Jul 24, 2013

Motivation, Means, Ends, Propaganda,and Why Telling the Truth can be Evil

  Recently a topic came up where a person who makes their living as a blogger reposted a propaganda film supposedly issued by the North Korean government. He was pointing out that the (rather long, as such things go) film seemed accurate in its assessment of American culture, especially pop culture. I objected to this for two reasons: first, the vapidity of pop culture is no secret; and second, this is actually assisting North Korea's propaganda.
  At this point the writer, and others, disagreed stating (paraphrase) 'its true, so repeating it is OK,even good'. As I tried to explain why this is not the case the response was just a series of variations of 'but its true'. But does the fact that you are stating something that is true mean you are not performing or participating in an evil act?
  Of course not!
  Once more we must point out that just as you cannot separate means from ends you cannot separate motivation from means or ends. Robbing a bank to fund an orphanage is not a good act. Raising funds through charitable means for an orphanage is good, but doing so for the internal motivation of vanity is not. Quietly speaking to a friend about his gaffes during a speech and offering to coach him on public speaking is a good act; publicly mocking him and regaling others with tales of his failures is not a good act.
  But how can repeating well-known things be improper? After all,  'defamation' traditionally means 'to harm another by revealing facts not generally known', not 'commonly known things'. Again, we must look at motivation, ends, and means. Let's use an example.
  In the 1930's various journalists, religious leaders, and others warned of the rise of organized crime in America. They discussed the influence and power of these criminal groups and urged others to oppose their bribery and threats to weaken them and return control to proper civil authority. In these cases we know their motivations (they stated what their motivations were - improvement of civil society - and confirmed it with their actions), we know their means (public discussion of facts and the presentations of strategies to oppose crime), and we know their desired ends (reduction in crime and lawlessness). Their use of the facts was good because their demonstrable motivations, means, and desired ends were neutral or good.
At the same time the National Socialists of Germany were writing about how degenerate America was, pointing out that many of its urban areas were controlled by gangsters. They were speaking of the same facts as were the journalists and reformers in America - does this mean repeating the propaganda of the Nazis was good, or at worst neutral? After all, they were just telling the truth!
  But we know the motivations of the Nazis (they told us they wished to undermine American society and weaken it, which their actions confirmed), we know their means (public disclosure of the facts), and their desired ends (the political and military defeat of the United States). So we can conclude that the Nazi's use of the very same facts was evil because their demonstrable motivations, means, and dersired ends were evil or neutral. 
  Now we must speak of association and support. During the time period of the example people who repeated and spread the articles of journalists and activists about crime were seen as doing good by educating others while people who repeated the Nazi's articles about the same facts were seen as subversive and evil. Why? After all, even if the Nazis were enemies, they were right, weren't they? Members of the various National Socialist groups in the UK and USA weren't lying, were they? So why were they looked down on while others were winning civic awards for discussing the exact same facts?
  This is because of association and reputation. The journalists and such were doing good while the Nazis were doing evil. When you repeat the words of another in a direct manner you are associating your own reputation with their actions and words; you are basically giving your assent to not just the facts but also their motivations (if known), means and desired ends (if known). Whatever legitimacy, trust, or positive reputation you have is being imputed not just to the facts but also to the motivations (if known), means and desired ends (if known).
  Indeed, this is one of the primary goals of propaganda - to tell the truth in such a way that it defames the enemies of the propagandists while also adding to the credibility and positive reputation of the propagandists by having others repeat it. This is why propaganda posters have eye-catching art, why propaganda fliers include attractive, humorous drawings, why propaganda songs are as 'catchy' as possible, and why propaganda speeches come from the mouths of professional orators.
  And why propagandists engage in defamation as much as they do in slander and libel.
  Luckily, the vast majority of such information in the world is just information; an encyclopedia has no motivation other than to present data and no desired ends other than presenting data - repeating such information has no moral dimension other than what the person repeating it gives it. But we must still be careful of what we repeat and why.

Jul 18, 2013

Non-Territorial Nations - What is Edan Doing?!

