Independence Day (part 2 of 4)

Declaration of Independence

Header of the Declaration of Independence

 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.

~Declaration of Independence, second sentence

This is, without a doubt, the most recognized sentence in the Declaration of Independence. The depth of such a concise, yet powerful statement cannot be overstated. Notice how Jefferson asserted that all men are created equal. This is the essence of conservatism. Equality is something that everyone ought to start with, but not necessarily end with. It is analogous to wrestling tournament where anyone is allowed entry. Through a series of rounds where wrestlers compete against each other, winners advance until a champion is crowned. This is what our founders wanted for our country–a society where people are free to pursue happiness with limited government interference. Liberals, on the other hand, wish to tinker with the rules in a fruitless attempt to garner equal results. Such attempts should be resisted with full force.

Enlightenment thinker John Locke originally penned the phrase “life, liberty, and property.” Jefferson, influenced by the Enlightenment thinkers, borrowed from Locke, but substituted “pursuit of happiness” for “property.” Jefferson and the Founding Fathers wanted happiness. Heck, everyone wants happiness. But the Founders knew that happiness is not a right. No one has a right to be happy. But everyone does have a right to pursue it.

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