The Declaration of Independence is evidence of the ability of powerful men to use beautiful rhetoric of freedom to justify their secession from a political power they didn’t wish to be part of.
The War Between the States less than a hundred years later is evidence that the resulting regime didn’t believe its own rhetoric about secession and self-determination.
Subsequent actions by the federal government are further evidence that following the principles of the Declaration of Independence will get you imprisoned, not freed.
The Declaration of Independence is filled with beautiful, soaring words, but the men who wrote those words couldn’t conceive of letting individuals have real freedom. They could only conceive of groups of powerful white men controlling some specific territory and ruling over those who lived there.
The Constitution is proof that the men of the day imposed their rule on the territory which they seized from Great Britain rather than allowing individuals to rule themselves. It was an experiment in “limited government,” which they believed would somehow be different from all previous attempts at coercion.
It hasn’t proven different. All it’s proven is that those who want power over others will ignore whatever limits on power they might agree to. I give credit to the people who wrote the Constitution for intending to limit the power of their coercive government. They generally meant well, but they were wrong.
If government is coercive, it can’t be limited. The ideas are incompatible. The giving of power to a state to rule over us — even if there’s competition about who gets that power from time to time — is incompatible with individual freedom. And there’s no evidence that such a system will peaceful allow even a large group to secede when they no longer want to be part of such a union.
The southern states tried in 1861. We all know how that went.
I celebrate the ideas in the Declaration of Independence, but I mourn the fact that the resulting coercive state doesn’t allow us to put them into practice for ourselves.
Individuals and groups of individuals have the right to withdraw from a political union if it’s no longer what they want. The words of the rebels in 1776 were absolutely true on that point. They’re just as true today.
Trying to put them into practice will get you arrested or killed, though. The coercive regime doesn’t believe its own foundational document. That’s because “limited government” will always be a contradiction in terms.