Because the Bunny Asked For It

Update 7 April 2010: To encourage the moving on from this conversation, I am closing the comments to this blog post.  Thank you for your interest and continuing support, my readers.

Why the Declaration of Independence Was and Still Is a Revolutionary Document That Changed the Way We See the World

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and 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, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

This one-sentence paragraph gives preliminary background, providing 1) the occasion of the declaration — one people are politically separating themselves from another, 2) some axioms, such as “Laws of Nature” and “Nature’s God” exist and give people “the powers of the earth” — i.e. political power, and 3) the audience “mankind.” One must remember that, in the eyes of the world, the American colonists who were pro-revolution were illegal rebels, traitors and seditionists within their legal government, the British crown. They had to persuade “the opinions of mankind” that they weren’t traitors, weren’t, to use the modern term, terrorists, but a people who were betrayed by their government.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident,”
That is, once you hear of it, it is so obvious, that you go, “Duh!” and slap your forehead for not realizing it in the first place.

“that all men are created equal,”
This assumes that humanity is created by a Creator — a strongly theistic stance shared by many in the world which the writers of the Declaration (the “Framers”) appealed to as a way of sharing at least one thing in common — American revolutionaries and the rest of the world, all believing in a Creator God who made everything. Also, equality is part of our being, as part of us as, say, our DNA. If anything, we are equal because we are all equally homo sapiens, born naked, squalling, and helpless.

“that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,”
Just as the Creator gives us our equality as part of being human, another part of being human is having rights that are native — “unalienable” — to us and, therefore, are a natural part of us as our skin, hair, and eyes.

“that among these are Life,”
We have the God-given right to exist. If somebody tries to kill me, I have the right to defend myself. If I’m starving, I have the right to eat. If I’m freezing to death, I have the right to clothe myself and keep warm.

“Liberty”
We have the God-given right to act on our own free will. My will is my own, not owned by others. I have the will to choose what my body, my mind, and my spirit wills to do. My body, my mind, my spirit is mine to control. I am not born a slave. I am born free. My society may deny my acting on my free-will, but my free-will exists, even when oppressed. Oddly enough, I can even *choose* to submit my free-will to others, but that submission is my choice, not another’s. Even if I was born in a society that oppressed my free-will, I will know that oppression is happening because I will feel restless, feel that something is not right, and will start to rebel, if only in my heart and mind, against this violation of my natural right to think, act, and feel on my own.

“and the pursuit of Happiness.”
We have the God-given right to try to be happy. We *do not* have the right to happiness. If we were, then why would we need free-will if we were already born happy, in perpetual bliss? In Lockean (political philosopher John Locke), we do not have the right to be wealthy, but we do have the right to *try*.

“–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men,”
Human beings create governments all over the world as tools to safeguard their God-given rights to exist, to have free-will, and to try to be happy.

“deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”
Governments, which are tools manned by men, just like a lever is operated by a human hand, get their powers from the people. Governments get their kinetic energy, so to speak, from the potential energy of the people who create the governments. Notice the plural “governments” — all forms of government — for examples, monarchy (rule of one), oligarchy (rule of a few), democracy (rule of the many) — are just if, at the original creation of these different forms, they began with people agreeing to be ruled by either 1) one person, 2) a minority of people, or 3) a majority of people. Why they agree doesn’t matter, as long as they agree to lend their powers to govern themselves to the governments who become extensions — like that lever — of themselves.

“–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends,”
That is, when *any* form of government (remember that the American colonists were under the British crown) forgets that it is only a tool to safeguard the governed people’s rights and actually starts to destroy the rights of the very people it is supposed to protect — instead of life, it gives death; instead of liberty, it gives slavery; instead of pursuit of happiness, it gives the imprisonment of immobility, of being stuck in one miserable state.

“it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it,”
This is the fourth unalienable right. We have the right to change (within the same form of government, usually by voting/ running for office/ civil disobedience/ suing in courts) or to abolish it (by destroying the form of government, usually by revolution/ civil war if the current form of government is just *that* broken).

