Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Our Godless Communist Founding Fathers

Found on my Facebook Feed:
The U. S. Constitution doesn't guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.-
Benjamin Franklin
Two problems: First, I'm pretty sure that Ben Franklin said no such thing (despite quote aggregators on the internet claiming this - not appearing in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations doesn't bode well), and second, I believe that's the Declaration of Independence you are thinking of.

I've always been fascinated by the writing of the Declaration of Independence. It's kind of a masterpiece the way it was crafted. It draws substantially on the same body of English political theory that was used to justify the Hanoverian Dynasty's rise to power to justify Hanover's ouster. While I may have to save the Glorious Revolution for another post, I do want to point out one little thing from John Locke's Second Treatise on Government. (No, not the guy from "Lost".) Locke wrote that people give up their individual rights and consent to be governed "for the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties, and estates, which I [Locke] call by the general name property." Jefferson took this idea, and interchanged property for The Pursuit of Happiness. Damn Hippie. What exactly does it mean that one of our Founding Fathers would rather have us pursue happiness than have individual possessions? To take such a lovely capitalist idea as defending individual property rights and replacing it with a touchy-feely idea of pursuing happiness... there's only one conclusion to make: Thomas Jefferson was a Communist.

Thomas Jefferson, your Godless, Hippie, Communist Founding Father. Which makes sense, given the company he kept:
(Photo from Wikipedia)

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