against excess sugar”

  • DEEBEE

    NAH Randy, NYUK NYUK NYUK will do just fine

  • Sam L.

    I vill be hepppppyyyy, or else!

  • Laka

    That makes me feel so good, so spiritual! It makes me love my country!

    …Oh wait! OMG! What did I just say? Ugh, I’m so sorry, so very, very sorry I said that. Please forgive me, I’ll try to be better from now on.

  • http://theunfoldingcatastrophe.blogspot.com/ Michael Barger

    I laughed, and then I cried. This is precisely the Declaration of Dependency of the Obama administration.

    Unfortunately, it will become the operating doctrine for the next four years of the Obama Presidency.

    I want Mitt to win more than anything, but Rupert Murdoch is right. Unless Mitt gets a big clue he is going to lose because Millennials and Hispanics are going to turn out in much larger numbers that the pollsters realize.

    The other night on his show Dennis Miller told Deborah Saunders on his show that Obama will win and Obamacare will be the law of the land.

    For forty years liberals have taken control of every institution in society – the media, Hollywood, public education, law schools.

    As Dennis said we have been turned into a nation of people who want to be taken care of and have no desire for personal responsibility.

  • Obama4andgone

    Unfortunately sections of Obamacare read like this and are now Law of the Land.

  • Kevin

    Super Awesome!

  • Sydney Weinberg

    I showed this to a Liberal and she didn’t think it was funny. Sigh. I explained it was satire and she gave me the silent stare.

  • http://backwardsboy.blogspot.com/ BackwardsBoy

    *golf clap*

  • Thomas Biernesser

    A brilliant piece of work. Satire at its finest.

  • ThomasD

    It would be funny if it were just a bit less true.

  • cubanbob

    Valiant effort professor but its rather difficult to mock a parody. The sad thing is that we are the butt of the joke, albeit an unfunny joke.

  • http://www.reticulator.com The Reticulator

    I thought that was one of the best parodies I had seen until I read MichaelM’s response, which is even better.

  • Benjamin

    MichaelM, regarding your post. Two words, huh? and […].

  • Jack

    I can only say, Sieg Heil! Forward to the new Millenium, whether you want to go or not!

  • http://moneyrunner.blogspot.com/ Moneyrunner

    MichaelM should get some recognition for his parody of a Liberal. He’s got the tone perfectly.

  • Gary L

    Quite amusing – you may want to take a look at HL Mencken’s “American translation” of the Declaration as well…

    WHEN things get so balled up that the people of a country got to cut loose from some other country, and go it on their own hook, without asking no permission from nobody, excepting maybe God Almighty, then they ought to let everybody know why they done it, so that everybody can see they are not trying to put nothing over on nobody.

    All we got to say on this proposition is this: first, me and you is as good as anybody else, and maybe a damn sight better; second, nobody ain’t got no right to take away none of our rights; third, every man has got a right to live, to come and go as he pleases, and to have a good time whichever way he likes, so long as he don’t interfere with nobody else. That any government that don’t give a man them rights ain’t worth a damn; also, people ought to choose the kind of government they want themselves, and nobody else ought to have no say in the matter. That whenever any government don’t do this, then the people have got a right to give it the bum’s rush and put in one that will take care of their interests. Of course, that don’t mean having a revolution every day like them South American yellowbellies, or every time some jobholder goes to work and does something he ain’t got no business to do. It is better to stand a little graft, etc., than to have revolutions all the time, like them coons, and any man that wasn’t a anarchist or one of them I.W.W.’s would say the same. But when things get so bad that a man ain’t hardly got no rights at all no more, but you might almost call him a slave, then everybody ought to get together and throw the grafters out, and put in new ones who won’t carry on so high and steal so much, and then watch them. This is the proposition the people of these Colonies is up against, and they have got tired of it, and won’t stand it no more….

    http://www.prismnet.com/gibbonsb/mencken/declaration.html

  • econrob

    It would also be required to be translated in to several languages including ebonics and several dialects of spanish.

    I would love to hear Snerdley’s translation for the ‘hood.

  • econrob

    “MichaelM”

    Right, college professors would risk everything and their life for their beliefs! Heck, they would not even risk their pensions.

  • Allan Blackwell

    And WigWag obligingly chimes in with the usual tut-tutting, yet one must perforce answer his/her/its posts with the words of a great leader: BFD.