“and to institute new Government,”
If altered, then “new Government” means a new administration, new terms office, a new king; if abolished, then an entirely new form of government (from, say monarchy to democracy, or, in the case of America, to a mixed republic — oligarchy mixed with democracy).

“laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Whatever form of government the new government is (monarchy, oligarchy, democracy, or some mixed permutation), the people will create a government in which that government’s prime goal is to safeguard their right to exist, their right to exercise their free-will, their right to try to be happy.

“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes;”
But people aren’t *stupid*. They won’t activate the extreme form of this fourth right of theirs — revolution — for petty or temporary problems in their government, especially if their government has been around for a long time.

“and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”
People are willing to put up with a lot of crap from their government if they’re used to working with the government that they find themselves under, that they can still live, make choices, and try to be happy, even if their government is kind of crappy but not crappy all the way through.

“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism,”
That is, over time, when lots of people — not just a few, not just friends and family, but even complete strangers, people you don’t even like — realize that 1) their life is miserable because of what the government has done, 2) they have no right to refuse orders and in fact have no voice at all in what they can or cannot do, say or cannot say because of what the government has done, and 3) have no opportunities to better themselves, have no place to go, are locked, in their miserable life because of what the government has done, then the government is no longer *their* government but a Frankensteinian monster, a dead thing that thinks it is alive, which has turned against its creator, trying to destroy it, namely, the people.

“it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
When government goes so bad that it no longer acts like one’s government anymore, in fact acts like a foreign enemy to its people, then the people has the responsibility to get rid of such a monster and put in new operators of a real government, a government that remembers why it is there in the first place — to create an environment such that the people can live, act on their free-will, and try to be happy. In other words, vote, run for office, demonstrate, lobby, be an active member of the citizenry.

“—Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”
This is a transition paragraph; the previous paragraphs have been premises to a long syllogism, with the conclusion that people have the right to change their government, because governments (whether that be monarchy, oligarchy, democracy, or mixed) don’t give them rights — they’re born with them. This paragraph applies the conclusion of the syllogism to the specific situation of the American colonists’ broken political relationship with their broken government, the British Empire, as manifested in American soil. The subsequent paragraphs is a laundry-list of the “long train of abuses and usurpations” of the British monarchy towards the American colonies, serving as evidence of tyranny and, therefore, a government-turned-monster.

“He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”
End of laundry-list of evidence, damning the British monarchy of tyranny.

“In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
This is the first part of the refutation, answering the unspoken question, “Well, you didn’t try hard enough. Why don’t you petition the king, the governors, your representative?” The answer: “WE DID. IT DIDN’T WORK. IN FACT, WE GOT PUNISHED FOR IT.”

“Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.”
This is the second part of the refutation, answering the unspoken question, “Well, you didn’t try other avenues. Why don’t you ask those you know who’s close to government, your friends, your family members, who are insiders to help you out?” The answer: “WE DID. THEY IGNORED US, SAYING, ‘SORRY, YOUR PROBLEM, NOT OURS.'”

“We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.”
Conclusion: we’re on our own.

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions,”
“We” represents the American colonists willing to go to war, and the “Supreme Judge of the world” is the Creator God.

“do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies,”
This government of “the united States of America” is aware if its status as having its powers lent to it by the people.

“solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved;”
Enactment of the fourth inalienable right.

“and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”
For the individual, one’s individual rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness becomes, lent to and magnified in power by the government, the “Power to Levy War, conclude Peace,” — that is, have a foreign policy and a strong military to enforce it; “contract Alliances” — that is, have international ties of mutual benefit with foreign governments; “establish Commerce” — that is, create an environment for a strong economy, an exchange of goods, services, ideas, etc.

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence,”
God is with us.

“we mutually pledge to each other our Lives,”
We’re willing to die for these rights.

“our Fortunes”
We’re willing to spend our wealth for these rights.

