Tuesday, April 6, 2010

John Lewis' speech at the Charlotte Tea Party

Here's my post from April 23rd, 2009. It was Dr. Lewis' speech that inspired me to adopt the description of myself as "An autonomous individual with an independent mind."
"We need to regain the vision of ourselves held by the American Founders. We need to stand up, and assert ourselves as autonomous moral beings, with the right to our own life, liberty and the pursuit of our own happiness. We need to reject the claim that we are weak and dependent beggars, and to assert our own competence to run our own lives.

It is going to take as great a commitment to destroy this cancer as it took to build it. We’re going to have to be strong, we’re going to have to be independent in our thinking, and we are going to have to reject handouts when they are offered to us. And we’re going to have to speak out."
More John Lewis

Here's a link to the complete text of the speech given by Dr. John Lewis at the Charlotte, NC Tax Day Tea Party.

AND here are a couple excerpts:
The government has, once again, become a ruling aristocracy, set up as our masters, disposing of our lives. . . .

This is an attempt to seize your life, to destroy your sense of self as an independent human being, and to replace it with a being with no self-esteem and no capacity for individual action — a being doomed to beg for sustenance from an all-powerful ruling elite.
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  1. Dr. Lewis's speech is a model. It is brief, informal, and principled.

    One issue puzzles me: What is the distinction between independence and autonomy? My dictionary indicates they can be used as synonyms. However, etymologically, "autonomy" means "self-legislation" or "self-rule." That seems to be the meaning Kant uses, according to Howard Caygill's A Kant Dictionary.

    I wonder if Dr. Lewis is applying "independence" to individual judgment and "autonomy" to individual actions one takes in the pursuit of happiness. In other words, the distinction is between physical actions and mental actions.

    I ask about this because progressive-statists sometimes laud "autonomy" but use it nonpolitically as a license for subjectivism.

  2. Well, Burgess, you'll have to ask Dr. Lewis about that one, though - to me - your distinction seems apt.