Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Happy Birthday!

As many others have noted, yesterday was the 230th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in what was to become the United States of America.

For my part, I shall add my tuppence:
1) What a marvellous example of prose. Note that it declares as "self evident" that Liberty Rights are inherent in man and not granted by the state. You would have thought that 230 years was long enough for this idea to have caught on.
2) Rather than merely wish them well, I am in the fortunate position of being able to enact my feelings of goodwill towards the United States: I have some United Statesians coming to stay for a few days as part of a tour of Europe.




5 comments:

Umbongo said...

I'm with you in your esteem for the US. However, although rights may be self-evident, enforcement of those rights requires the existence of a state (or at least some kind of state-like organisation). Hence the creation of the US with a Constitution and a legal framework which enforces the rights enshrined in the Constitution.

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...

Umbongo,

I'm not sure if I have welcomed you to Infinitives Unsplit. I don't think this is your first comment, but I can't for the life of me find an earlier example. Welcome anyway.

"... enforcement of those rights requires the existence of a state."

I think even the rabid uber-Randians at Samizdata would agree with you here.

My point is that the political elites on this side of the pond - and very particularly in the continental legal model across the channel - don't.

The Constitution enshrined rights that were explicitly stated as PRE-EXISTING. This is not the case in HRA or the EU constitution. The muddleheadedness of the elision of "liberty" and "claim" rights is extraordinary.

More specifically, consider the 2nd amendment. The whole purpose of this was to ensure that the people could overthrow their own government. Can you imagine that being allowed in the EU?

Umbongo said...

P-GiO (if I might be so bold)

Thanks for your welcome.

I take - and agree - with your point that the rights in question were not derived either from the US or its constitution. OTOH we have to be grateful to our masters (in Brussels) and their dupes in Westminster for their conferring of rights on us obedient subjects.

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...

Umbongo,

you are most welcome. (I think I said that before). And you can call me "PG" if you want. Most people do and very few of them asked permission in advance.

:-)

"OTOH we have to be grateful to our masters (in Brussels) and their dupes in Westminster for their conferring of rights on us obedient subjects."


Now you're talking. I suppose we must be grateful for small mercies.

Let's face it: it's mercy we're hoping for here....

dearieme said...

I demur. I think that the DoI is high-flown tosh penned by that spinmeister and hypocrite Jefferson. (One reason that the Constitution is such good stuff is that silly Tom was away in Paris when that great document was written). The origin of the rights in question is, of course, obvious. Those rights obtained to the colonists because they were British, but Tom could hardly say so, could he?