A New Declaration of Independence

The following discussion clip is from the Occupy Wall Street demand discussion list.

Here is the lead in post from fivefingers:

“Demands” is the wrong word. (It makes OWS sound unjustified and is a word associated with other words like “kidnappers” or “unreasonable”.) “Declaration” is the right word. Any such list should be in the framework of a larger document like the “Declaration of Independence”…[Intro to the Declaration of Independence included here.]

Nanook:

This is a tough one. I understand fivefingers’ motives and the emotional power of using the same statement that led to the country’s decision to fight off English rule…  What concerns me is that the meaning of the words used in the original Declaration of Independence don’t mean now what they meant then. So, if we use them now, they convey very misleading messages.

For example, “We hold… that all men are created equal..”. While this sounds simple and rock solid, it’s a ticking time bomb.

First off, the use of the word “men” in this way, without acknowledging the continuing struggle of women, would be very insensitive right now. And if the claim is made that “men” really refers to “mankind”, it will just bring up the INCONVENIENT TRUTH, to borrow Al Gore’s phrase, that women weren’t even considered “MANkind” in 1776. They were considered property.

Secondly, for the Declaration to state that all “men” are considered “equal” raises two huge problems: slavery and aristocracy. The historic record is full of debates which excluded “men” slaves as being equal. It also excluded men who were “peasants”, which was most of the population. So, if the OWS protest is about the 1% [modern aristocrats], the use of the term “equal” attached to the context that was set in 1776 is going to be – ugh – challenging.

Unfortunately, EVERY one of the other “great” values listed in the Declaration has just as serious problems. For anyone who wants to read about these, take a look at http://A3society.org – Democracy tab. 

The following discussion clip is from the Occupy Wall Street demand discussion list.

Here is the lead in post from fivefingers:

“Demands” is the wrong word. (It makes OWS sound unjustified and is a word associated with other words like “kidnappers” or “unreasonable”.) “Declaration” is the right word. Any such list should be in the framework of a larger document like the “Declaration of Independence”…[Intro to the Declaration of Independence included here.]

Nanook:

This is a tough one. I understand fivefingers’ motives and the emotional power of using the same statement that led to the country’s decision to fight off English rule…  What concerns me is that the meaning of the words used in the original Declaration of Independence don’t mean now what they meant then. So, if we use them now, they convey very misleading messages.

For example, “We hold… that all men are created equal..”. While this sounds simple and rock solid, it’s a ticking time bomb.

First off, the use of the word “men” in this way, without acknowledging the continuing struggle of women, would be very insensitive right now. And if the claim is made that “men” really refers to “mankind”, it will just bring up the INCONVENIENT TRUTH, to borrow Al Gore’s phrase, that women weren’t even considered “MANkind” in 1776. They were considered property.

Secondly, for the Declaration to state that all “men” are considered “equal” raises two huge problems: slavery and aristocracy. The historic record is full of debates which excluded “men” slaves as being equal. It also excluded men who were “peasants”, which was most of the population. So, if the OWS protest is about the 1% [modern aristocrats], the use of the term “equal” attached to the context that was set in 1776 is going to be – ugh – challenging.

Unfortunately, EVERY one of the other “great” values listed in the Declaration has just as serious problems. For anyone who wants to read about these, take a look at http://A3society.org – Democracy tab.

About Nanook

I am the "REAL" Nanook. I wrote the book LIARS! It presents the philosophy behind most of the posts on this blog. Look for information about it at http://A3society.org
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