The Declaration of Independence is a diabolically brilliant piece of prose. This first sentence, especially, works like sorcery. It manages to style the act of violent revolution—a radical break with history, a declaration of international war—as Nature merely taking its Course. A necessity.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them…they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
The thrust of the letter is not that humans woke up full of fire, decked out in weapons, and bent on terroristic violence. Instead, it’s much more c’est la vie. The colonies are styled as adolescents growing up and leaving home. The nation is merely assuming the station to which nature entitles it. It’s as natural as breathing.
Making highly unnatural, highly human, and often radically destructive courses of action look like natural law is one of the great demands that perpetrators of violence make of the language. In fact, such language—in the form of propaganda like the Declaration—is the only way that a minority, absent the consent of the governed, can meaningfully seize and hold onto power.
This is why minority parties like the GOP strain to make their esoteric and inhumane positions about a national abortion ban seem like natural, normal ideas derived from “science,” meaning the sight of a sonogram.
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