When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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.
Okay, the Declaration of Interdependence sounds a lot like the Declaration of Independence.
By saying that it is a self-evident truth that all humans are created equal and that our inalienable rights include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, our Founding Fathers were telling us that we are all in this together, that we are interdependent, that we have a moral duty to protect these inalienable rights for all humans. President Lincoln, perhaps above all others, was instrumental in making clear that the second sentence of the Declaration was “a moral standard for which the United States should strive,” as Wikipedia puts it.
The double appeal to “Nature” — including the explicit appeal to “the laws of Nature” in the first sentence — is particularly salient. For masters of rhetoric like the authors of the Declaration, a repeated word, especially in an opening sentence, is repeated for the singular purpose of drawing attention to it (see “Why scientists aren’t more persuasive, Part 1“).
Yes, the phrase “laws of nature” meant something different to Jefferson than it does to us (see here). But as a living document, and as a modern Declaration of Interdependence, the words have grown in meaning.
It is the laws of Nature, studied and enumerated by scientists, that make clear we are poised to render those unalienable rights all but unattainable for billions of humans on our current path of unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions. It is the laws of Nature that make clear Americans can’t achieve sustainable prosperity if the rest of the world doesn’t, and vice versa.
Ironically — or perhaps intentionally — the toughest inalienable right to maintain is “the pursuit of happiness.” Certainly, the catastrophic global warming we know we face (thanks to our understanding of the laws of nature) threatens life and liberty (see “Memorial Day, 2030“).
But if we keep listening to the deniers and delayers, if we fail to sharply reverse our current emissions path nationally and globally, then we are headed toward 5°C (9°F) planetary warming by century’s end and 850+ ppm — with sea level rise of 4 to 6 feet or higher, rising perhaps a foot a decade or more for centuries, the U.S. Southwest and one third of the Earth’s habited land a permanent Dust Bowl, half or more species extinct, and much of the ocean a hot, acidic dead zone (see “Intro to global warming impacts: Hell and High Water“).
Not bloody many people will be pursuing “happiness” under those conditions. They will be desperately trying to avoid misery, when they aren’t cursing our names for betraying our moral values.
If we don’t aggressively embrace the clean energy transition starting immediately — and help lead the entire world to a similar transition — then the Ponzi scheme we call the global economy will probably be in some stage of obvious collapse by our 250th anniversary, July 4, 2026.
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
And so “happiness” is repeated also, underscoring its importance to the Founders. “Life” and “Liberty” are really the very minimum we owe our fellow humans. We have a moral obligation to work toward freedom from want and care for all.
The party of Lincoln has, tragically, abandoned the values embraced and articulated by its greatest thinker and rhetorician — and those embraced and articulated by our Founders in the Declaration see (WashPost: “The GOPs climate-change denial may be its most harmful delusion”).
When is the last time a major conservative politician ever talked about “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind” except to mock the entire notion (see Gingrich sums up GOP ethos: “I am not a citizen of the world! I think the entire concept is intellectual nonsense and stunningly dangerous”).
We live in unique times. We must all hang together or we will surely all hang separately.
Happy Interdependence Day Century!
Below are the earlier comments from the Facebook commenting system:
This is a clever invocation of principles of freedom to the global need for interdependent progress. It is especially true in a world where the price of its most strategic commodity (oil) is set internationally. That means that increased production or stoppage anywhere will globally impact prices.
Nature is the model. Nature is a fractal that endlessly evolves. Try to “silo” a part of nature and you diminish its ability to grow and enmesh with the rest of nature.
For the U.S. to silo its technological and market development of alternative energy to seek some national advantage or benefit is foolhardy. To build an alternative fuel industry without helping to propagate regionally sustainable alternatives elsewhere will still result in a global dependence on oil because of the rapid rise in the demand for liquid energy.
The failure of each state and region now impacts us all. Just look at Greece’s economic collapse and the impact on EU and the rest of Western economies. Check out the ripple effects of Egypt’s revolution. We are, in every way, interdependent.
Regardless of the driver that matters most to you – energy, economic, environmental, military, or climate change security – we are all in this together. Freedom – to innovate and to share solutions.
Hi Nancy, a few facts. 1) Agenda 21 is part of a non binding treaty signed by George HW Bush in 1992. Its about taking better care of the environment and the people of the planet. Here: http://habitat.igc.org/agenda21/a21-01.htm 2) Sustainability efforts in the US are primarily about volunteers working to make their communities a cleaner healthier place.
