We hold these truths to be SACRED and UNDENIABLE
By Not Sure
1 October 2023
The trouble with philosophy is that it is practiced by philosophers, humans with limited experience, faults and biases and even gross moral failings.
Alan Watt liked the Book of Ecclesiastes, what we are told are the words of the Preacher, King Solomon. You would often hear Alan say things like “There’s nothing new under the sun.” He used variations of that within several of his poems. The key word in Ecclesiastes is vanity, and this is another quip Alan used, “…all is vanity.”
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities: all is vanity.
What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever.
The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 2: 2-9
Alan also often referred to Plato, and the study of systems and technique; that which had been used successfully in the past can always be employed again and again, down through time. In this Redux, you will hear segments of two conversations that Alan had with Miss Effie, a woman from Louisianna who was in her eighties at the time of this series of conversations in 2006 and 2007. They touched on Plato’s dialogue about the forms of government, and that democracy always declines into tyranny.
A thread that ran through these conversations is the idea that taxation and licensing put burdens upon people which in fact, amount to slavery. Miss Effie possessed common sense and a watchful eye. Her grandparents had worked for years to buy a little plot of land to farm, moving their family to this rural “American dream” in the late 1900’s, but her grandfather had to return to his former occupation as a tugboat captain to pay the taxes on “their” property, leaving his wife to do the spring planting. Her own father had to pay a poll tax (head tax, head count) before he could vote. Today, the historical whitewash on the poll tax in the United States, is that the post-Civil War South used this tax to keep Black men from voting. In truth, this regressive tax was punishing to all poor men, and the American South of the early 20th century was full of poor White men.
Miss Effie had worked hard throughout her life at a series of jobs that women don’t normally do. She worked as a longshoreman, loading and unloading ships, and as a dairy farmer. Living frugally and saving up her money, Miss Effie was finally able to buy the “American dream,” and without going into debt, she built her own home, complete with pecan trees and a garden. Then she learned the hard lesson her grandfather had learned: you can never be self-sufficient, you never own anything, when you must pay property taxes. A thing is either yours, or it is not.
The first paragraph of the American Declaration of Independence starts off with a thought about how sometimes it becomes necessary to throw off the bands (or ties) of a political association and claim the powers of the earth to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitles them. The second paragraph begins, “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.”
Alan told me that at conception, it was to have read “Life, Liberty, and Property” but happiness was substituted for property. The signers of this paper had been influenced by John Locke and his arguments for inalienable natural rights, principally those of property and of rebellion against abusive governments. I’m sure that Locke had plenty to say about happiness, but it is much harder to arrive at what constitutes happiness than at what is property. You will find “Life, Liberty, and Property” in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, but how much more powerful the concept of Property would be if it had remained at the beginning of the Declaration of Independence.
Plenty of thinkers have addressed the idea of private property in detail, but essentially and sadly, it is a concept that has ultimately suffered from the dialectic of Communism versus Capitalism. According to Karl Marx, “The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property.” According to Ayn Rand, “Without property rights, no other rights are possible.”
The dialectic has no room for the truth of the synthesis. What we live under is a form of Fascism at the top, public private partnerships, and the privatization of land and services which in a free society would be publicly held. Think tanks which claim to espouse conservative values promote privatization and free trade, hallmarks of internationalism. It is a very different scenario when Al Gore arranges for Occidental Petroleum to buy long-held oil-rich public land and make that a celebration of private property, and when Miss Effie buys a plot of land to live out her dream to farm and be self-sufficient.
Self-evident means requiring no proof or explanation. It is evident without proof or reasoning. Obviously true. We live in a world where for many, their sexual identification is not self-evident, and worse, where one who provides them with reasoned proof of their sexual identify can be accused of a hate crime. In an environment where mob rule has elevated insanity and demands our complicity in this deception, it is no longer possible to rebel against an abusive government. The atmosphere itself is toxic with lies.
I discovered something new in researching the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson’s original draft read, “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable.” Many historians agree that it was Benjamin Franklin who scratched out the adjectives “sacred” and “undeniable" and replaced them with “self-evident.” “Created” was not scrubbed from the document, but it is a word that people use without ever connecting it to Creator. But “sacred” had to go. It is “holy,” set apart for the worship of a deity. Ditto “undeniable.” Not deniable, indisputable.
This is how we’re told the American Founders spoke. Alexander Hamilton said, “The sacred rights of mankind are…written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of Divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.”
I do not know what conversations occurred when “self-evident” was substituted, but I do know that the waters of the Laws of Nature and God’s Law were muddied. My rights were to be SACRED and UNDENIABLE, now they are merely obvious.
An often-misquoted text from the Christian bible annoyed Alan. This is the misquotation of John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” If this was misquoted on a talk show, movie, or article, Alan would correct it. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The misquotation implies that someone outside yourself determines whether you are free. If you repeat the truth to your jailor like a password, then he will set you free from your jail cell. Whereas, when you know the truth, something you can learn all by yourself, you are free. Knowing truth makes you free.
© Not Sure
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