Challenging The ‘Immortal Declaration’ – ‘We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident…’

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.

This sentence, found in the second paragraph of the United States’ Declaration of Independence, is often referred to as the ‘immortal declaration’. It has inspired many individuals and movements that have sought, argued and fought for human freedoms in its various forms. But is it possible that this noble phrase might actually have stalled human, social, and political progress to the point of where we now find ourselves – where violent social/political upheavals have become the norm?

It has never been ‘self-evident’ that ‘all men are created equal’ – mentally, physically, socially, economically, etc. This concept is a moral fallacy with no basis in reality. Some are born with/into advantages in these categories where others are born with/into disadvantage and a life of struggle. This is not a matter of having been ‘created’ as such, it is a matter of ‘chance’. The concept of being ‘created’ with/into one’s life circumstance is what has enabled kings and queens, nobility and aristocracies, as well as the ‘elites’ of the centuries to claim ‘Divine Right’ to all that is ‘endowed’ to them not by a ‘creator’ but by the simple chance that they were born into a family of wealth and privilege.

‘Equality’ is a prescriptive goal – not an absolute.

In the same regard, ‘Rights’ cannot be considered ‘unalienable’ by any means. Rights, in the real world, are, and have always been, given and taken away according to those in power and otherwise group choice as determined by the values of a society or a clan. ‘…Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’ are subjective terms usually defined by the shared goals and desired security of a society.

The point here is this: would it not be better for individuals and societies if these real world facts were put on the table – in the open – rather than ensconced in an unrealistic ideal as put forth in the ‘immortal declaration?’

Individual, social, political, and other desirable goals could evolve naturally as a matter of course – rather than a continuous stream of force against force for an absolute that does not exist. ‘Change’ would occur as a natural reaction to known realities, rather than the sudden bursts of frustration which occur after a prolonged period of shattered expectations that are built upon unrealistic foundations.

The reality, for the vast majority of human beings on Earth, is that life is going to be a struggle. There are no guarantees of equality, liberty, and/or happiness. There is absolutely no guarantee of ‘life’. These are goals that we strive for – if and when they are obtained a constant vigilance is need to ensure their preservation.

Your rights are not ‘unalienable’ – they can and are given and taken away. It’s up to each individual in a society to actively ensure that they are not.

2 Comments

  1. You know, I really liked this article, but it starts off with one hell of an error.

    The line about “all men are created equal etc..” is in the 2nd paragraph. Not the first. You really have to get details like that right.

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