“to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them,...”Let me first touch on the idea of “separate.” There was of course the need to separate from England, to become an independent country. There was also a desire in the Founding Fathers to separate from Europe and the European way of doing things. We were supposed to be different. That required a time of isolation.
George Washington’s Farewell Address warning against foreign entanglements. To get a flavor go to the document and do a search for “foreign” and variations of “entangle.”
If there is anyone who would qualify as a Founding Father it would be George Washington. He is the central figure in the early years of transition from colony to independence without the usual pattern of petty dictator emerging. Here are a few of his concerns and recommendations.
“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens, the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican Government.”Here he warns us to understand the motives of foreigners. They are not out to make our system work. They have other motives. His focus was Europe. That makes sense in his day.
“Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. -- Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. -- Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships, or enmities.”Our concern is wider because technology has made our world bigger, but the principle is the same.
What would George Washington have thought of the United Nations, World Court, and all of the other Byzantine organizations we have been tied to? I don’t think he would approve, even if he were alive today and understood modern concerns.
We are to be a separate and different people.
homo unius libri