  As explained with admirable efficiency by geographer Matt Rosenberg; 
     "While the terms country, state, and nation are often used interchangeably, there is a difference. A State (note the capital "S") is a self-governing political entity. The term State can be used interchangeably with country. A nation, however, is a tightly-knit group of people which share a common culture. A nation-state is a nation which has the same borders as a State."
  This is a bit more precise than common usage, actually. While we tend to use 'nation-state' as a shorthand this can be incorrect. Take Canada - there are at least two distinct Nations in Canada (one with a Protestant English culture and another with a Catholic French culture) so Canada is a State with multiple Nations within it. Great Britain is very similar - although Great Britain is obviously a state we all know who and what a Scotsman is, correct? Scotland, which has had no territorial control of its own for quite some time (and is thus not a State) is certainly a Nation. So obviously nations can exist without control of the territory they are in. But can a nation exist without any defined territory?
  The Romani certainly think so. They announced a claim of being a Non-Territorial nation over a decade ago, a claim not just accepted by a number of academics, diplomats, and leaders but seen as a potential solution to a range of ethnic and minority issues. It can even be argued, as Elkins, Fischer, and a number of others have, that the Westphalian conceptualization of 'legitimate' States being strictly territorial has made ethnic and minority strife worse since land is a fixed asset - if you wish any sort of autonomy within the Westphalian model you must control and defend territory; all territory is already controlled and the closest to the oppressed group is most likely controlled by that group's oppressors; therefore the pressure towards violence is greatly increased. By rejecting the demand that 'legitimate' States control territory before they can engage in political, diplomatic, etc. activity you can reduce or even eliminate these pressures.
  In his works the scholar Hassner argues that the Westphalian paradigm of the nation-state is obsolete because it cannot account for the tremendous impact of everything from transnational corporations to NGOs to Violent Non-State Actors such as Al-Qaeda. He also points to the ethnic strife of Africa as distinct Nations resort to large-scale violence to control territory rather than seeking non-territorial autonomy. 
  So Non-Territorial Nations are an existing fact, long predating modern concepts of nation-states; Non-Territorial Nations as well as Non-State Actors, NGO's, Transnational Corporations, etc. are all recognized as a major factor in world events; so Edan's status as a (so far) non-territorial sovereign nation is neither shocking nor even very remarkable. Considering that the most notable, recognizable Non-Territorial Nation is the Catholic Church (does anyone really believe Vatican City is truly in compliance with the various ideas of Westphalian territorial control?) and that the Sovereign Military Order of Malta is another key example of a Non-Territorial Nation with various forms of diplomatic recognition Edan's status as a Catholic Non-Territorial Nation is likewise unremarkable. Between the Roma, the Church, the SMOM, and dozens of other groups the idea of a sovereign non-territorial Catholic group is just not that shocking - except for a few things.
  Which we will get to.
  But why start with a non-territorial monarchy? Why not start Edan as an NGO, or a lobbying firm, or a credit union, or a charity? After all, the king is very clear that Edan needs all those things. Why not pick up the 'low-hanging fruit' and start as an incorporated not-for-profit charity and work your way up from there?
  There are many very good, very worthy NGO's in the world already. There are very good Catholic credit unions, charities, and lobbying firms. But there are two things you aren't going to find that readily.
  This goes back to the goals of Edan; our goals are not to build a better bank, nor to be an efficient charity; Edan was not founded to lobby the US for more aid to Mali nor to provide emergency relief after earthquakes. While all of those activities are a legitimate and even noble way to spend your energy, they are not what Edan is for.
  Edan exists to be truly just for both its own citizens and as an example to others of what a just nation is.
  One of the things that does distinguish Edan from the Church and from the SMOM is that it is new. Edan is not an anomaly from history, as some argue about the SMOM. It is not a unique situation as some argue about the Church. Edan is living proof that the desire of people to be free, to gather together, and to determine their own destiny can be met; it demonstrates that the Westphalian model and the violence it spawns are both failed artifacts of the Enlightenment; it shows the fatal flaws of Democracy and how to remove them; it exposes the false sichotomy in current economic thought with clear alternatives.
  Edan is also not a religious power but rather a secular power. The Church and the SMOM are often dismissed as being 'religious' as if this reduced their diplomatic or cultural relevance. Edan is a Nation, pure and simple, and cannot be dismissed similarly.
  And Edan is not based upon ethnic or racial criteria. One is born a Romani or, perhaps, marries into a Romani family; people who are not born Navajo cannot become Navajo. Edan is not organized like this; while it has its own culture and identity, these are not based upon genetic heritage, making Edan universal, not racial.
  We are, yes, building a better country both for ourselves and for others to see that it can be done. 

