Thanks to Scott Johnson at Powerline http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2016/07/the-eternal-meaning-of-independence-day-2-2.php the following passage from Calvin Coolidge's July 4, 1926 speech has once again been brought to my attention. This time I was actually paying attention.
I will reproduce the section that Mr. Johnson displays in his post with several additions of emphasis.
"About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful.
It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress
since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have
given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may
therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern.
But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men
are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable
rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the
consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be
made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or
their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically
is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no
equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who
wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They
are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than
those of the Revolutionary fathers."
Could there be a clearer statement of the truth?