What Independence Needs: A Small Test


Key logic in America’s founding documents is now neglected. Let’s test your grasp of what workable independence requires:

1. What does “the Declaration” list as the first justification for America’s Independence?

2. What does the Constitution define as government’s role, after providing “for the common defense” and before securing “the Blessings of Liberty”?

3. The Founders knew that no nation is simply the sum of its private interests. Unless those interests correctly include their dependence on answers to the above.

4. The answer to 1: A tyrannous king was obstructing “Laws… necessary for the public good.”

5. The answer to 2: Government must “promote the general Welfare.”

6. The clear logic of common defense applies equally to the “public good.”

7. “Self-interest rightly understood” incorporates “the close connection...between the private fortune of each… and the prosperity of all.”

8. Do markets promote “the general Welfare”?

9. Market blessings since ~ 1970s haven't “trickled down” (graph: productivity growth  hasn't improved most incomes, see also "winner takes all" charts ).  If your economic beliefs predict a rising tide, what should you do if the tide fails?

10. Thriving elites depend less on America's economy now. And winner-take-all attitudes risk creating a star-strangled economy. One market superstars fears “the pitchforks,” while others seem like capitalist-tyrant-kings obstructing the public good.

Liberty is a government program (it can’t be secured privately). And all private success is built atop a platform of the “public good.” Should America be run to benefit “the people” or mostly a happy few? National independence logically requires domestic interdependence.

 

Illustration by Julia Suits, The New Yorker Cartoonist & author of The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions.

This post has been updated (in response to the Brenton Yeates comment below) to include the "winner takes all" charts in item 9.

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