A July Fourth Toast To Thomas Jefferson—And The Anglo-Saxon Tradition
The Declaration of Independence—whose proclamation, on July 4, 1776, we celebrate—has been mocked out of meaning.
To be fair to the liberal Establishment, ordinary Americans are not entirely blameless. For most, Independence Day means firecrackers and cookouts. The Declaration doesn't feature. In fact, contemporary Americans are less likely to read it now that it is easily available on the Internet, than when it relied on horseback riders for its distribution.
Back in 1776, gallopers carried the Declaration through the country. Printer John Dunlap had worked "through the night" to set the full text on "a handsome folio sheet," recounts historian David Hackett Fischer in Liberty And Freedom. And President (of the Continental Congress) John Hancock urged that the "people be universally informed."
Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration, called it "an expression of the American Mind." An examination of
By "all men are created equal," Jefferson, who also wrote in praise of a "Natural Aristocracy," did not imply that all men were similarly endowed. Or that they were entitled to healthcare, education, amnesty, and a decent wage, à la Obama.
This is the very philosophy Hillary Clinton explicitly disavowed during one of the mindless presidential debates of 2007. Asked by a YouTubester to define "liberal," Hillary revealed she knew full-well that the word originally denoted the classical liberalism of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. But she then settled on "progressive" as the appropriate label for her Fabian socialist plank.
"As Jefferson saw it," expounds Mayer, "the Whig, zealously guarding liberty, was suspicious of the use of government power," and assumed "not only that government power was inherently dangerous to individual liberty but also that, as Jefferson put it, 'the natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.'"
For this reason, the philosophy of government that
The Whig tradition is undeniably Anglo-Saxon. Our founding fathers' political philosophy originated with their Saxon forefathers, and the ancient rights guaranteed by the Saxon constitution. With the Declaration, Jefferson told Henry Lee in 1825, he was also protesting
Philosophical purist that he was, moreover,
If Jefferson begrudged the
The settlers spilt their own blood "in acquiring lands for their settlement," he wrote with pride in A Summary View of the Rights of British America. "For themselves they fought, for themselves they conquered, and for themselves alone they have right to hold." Thus they were "entitled to govern those lands and themselves."
For the edification of libertarians prone to vulgar individualism, the Declaration of Independence is at once a statement of individual and national sovereignty.
And, notwithstanding the claims of the multicultural noise machine, the Declaration was as monocultural as its author.
Let us, then, toast Thomas Jefferson—and the Anglo-Saxon tradition that sired and inspired him.
©By ILANA MERCER
July 4, 2008