July 5 at 7:56am
I do not agree with you. Agenda 21 is about CONTROLLING you in your local environment. You have to be blind not to see that if YOU can’t elect people who will represent YOU and YOUR COMMUNITY, then YOU are giving up control of YOUR LIFE to people thousands of miles away who’s sole goal it is is to CONTROL humanity, society, culture, food, economies, etc. Read the details. THINK about losing CONTROL over YOUR LIFE. And, btw, make sure you understand that interdependency is a trap. Remember ‘if you don’t like it here, vote with your feet’? Well what if YOU DON’T like it here, and you CAN’T vote with your feet?
July 5 at 9:59am
Sustainability initiatives in the US precede the 1992 Rio Accord, and current efforts have nothing to do with it either–it is local citizens working for the improvement of theirs communities. Nancy, you’ve got to get your head out of Glenn Beck/Fox News/Tea Party Space–paranoid conspiracy theories about black helicopters and whatnot are just silly.
July 5 at 10:16am
Somebody want to tell this clown that Abraham Lincoln wanted to free the slaves, and send them all back to Africa?
“Progressivism” has nothing to do with treating people as equals. Its all about dividing people into whatever group you can pile them, and pitting them against each other. Advocate that nobody gets anything while taking into consideration their age, gender, sexual orientation, or skin color, and you will be left with nothing to judge but Merrit. As the writers of the declaration intended it.
Uh hey Dave wtf does progressivism have to do with Joe Romms article? Oh I know! Several progressives listen to what scientists have to say instead of pretending to be know-it-alls when it comes to science. Please prattle on with your nonsense.
July 5 at 2:17am
Oh and hey Nancy http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/06/23/252357/glenn-beck-empowering-individuala-through-sustainable-development-is-a-%E2%80%9Csocialist-crusade%E2%80%9D/ Romm has already gone over this.
July 5 at 2:44am
I can think of no better way to honor the founders of this country than to think about their vision in relation to where we are this July 4, 2011. A Declaration of Interdpendence would bring us out of our mypoia and into the reality of a global human, social, environmental and ecomomic interdependence. What will it take to wrap our heads around this? What were considered minortity ethnic groups, will by 2012, be the majority in this country. We are a global America. We are a global market. We are Interdependent. As the article closes with: Happy Interdependence Century!
Yes,We are a Global America. Yes,We are Economically Interdependent. NO,I Will Not Concede our Sovereignty, Nor Our Constitution because some Meddling old former Nazi is throwing his money around to change the American Dream for a borderless world without our Freedom.
July 6 at 2:03pm
Like listening to an atheist quote and analyze Gaian scripture from the bible of his colonized mind.
(need an UNLIKE button please)
July 4 at 9:46pm
Gerard you’re like listening to a guy who says people like getting feces thrown at them by monkeys then in others comments then pretends to be a serious adult trying to rationally critique an authors blog. Really, tip for next time: If you want to sound like your opinion is worth more than monkey poo, don’t start with jokes saying how others want to have monkey poo thrown at them okay?
July 5 at 3:21am
Pssst… The ‘Unlike’ button will appear once you hit the ‘Like’ button.
Wash, rinse, repeat until you feel better.
No monkey-poo needed to do this – and you don’t annoy Gerard in the process, thus abiding with the crunchy Gaian ‘Do no harm’ principle.
July 8 at 5:24am
Thank you very much.
The Human Biological Machine as a Transformational Apparatus …
July 5 at 9:11am
July 5 at 9:11am
This Declaration of Interdependence applies to all Life. “We must all hang together or we will surely all hang separately,” is addressed to the tuna, the spider and the tiger as well as to all humans. E. O. Wilson’s Law states that “if we save the living environment, the biodiversity that we have left today, then we will also automatically save the physical environment. If we only save the physical environment, then we will ultimately lose both.”
We must not accept a 50% haircut on biodiversity with a shrug of the shoulders, because who will guarantee that the species loss will stabilize at that 50% level and that humans will be among the survivor species? Who has such an accurate model for ecosystems behavior?
