Black Lives Matter and The Declaration of Independence

VIEW FROM HERE--The two main groups which attack America’s core value of “Liberty to all” are the Democrats and the Republicans. 

Black Lives Matter (BLM), however, is rooted in Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, in the US Constitution, in Abe Lincoln’s House Divided Speech, and in Martin Luther King’s “Free at last, Free at last”, all of which urge America onward to systemic change in order to expand “Liberty to all.” 

As Abraham Lincoln realized. one value holds transcendental value for the American people, “liberty to all.”  When Jefferson wrote the Declaration, its premise was that any government which failed to advance individual inalienable rights including Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness lacked legitimacy. A nation which denies individual inalienable rights merits the most extreme systemic change, i.e., revolution.  Hence, we severed ties with Great Britain and established a new nation.  Less than 100 years after the revolution, America’s core value of Liberty to all was attacked.  As exemplified by Senator Stephen Douglas in the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates, the Declaration’s inalienable rights were allegedly only for white people of northern European descent. 

As Lincoln maintained, all men had inalienable rights and “Liberty to all” was the sine qua non of America’s soul.  Hence, the nation could no longer tolerate slavery without losing its soul.  The founding fathers had established a government where Liberty would forever expand until Liberty extended to all.  By the 1860's, the time had come for slavery to end even if that entailed the most extreme action of war. 

Expanding Liberty to all has been America’s mission.  Women got the vote in 1920 with the 19th Amendment. It seems inconceivable that woman have had the right to vote for only one hundred years. That means there are people alive today were born when women could not vote! Women Suffrage was a systemic change.  After WW II, we had more systemic change with the GI Bill where the government financially supported any service member who wanted to realize his inalienable right to pursue happiness.  Life + Liberty = Pursuit of Happiness.   It was not the wealthy industrialist who stayed home who won the war nor was it the Wall Street banker. The 1% of post WW II America would not be permitted to thwart the expansion of Liberty to all by withholding from GI Joe the benefits of his sacrifice.  Not only the men who served in the armed forces but also the women who had “manned” the home front were entitled to full participation in the post war prosperity. (Yes, America still imposed considerable liabilities on women, but Liberty to all steadily applied to women.)  The GI Bill was systemic change. 

But for Kennedy’s assassination and Lyndon Johnson’s political guile, it is highly unlikely that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would have passed Congress, but it was another systemic change which extended Liberty to all.  Forty years later, Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in Lawrence v Texas 539 U.S. 558 (2003) reaffirmed Liberty to all as America’s essence.  Justice Kennedy’s opening paragraph said: 

“Liberty protects the person from unwarranted government intrusions into a dwelling or other private places. In our tradition the State is not omnipresent in the home. And there are other spheres of our lives and existence, outside the home, where the State should not be a dominant presence. Freedom extends beyond spatial bounds. Liberty presumes an autonomy of self that includes freedom of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate conduct. The instant case involves liberty of the person both in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions.” 

Five times Justice Kennedy’s opening paragraph invokes the individual’s inalienable right to Liberty-Freedom.  Twelve years later, Kennedy began Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015), “The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.”   

In writing “Liberty to all” Kennedy was reminding Conservatives of The Declaration, of Abraham Lincoln’s position and of Dr. Harry Jaffa’s explanation of America’s soul being ‘Liberty to all.”   October 19, 2020, CityWatch, Why Prof. Harry Jaffa Would Support Black Lives Matter, by Richard Lee Abrams (Kennedy’s use of “Liberty to all” was the annihilation of Scalia’s intellectual fraud of Originalism, a point far too subtle for Scallions to grasp.) 

While Liberty to all was steadily advancing, its nemesis, The Doctrine of Equality and Group Rights, was likewise in ascent.  The pernicious nature of Group Rights had been significantly advanced by Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) which excluded Blacks as a group from “Liberty to all.” Instead, it accorded Blacks an ersatz value of Equality of Results.  For the Brown Court, segregation was not per se unconstitutional as the deprivation of Liberty, but rather segregation was illegal only if Blacks did not have an equality of result with Whites.  As Rehnquist pointed out in US v VMI, if VMI had provided women equal facilities, then segregating women would have been constitutional. 

Group Rights, i.e. Equality Between Certain Groups, Erases Liberty to All 

In fact, it also wipes out Liberty for everyone since the legal determination of whether one group is being treated unfairly rests in comparison with the achievement of another group.  Equality of result can be had by depriving the more prosperous group, which is the philosophy underlying Affirmative Actions quotas and Slavery Reparations.  Group rights results in inter group hostilities, and in times of hardship, it devolves into violence as each side fights for what it believes is its fair share. 

The Dems abandonment of “Liberty to all” as the soul the American Republic in favor of democracy where life become an amoral, winner-take-all game is also responsible for stimulating the Alt Right.  White racism, like the racism of multitudes of peoples around the globe, will always linger under the surface, but it remains impotent when there is no counter group.  Without the Dems’ Identity Politics, white supremacy would be relegated to a tiny, powerless faction, but when all whites are threatened, are called Deplorables and blamed for all the woes of minorities, many moderate whites will seek refuge in a scoundrel.  

BLM’s implication is that dividing people into groups violates America’s soul.  When one says Black Lives Matter, they echo MLK, “Do not treat an individual differently due to skin color.”  All individuals have inalienable rights and as Thomas Jefferson laid down in the Declaration and as Abraham Lincoln repeated, systemic change becomes mandatory when Liberty to all is denied. When society is gerrymandered so as to deprive a particular group of the right to vote, systemic change is mandatory.  When the entire law enforcement - judicial system is structured for injustice, systemic change is mandatory. 

On September 1, 2016, when Colin Kaepernick took a knee, he graphically reminded America of its soul, Liberty to all. Meanwhile, the Dems had devised a new word for whites, “Deplorables.”  Kaepernick was not asking that Whites be treated badly, but that we reaffirm Liberty to all including Blacks.  If Thomas Jefferson can call for systemic change, so too may Black Lives Matter. So too should everyone.


(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: [email protected]. Abrams’ views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.)