So the Fourth again, when we are called to watch parades, grill burgers, suck on beer, and reflect on fireworks.
Or maybe reconcile the Declaration with Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle.
We'll skip the 'right to life' portion of this excellent essay for the sake of time--you want to get to the grilling and drinking part of the day, right?
Here's that 'pursuit of happiness' thing, explained:
...But humans live so that they may attain happiness. Thus, humans have a
right to act in that most human way, to grow in wisdom and love. That
is, since the goal of human existence lies in the exercise of reason and
will, we have a right to be able to develop our intellect by growing in
knowledge of truth and to perfect the will’s love of the good by
delighting in the goodness of creation. It is clear, though, that for
man to flourish in this way there needs to be more specific rights
enabling the use of reason and will. Since knowledge grows through
conversing with others, and love grows through friendship, these other
rights focus on the necessary relations man has to others. Unlike so
many of our contemporaries, however, who demand rights that reflect our
random preferences, we can look to the Decalogue for guidance to know
what humans really need. So, for example, there is a right to freedom of
religion so we can know that God is in whom our ultimate happiness
lies. Also, one needs a stable society in which peace is secured and
justice protected, so there are authorities who have the right to be
obeyed when deciding for the common good. In addition, a person has a
right to a private family life as the first school of virtue, and so the
sanctity of marriage must be protected. There are also rights to
private property, so that one can attain maturity and independence by
exercising stewardship. And if we are to grow in wisdom, there is a
right to truthful communication with other people. In this way, as St.
John Paul argued in Veritatis Splendor, the Decalogue indicates those rules that must be observed if we are to gain the happiness we all desire....
The imminent retirement of "Justice" Kennedy leaps to mind.
Moving on, we have this "liberty" thing...
...the peculiar power by which a human being attains his end is through
proper use of his reason and free will; it is through this potential
that we achieve happiness. But reason and will are the source of human
freedom, because we can know reality objectively and judge what ought to
be done. So, while animals act on instinct alone, human beings have to
exercise deliberative judgment. This choice is “right” if it conforms to
the reality of human nature by maximizing wisdom and love, and wrong
inasmuch as it departs from attaining wisdom and love. Liberty, then, is
an ordered freedom, an exercise of choice for the sake of an objective
notion of happiness....
So. After all that....
...If we take up the public argument required of every civilized people, we
can restore the true meaning of these rights. To do so, we need only
remember the most basic axiom of Thomistic philosophy: action follows
from being. By attending to this, we can protect life in its entirety,
and define liberty and happiness according to the truth of human nature,
thereby securing the common good longed for by those who first founded
the United States in the name of universal human rights.
Another perspective which re-inforces the above was given us by Coolidge (courtesy PowerLine):
...It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress
since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have
given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may
therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern.
But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men
are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable
rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the
consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be
made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or
their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically
is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no
equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who
wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They
are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than
those of the Revolutionary fathers....
Why do I keep thinking of SCOTUS' malefactions when I read that sort of stuff??
It is not yet necessary to 'argue' the case by schmeissing those who favor disordered liberties. We are not Venezuela. Yet.
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