Jul 15, 2013

After Bastille Day

O God, who didst call thy servant Louis of France to an earthly throne that he might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst give him zeal for thy Church and love for thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate him this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. 

Jul 11, 2013

The Truly Lost

  I had an interesting encounter yesterday, one that was illuminating while failing to be enjoyable. The Kingdom is not as active on social media as we are told we 'should' be, but from time to time I will spend some energy on twitter. Yesterday I made a rather tangental reply to the tweet of a young Catholic lady. It turned out that each of us had been unclear (I blame the terse format) and off we went.
  But others, followers of the young lady, were incensed by my statement. Three young men in general, one of them in particular, were very openly angry about my statement. Despite my attempts to point out that they had made the same error as the young lady I was replying to, thus their emotions were based on a misapprehension, they grew more and more angry. Slurs, curses, and vile invective of all sorts spewed forth as this young man worked himself into a lather.
  He accused me of wishing to grind others (particularly children!) under the boot heel of tyranny; that I am a power-mad dictator in waiting, eager to oppress and enslave the entire world in my mad thirst for conquest. In between curses he also threw in such epithets as 'tyrant' and 'big government stooge' but the slur he obviously felt was the most powerful and dirtiest thing he could call me was 'statist'.
  By now you are probably making assumptions about the topic in discussion. Was he furious at me for being a Monarchist? No. Was it that I am a king? No. Was it my rejection of Democracy? No. Was it the structure or nature of Edan? No.Was it about Edan being officially Catholic? No. Was it the most common topic of outrage from outsiders, that women do not get the vote in Edan? No.
  This young man was full of rage because he mistakenly thought I advocate for a requirement that children have a permit for lemonade stands.
  Yes, his fury was about food safety permits for children. I had mistakenly thought the young lady was speaking about professional (adult) vendors and she mistakenly thought I was discussing children in their own family's yards. Regardless of my attempts to tell these young men my actual topic, they refused to believe it. I believe they wished to revel in their righteous anger.
  Early on I almost terminated the conversation, but I persisted. Why? I was curious as to how angry they would become and hoped that their emotional state would reveal why they were so angry. And I believe that these young men did teach me something, something important.
  These young men feel powerless. And this is no illusion, they largely are powerless. They were all Americans, White, male, and under the age of 26. While I read online many people calling this combination one of 'privilege', I disagree. They have no real economic power, no political influence, they have no 'leaders' who are not corporate-controlled entertainers, and there is no special-interest lobby working for them. They face barriers in many ways - poor education, expensive education, limited job prospects, a legal system that favors others, and being told they are privileged, as well. Western society has been busily redefining their role for so long and in so many conflicting ways they have no clear concept of what they should be doing or why and certainly no higher calling, which often leads to a lack of higher aspirations. Secular, unchurched, or 'post-Christian Protestant' they have no underlying moral framework, religious community, or spiritual support to call upon. In short, these young men are truly lost.
  These young men are not stupid; they felt powerless, examined their lives and concluded that they are powerless. And they are correct - in any democratic system people without wealth or pull are powerless. They then tried to determine the primary reason that they are powerless and concluded that it is because of their government. This is also largely correct; the governmental system is the primary reason they are disenfranchised. But this is actually the start of the problem at hand - once they determined that the primary reason that they are powerless is the government, they stopped asking more questions. The next logical step should be to ask 'why is the particular form of government I live in making me powerless?'. That is the step that leads people in search of alternates to the system in which they live. Instead, these young men (as well as the majority of Anarchists, Libertarians, etc.) didn't ask the next question, instead reaching a conclusion. Their investigation went something like this;

"I feel powerless. Am I truly powerless?"
  They examine their lives and determine they are, in fact, powerless.
  "I am powerless. What is the primary reason I am powerless?"
  They examine their world and determine the government is the primary reason they are powerless.
  "The government is the primary reason I am Powerless."
  "Therefore, all governments are Bad."