“and our sacred Honor.”
We’re willing to sacrifice our public reputation for these rights, because absolutely, we know what we are doing is honorable.

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About lizardqueen

If single-mothering were a paid job, I'd be rich. However, it doesn't, so I write (which doesn't pay the bills) and teach (which does). I'm overly-educated in the liberal arts, but that doesn't hinder my ability to be pragmatic and realistic. YAY.
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19 Responses to Because the Bunny Asked For It

  1. Pingback: Independence Day in the USA | I Am the Lizard Queen!

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  3. lizardqueen says:

    This dispute about copyright infringement reminds me of a question that a student of mine asked, about protecting her poetry as intellectual property. I found good info online of what a person can copyright and what a person CANNOT:
    http://www.beyourownboss.org/library/articles/2003/copy-trade-pat.htm#copyright

    http://www.publicdomainsherpa.com/what-is-public-domain.html

    This is good to know. My blog “Rowena’s World” is under copyright. But the phrase “Rowena’s World” is not, considering that there can be a woman out there named Rowena with her own work.

    This information set her mind at ease, that she has recourse just in case a person every plagiarizes her poetry.

    • mounds says:

      Unfortunately, the beyourownboss.org site is Canadian. I used a phrase from the Canadian page as a query on Google and found this U.S. government link: http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-protect.html. It says: “Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. In some cases, these things may be protected as trademarks.”

      • Dear Sirs,
        Thanks for the information about a website. I already have one, and have for 3 years now. Try globalpowerandwater.com. To find the dictionary, try searching for “The Oxford English Dictionary Online”.
        My main effort and goal is and was to get you professors to look up the definition of “unalienable” The Oxford English Dictionary Online is where I found the definition. As Professors I thought that you would want to straighten out the mis-use of the word that you are teaching the young people. This is a critically important word because it is used in the U.S. Declaration of Independence to define the tests that one must use to ascertain the validity of an unalienable right. None of the posts I have ever seen in 10 years of looking point out this fact.
        A clearer idea of what I am saying can be found by reading my petition to the President concerning an Unalienable Right that, contrary to the Declaration of Independence, the government has been trying to take away from our citizens.
        Thanks for being so kind to me.
        Please, teach our children well,
        A copy of my petition is presented here below for the edification of all interested parties.
        Wayne A. Biszick
        327 Freshwater Ct.
        Orlando, FL 32825
        (407) 482-0940

        Dear Mr. President,

        Due to the fact that all politicians are aware of the benefits that come with restoring the American people with the unalienable right discussed below but are not willing to risk the wrath of the people that don’t like the idea, it will only become reality if the Supreme Court rules that the Fourth Unalienable right is valid and the violation of this right is unconstitutional..

        THE FOURTH UNALIENABLE RIGHT

        ANY effort to control or regulate ANY plant on the face of the earth is a violation of or an attempt to compromise the Unalienable Rights of all Americans as set forth in the preamble of our Declaration of Independence as follows;

        WHEREAS:
        Our founding fathers made sure that Americans were aware of the fact the we don’t know how many Unalienable Rights there are, but Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are three of them. This affirmation was accomplished by use of the following words and phrases. “Self Evident”. “Endowed by their creator” “Certain Unalienable Rights” and “Among these”

        WHEREAS:
        The Oxford English Dictionary Online defines Unalienable as ” Inalienable. God Given. Cannot be taken away from you nor given away by you.

        THEREFORE:
        For a right to be acknowledged as unalienable our preamble says it must be Self Evident, God Given, and a long standing, substantial though unsuccessful effort has been undertaken to take away or give away the right in question: Just such an unalienable right is revealed below.

        1.) Genesis 1:27 reveals this unalienable right to us when it says ” God said Behold I give to you every plant on the face of the earth for your food.” Torah goes further in Genesis 1:28 by adding ” God saw that it was good, and so it remained.” The current and historical use of plants by mankind is Self Evident and shows the definition of “Food”, in this case, to be the nourishment of the needs of our Bodies, Minds, and Spirits.

