What the Declaration of Independence Really Claimed By Randy Barnett, Washington Post, July 4, 2015 (… excerpts about the Declaration of Independence from my forthcoming book, Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Sovereignty of the People …) The political theory announced in the Declaration of Independence can be summed up by the proposition: First come rights, and then comes government. According to this view:
- The rights of individuals do not originate with any government, but pre-exist its formation.
- The protection of these rights is both the purpose and first duty of government.
- Even after government is formed, these rights provide a standard by which its performance is measured and, in extreme cases, its systemic failure to protect rights—or its systematic violation of rights—can justify its alteration or abolition.
- At least some of these rights are so fundamental that they are “inalienable,” meaning they are so intimately connected to one’s nature as a human being that they cannot be transferred to another even if one consents to do so.
Can American Democracy Survive Against Rising Political Corruption and Privatization? America is becoming more like the illiberal pseudo-democracies and kleptocracies.By Robert Kuttner / The American Prospect March 13, 2015
Searching for Radical Democracy in the Ruins of Capitalism’s Economic Depravity
American Politicians Are a Bigger Threat to Democracy Than ISIS By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, TIME, November 5, 2014 …Instead, of spouting grimly sophisticated cynicism of pundits, I still believe that the inherent goodness of the process can defeat the greed of the politically ambitious and ethically vacuous…
American Democracy Is Diseased By Robert Reich, RobertReich.org, August 20, 2014 The only way back toward a democracy and economy that work for the majority is for most of us to get politically active once again, becoming organized and mobilized. We have to establish a new countervailing power. The monied interests are doing what they do best – making money. The rest of us need to do what we can do best – use our voices, our vigor, and our votes.
The Constitution is inherently progressive by John Podesta and John Halpin, Politico.com, October 10, 2011 - …As progressives, we believe in using the ingenuity of the private sector and the positive power of government to advance common purposes and increase freedom and opportunity…Coupled with basic beliefs in fair play, openness, cooperation and human dignity, it is this progressive vision that in the past century helped build the strongest economy in history and allowed millions to move out of poverty and into the middle class …the story of America has also been the story of a good nation, conceived in liberty and equality, eventually welcoming every American into the arms of democracy, protecting their freedoms and expanding their economic opportunities…
Political dysfunction spells trouble for democracies By E.J. Dionne Jr. , Washington Post, May 19, 2013 ……We should consider whether democracy itself is in danger of being discredited. Politicians might usefully disentangle themselves from their day-to-day power struggles long enough to take seriously their responsibility to a noble idea and the systems that undergird it…[there are] two streams of discontent the world’s democracies face. One is material. The other might be called spiritual… politicians might contemplate their obligations to stewardship of the democratic ideal…