Tibet and other places

Brad De Long delong at econ.Berkeley.EDU
Fri Jul 3 18:17:07 PDT 1998

>I think there are two different questions here:
>The first is, does Tibet have the right to self-determination

I've never liked the "right to self-determination"--it seems to be the right for the thugs with the most guns and spears to do what they please without interference from outside.

I think that it's much better to start from rights that people have, not rights that the thugs called their rulers have to a peaceful untroubled existence. Discussions lead to much more insight if it starts from a perspective where (can I resist? No, I can't):

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.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among

Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the


That whenever any Form of government becomes destructive of

these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to

abolish it,

and to institute new Government, laying its foundations upon

such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to

them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and

Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments

long established should not be changed for light and transient

causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that

mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable,

than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they

are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and

usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a

design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their

right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to

provide new Guards for their future security...



STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress, Assebled,

appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of

our intentions, do, in the name, and by Authority of the good

Poeple of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That

these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be FREE AND

INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are Absolved from all

Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection

between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be

totally disolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they

have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract

Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and

Things which Independent States may of right do.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on

the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each

other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

John Hancock--Geo. Taylor--Button Gwinnett--James

Wilson--Lyman Hall--Geo. Ross--Geo. Walton--Caesar

Rodney--Wm. Hooper--Geo. Read--Joseph Hewes--Tho. M.

Kean--John Penn--Wm. Floyd--Edward Rutledge--Phil.

Livingston--Thos. Heyward, Jr.--Fras. Lewis--Thomas Lynch,

Jr.--Lewis Morris--Arthur Middleton--Richd. Stockton--Samuel

Chase--Jno. Witherspoon--Thos. Stone--John Hart--Charles

Carroll of Carrollton--Abra. Clak--Josiah Bartlett--George

Wythe--Wm. Whipple--Richard Henry Lee--Saml. Adams--Th.

Jefferson--John Adams--Benj. Harrison--Robt. Treat

Paine--Thos. Nelson, Jr.--Elbridge Gerry--Francis Lightfoot

Lee--Step. Hopkins--Carter Braxton--William Ellery--Robt.

Morris--Roger Sherman--Benjain Rush--Sam.

Huntington--Benj. Franklin--Wm.Williams--John

Morton--Oliver Wolcott--Geo. Clymer--Matthew

Thornton--Jas. Smith

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