Thursday, July 29, 2010

How does a theory of progress square with the Declaration of Independence?

I came across an interesting line of discussion this morning which contrasted an absolute belief in progress with the principles in the Declaration of Independence.  It is an idea that I need to think about more but I think it may have some logic.

If you believe that rational thought can resolve or respond to any problem, then those ideas about inalienable rights are not important.  That leads to larger government and in turn smaller individuals.  Obviously the Founders had a notion of progress - they believed that by forming the Union that things would be better.  They lived in an age where science was advancing rapidly.  But they also had a healthy skepticism of a one best way.  That had profound faith in the ability of individuals to chart their own course.

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