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Revisionism
The Declaration of Independence, Fixed

declarationAs part of our ongoing project to update and improve the core documents of American history, we re-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 Societies 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.

[This post originally ran on Via Meadia on July 3, 2012. Happy Fourth of July to all of our readers.]

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  • Thirdsyphon

    Yes. . . very funny. How laughable it is to imagine the the kind of woolly-headed thinking we’d have gotten from the Framers if they’d been lawyers and highly educated professionals drawn from our cosmopolitan coastal elites.

    • qet

      Your sarcasm relies on categories that in 1776 were more than two centuries away from being invented. Precisely because the Framers were not “educated professionals” or “coastal elites” as we understand and use those terms could they construct a government and a charter of liberties that have been a beacon and inspiration to the rest of the world and have withstood the historical forces that brought down not one, not two, not three (pace LeBron James) French republics, but are in the process of completing the destruction of the only other true liberal democracy that the world has ever known–Great Britain.

      • Andrew Allison

        The parody illustrates that the U.S.A. is far from immune to the historical forces to which you refer. It may be that democracy carries the seeds of its own destruction, namely the discovery by the citizenry that it can obtain money and services from the public purse. During the 20 years prior to 2013, there was $45.9 trillion of federal government spending and $38.5 trillion paid in taxes (see: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals). There will be tears before bedtime.

        • Thirdsyphon

          The parody illustrates nothing except the writer’s tin ear and deeply provincial understanding of who the Framers were and what they stood for.

        • qet

          Well, it depends on what you mean by immunity. That Via Meadia’s handiwork is still just a parody of our Declaration, while the charter documents of other nations are being amended to read this way almost word for word, is some cause for both pride and comfort. I don’t think that even a “living constitution” infection can do as much damage as a written charter of rights that mention all of the current left-liberal desiderata by name. I’m not saying that I’m not worried, though.

      • Boritz

        Maybe this Declaration of Independence FAQ will help

        Q: What if I like my king?
        A: If you like your king you can keep your king. Period.

        Q: Isn’t this mass treason?
        A: Not even mass treason — not even a smidgen of treason.

      • Thirdsyphon

        Thomas Jefferson spent 7 years at the College of William and Mary studying (inter alia) classical literature, philosophy, science, history, and law. James Madison was a graduate of Princeton. Alexander Hamilton and John Jay both attended an institution known as Kings College in New York, which would later become known as Columbia College for reasons that should be obvious. All of them were lawyers; all of them were highly educated; and all of them were cosmopolitan coastal elites. I’m not sure what your case is for claming otherwise.

        • qet

          No one is denying that they were educated or that they lived, most of them, on or near the coastline. That does not make them “educated professionals” or “coastal elites” within the meaning of our current political jargon. I am not even sure what cosmopolitan means, but I am pretty sure that aside from Franklin, none of them, they were Virginians, Massachusettsans, South Carolinians first and foremost.

          • Thirdsyphon

            The definitions of “educated” and “professional” haven’t changed noticeably since the 18th Century, much less the definitions of “coastal” and “elite”. What you refer to as “our current political jargon” is in reality just an attitude of contempt towards overly influential “intellectuals” who presume, on the basis of their allegedy superior knowledge, to lay grandiose plans upon the nation as a whole, binding untold generations yet to be born to enact some mad, hubristic, Utopian vision of America’s future. . .

    • Andrew Allison

      Is “cosmopolitan coastal elites” code for limousine liberals?

      • Thirdsyphon

        I believe the contextual equivalent would be be “Coach-and-Six Jacobins”. . .which, to some extent, the Framers arguably were.

        • qet

          Not even in the ballpark.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “It’s your Birthday and you can cry if you want too”

  • Andrew Allison

    Unworthy of, and antithetical to The American Interest.

    • qet

      It could have been more cleverly done, I’ll give you that. Imagine the sort of parody that a Stephen Colbert could have pulled off. But it is still worthy, and eminently thetical to American interest. That interest is being diluted beyond all hope of reclamation today by the sort of tripe parodied here. We are definitively answering in the negative Franklin’s question whether we can keep a Republic.

      • Andrew Allison

        My point was, what in heck is a publication representing itself as “The American Interest” doing publishing tripe which absolutely nothing to with our interests.

        • http://www.reticulator.com Reticulator

          For that matter, what does a publication representing itself as “Mother Jones” have to do with a dead, white female?

        • FriendlyGoat

          Oh, shoot. For a moment on your first post I thought you were saying something important.

  • FriendlyGoat

    You can’t derive just powers from Educated Classes when you overwhelm them at the ballot box with under-informed votes tricked in from the Duck Dynasty fan base. Republicans are basically telling people, for instance, that if they will vote for more guns that actual man-made climate change will be done away by decree of The Heritage Foundation, The Cato Institute and Sarah Palin herself,

    You guys can pretend that government by uneducated classes is cool, I guess, because you represent interests so damn rich that they are untouchable by any natural or social catastrophe.

  • Anthony

    “What made the Founding Fathers and the signers of the Declaration of Independence so noteworthy was not that they were men of property; they were noteworthy because they happened also to be men of broad learning and insight, ready to defer to those of their own number like James Madison, Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton who showed especially sharp insight…” Some scholars have posited that the Founding Fathers were a historical fluke given office holding predilections routinely played out in the Democratic Republic known as the USA.

    • Andrew Allison

      I think that is was being men men of property and of broad learning ready to at least discus the ideas and arguments of those with whom they disagreed.

  • Boritz

    Funny. In the same league as this one from a few years ago.

    http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2005/07/stop_questionin.html

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