  Yes, I am aware that there is a fair amount of political thought about such topics as Anarchy, Anarcho-Capitalism, Libertarianism, etc. I am focusing on the majority of people who adopt these positions and why they do so. After all, a lot of the young people who do ask 'what is it about my government that makes me feel powerless?' end up becoming Communists, National Socialists, etc. because they assume anything else is better than what they have. I will need to write about that in the future.
  Once these young adults reach their conclusion, that all government is bad, then it is a short trip to the belief that any regulation is bad simply because a government must exist to enforce it. Before too long this can lead to the conclusion that any form of authority is bad and that Anarchy is the only solution.
  Again, how can you blame these young adults? They have never been taught about true alternatives to the world they live in, they have often never been trained to question. They instinctively know something is wrong and are doing their level best to identify and correct the problem. They have never been taught about morals and ethics and in the absence of knowledge of actual morality they struggle to build a framework so that they can identify Good and Evil. Since the only certainty they have been able to build for themselves is Government = Bad their natural passion for goodness and justice is funneled into opposition to government.
  Thus, belief that someone wants kids to get a permit for lemonade drives them to righteous fury. In the absence of a real knowledge of good and evil; in a society that fails to guide them to their place in the world; in a culture that mocks concepts of honor, duty, and courtesy; and in a milieu that praises license as liberty it is almost all they have.
  My question for you is - how do we reach these people? How do we break through to them and show them a larger world? How do we teach them true morality and save them?

Jul 10, 2013

Tolerance vs. Abhorrence

  What do you think or say when someone tells you they are a neo-Nazi? I assume that you at least check to see if they are just being shocking, but you probably distance yourself from them quickly. And why shouldn't you? The Nazi Party engaged in horrible atrocities and were responsible for a system of oppression that resulted in the deaths of millions of innocent men, women, and children. The swastika, the symbol of the Nazis, is banned in some places and is shunned as a symbol of death and evil. Mein Kampf, the book written by the leader of the Nazis is likewise banned in some nations and it can be difficult to find or purchase because of who wrote it.
  Now - what do you do when someone tells you they are a Communist?
  I assume that most people reading this know at least a few people, personally or professionally, that define themselves as Communist, Marxist, Trotskyite, etc. Are they shunned? Can they lose their jobs or end their careers by making their sympathies plain? They are not and they do not, not unless they are in very specific circumstances.
  Yet Communist and Communism-directed Socialist parties and states have resulted in more tyrannies, more oppression, and far more deaths than Nazis themselves ever dreamt of.
  We will avoid a discussion of if the the National Socialists were socialist since we are contrasting them more directly with Communism.
  I have long held that if I meet someone who is: of legal age; mentally capable of caring for themselves, and; educated enough to be able to read silently to themselves - and they are an outspokenly Communist, one of 4 things is true about that person:
  1) They are abysmally ignorant
  2) They are fools in the traditional meaning of the word
  3) They are morally bankrupt
  4) Some combination of 1, 2, and 3.
  At this time, and for decades, the West is in the interesting position of holding one ideology, which effectively ceased to have any political power over half a century ago, as unacceptable because it was responsible for oppression, tyranny, and the murder of over 8 million people while AT THE SAME TIME accepting another ideology which is responsible for the murder of no less than 80 million people and is oppressing over a billion people with various tyrannical regimes at the current time.
  This cognitive dissonance is stunning, yet so commonplace as to be unremarked upon in the mainstream.
  Let us look at a small microcosm of this intellectual disconnect.
  Within the world of science fiction and fantasy writers and aficionados passions can run high. For example, two well-established writers are currently under fire for referring to pioneering female writers and editors of science fiction in the early days of the genre as 'ladies' in an article praising them for defying stereotypes and overcoming prejudice.  In this milieu the writer Orson Scott Card is, currently, considered Quite Controversial. An openly devout Mormon he is guilty of publicly espousing his religious views and opposing gay marriage. For his actions in promoting his own religious beliefs a vocal section of science fiction and fantasy aficionados - and writers! - are openly advocating that Mr. Card be forevermore denied an opportunity to make a living as a writer by not just boycotting all of his works but by agitating with his employers to fire him.
  China Mieville is one of the most prominent science fiction and fantasy writers of the last decade. He is often interviewed  has received plaudits and awards from several groups, and has even been given plum assignments as writer in residence or lecturer on writing. He is also openly and proudly Marxist going so far as to run for office as a member of a Communist/Far Left party and to write a number of articles and books clearly stating his support for Marxist Communism.
  To be clear, this is a situation where members of a relatively diverse group call for the total ostracism and exile of one successful writer, including an attempt to deny him a livelihood, for stating and publicly supporting his religious beliefs as a Mormon while concurrently lauding and praising another writer who is openly and actively Marxist.
  Card doesn't want laws on marriage changed because of his religious beliefs = monster. Mieville advocates the overthrow of all democracies via armed revolution and the imposition of a dictatorship of the proletariat in imitation of a regime that was more oppressive, violent, and murderous than Hitler's Nazis = a nice job and critical acclaim.
  And Mieville is far from alone! Other prominent science fiction and fantasy authors are also openly Communist (Steven Brust an, for example); none of them are ostracized in any way for supporting the ideology that has caused more suffering and death than any other of the last 2 centuries. But if you opposes gay marriage or call a female author a 'Lady Writer' and, well, your career is in danger!
  Don't think that I am isolating a certain genre of fiction unfairly, it is just an illustration of the issues at hand.
  Just as I do not tolerate Nazis, I do not tolerate Communists. Both have proven themselves false in core premises and each has demonstrated itself capable of producing nothing more in the long run than wrecked nations and mass graves.We should abhor the followers of both ideologies with equal fervor and denounce them publicly for their embrace of violence, oppression, and death.

