Just a short note urging you to read an article in today’s Salon; “Why the Right Hates American History,” written by Thom Hartmann. It’s a lengthy, but accessible article that looks at why education is so important to the health of American democracy, and why Republicans fear an informed citizenry and are waging a war on education. One of the more interesting points that Hartmann makes, and one that every American should understand, is this:
The Declaration, the writings of many of the Founders and Framers, and no shortage of other documents made amply clear the Founders’ and the Framers’ sentiments that human rights were solely the province of humans, and that governments don’t grant rights but, rather, that in a constitutionally limited democratic republic We, The People—the holders of the rights—grant to our governments whatever privileges our government may need to function (while keeping the rights for ourselves).
This is the fundamental difference between kingdoms, theocracies, feudal states, and a democratic republic. In the former three, people must beg for their rights at the pleasure of the rulers. In the latter, the republic derives its legitimacy from the people, the sole holders of rights.
That’s the theory at any rate. Read the article, it’s illuminating.