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  1. 10 Mar '15 13:17 / 2 edits
    Now that the left has accomplished trashing the Constitution, I guess it is only natural for them to do the same to 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.”

    I have already covered how the left has taken "Creator" out of the mix and insisted that natural rights has nothing to do with a God, rather, rights are defined by the state instead. But what of the last part of the quote? Should it read, "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of the Common Good?"

    And here is the rebuttal.

    http://blog.dictionary.com/happiness/

    “The pursuit of Happiness” was thought to be an unalienable right by the writers of the US Declaration of Independence. However, in 1776, the definition of happiness evoked a different meaning than it does today. When the framers of this historic document wrote about “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” what exactly did they mean by “happiness”?



    The term happiness comes from the Old Norse term happ meaning “luck” or “chance.” It’s also related to the Old English word hæpic meaning “equal.” While early senses of happiness dating from the 1500s are still very much in use, such as “good luck,” “success,” and “contentment,” Francis Hutcheson, an Irish reverend and philosopher pictured here, brought a new, more political interpretation of happiness to English speakers with his 1725 treatise An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue. His political philosophy: “that Action is best which accomplishes the greatest Happiness for the greatest Numbers; and that worst, which in like manner occasions Misery.” The popularity of Hutcheson’s philosophies helped tie the concepts of civic responsibility and happiness to one another in the minds of the great political thinkers of the 18th century, including the writers of the Declaration of Independence.

    US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy explained this often forgotten sense of happiness in his 2005 lecture at the National Conference on Citizenship. Kennedy notes that while in modern times there is a “hedonistic component” to the definition of happiness, for the framers of the Declaration of Independence “happiness meant that feeling of self-worth and dignity you acquire by contributing to your community and to its civic life.” In the context of the Declaration of Independence, happiness was about an individual’s contribution to society rather than pursuits of self-gratification. While this sense has largely fallen out of use today, it’s important to keep these connotations of happiness mind when studying political documents from the 18th century.
  2. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    10 Mar '15 13:29
    Originally posted by whodey
    Now that the left has accomplished trashing the Constitution, I guess it is only natural for them to do the same to 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 Happine ...[text shortened]... he last part of the quote? Should it read, "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of the Common Good?"
    Jefferson did not mean "Creator" in the same sense that you refer to God. Other Jefferson writings indicate quite clearly that he never had intention that God should have any relevance to the state.

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state. [Congress thus inhibited from acts respecting religion, and the Executive authorised only to execute their acts, I have refrained from presenting even occasional performances of devotion presented indeed legally where an Executive is the legal head of a national church, but subject here, as religious exercises only to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect.] Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

    http://www.constitution.org/tj/sep_church_state.htm
  3. 10 Mar '15 13:30
    So you see, life is not about pursuing your own happiness, it is about pursing the collective good of society.
  4. 10 Mar '15 13:31 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by sh76
    Jefferson did not mean "Creator" in the same sense that you refer to God. Other Jefferson writings indicate quite clearly that he never had intention that God should have any relevance to the state.

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, tha ...[text shortened]... in opposition to his social duties.

    http://www.constitution.org/tj/sep_church_state.htm
    Right, so if there is no "God" then all we have are men telling us what is natural and good.

    How then is one man any better than the next? All that would matter at that point is who is more powerful than the other to impose their beliefs on others.

    From a religious perspective, man can scream in my ear all day as to how I should think, believe, and act, but at the end of the day, I know that there is a God above who makes the rules. Those that break them will ultimately be crushed by him. My only aim then is to side with justice and not render evil for evil. This tactic was provided by Jesus himself, and looking at history, it works like a charm.

    Look at Ghandi. He studied the tactics of Christ and he too was successful. Martin Luther King also used these tactics and he too was successful.

    The unfortunate commonality all three have, however, is that although they were successful, it cost them their lives.

    So what am I saying? I'm saying that in order to win, you must side in with the God above. The sheer weight of your righteous stance will utterly crush you opponents so long as you don't lower your self to their unrighteous tactics. Put another way, there is power there that is unseen. The pen really is mightier than the sword.

    Conversely, what do we see in the Palestinian fight against Israel today? We see innocent children being sent into the streets to blow themselves up for their cause. In the end, their evils begin to outweigh that of their opponent, as their cause is undermined and doomed to failure.
  5. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    10 Mar '15 14:39
    Originally posted by whodey
    Right, so if there is no "God" then all we have are men telling us what is natural and good.

    How then is one man any better than the next? All that would matter at that point is who is more powerful than the other to impose their beliefs on others.

    From a religious perspective, man can scream in my ear all day as to how I should think, believe, and act ...[text shortened]... ls begin to outweigh that of their opponent, as their cause is undermined and doomed to failure.
    ===How then is one man any better than the next? All that would matter at that point is who is more powerful than the other to impose their beliefs on others. ===

    You're right. No one man can determine what natural rights there are. However, a study of the history human civilization and human nature can be used to determine what natural rights there are and ought to be respected by people.
  6. 10 Mar '15 14:48
    Originally posted by whodey
    Right, so if there is no "God" then all we have are men telling us what is natural and good.
    When's the last time you were talking to God?
  7. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    10 Mar '15 14:50
    Originally posted by sh76
    Jefferson did not mean "Creator" in the same sense that you refer to God. Other Jefferson writings indicate quite clearly that he never had intention that God should have any relevance to the state.

