This is a paper that I enjoyed writing for my honors comp 1 class; it's written in the Jeffersonian 18th century style and modeled after the Declaration of Independence (obviously).
When in rational pursuit of the truth, it is found to be necessary that any man should amend his own intellectual habits by which ideas are estimated, and presume no superiority for the ideological fashions of his time beyond that which their own merit and the unbiased reason itself will permit, a due respect for the customs of the discipline of thought demands that he declare the causes which impel him to such a position.
I hold these truths to be self evident that, in all times, minds are created with the equal faculty to know the truth, and that their power of reason, the which endowed by their creator, holds them under obligation by certain unalienable duties, that among these are intellectual honesty, diligence, and the pursuit of truth. These duties entail that man should govern his mind with constant vigilance such that when a persuasion becomes itself an impediment to these ends, his duty is to rebut and rebuke it, and to prefer more sound and just attitudes which shall be more effectual to the advancement of the true objects of the reason, and if such a fallacious persuasion should publically prevail, to earnestly advocate for its correction. Courtesy dictates that contention and criticism should not be obtruded against prevalent attitudes for purposes of minor consequence, but when such dispositions so pervasively and densely cloud thought and obstruct truth and threaten to reduce multitudes under manifest and bigoted delusion, then such critical opposition is not merely warranted but demanded by all justice and truth. Such is the condition, very often, of the modern western man that ignorance and prejudice against the institutions and intuitions of the past and of its orthodoxies, and the submission to intellectual fashion have inhibited the very mechanics of the reason and often blinded its victims to the verity of the most obvious and demonstrable first philosophies. But let the proceeding facts utter their own unadorned accusations against modern chronocentrism that the rectitude of this declaration may be unmistakable.
It has often lured western nations into meddling amongst the affairs of those civilizations whose values and institutions they have unjustly deemed to be vestigial, detestable, and beneath their dignity without the sufficient understanding or rational deliberation that is due for such a judgment.
It has often possessed us to unjustly force ourselves upon these nations to subject and govern them under our unauthorized rule or under the rule of despots whom we have appointed.
It has often emboldened us with arrogant and foolish confidence such that we rashly distain tradition and the wisdom of our ancestors, scorning their customs, and inviting all perdition and error providing only that it be of a novel and untraditional variety.
It has often incited adolescent audacity, deliberate ignorance, and an unwarranted confidence in the quality of our own doctrines, institutions, cultures, and governments that we are even possessed of the impetus to exhume our defenseless forefathers in order that we may take them to task for their sins and desecrate them.
It has, by the power of a mob and through democratic tyranny oppressed and crushed under foot some who have not ceased to respect tradition.
It has widely stunted the due curiosity and appreciation of ancient thoughts and dialectics, it has also greatly narrowed our interest in history; it draws us only to those most present memories, leading us to widely forget or revise the greatest of stories, myths, and legends and the richness of predeceased cultures, or remember and love only those which remind us of ourselves and of our own birth.
Its narcissism has vulgarized both man and God by the disfigurement of their relation one to another: it has vulgarized God by revising His image so that He might be worthy of us and of our great modern sensibilities, and in so doing, as God’s creature, man has also been vulgarized, for he is no longer the creation of a god, but a creation of his own hand.
It has invited the abuse of reason herself and the violation of her true purpose by widely encouraging frivolous appetites for mere intellectual fashion and amusement.
It has often deformed truth and justice by tempting us to design them afresh, and by teaching us to reject, in all cases whatsoever, those time-honored things which have known to be true and just.
It has opposed true democracy and unjustly sought to vest unbalanced power and authority in the members of the small oligarchy of men who, by chance, presently happen to be living.
I judge it to be true that if time has indeed favored anyone, then such favor must belong those who take counsel with the dead; it must belong to those who most honor the events and peoples of the past by clearly knowing, understanding, and learning from them. It must belong to those who most humbly and fairly consider the merits and faults of bygone cultures with the same fair-mindedness by which they consider those of their own. No culture is inherently superior, and time has no prejudices; having the capacity for great humanity or great brutishness is the natural condition of all men and of these capacities time is no corollary.
Therefore, by the same natural power of reason which has been vested in all men, whose obvious purpose is the true and accurate knowledge, inference, and understanding of its perceptions, and by which error and inaccuracy are implied both, to be, and to be its antithesis, I solemnly declare my objection, renunciation, and resolution to be independent from all chronocentric prejudice of thought and belief, and admit no natural superiority in quality for men of any age or culture but confess equality among them all, and to this conviction, and against vanity and conceit, I pledge all of the vigilance and integrity that I possess.