The Connection of Morality

Nov 15, 2013 by

“All honor to Jefferson–to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there, that to-day, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression.”  -Abraham Lincoln

When the Declaration of Independence was signed, Jefferson introduced a principle which could not be honestly denied when understood by the intellect, that all men are created equal.  It is from this basic principle that rights, liberties, and even morals can and do spring up.  If a person can defend this one claim, from it, entire systems of moralities, duties, and rights can be drawn forth.

The Declaration of Independence

 

All Men are Created Equal.

If all men are created equal, all men have a right to life.

If all men are created equal, we are in charge of our own lives.

If we are in charge of our own lives, we have a right to liberty.

If we have a right to liberty, we have a right to pursue happiness.

If we have a right to life, it is wrong to kill without just cause.

If we have a right to liberty, we all have a right to come together to form a government to protect our rights by giving up some powers to the government.

If we have a right to liberty, we have a right to revolution when governments invariably pursue to subvert our liberties to tyranny.

If we are all created equal, it is wrong to harm another person.

Knowledge is an extension of one’s mind.

To lie is to harm one’s knowledge.

If it is wrong to harm another person, it is wrong to lie.

Stealing is the act of lying about possession and harming another in terms of their financial well-being.

If it is wrong to lie and it is wrong to harm another, it is wrong to steal.

If we have a right, we possess a duty to maintain that right.

If we have a right to liberty, we have a duty to protect our liberty.

If we have a right to life, we have a duty to maintain our lives.

As can be seen, from the truth that all men are created equal, a whole system of rights, duties, and morals has sprung up.  This is why Lincoln calls this idea of Jefferson’s “A Stumbling Block to… tyranny and oppression.”

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