Monday, January 19, 2009

I Have a Dream

Martin Luther King was a package deal. His stand for racial equality before the law was brave and true. But he coupled that stance with altruism and collectivism. The following is my version of his “I Have a Dream” Speech. Much of the text is his--with selective changes from me.

Nearly eleven score years ago, great Americans gathered in the sweltering heat of a Philadelphia summer to write the United States Constitution. This momentous document came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of individuals around the world who had been seared in the flames of despotism and tyranny.

But two hundred and twenty years later, the individual still is not free. Two hundred and twenty years later, the life of the individual is still sadly crippled by the manacles of regulation and the chains of government control. Two hundred and twenty years later, the individual lives on a lonely island of forced sacrifice in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every individual was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all individuals would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as individuals are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has forced the individual to sacrifice his values and his life. But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of statism to the sunlit path of individual freedom. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of collectivism to the solid rock of individualism. Now is the time to make freedom a reality for all individuals.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. Two-thousand nine is not an end, but a beginning. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the individual is in full possession of his moral rights. The illumination of reason will continue to light the minds of individuals until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to individuals who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of freedom. In the process of gaining our moral rights we must not be guilty of pragmatism or expediency. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of compromise.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of moral certainty. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into fallacious arguments. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of addressing open minds with reason.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of individual rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the individual is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of collectivism and statism. We can never be satisfied, as long as our minds, brimming with ideas and dreams, cannot guide our actions. We cannot be satisfied as long as the individual’s basic purpose is serve to the collective. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by mantras stating "You Must Serve Others".

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia that sons and daughters will be able to wed the person of their choice, no matter his gender.

I have a dream that one day even the state of California, a state sinking into the sewers of altruism, a state that sacrifices humans to sand dunes, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that all individuals will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by their political clout but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the individual shall be exalted, every achievement looked upon with gratitude, and the glory of the individual shall be recognized.

This is the knowledge that I go forward with. With this knowledge we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this knowledge we will be able to transform the jangling discords of competing special interest groups into a beautiful symphony of freedom. With this knowledge we will be able to work together, to play together, to struggle together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all individuals will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation again this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all individuals will be able to join hands and state the words from that great American novel, "I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for the sake of mine."


Burgess Laughlin said...

Thank you for performing this task. The package needed to be unpacked and reassembled.

I hope that someday a scholar of law will likewise redraft the US constitution. Such a draft will provide a basis for discussion and debate--and then action for a more just world, one that recognizes the individual rights to life, liberty, and property, all as steps in the pursuit of happiness.

Brian Phillips said...

It was actually fun modifying that famous speech. The interesting thing was how good the original could have been if the focus had been different.