It’s Independence Day celebration time again in the US. I’m not delving into politics, but into ideas and understanding.

I know that many readers of this blog are not US citizens, but it is worthwhile to get a copy of the Declaration of Independence and what we call the “Bill of Rights”–or the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution. It’s interesting in the history of writing constitutions that the writers had to agree to amendments before adoption. There are many good ideas contained in those writings.

Professors at the university seemed to believe in reading “about” thinkers instead of reading the thinkers themselves. This holds true for math and science as well as philosophy and theology. Drove me crazy. To this day, I believe in reading the source documents first. Think about them. Then dive into secondary sources to further your understanding.

But first–read and think for yourself.

We hear too much about what politicians and journalists tell us about the Bill of Rights and Declaration. Then we color that with our prejudices. Best is to return to the text. Read it again with fresh eyes. Be prepared for the shock of understanding.

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