When Thomas Jefferson cribbed John Locke for the declaration of independence, he made a small but vital change from the early Enlightenment cliche of Man’s inalienable rights. It was known around Europe as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of property.” Jefferson, in a dig at King George (who clearly claimed TOO MUCH property as his own) changed the last word to “happiness.” What follows is the orgy of materialism and feel-goodery that is the American Way.
But there is a group who wants to correct this change and go back to the way things were before America got big in its britches. That would be the Measure 37 proponents, now campaigning against Measure 49 in Oregon. They want land to be reinstated as an inalienable right. Unfortunately, it’s only that for people who already have it. No word on how these people who don’t believe in “quality of life” feel about the outlawing of slavery and other newfangled improvements that have come down the pike in the last couple of centuries.
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One of these four ideas will be developed into a column on Wednesday to be published in The Register-Guard on Friday. I’m asking you to help me choose between them. Between now and the end of Tuesday, leave comments here or send me an e-mail if you’d rather be more private. Or, at the very least, RATE the idea (and the others) so I know which one people like best. No promises, though. This ain’t American Idol. But I will post an entry on Wednesday to say which one I’m choosing (and probably why.) I plan to do this each week — often by Friday, but always by Monday, so visit often and tell me which idea intrigues you the most. Thanks!