IN the North American Review of December, 1899, there was published an article, entitled, “Some Consecrated Fallacies.” It is exceedingly interesting to note what are these particular “Consecrated Fallacies.”
However, in order to a clear understanding of the subject, it will be well to set down first, just what is a fallacy. The Century Dictionary defines it thus:—
“FALLACY: Deceptiveness; deception; deceit; deceitfulness; that which is erroneous, false, or deceptive; that which misleads; mistake.”
What then are these “deceptive,” “deceitful,” “erroneous,” “false,” “misleading,” and “mistaken” things that have been “consecrated;” and that so need to be exploded as to demand the publication of an article in the leading Review of the Western continent? Read:—
“The framers of the Declaration of Independence were inspired by an ardent patriotism and by lofty motives, and their statements embodied in sufficient justification of the cause to which they sought to devote their countrymen; but there was no revelation of universal and eternal truth in the ‘glittering generalities’ with which they prefaced these statements. On the contrary, they consecrated to perpetuity some of the most obvious fallacies that were ever promulgated to mislead men.”
These “consecrated fallacies” then are to be found in the preface to the statements in which the framers of the Declaration embodied the justification of their cause. This confines the “consecrated fallacies” then to that part of the Declaration in which the framers set forth what they designated as “truths,” and which they declared to be “self-evident.” And that is just where this reviewer finds them; and here he goes:—
“They proclaimed it to be a self-evident truth ‘that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’”
And he proceeds to explode these “consecrated fallacies” one by one in the following sort:—
“Whatever interpretation and exegesis may do for this declaration, in the sense in which it is commonly accepted and used in the place of argument it is neither self-evident nor truth…. Nor can any power at the command of mankind make them equal in this world or in the processes of time, whatever may be their destiny in eternity.”
“It is useless to argue around this immutable fact, or try to interpret into the Declaration a meaning which it does not contain. All men are simply not created equal in any possible sense of the word.”
So much for the “consecrated fallacies”—the deceitful, erroneous, misleading statement—that all men are created equal. And, of course, since that statement is not true “in any possible sense of the word,” it follows naturally enough that nobody has any rights at all. And so he writes:—
“Nor, in any strict sense of the word, can all men, or any men, be said to be endowed by their Creator with any rights whatever…. They [rights] are not the natural endowment, though they may be the far-off heritage, of all men.”
And all this being so, it would be simply impossible that governments should derive anything from the consent of the governed; and so, logically enough, this is another of those deceitful, erroneous, misleading statements—another of those “Consecrated Fallacies.” Accordingly of this he writes:—
“Do they arrive their just powers from the consent of the governed? Let us not be blinded by the glitter of a generality, the meaning of which is not clearly defined….
“In the situation of the country as it then was, when the alternative of oppression or independence continuing them, believing the people of the colonies to be the equals of those of the mother country, and equally entitled to a voice in the government to which they were subject, they prefaced their Declaration with that … ing and glowing utterance, which had a broad application as truth to their case; but which becomes a deceptive bundle of fallacies when promiscuously applied to the universal state of man, and which has taken the Declaration of 1776 as giving it an ‘equal date with … and with Ararat.’”
As might very naturally be expected, all this representation of fundamental republican, and even Christian and therefore divine, principle, is so laboriously worked out solely to justify this nation in the course which has been taken with the people in Cuba, and the new island possessions. But at what an enormous cost and justification is found, when it can be only by … means!
We have spoken of it as the repudiation of Christian and therefore divine, principle, as well as repudiation of fundamental republican principle; and this is the truth. For is it not the statement of divine truth that “there is no respect of persons with God?” Is it not written, “If I did despise the cause of my manservant, or my maidservant, when they contended with me, what then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visited, what shall I answer him? Did not he that made me in the womb, make him?” Is it not written from God, “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve?”
Yet this writer in the North American Review, will consistently disregard all these divine statements and considerations; because he does not believe that any have been created at all: they have been evolved. Here are his words:—
“All men are simply not created equal in any possible sense of the word…. The creation of men has been a gradual process of evolution, and they have been coming into being in different parts of the earth, through long generations, with differences and inequalities which development has varied and widened and not obliterated.”
And thus by National Reformism on the one hand, and evolutionism on the other, Satan has so thoroughly paved the way for the oppression of mankind, that nothing else is now thought of, no other principle is now recognized by those in places of worldly power and influence.
It is high time to say to all people everywhere, “Behold your God.”