  • https://www.facebook.com/ritchietheriveter Ritchie The Riveter

    MichaelM … three thoughts:

    1> Unlike today’s elite leaders who apparently ascribe to the tenets of the Cult of Human Omniscience, our founding citizens lived out Callahan’s Principle of Leadership … a man’s got to know his limitations. That is why the emphasis in the Declaration of Independence is on securing the rights of the individual, not on empowering their highly-enlightened selves to “help” their fellow citizens.

    2> Consensus that is bereft of sound principle, is the way of the lemming … and leads to the same end … and sound principle is a rare find in a group that embraces ends-justify-the-means relativism as a feature and not a bug, as one side of the Left/Right divide has done far more than the other … or when the urge to make it stop hurting over-rides the willingness to adhere to the quality-control principles incorporated in our governmental processes, that work against knee-jerk decision-making.

    3> Civility in response to intellectual dishonesty is counterproductive to the defense of liberty, for it allows the dishonest to frame the debate without effective challenge.

  • SBD

    Declaration of Dependence

    We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that many Men are simply Leeches, that they wish to be endowed by their Government with unending Benefits & Entitlements, that among these are Life, Free Stuff and the Pursuit of more Free Stuff — That to secure these Rip-offs, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their confiscatory Powers from the Consent of the Crooks and Liars, that whenever any Form of Resistance becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the Leeches to demonize them, and to institute even Bigger Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to satisfy their boundless Greed and Self-righteousness. Social Justice, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should constantly be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to demand Tribute, at all Times, than to Improve themselves by forsaking the Habits to which they are accustomed . But when a long Train of Resentments and Delusions, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce their Fellow Citizens under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to whole-heartedly embrace such Government, and to provide new Whips and Chains for their future Enslavement.

  • Laka

    MichaelM: Sorry, but I can’t just leave your comment alone. Yes, ever since Howard Zinn became required 8th grade reading, everybody knows that the founders were 1%-ers, landowners, educated. But you fall for Zinn’s intimation that they were therefore bad people, that their ideals and idea of liberty were deeply flawed. Yeah, so what? How about the Magna Carta? Who was King John dealing with there? The serfs? Nope, they were those pesky 1%-ers then too. So should the deep flaws in that document also be the first things to remember about it?

    The thing about Zinn, and perhaps about you, is that he wanted everybody to remember that history (particularly American history) is really just one disaster after another. Zinn especially wanted this taught to schoolchildren: This is your team, and it’s a very bad team indeed. This is what Theodore Dalrymple calls the “Miserabilist” school of history.

    Yes, you can go through and pick out the many, many disasters and failures if you have a mind to do it. But just as possible, is to go through and pick out the many. many successes and victories, and then compare the successes to the failures to see what works and what doesn’t.

    To me it seems pretty obvious that the Framers got more things right than wrong, and that their scheme has been a vast and, overall, proud success.

  • Rich K

    Iowahawk your not but a valiant effort Mr Mead.

  • Randy

    C’mon, Rich. That’s like listening to Joshua Bell and responding “Well, Paganini you ain’t.”

  • Marty

    Pitch perfect!

  • teapartydoc

    Sounds very European. Probably why Wig Wag didn’t like it.

  • CJ

    “When in the Course of human events….” That should read “huperson events.” Sexist jerk.

  • John Lewis

    This revised Declaration of Independence is much much much too short.

    It should be turned over to the Eurocrats for rewording and expansion – turgidification, one might say.

  • rabbit

    Finally. The Declaration of Independence treated as a proper living document.

    I expect that in a few centuries they will rewrite it again, utterly repudiating the regressive blather of this recent version.

  • WigWag

    Does Via Meadia really believe that our founders would have had anything but contempt for the populist drivel that characterizes this lame attempt at satire or many of the other attempts by the proprietor of blog to lend credibility to Tea Party populists?

    Surely Professor Mead and the youngsters who ghost write many of his posts know that our founders were hardly men of the people. For the most part they were credentialed in the 18th century equivalent of our contemporary political leaders.

    John Adams graduated from Harvard; Thomas Jefferson graduated from the College of William and Mary; James Madison graduated from Princeton; Benjamin Franklin was a founder of the University of Pennsylvania and Alexander Hamilton graduated from Columbia University.

