The message from the United States Declaration of Independence that spread around the world is rarely given its due.
Following the first paragraph that indicates the reason for the Declaration, the second paragraph begins:
“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.
It is the next line that changed the course of history. It reads, “–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….”
Before these words were penned by Thomas Jefferson, with little editing by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, people were “given” their rights from the king, the feudal lord, the land owner, or the person who held power. It is the concept that rights reside in the people that changed human history.
The reason that the Hierarchy of Social Development uses Level D, “Democracy,” as the highest level is that responsibility and democracy cannot be separated. It is incumbent for citizens to be responsible in order for democracy to thrive.