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We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Thus begins the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, a rephrasing of the first section of the Virginia Declaration of Rights adopted in June 1776. Both declarations set the stage for justifying why England's governing of the colonies in America is unjust. And both declarations failed to address the "peculiar institution" of slavery by careful wording (or lack thereof). [A failure we continue experience when personal agendas obscure ethics and morals. What would have happened if authors of the declaraion "black lives matter" would have appended one very small word..."too". A call for division becomes one of unification. But that's another discussion.]

The phrase "among these [Rights which cannot be taken away or denied] are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" opens the door for additional rights. When resources are scarce, perhaps these are the only Rights when are inalienable. As resources are available, a society can afford more. This is analogous to a concept in ecology called "carrying capacity". The number and type of organizms that can exist in an environment is defined by the resources in the environment and the requirements of each organizm. Sunlight, water, nutrients, and moderate temperatures satisfy the needs of many lower life forms, but the presence and absence of particular gasses determine if higher life forms can exist (e.g., abundance of carbon monoxide, or lack of oxygen).

While we may agree on Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, what do we think about entitlement? Is everyone entitled to employment? Is everyone entitled to food and housing regardless of their ability to produce? If so, what is required of those who can produce to compensate for the consumption by those who cannot?

We are all part of a global environmental, societal, and economic ecology. We must of stability; ebbs and flows, ups and downs, not status ("flat-line") but also no wild swings. What are we doing individually to demostrate our citizenship? Have we abdicated our responsibilities to promote the general wealfare to others?

I hope the self-evident truths are kept immutable. I also hope when reality demonstrates shortcomings and inconsistencies in other "truths" that we accept the need to change, and take appropriate action.

Centuries ago, the more influential leadership of the colonies set things in motion to establish independence. I hope we have the intelligence, foresight, courage, and committment to keep from being, or becoming obedient to influences that are contrary to what our society needs.

Happy 4th to all!