Alan Keyes
The Declaration's true meaning: all but forgotten
Both the majority and Scalia misinterpreted Constitution in Windsor
By Alan Keyes
July 8, 2013

"No good deed goes unpunished." For the kingdom of evil, it would be an appropriate and intimidating slogan. It's rather like the dead-pan advisory, "Resistance is futile," intoned by the voice of the Borg just before the onslaught intended to add your distinctiveness to their collective. It's calculated to paralyze the will of all those who refuse to "get with the program."

For a little while longer, Americans can go on pretending that the all too oft repeated warning against good deeds is a bit of comic relief. But each day, we move further into the realm of "darkness and vain philosophy" where it is the motto of government for a people enslaved by evil, in bondage to their own depravity.

Of course, if we still focused our celebrations on the actual event that took place on July 4, 1776, we would readily appreciate the grave implications of allowing "No good deed goes unpunished" to replace the motto of our national life. We call it Independence Day, but "Declaration of Independence Day" would more accurately recall what happened. For it's the date on which the 2nd Continental Congress adopted the words that were even more resounding than the famous "shot heard round the world." For they resounded for decades, two centuries worth and more, as oppressed people took up the thought of God-endowed equality and unalienable rights.

According to the Declaration of Independence, the purpose of government is the very antithesis of the chilling lie that "No good deed goes unpunished." The purpose of government is to make the world safe for those willing to do good; to secure the lives and property of those willing to respect what is right, as God gives them to see the right; and to secure, on account of this righteous exercise of their freedom, the blessings of liberty.

But these days, we have almost completely forgotten the meaning of the Declaration's words and its relevance to the proclamation of human equality that still resonates, with much impaired good reason, almost throughout the world. Thanks to that contemporary deficiency of reason, the structures of inegalitarian oppression are being globally reconstructed or re-enforced, but with superior building materials that contemporary scientists haplessly provide. Indeed, it is the logic of empirical science, irrationally applied to human nature, which has crippled human reason when it comes to dealing with human affairs.

In the light of this misapplied scientific method, conscience appears to be a secretion of the brain, the misinterpreted effect of a purely physical process. So justice, and all perceptions of right and wrong, are of no more real significance than a leaky faucet. Call in the brain-plumbers (ironically called "psychiatrists," "psychologists," "psychoanalysts," and other names rooted in the language of the very "superstition" they are supposedly equipped to cure), with their drain cleaners, washers, or fixtures, and soon it will be as if the leak never existed.

What most Americans fail to appreciate is that the self-evident truths proclaimed in the American Declaration of Independence depend on the influence of conscience, much as the crops of ancient Egypt depended on the river Nile to overflow its banks. Absent the sense of right and wrong, what distinguishes right from wrong? Absent a practical sense of the significance of that distinction, why would people risk their all to fight for their rights?

America's founders committed themselves to what they knew would be a fight. They did so on account of the then-still unrealized consequences connected with a prospective change in the structure of government, a change that disregarded the principles by which reason confines the powers of government within limits required by respect for right. In the Declaration of Independence, they offered a summary of those principles. These days, people pretend that the Declaration is all about freedom. But when it comes to freedom, which the Declaration alludes to as liberty, it is referred to as one among a number of unalienable rights, endowed by the Creator. Thus liberty is not presented in terms of human self-determination, but in terms of the prior determinations of the Creator, in virtue of which humanity exists.

Moreover, when it comes to government, the Declaration does not say that the aim of government is to preserve freedom. "To secure these rights governments are instituted among men," it says, with liberty included as one of the unalienable rights. So if what we celebrate on July 4th is the American Declaration of Independence, the first and most appropriate activity required to commemorate the serious meaning of the day is not to revel in our freedom. It is to remember and reflect upon the meaning of our rights. Otherwise, the festivities will not help us to recall and respect the founders' decision to risk their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor in order to defend their rights.

This past week, in my last WND column and on my blog, I have been thinking about the nature and implications of the recent Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor. That thinking pointed to the conclusion that neither the decision itself nor the dissent offered by Justice Scalia respected the Constitution or the principles without which it cannot be understood. This fact illustrates what has, for the time being, placed self-government in the United States on the path of extinction. In the present generation, America's politics, its media, and much of its corporate life are dominated by an elitist clique that rejects the Declaration.

They reject it because it evokes the existence of God. They reject it because, on account of His authority, it evokes and respects "the laws of nature and of nature's God." They reject it because they have rejected the rule of reason that accepts man's dependence upon the prior determinations of God as the premise of human understanding, human nature, and human liberty. They reject it because they have rejected the faithful logic that recognizes God as the source of the wisdom that is indispensable if we are to appreciate the self-evident truths that establish human equality and God-endowed rights as the sine qua non of justice and true liberty.

This elitist clique is now firmly in control of both the Democratic and Republican parties and all the branches of our national government. They no longer respect or consider themselves answerable to the people of the United States or the Constitution that speaks with their voice and in their name. They are preparing and will soon implement the very species of totalitarian government Americans have spent more than one lifetime working, fighting, and giving their lives to eliminate as a threat to humankind.

Because these elitist would-be tyrants reject America, the American people must reject them. They must do so now, urgently, as if the very life or death of our nation depends upon it – because it does.

To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at and his commentary at and

© Alan Keyes


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Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election – featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism – when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)


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