        2.) A long standing yet unsuccessful attempt has been made by the Federal Government and the Governments of its several states together with their counties, cities, towns, and villages to take away the God given right to the quiet enjoyment of any plant on the face of the earth by the passage and continuing unsuccessful enforcement of restrictive laws and International Treaties that makes the growth of, the distribution of, or the enjoyment of a very limited number of plants together with any implements coincident to their enjoyment a criminal offense punishable variously by incarceration, loss of citizens rights, fines, seizures of private property, denial of employment, and the ruination of personal reputations that result from the permanent stigma of a criminal record.

        Having met all the criteria for an unalienable right as set forth in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence The right to the quiet enjoyment of every plant on the face of the earth is, and must be recognized as another unalienable right.

        In this vein I would petition the federal government and the governments of its several states to issue an Estop Order to immediately cease any and all actions that in any way interfere with the free exercise of this unalienable right.

        The U.S. federal government, and the governments of its’ several states immediately repeal all laws, rescind all directives and/or executive orders, and withdraw from all treaties that in any way interfere with the free exercise of this unalienable right.

        The U.S. federal government and the governments of it’s several states immediately restore to freedom, return the confiscated property of, and sanitize the criminal records of any person whose crime/crimes is/are related to the exercise of this unalienable right.

        Now to the financial considerations that I spoke of in my opening remarks.
        Right now Americans are spending an alleged 1.5 Trillion hard earned, tax paid disposable income dollars every year to acquire the plants of their choice. We are not happy about this money winding up in the underground economy. By restoring all plants to their rightful status, instead of going to the underground economy, this money will be used by Americans to satisfy their pent up needs for things like housing, cars, education, the whole gamut of legal ways that people can spend or invest their hard earned money. Needs that have gone a begging because the exercise of their unalienable right costs them all of the disposable income they have.
        This sudden explosion of retail sales and investment will bring large amounts of money to governments at all levels ( much more than any sin tax could ever bring in.) because much of the money will be spent, and create jobs, right where the people live. The projected business activity resulting from the recognition of this unalienable right, and the freeing up of disposable income together with the granting of the remedies sought above will ripple to at least a 3.75 trillion dollar annual growth in the Gross National Product.
        God says yes to this unalienable right, what do you say?

        Wayne

  4. lizardqueen says:

    WOW — the tone of this commentary is getting unnecessarily infammatory.

    Wayne, I left you a voicemail at your work number at Global Power & Water since you haven’t emailed me yet. Please call me back so that we can continue this conversation offline and in a private venue.

    To reiterate — I am only analyzing Thomas Jefferson’s intent in his writing of The Declaration of Independence, including his own meaning of the term “unalienable right” as coming from a “Creator” — hence my paraphrase of Jefferson’s words as “God-given.” How you want to use that term in your own document IS YOUR RIGHT. But, as I mention here and elsewhere, this isn’t MY usage — it’s JEFFERSON’s usage. Jefferson purposefully denoted human rights being “endowed” by a “Creator” because his audience — American colonists — agreed on that premise. “Unalienable” simply means “not alien” or “not foreign”, of course. But Jefferson is using this term for a very specific occasion — the Declaration of Independence.

    Respectfully yours,
    Dr. Rufel Ramos

    P.S. And I apologize to mounds for the inflammatory nature that this dialogue between Wayne and me has gotten. This was far from my intent when I posted this harmless blog entry five years ago!

  5. lizardqueen says:

    Wayne,

    To remedy your problem of authorities finding you and your activism, may I suggest that you get your own website, inexpensively acquired through Yahoo! Small Business, and register a domain name that anyone can easily find through a web search? (I do that with my own personal web site, http://rowenasworld.org, so that my students can find me and their class materials).

