ONE MAN’S OPINION-Forget what they told you in kindergarten and over the next 12 years of public school and through college and grad school, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution are not the foundation of America. We are based on Pogoism.
Rejection of Pogoism Dooms America
Sad to admit but America has rejected Pogoism, and thus, We the People have doomed America to its role as a brief shooting star in world history. While Benjamin Franklin set forth many of the principles of Pogoism in his Poor Richard’s Almanac and helped lay the basis for Pogoism to thrive with the limitations on power in the Constitution, Pogoism was best defined by Pogo in 1971 when he declared, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” (Perhaps someday analysts will look back and question the significance of Pogo’s inability to get the predicate nominative correct.)
Here Comes Occam’s Razor
Occam's Razor states that one should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed. Pogo satisfied Occam’s Razor by making one assumption. We the People cause our own problems. It’s a first cousin to “When given a lemonade, make lemonade.”
An Aside to Correct a Wide Misconception
Occam’s Razor does not mean the simplest explanation is usually correct. That would be contrary to the scientific method. Rather it addresses the beginning point of inquiries. The more assumptions people make, the more likely they will introduce an error into their investigations. The world abounds with idiotic simple explanations. For example, “Mexicans flooding over our Southern border create a national emergency.” So set aside the false idea that simple explanations are best. A simple explanation based on lies and myths is not better than a complex explanation based on facts and logic.
Back to Pogoism in 1776 and in 1787
When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and the framers drafted the U.S. Constitution to replace the ineffective Articles of Confederation, they recognized that free people assume responsibility for their own lives. We broke from Great Britain in order to form a government that secured our basic inalienable rights. For quite some time, we tried to have Parliament and King George honor our rights as British subjects. Paul Revere, by the way, did not shout and would not have shouted, “The British are coming” since we all were British.
The problem was that the Red Coats, the King’s army, was coming. The Crown, however, did not see the colonialists as British, but as some separate group. In other words, London denied the colonists their individual inalienable rights in favor of Group Rights. As colonists, we had fewer rights just as today’s California is arguing in federal court that Jews have fewer rights because they “refuse Jesus Christ.” (California presents its position as the individual constitution right of judges to discriminate.)
Duties Transcend Rights
Although it would be an obtuse way to state Pogoism, “duties transcend rights.” Rights and duties are correlatives. Without the correlative duty to protect other people’s rights, rights are illusory. (We are not talking about water rights which refer to a different type of correlative.) What good is the 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination if the government can jail you if your assert it? What good is the First Amendment’s freedom of religion if the government can use your religion to take away basic civil liberties?
The Declaration Was Based on Our Duties
The Declaration, the Revolution, and the Constitution were based upon individuals’ undertaking the duties to respect and promote every individual’s inalienable rights. We could have based our revolt on wanting a new monarchy and the Divine Rights of Kings; we could have declared that Blacks were non-human property. Without our correlative duties to respect and promote each other’s inalienable rights, rights mean less that dilly squat.
Pogo Reminded Us of Our Duties
We are the enemy that manufacturers our own troubles because we collectively shun our duties. The heart of Group Rights advocates on both the GOP and the Dem sides is: “the other guy is evil, and I am a victim.” Woe is me, I cannot learn in school because the teacher is mean to me. Marva Collins blew away that myth by starting her own school in Chicago accepting all students. Her students accepted the duty to excel. The Dems love their Identity Politics as their wards have no duty to do anything except complain while their protectors promise to grab power from the evil ones.
We the People Are Our Own Enemy Because We Trash our Basic Duties
The First Amendment provides for the freedom of the press, but Americans have thrown that freedom into the trash barrel. The purpose of freedom of the press was not to encourage lies and myths and thereby aggrandize the power of the 1%. Leading up to 1776, the Crown stifled facts through rigorous censorship. We all recall John Peter Zenger’s 1733 trial for criticizing the King’s Governor, where the colonial jury voted for liberty over the wishes of the King.
In the late 1700's, King George was the source of censorship and the First Amendment was a gigantic step to thwart governmental power, but as Lord Acton informed us a century later in 1887, “Power tends to corrupt.” Thus, power tends to corrupt our right to a free press, and it is the duty of the citizenry to protect and promote a free press. We the People have shirked our duty and one result is a declining standard of living for the average American and a serious rise in authoritarianism based upon Group Rights bigotries.
(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: Rickleeabrams@Gmail.com. Abrams’ views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.