Monday, March 28, 2005

Second thoughts on the Fourth of July; limits of independence

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for people to reconnect the institutional structures which have separated them from one another, a decent respect for the opinions of humankind requires they should declare the causes that impel them to that action.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all communities are formed by their creators with certain unalienable goals, that among these are civility, comity and the common good.

Those to secure these goals, institutions are formed, deriving their just power from the consent of the community. But when a long train of institutional abuses and usurpations evinces a design to reduce the life, liberty and happiness of the community – when institutions serve no purpose other than their own self-perpetuation - it is the community’s right, its duty, to move beyond such institutions and provide new guards for their future security.

For we are here as on a Cartesian plane,
Swept by confused coordinates of faith and reason, left and right
Where ignorant institutions clash by night.

Pulling at the top of the y-axis are faith institutions still held in thrall to archaic cosmologies and their real-estate deities. Where the Chosen are divinely sanctioned to pummel and humble the God-abandoned (whether goy, pagan or infidel).

Dragging down from the bottom of that axis is the scientific and technical enterprise, maintaining that only the measurable matters; profiting equally from smart weapons and cool stuff. Where intellectual property replaces real property to shape a new feudalism.

Moving left on the x-axis is the party that says a child in the uterus has no essential right to exist, being contingent on the convenience of others. But, once born, that child should live in a risk-free world.

And stretching further right on the x-axis is the party that says a child in the womb is the most precious thing in the world. But, once born, is a victim of market forces where it’s dog-eat-dog. (Yet somehow both parties are beholden to the same puppeteers.)

And we the people, our communities increasingly ragged and raw, are pulled in every direction by religious, economic and political institutions modeled on the wedge of division.

Every substantive improvement in human affairs has come from the bottom up, not the top down. In that spirit, let us mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor in the task of reconstructing our institutions on the model of the web not the wedge; recognizing each node is necessary for the whole, and the holes exist only because of the nodes. Independence depends on interdependence, and the happiness of one is secured only by the well-being of all.

July 4, 2004


Blogger Blog World said...

Faith is spiritualized imagination.
Henry Ward Beecher- Posters.

11:04 AM  

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