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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.
More beautiful words were never written. But if the gentlemen who penned our Declaration of Independence intended that “We” to refer to the nascent America as a whole, rather than to themselves only, then it’s largely fiction.
I am agnostic and lacking in faith but, paradoxically, the only portion of that glorious sentence above that rings true to me is the “Creator” part. Because I do believe that, throughout human history, men have believed the reality of a creator to be self-evident. I think evolution has wired us that way, to seek an explanation for our existence and our purpose and, if necessary, to invent one.
But is man’s equality self-evident? Does anything about human history teach us that something in nature or nature’s God suggests to men that every other man is in any essential sense his equal? I don’t think so. I believe we are created equal, but I don’t believe that is self-evident.
I’m not talking here about the superficial inequalities of physiology and circumstance but rather of the equality the founders meant: equality of value and worth and, yes, of rights as a fellow human being. These are the aspects of equality that make our rights intrinsic and fundamental to, and inseverable from, each of us: that makes them, in a word, unalienable. That is the equality that has, for most of our history, been far from self-evident — that in fact is still not embraced by much of the world’s population.
My purpose here is much more modest and practical. I want to make the simple point that, wherever rights come from, and regardless of what we believe about where rights come from, nothing that we cherish about our rights or our equality is really self-evident. Rather, it must be taught, and it must be taught early: The torch of freedom has to be passed on to each child long before he or she becomes an adult.
If we are going to restore our nation, we will have to reclaim our children. Home school, private schools, and church schools offer an alternative to public schools and their increasingly sinister and tyrannical administrations. But confronting the public schools is essential, which brings us back to the need to assert our right to free speech and free assembly.
The current efforts of the Brandon administration to silence parents, to caricature them as terrorists for challenging the authority of school boards, suggests that the public education establishment understands how unpopular its policies are and how vulnerable those policies are to pushback from outraged parents.
Push back. Keep pushing back. And make sure that your children are learning those truths that, unfortunately, aren’t really self-evident: that we’re all created equal, and that our rights are integral and essential — despite whatever they may be learning in school.Published in