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, tha ...[text shortened]... in opposition to his social duties.

    http://www.constitution.org/tj/sep_church_state.htm
    It is also true that Jefferson did not originally use the word "Creator". This is how it appeared in his original draft:

    We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independant, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness;...


    The term "Creator" was added by the others on the drafting committee, which included Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Robert Livingston.
  8. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    10 Mar '15 15:24
    Originally posted by rwingett
    It is also true that Jefferson did not originally use the word "Creator". This is how it appeared in his original draft:

    [quote]We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independant, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pu ...[text shortened]... included Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Robert Livingston.
    Well, it has the word "creation." Differentiating between "creator" and "creation" does seem to be splitting hairs.
  9. 10 Mar '15 15:31
    Originally posted by sh76
    Jefferson did not mean "Creator" in the same sense that you refer to God. Other Jefferson writings indicate quite clearly that he never had intention that God should have any relevance to the state.

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, tha ...[text shortened]... in opposition to his social duties.

    http://www.constitution.org/tj/sep_church_state.htm
    Jefferson wrote the Declaration specifically as a government document, notifying the King of England of a new nation's formation. This nation was comprised of a population which largely didn't share Jefferson's personal theology. So "Creator" is used in the sense that Whodey implies.

    Jefferson's personal writings have nothing to do with the United States government, and don't carry the weight of those official documents. It is quite clear that Jefferson compartmentalized his personal and official positions. His positions on the ethics and morality of slavery where nuanced and quite different from his government document versions, such as "all men are Created equal".
  10. 10 Mar '15 15:40
    Originally posted by sh76
    Well, it has the word "creation." Differentiating between "creator" and "creation" does seem to be splitting hairs.
    And the final draft, signed by all, was the founding document, not Jefferson's original draft. As with any committee, the final result contained compromises of personal beliefs.
  11. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    10 Mar '15 16:11
    Originally posted by sh76
    Well, it has the word "creation." Differentiating between "creator" and "creation" does seem to be splitting hairs.
    And the creation of diamonds occurs when carbon-bearing materials are exposed to high pressure and certain temperatures. It is a natural process of creation involving no intentional creator. But Jefferson does seem to have been playing it halfway, leaving open the possible inclusion of a creator god for those who want to read it that way.
  12. 10 Mar '15 17:34
    Originally posted by rwingett
    And the creation of diamonds occurs when carbon-bearing materials are exposed to high pressure and certain temperatures. It is a natural process of creation involving no intentional creator. But Jefferson does seem to have been playing it halfway, leaving open the possible inclusion of a creator god for those who want to read it that way.
    Jefferson's personal belief in Deism is well known. He had no exclusive say so in the final document.
  13. Standard member Quarl
    Quarl
    10 Mar '15 19:08
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Jefferson's personal belief in Deism is well known. He had no exclusive say so in the final document.
    It was indeed a group consensus. If Jefferson had been working alone, the final document wouldn't have omitted certain wording found in the Virginia Declaration of Rights first and second articles adopted by the Virginia Convention of Delegates, June 12, 1776 as written by George Mason.

    The VDR refers to happiness in the context of recognisably Lockean rights and is the way the, fundamental natural rights of mankind, were expressed at the time. Of particular note is the omission of any reference to "property" in the Declaration of Independence. (I would like to have been in the room during that debate.)

    That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

    (Property?? Obviously they were Capitalists!
  14. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    10 Mar '15 19:27 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by whodey
    Now that the left has accomplished trashing the Constitution, I guess it is only natural for them to do the same to 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 Happine ...[text shortened]... ep these connotations of happiness mind when studying political documents from the 18th century.
    A non sequitur from start to finish. No Natural Rights proponent claims that they are derivedfrom the State. Even someone as mentally careless as you surely knows that.

    Of course, the writers of the DOI replaced "Property" in Locke's formulations with "Pursuit of Happiness". Surely that reinforces the argument that they were using the latter term consistent with Hutcheson (who was well known in the Colonies).

    EDIT: Learn something new every day; the phrase "pursuit of happiness" was used by Locke:

    The necessity of pursuing happiness [is] the foundation of liberty.

    http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/46460

    The article is quite interesting.
  15. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    10 Mar '15 19:36
    Originally posted by whodey
    Right, so if there is no "God" then all we have are men telling us what is natural and good.

    How then is one man any better than the next? All that would matter at that point is who is more powerful than the other to impose their beliefs on others.

    From a religious perspective, man can scream in my ear all day as to how I should think, believe, and act ...[text shortened]... ls begin to outweigh that of their opponent, as their cause is undermined and doomed to failure.
    How would Ghandi and MLK have fared in Germany 1933-45?