As the United States celebrates the declaration of its independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, I have, as I often do, reviewed the Declaration of Independence to see how much of it seems to apply to the federal government today.
Some things such as taxation without representation, quartering of troops in private residence and such is far far gone. Other points, such as the interference with justices, or control of trade, may not be literally true today, but has a parallel. But I still found seven counts I think could be argued to apply.
So to demonstrate, I have altered the declaration to be against the federal government, changing the “Him” that referred to King George, to an “it” referring to the government, all three branches mind you. And the final section declaring independence was altered to reflect an imaginary state where the individual states severed ties with eh federal government. It’s not a call to arms, but merely an exercise in identifying how tyranny can creep back into any system if we are not vigilant.
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. –Such has been the patient sufferance of these states; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present US Government is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
It has refused its assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
Here I refer to constant illegal behaviour by representatives and judges. I mean the kind found at trial, not just accusations. Also implied here is the assertion of multiple previous Presidents that laws do not apply to them.
It has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
Not one many people complain about anymore, but the government has pursued policy of limiting even legal emigration. See the H1B visa controversy with the tech companies as an example. When Microsoft talks of moving a plant to Canada to get around immigration laws, it’s this grievance they’re stating.
It has made judges dependent on its will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
A bit of a stretch here, but there has been a disconcerting movement to express the will of executive and legislature in the justice system. These assertion of activist judges, pushes to impeach judges you don’t agree with. And lots of talk about limiting compensation. I suppose much of it is just talk, but it’s a concern. The judiciary is less independent than it used to be and much more politicized. It began with FDR and has just gotten worse.
It has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
Need I explain?
It has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
Mostly only the first half is true. It has kept standing armies now for decades. The national guards are often used only to the irritation of their state governments, rather than entirely without their willing consent.
It has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
All but true. The government has isolated the military from civilian oversight more and more with the justification that it would weaken the military to do otherwise. Exactly the same argument made by the crown in the 1700s.
It has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving its assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
Two parts here. one is the United Nations movement and foreign treaties that are unpopular in the US could qualify for this grievance. Another is the US citizens being accused and tried in Guantanamo and in the secret European camps. We always think of those as only foreigners but a bare scrap have been Americans, decreed to be treasonous and therefore stripped of their rights.
For abolishing the free system of US laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
Another stretch, though without much stretching, Gunatanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan could all qualify. None are nearly as democratic as the US currently is. The rest is just the paragraphs justifying independence. I’m not sure if the 7 articles above would justify the rhetoric below, but I kept it in for completion.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A government, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our Federal brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these states, solemnly publish and declare, that these united states are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the US government, and that all political connection between them and the Federal government, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.