Jul 8, 2013

The Declaration of Independence - A Failed Justification for Perfidy, Treason, and Terrorism

  America just celebrated its 4th of July this past week, a holiday which, I must admit, is fun to watch. It does fill me with sadness to know how little Americans know of their own holiday and the origins of their own country. Today, after a pause to avoid direct offense of Americans too close to their national holiday, I wish to examine their Declaration of Independence and the history around it.
  The American colonists had greatly helped precipitate the Seven Years War, a global conflict that resulted in Great Britain incurring massive debt and greatly straining relations with the Native Americans. In an effort to both rebuild relations with the Native Americans and to curb the tensions (mainly about fur trading and such) that led to the Seven Years War the King forbade colonists from settling the Ohio Country.
  This did not sit well with a number of prominent colonists who had invested heavily in expanded trade in the Ohio Country. Indeed, this profit-seeking is what had led to the armed conflicts with French forces in French territory which triggered the Seven Years War! Another thing which many colonists despised was paying taxes, even though these taxes had been levied to cover the costs of the war which they triggered and which was largely fought on their behalf. Be that as it may, the Colonists struggled to avoid all taxes and duties and began to resort to smugglers for many staples.
  The Colonies had long been a hotbed of lawlessness and they soon elevated criminals to a position of local prominence. John Hancock was a notorious smuggler and scofflaw. When he was arrested for smuggling riots broke out amongst the colonists who agitated for his freedom so they could continue to receive their illegal goods! When the British government determined a way to provide high-quality tea (a major item in the colonies) at a price even lower than smuggled tea while still earning money for the government. The response? Hancock funded an attack that dumped this low-cost, high-quality tea into the harbor so that colonists would be forced to purchase his more-expensive, less-quality tea. How did the colonists respond to this criminal-funded terrorist act that was aimed at fleecing them? They still celebrate the Boston Tea Party, as they call it, as a blow for freedom!
  Hancock was involved with the creation of the Declaration, as was Benjamin Franklin (a philanderer, scofflaw, and con man who notoriously took the King's pay to inform Parliament and the Crown of the mood of the colonies then played both sides against each other for his own gain) and a number of other smugglers, tax evaders, and general renegades. But the selection of Thomas Jefferson to actually write the document was a perfect example of the corrupt nature of the group involved and the lionization of Jefferson by Americans to this very day is astonishing.
  In the colonies living beyond your means was common but Jefferson took it to heights that even his contemporaries found amazing. Despite having a large, productive plantation Jefferson was perpetually buried under the debt incurred by his lavish spending on food, wine, clothes, and perpetual building projects. Despite taking a full 5th of the endowment of a college where he was trustee he still left behind so much debt his heirs were forced to sell the bulk of his estate to cover his outstanding loans and bills.
  But how did these smugglers, tax evaders, con men, and other reprobates convince others, usually common men, to fight for them and their wealth?
  Those not already on board through greed were recruited by lies and bigotry.
  The Seven Years War had had a lot to do with French territory west of the Appalachians. After the war Britain now controlled that territory as well as formerly French Quebec. The Native Americans of the Ohio Valley had much better relations with the French of Quebec and were more hostile to the colonists to the East. The newly-conquered Quebecois maintained their relations with the Ohio Country. Further, many of the native leaders of the Ohio Country had rather mixed views of who controlled their territory. To maintain the peace, build better relations with the native rulers and mollify the conquered French of Quebec the King of England sensibly gave the Quebecois control of the Ohio Country and relations with the natives.