This is why it is time to rethink the high footprint lifestyles that we aspire to “in the pursuit of happiness.” Fortunately, there are ancient texts that already prove that high footprint lifestyles do not result in happiness, but only misery and suffering. That is the truly inconvenient truth for industrial capitalism…
So..you would rather be at the mercy of nature? To perhaps die from something commonly cured,thanks to capitalism and the need to achieve. I Myself see NO need for Disease to “cull” our Species,since nature provided us with something no other species on the planet has, an ability to use their brain for more than eating and breeding. I’ll be the 1st to admit though,some “sciences” should never be implemented. (nano technology if used properly is Wonderful… but if just 1 nano is built with just 1 command to replicate itself!!! The planet would be smothered within weeks) We need to save our species by dispersal in my opinion. Where To? into the Oceans and Eventually Space. Else our species must burrow into the planet and become less than what we aspire to.
July 4 at 11:16pm
14 Propaganda Techniques Fox “News” Uses to Brainwash Americans.
(Brainwashed Americans are such a big part of the problem, most of the problem.)
Thanks Catman306. Here is a live link to your post. <http://www.alternet.org/news/151497/14_propaganda_techniques_fox_%22news%22_uses_to_brainwash_americans/>
July 4 at 1:01pm
On the ground details on the issues with carbon tax v cap n trade…
B.C. finds success with controversial carbon tax.
There were complaints at the beginning but the experiment with one of the world’s first carbon levies has resulted in a substantial cut in per-capita fuel usage.
“People will tell politicians they want to save the planet but won’t pay more for gasoline,” Prof. Jaccard said. “The policy making is extremely difficult.”
July 4 at 2:11pm
BULL! Your analysis of the Document TOTALLY disregards the Federalists Papers. Which Explains the Constitution. And MY Freedom was Endowed By Our Creator. Not the Document of which you have twisted. The Constitution only details what they are. Take your SOROSian babble to the undereducated populace (oh that’s right…you already have) Thanks for turning the Education System into a Indoctrination Camp for SHEEP. They haven’t taught anyone to think for themselves for decades. And that includes the Parrot who wrote and posted the above article. Our Founding Fathers were CONSERVATIVES and they Built a REPUBLIC. We chose to hold Democratic Elections so We the People were able to Choose our Represenatives who were Entrusted to Uphold and Preserve Our Constitution. Not to Twist it’s Spirit into something less.
Oh wow I read this blog for awhile thinking it was the truth, but hey a Glenn Beck inspired screed filled with conspiracy theory and accusations? Sign me up for that!
July 5 at 2:28am
@Patrick Linsley- Have you noticed the similarities of our current conditions to those of Ancient Rome before their fall? They fell because of “Social Justice”. They filled their Military with those not of their Country. (same with us) They Fell from the inside out (as we are),Everything was provided by the Emporer (as our current President is attemting) Want more? Study History
July 6 at 12:35pm
I have Ben I used to read books on the age of Antiquity and Medieval Europe and on the standard placement test for history in the top 5% of the U.S. Trouble is that there were SEVERAL reasons for their decline and picking and choosing the ones you or I like really isn’t fair to the history or to saying that there wasn’t knock on effects from one or another. However I will say that it’s hard to imagine the live of a plebian as one of leisure.
July 7 at 12:14am
“We have a moral obligation to work toward freedom from want and care for all.”
Sorry The Declaration of INDEPENDENCE, does not say or even infer that. That is so much Socialist/communist/union tripe that it stinks on ice. I have no obligation to work for anyone but myself and my happiness. If I choose to help others along the way, it is my choice and it is not made for me by some corrupt bureaucrat who has only in mind to fleece the people. AKA Global warming, Ice age or climate change. The shysters have been working over time earning degrees and then doing phoney work and studies to come to preordained conclusions. All so they can get paid by their masters who stand to make trillions of dollars by swindling people with smoke and mirrors.
UNLIKE: Click like here to UNLIKE
July 4 at 10:35pm
Only an obligation to work for your own happiness… although the founders were working together for a COMMON betterment… Aren’t corrupt bureaucrats doing just that? Working for their own happiness at the expense of the populous? Can’t say I’d vote for a legislator who disavows an obligation to work FOR his constituents… and fight corruption
5 at 2:30am
‘I have no obligation to work for anyone but myself and my happiness.’ Wow I hope you don’t have children I can only imagine how screwed up they would be from your insane feeling of selfishness! Oh and here is a quote for you from one of those socialist/communist/union tripe makers who was probably more inline with Joe Romm than you and inspired the idea of a war of independence:
“The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”
July 5 at 3:11am
To Tony Wright; If you do not see that we are all in this together, you eyes are not open.
July 5 at 2:16pm