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.
One of the most radical ideas ever published to paper is celebrated each year on the 4th of July.
The first realization is that every person who has ever lived in the history of this world has been completely free and independent. They serve no other and their time and labor belongs only to them.
The second radical pronouncement is that a new country will be formed with a foundation built on this idea.
We are a free people who can live a life utilizing our complete freedom to chart our own course, cultivate our talents and pursue our passions. The only restriction is we cannot infringe on another’s rights to do the same. The details of when and how that conflict arises and is remedied is up to society. Thankfully our ancestors have worked through almost any conceivable area of dispute and we have centuries worth of legal precedent in the form of common law.
So how does this play out in the real world? Unfortunately this incredible blessing and realization of personal freedom is not enough for many. Through force and fraud throughout history some have enslaved others. They have stolen time, labor, and production from others and used it for their own benefit. Even the primary author of the Declaration of Independence was guilty of this heinous behavior. A man who gifted posterity so much in so many ways and knew his personal behavior was reprehensible could not break free of societal norms and personal greed and avarice to assist those living closest to him to understand and thrive with the knowledge of their God given Liberty.
What is our responsibility today? Each person must seek their own mission in life and use their Liberty as they see fit. They cannot encroach on others and shouldn’t use force or fraud to take the production of another free person. But if they want to do more they can spread the radical message of the Declaration of Independence on this and every day. And they can stand up in whatever way they can to the injustice of those who disregard and trample on these unalienable Rights.
National Archives transcription of the Declaration of Independence
Whatever Happened to Justice? by Richard J. Maybury