    Perhaps any of these four domain names would work, to get the best search results:
    waynebiszick.com (as a commercial entity)
    waynebiszick.org (as a non-profit organization)
    thefourthunalienableright.org (as a non-profit organization)
    thefourthunalienableright.com (as a commercial entity)

    None of these domain names exist right now, leaving you the freedom to register any one of these web addresses. You can put all of the far-flung documents and texts of your web presence on this one website (which I see you have been filing grievances as a private citizen, small business owner, and consumer, in your home state of Florida, from doing a web search on your name).

    Good luck on your continuing “green” political activism.

    Sincerely,
    Dr. Ramos
    aka The Lizardqueen

  6. lizardqueen says:

    IMHO, “humane habitation” seems to be an example of the three previous rights: right to life, right to liberty, right to pursue happiness. It’s difficult to secure any of these three things without shelter that affords dignity to oneself.

    HOWEVER — humane habitation can be given to a subject by an enlightened king, even a despot. Just look at what the “Enlightened” Russian tsars did to develop their country (not without deep flaws, mind you), as well as Communist China, to provide cheap electricity to develop the rural areas for habitation.

    What the Founding Fathers insisted, in arguing for “the Right or Abolish it”, is the right for all human beings — irrespective of what political system they’re living in — to overthrow an abusive government, a government abusing its citizens.

    This right seems pretty obvious to us NOW — in the 21st century. But it wasn’t so obvious back in 1776. After all, the French Revolution against the French monarchy was still a decade away.

    Hence, that’s why Jefferson stated this concept as a “Right”, separate from the earlier three that he enumerated earlier in the text.

    Common-sense tells us, then, since all human rights are unalienable (or “inalienable” to use Jefferson’s earlier wording in an earlier draft of the Declaration — the one that mentioned slavery in regards to King George III), this “Right to Alter or Abolish it” is the fourth unalienable right.

    There are more rights, not listed in the Declaration of Independence — just like there are more rights not enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

    We don’t have to stop with just four.

    Thank you for the clarification, Mounds.

  7. mounds says:

    Wayne,

    Did you actually file for a copyright on the phrase, “The Fourth Unalienable Right?” When? Was it more than 20 years ago? If not, see http://www.idt.org/letters/letters-v5n10.htm for prior art.

    Regardless, a copyright does not protect you from other people independently producing work similar to your own, which consists of merely four words — three really — two of which are already an extremely common phrase. A trademark would protect against that, but the horse is already out of the barn. The phrase you have chosen is a frequently used generic term and is, therefore, not defensible as a trademark.

    Good luck.

    • Dear Sir;
      The phrase “The Fourth Unalienable Right” is part of a whole document, that is copywritten.
      I think that the miscommunication between yourself, and others like you, is that you have no idea what unalienable means. Try the Harvard Dictionary Online, if you don’t have a dictionary of your own.
      I am married to a masters prepared English major and am aware of what I am saying. Whoever told you that your “Fourth Unalienable Right” was correct had better look up unalienable as well. I defy you to show one single place where you can prove that a right is God Given, other that the Bible and Torah. where Genesis clearly shows where God’s word says, “I give you”
      As far as being armed and from Texas, well, bring it over here and we can discuss it.

      • Dear Sir,
        My current state of agitation let me message you incorrectly. The dictionary that I refer to is the Oxford Dictionary Online.
        By the way, I personally lived in Texas, and as a result wish the Creator would float it out into the Gulf and sink it.
        A bientot,
        Wayne

      • mounds says:

        Wayne,

        I said nothing of being armed or of being from Texas. Lizardqueen said those things, so I’m not sure if you intended to reply to my comment or if you were aware that multiple people were replying to you.

        Could you please a provide URL for your online dictionary definition? I searched Google for “Oxford Dictionary Online” and found http://www.askoxford.com. I used AskOxford.com to look up a definition of “unalienable” (http://www.askoxford.com/results/?view=dict&freesearch=inalienable&branch=13842570&textsearchtype=exact) and found no mention of the phrase “God given.” I also tried http://dictionary.reference.com, with the same result (see http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/inalienable). I consulted my own personal copy of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th edition), with the same result.

