From Naomi Wolf‘s Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries, here’s a modern translation of the Declaration of Independence:
That to guarantee these rights for themselves, men create governments that derive their rightful [of “proper] power from the consent of those who are governed; that whenever any form of government starts to be destructive to the goals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the people have a right to change or even destroy that form of government; and the people have a right then to create a new form of government—one that is founded upon the kind of principles, and that takes the kind of shape, that seems to them to be most likely to guarantee their safety and good fortune.
It is obviously not prudent to change or to destroy long-established governments for superficial reasons, or in response to [difficult] circumstances that are transient; and experience shows that it is human nature for people to put up with suffering if the suffering is bearable. But when a long series of abuses and violations of their rights appears to be directed at one primary goal-that of reducing a given people to having to live under conditions of absolute despotism – then it is the people’s right – indeed, it is their duty – to throw off this kind of government, so as to establish new forms of protection for their security in the future.
Concentrate on that last sentence. Wolf contends that we have a duty to remain ever vigilant for the “conditions of absolute despotism” and “to throw off this kind of government.” Given this meaning, the document is a binding contract with grave expectations of its consignees. Only in the absence of despots are we free to engage in “the pursuit of happiness.” And while we may have the God-given rights to life and liberty, we must always be prepared to defend them. Indeed, the proper aspect of the American tribe is to be suspicious of government and ready to act against it at all times.