The whole world, at least at one time, praised the foundational philosophy of the USA. The whole world still praises the philosophy, they simply say the USA has abandoned it in practice. What do you think?
First, what is the foundational philosophy of the USA? Jefferson, an Enlightenment Man to the bone, expressed it thus:
We hold these truths to be self-evident…(The following is so obviously true, I do not have to prove it.)
All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights…(All humans are equal in rights just because they were born human. These rights must not be infringed upon-that is, it is wrong to infringe upon these rights.)
Among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…(Jefferson deliberately changed John Locke’s rights list, substituting “the pursuit of happiness” for “Property.”
John Locke said men have the right to Life, Liberty and Property. Jefferson did not say this, he said we have the right to pursue happiness.
To a man with Jefferson’s classical education, “happiness” does not mean merely some shallow emotional state induced, for example, by ice cream, but rather the chance to develop morally, to grow as a human being-Yes, at one time in the USA happiness was considered a by-product of “virtue” and virtue is from the Latin word for strength.
Morality or good character was once highly valued. Is it valued any longer?
To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men…(the purpose for Governments, their justification for existence, is that they secure Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for their citizens. If they fail to do this, they are no longer legitimate; as the Chinese say, they have lost the Mandate of Heaven.
Governments…deriving their just powers from the consent of the Governed…(Governments have powers and it is just that they have these powers IF the governed consent to them. If the governed do not consent to these powers, the Government is unjust and illegitimate.
What to do if a Government is not legitimate? What if a Government is destructive of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Then the people have the right to abolish it and set up a new Government that will secure their Safety and Happiness.
Life: What do we need for life? How has the Government secured what we need for Life?
Has it acted or failed to act in ways that threaten our Lives?
Liberty: What do we need for Liberty? How has the Government secured our Liberty?
Has it acted or failed to act in ways that curtail our Liberty?
Pursuit of Happiness: How has the Government secured our ability to grow and flourish as fully human beings?
Has it acted or failed to act in ways that thwart our human flourishing?
Do we consent to the powers the Government wields over us? Do we consent to their foreign and domestic policies? Do we consent to our system of electing representatives? And who do the representatives represent? Do they represent the citizens of the USA? Do they represent someone or something else?
What do you think?