        You say on your Yahoo! profile, “‘The Fourth Unalienable Right’ is my copywritten term.” You said above, “The phrase ‘The Fourth Unalienable Right’ is part of a whole document, that is copywritten.” Perhaps I misunderstand, but it seems to me that you imply that simply using a phrase in a copyrighted work grants you a copyright on that phrase. I doubt this very much, but welcome correction. Unless I misunderstand you, could you provide a link or a citation to something to back this up?

        Sincerely,
        mounds

      • mounds says:

        Above, I accidentally link to a definition of the word “inalienable.” The correct link is http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/unalienable. In three dictionaries, I checked definitions of both “unalienable” and “inalienable” in an effort to be thorough.

        Sincerely,
        mounds

  8. lizardqueen says:

    PPPS, Mr. B: If you also think that I am a right-wing ultraconservative by my previous comments, then I apologize. I am not. I am a very much an independent who enjoys analyzing political policy and political philosophy. In fact, the blog post mentioned that I wrote five years ago is verbatim of how and what I teach about argumentation, using the Declaration of Independence as an example of inductive and deductive reasoning.

    I have been teaching since 1999, well before your web presence of the petition of which you have strongly written here and in blog post comments as early as 2006 (in the Daily Pundit), as well as your Twitter account (which did not exist is 1999).

    I will be happy to discuss the above with you, but I contest your accusation that I am infringing on ANYONE’s copyright. Again, the use of a common noun phrase is common practice, both in online and offline discourse. If not, then we would be living in a society in which “right to free speech” would be a colossal joke. I am more than happy to consult my four college friends who are also lawyers about the wording of my blog post and your de facto “cease and desist” comment.

    I look forward to your email,
    Dr. Ramos

  9. lizardqueen says:

    P.S. Mr. Biszick, my husband is a college government professor, and he states that my interpretation of the Declaration of Independence is accurate.

    P.P.S. In case you have any ad hominem attacks at the waiting for any college professor, please be aware that we live in Texas, have plenty of friends who are Tea Party sympathizers, come from a military family background, and I carry a concealed handgun license. Hardly bleeding heart liberals.

    I look forward to your email, if you so choose to contact me.

    Thank you,
    Dr. Rufel Ramos

  10. lizardqueen says:

    Mr. Biszick,

    Please know the difference between a common noun and a proper noun. The phrase “the fourth unalienable right” as stated in my blog post is a common noun phrase, as anyone who does a web search can plainly see. I did not capitalize the phrase, as you have done in your comment.

    One cannot copyright a common noun phrase. That’s like saying “happy birthday” as a common phrase can be copyrighted, as well as “the right to bear arms” and “immigration reform.”

    If you would like to continue with your contention of the common use of the phrase “fourth unalienable right”, please email me at your earliest convenience, and I will be happy to discuss English syntax and semantics with you. After all, I *am* an English professor.

    Sincerely yours,
    The LQ
    aka Rufel F. Ramos, PhD
    Professor of English

  11. Wayne A. Biszick says:

    Sirs,
    Your contention of something being called the “Fourth Unalienable Right” is erroneous, misleading, and an infringement on my copyrights.

    Please perform a websearch for “The Fourth Unalienable Right” for your personal edification.

    I have many people and government agencies searching for my appeal, and your misrepresentation only serves to confuse everyone.
    Thank you for your speedy action to remedy this situation.
    Wayne

  12. lizardqueen says:

    WAB: Actually, since your petition is called the “Fourth Unalienable Right”, and this blog entry talks about “the fourth unalienable right” as simply an enumeration from the first three, then your comment does not apply.

    You may as well have stated that anyone who has written about the third amendment in the Bill of Rights is violating a copyright from a person who wrote an article titled “The Third Amendment”.

  13. Wayne A. Biszick says:

    our search results on Yahoo indicate that you have the Fourth Unalienable Right petition on your website. I cannot find the copywritten article there at all.
    If you do the search yourself, you will find my petition entitled, the Fourth Unalienable Right. It deserves to be on your site, don’t you think?

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