  The leaders of the American Revolution cast this as the prelude to - Catholics! Yes, many of the Founding Fathers blatantly used a fear of Catholics settling in the Ohio Country to whip up anti-British fervor with Paul revere drawing a cartoon showing the treaty that gave Quebec authority over the Ohio Country being co-signed by Catholic bishops and the Devil.
  Combined with such events as the Boston Massacre (where soldiers fired on an armed mob that was assaulting them but which the revolutionaries portrayed as an unprovoked attack) some colonists were ready to rebel against their own king. The Declaration of Independence was meant to be the paper that justified what was to happen next - treason.
  It fails.
  The Declaration of Independence is singularly bad at what it purports to do, justify treason. Indeed, I have never understood why anyone who has read it thinks Jefferson is a good writer (there is a difference between 'florid' and 'good').
  The opening is wordy but weak, essentially just an overly-long statement that the Declaration will explain why the colonies are justified in committing treason.  His statement of basic rights is rather terse, considering the lead in, and unconvincing. And his contractual theory of government makes no sense - after all, the majority of colonists wished to remain subject tot he British Crown! If he truly believes in a contractual governmental theory this is just silly.
  Jefferson then goes on to admit that treason is bad and that any rebellion must be well-justified with about 200 words when 20 would do.
  And then the whining begins.
  Jefferson then lists reasons he thinks the King is a terrible, no-good, very bad tyrant:
  1) He vetoes laws. Well, under the parliamentarian system of the day, the King could, yes, veto laws
  2) The King doesn't rubber stamp what the colonial leaders want. well, why should he? The colonies were under Royal charter and needed the King's assent to enact their own local rules. If the King declined it was no different than in Britain with the Parliament!
  3) The King continues to treat colonies differently than parliamentary districts in England. Of course he does, they are different things. Indeed, originally the colonists were eager to be different because that meant they would have lower taxes!
  4) I don't like where the King calls parliament and other such groups. Really? 'It is far' is a pro-treason argument?
  5) He dissolves our local legislative groups when they refuse to enforce the law. I think this is one of the funnier complaints. Why? Well, it shows that even if the colonies didn't have seats in Parliament they did have local version of Parliament (which is also admitted above, twice) and that these could pass laws with the King's consent (again, already admitted) and that they had refused to obey the King's alw, so they had at least some authority. In other words, some of the complaints in the Declaration nullify many of the other complaints. "We don't have access to Parliament!' vs. 'He won't let our local Parliaments do whatever they want!'.
  6) When the local legislatures refuse to enforce the King's laws he doesn't let us create another legislature just like it right away. Well, why would he? If the local legislature keeps being run by crooks, smugglers, and rebels why would he let them return to power?
  7) The King is controlling immigration and territorial expansion. So the King is controlling access to and the growth of his colonies? How dare he! I mean, its not like we just had a massive war on 4 continents about improper territorial expansion! Oh,we did? well, so what! We want to do whatever we want anyway!
  8) The King won't let us have our own judges. Well, considering the local legislatures are refusing to enforce the King's laws why would he expect local judges to be any better? I;d keep sending in judges I trust from home, too!
  9) The King is in control of the tenure and pay of his judges. So the fact that the King's judges report to and are paid by the King is an issue? Why? And how is it different from 8, 6, 2, and 1, anyway?
  10) The King has sent tax collectors, customs agents, and other people to enforce the laws we refuse to enforce. Of course he did! What else should he do?
