Thomas Jefferson’s Vision For America

By David R. Young, author of The Political Spectrum: Freedom vs. Enslavement

Did We Go Off The Rails?

Declaration of Independence imageAt 33 years of age, Thomas Jefferson penned the most important document in American history, the Declaration of Independence.

Within this document lies the foundation for an ideal society — a free society.

Though we have, as a country, been a great force for freedom, within our boarders there is an ever increasing decay of freedom. Our government continues to grow beyond the scope of the Constitution and it appears sometimes to be a monster unleashed from the Constitution. 

What is missing in the American People which continues to sleep while Jefferson’s dream fades away?  There appears to be an aspect of the Declaration of Independence which has never been developed, or if developed, it has never taken root in our society. It seems to start with this famous line:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,…”

This phrase is often misinterpreted.  

If one were to view man as a material thing, a product of the physical universe, as does some philosophies (Materialism) and political systems (Communism) the following definition fits their idea of equal:

“Being the same in quantity, size, degree, or value.”

This definition may work fine when expressing the equality of material things, but when forced upon human beings it is irrelevant, impractical and in fact destructive. No two humans are equal in body, mind or urge. It is irrational to say so and destructive to insist on it. 

A rational use of “equality” applied to man would have to be further qualified. In what way are humans equal? What did Jefferson mean when he said all men were created equal? He actually answered this question in the next phrase:

“that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

It is apt that Jefferson used the word “unalienable”. It means; unable to be taken away or given away by the possessor

Human Rights are unalienable. We are all born with EQUAL Human Rights. How do we know they exist? Because when someone attempts to take one away, you naturally feel an injustice is occurring. As an example, if someone attempted to take your smart phone, you would consider this attempted theft. Even a young child instinctively knows this without being taught. This is true of every natural human right. It’s yours. You feel it, even if you can’t explain it or are not in a position to defend it.

If you look at every news story it is an instance of someone’s human rights being infringed upon. The Right to Life is a primary one. When a person takes another’s life, it is murder. When a person takes another’s life while defending his own right to life, it is self-defense.

America’s greatest troubles seems to come from a failure to understand and enforce human rights. Government grows to the degree that the individual citizen fails to govern human rights,  for themselves and those in their influential sphere. 

It is often said that we as a country provide the greatest amount of human rights in the history of the human race. That may or may not be true, but it is not really relevant. The question is; does every American have equal human rights? Does government protect each and every person’s human rights equally?

A free society will not long stay free if it does not honor human rights as a matter of common sense and as a valuable purpose. Each member of a truly free society would consider it their individual responsibility to uphold human rights for all.

This is what makes America great, that a majority of Americans inherently act on their Human Rights. They are called “Law Abiding Citizens” from the view point of government. But they don’t really need these laws because they are really Human Rights advocates. Laws are created to hold the criminal in check — criminals being those who neglect the human rights of others. 

But what are your human rights?

Were you taught your rights in school? Did you learn about them in church? Did your parents sit you down one day to talk to you about your rights? No?

Are your human rights covered in the U.S. Bill of Rights?  Not really. The Bill of Rights was not a declaration of human rights, it was written as a restraint on government from impinging upon your rights. Though it does list some of the more important rights, (Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, etc) it also says in Article Eleven that the listing of certain rights in the Constitution should not be taken as license to deny or belittle other rights which belong to the people.

So, what are your unalienable rights?

Human rights imageIf you search ‘What are human rights?” on the internet you’ll find some good websites. By far the best website I have found is Youth for Human Rights. It is both educational and quite entertaining.

It may surprise you to discover that you have 30 Human Rights which have been acknowledged by the nations of Earth. 

Do you know what these are?

In understanding the importance of Human rights, what do you imagine America would look like today if it had energetically worked to uphold Jefferson’s declaration of equal rights?

I ask, if American’s had energetically worked to put these Rights into effect from the very start of it’s formation, would the Civil War have been necessary? Or would a constructive and sane solution have presented itself long before the nation eventually resorted to a sort of suicide to rid itself of slavery? (An egregious human rights violation that continues in the world even today)

Our Federal Government was established to defend the nation and bring order between the States. It was forbidden to infringe upon individual Rights. But it is the American people who must govern Human Rights, which can only become a reality if each individual, each family and each group understands and takes responsibility for insisting upon human rights for all.

Do yourself a favor. Do your family a favor. Do your county a favor. Discover your Human Rights and share them with everyone you know. Perhaps it is not too late to create the America that Jefferson and the Founding Fathers envisioned. 

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