    The last thing the founders wanted to do was empower the common man by extending democratic prerogatives to everyone. They created a system in which an elite were granted certain democratic rights but even they could have only an indirect impact on government. Limiting the franchise to property holders, the creation of the electoral college, insuring the indirect election of Senators (by state legislatures) were all designed to insure that the populist masses had a very circumscribed role in government.

    The founding generation also had an interesting notion on how to react if the populist masses became to obstreperous. They used whatever means was necessary, including violence to keep 18th century populists in their place. During the Whiskey Rebellion farmers on the Western Frontier hated taxes just about as much as Tea Party acolytes of today. Those farmers had just about as much contempt for Alexander Hamilton as current Tea Party acolytes have for Tim Geithner or Benjamin Bernanke.

    It didn’t take George Washington long to figure out what to do; given the choice of following the advice of the urbane and highly educated Hamilton or appeasing the ignorant bootlegging farmers, Washington got on his horse and led an army of 15,000 to put the populist (the 18th century version, anyway) insurgents in their place.

    For better or worse America’s founding generation hated and mistrusted the populist impulse. They would have hated the Tea Party and would have considered it a mockery of what the actual Tea Party” was all about. The founders may not have supported taxation without representation, but they were willing to use force to insure that those who had representation paid their taxes whether they liked it or not. Current Tea Party acolytes would have been viewed by the Founders as little better than the largely uneducated Whiskey Rebellion insurgents.

    As for the juvenile attempt at satire represented by this post, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Alexander Hamilton would have rolled their eyes. They had little use for religion and they were men of the Enlightenment. They believed in the power of government to enhance progress and continue the process of moving human beings to a more perfect (though still imperfect state).

    They didn’t hate government as current Tea Party acolytes do. But they did think that credentialed, educated and intelligent people were the ones to lead it.

    What is there about this that Professor Mead and his cadre of young editorial assistants don’t understand?

  • hareynolds

    Brilliant satire, but emphatically NOT funny.

    Every time I see a clever effort like this, (a)it makes me realize that the war is already lost, as we’ve already started down the slippery slope and at least 50% just don’t care, and (b)it makes me realize that there are still battles to come, so I buy another box of 9mm Parabellum.

    Nice word, parabellum.

  • Cato the Youngest

    I have to agree WigWag, to an extent. As a Classicist, I deal every day with ideologues who want to see themselves in various Great Men in history. It’s a particularly easy delusion, and none of us is immune. Our best and only defense is to read as much as we can, understand who the men were and what they were in their time, and have the sort of humility which Mead preached in his recent, excellent Sunday Sermon, by which we are reminded that we are not all the things we think we are. This is what we want the Miserabilists to do; let’s continue to model this better behavior.

  • Michael McCallion Sr

    Who’s John Galt?

  • https://www.facebook.com/ritchietheriveter Ritchie The Riveter

    Educated and intelligent, WigWag … credentialed, not so much.

    Problem is today, we conflate “credentialed” with these other two attributes … and put men in power who, unlike the founding citizens of this nation, do not have the wisdom to recognize that their position in government does NOT give them sufficient insight upon the problems of individuals to allow their credentialed selves to do a better job at solving their problems than the individuals can themselves.

    BTW, those of us in the Tea Party movement do not “hate” government or even taxes … we want it returned to its legitimate mission of securing our unalienable rights, and not working against that mission by going beyond it to save us from ourselves, and increasing our taxes to support such ineffective/inefficient/counterproductive activity.

    OTOH, the Whiskey Rebellion looks a lot like the activities of today’s Occupy Whatever and advocates for illegal immigration … in that they seek to over-ride the rule of law to impose their agendas upon the nation.

  • richard40

    Very good. I love how you mmanaged to put every single example of vacuous leftist jargon into the same type of phrasing as the original declaration. Its kind of like if somebody rewrote the Lords Prayer as a gangsta rap.

  • Gringo

    wig Wag
    Does Via Meadia really believe that our founders would have had anything but contempt for the populist drivel that characterizes this lame attempt at satire or many of the other attempts by the proprietor of blog to lend credibility to Tea Party populists?

    While this is satire, the sad point about it is that there are many lefties who have written similar statements without any intention whatsoever at satire.

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