  11) The King has soldiers in the colonies even though the local legislatures don't want them here. First, Jefferson is again admitting that the colonies have local legislatures, obviating a lot of the whining about seats in parliament. Second, the colonies are on the edge of a vast wilderness full of hostile groups and they just finished fighting a massive war. Third, since some colonists are openly urging armed rebellion, what do you expect?
  12) The military answers to the King, not the local legislatures. You mean the local legislatures that refuse to enforce the King's laws? The same ones that started the Seven Years War with colonial forces attacking French troops from ambush?
   13) Our local legislatures can't override Parliament. OK, this gives a little more weight to complaints about 'no seats in parliament', but why would colonies expect anything different than this?
  14) The King has soldiers here. Yeah, we heard you when you said that in 11.
  15) Soldiers are subject to the King and British law and Judges, not local laws and judges. Well, of course they are! And after the fiasco of the Boston Massacre, who can blame them?
  16) We can't trade with whomever we want. You are British trade colonies founded and protected at great cost to create trade with and for Britain. We know from the Seven Years War that the colonists had no trouble trading with the French during a war with the French started by the colonies, but that doesn't make it right.
  17) We don't like paying taxes. Who does? But that war you started isn't going to pay for itself! And remember that bit about how the colonies were founded by the King at great expense?
  18) Some trials aren't with a jury. OK - but how many? Are they a particular type, like contract disputes that are usually clear and a jury is only a chance for the guilty to emotionally sway other people? And is this a reason to commit treason?
  18) Sometimes we are put on trial in England. England is the source of sovereignty and the place of superior courts, so why is this a surprise?
  19) We don't like Quebec. Quebec was just conquered and is formerly French - of course it has slightly different laws than a British colony!
  20) The King doesn't let us do whatever we want. I am unsure how many different ways he can ineffectually restate this same complaint.
  21) The King doesn't let us do whatever we want. At least once more!
  22) When we really, really refuse to obey the King;s laws he sends in soldiers. Jefferson keeps coming back to just a few points and repeats them in different ways over and over without making a real point.
  23) He is putting down armed rebellion with force. Not a surprise, really, and I wouldn't expect any less.
  24) He plans to continue to put down armed rebellion with force. See point 23.
  25) Some British colonists are pressed into service to fight other British colonists who are in armed rebellion against the King. See point 23, again.
  26) We are being attacked by loyalists and Native Americans, and the Native Americans are scary. In regards to the loyalists, see point 23 yet again. And as for Native Americans, how is that justification for treason?
  27) We have been nice so far and the King has been mean. Remember, the Sons of Liberty would routinely tar and feather the King's agents (being tarred and feathered usually killed the target, if you didn't know that) and others they would outright lynch. The Boston Massacre was incited by the Sons of Liberty bringing in hundreds of armed men to attack soldiers. the Boston Tea Party was the agents of  smugglers destroying government property to force people to resort to smuggled goods. If vandalism, riots, assault, terror, arson, and outright murder are "Petitions for Redress in the most humble terms" I have no idea what Jefferson considers violent!
  28) No matter how much we threatened the King he still insisted on his laws being enforced in his colonies. I don't know why I would need to point out the issues with this.
  Jefferson then concludes with a statement that God is on the side of the murderous, seditious, tax-evading, scofflaw traitors.
  The Declaration obviously fails in its attempts to justify treason and war. With its rambling style and muddled statements I am also puzzled as to why anyone thought it an elegant document.