Never trust a quackademic or an atheist—and Anthony Flew was both (although, in a typical cliché, maybe he gave up the latter on his death bed). This idea that America’s Founders did not literally think “all men are created equal” and instead referred only to “negative rights” is spurious. It is a creation by American conservatives who can’t quite believe that the Founders, whom they esteem so much as to worship them as substitute gods, could be so retarded as to make a statement like “all men are born equal” when it is obvious this is not so—just look at the difference between tall men and midgets (and, God knows, life would be immeasurably better if all men under 6 ft were culled).
Hence American libertarians and classical liberals have carried out an exegesis on the words of the Founders and can now explain what they really meant—just negative rights, nothing communistic at all. They are in the same position as those poor men in the Chinese Communist Party whose job it is to train the Party cadre in Marxism—how they must tie themselves in dialectical loops to explain to the members that what China is today represents “the Chinese road to socialism”.
The problem with this view is that people at the time took “all men are created equal” to mean exactly what it said it meant—no need for advanced hermeneutics. Lord North, the British Prime Minister during the American Revolution, thought that it meant “all men are created equal” (all men are equal) and thought it was preposterous—Samuel Johnson held the same opinion (and nobody understood the use of a comma better than he, the inventor of the dictionary). So men at the time—engaged and intelligent men—thought that the Founders meant what they said; and they thought it was jolly funny that the “drivers of the negroes” said that all men were created equal—rather hypocritical, you might say; and, of course, it is that hypocrisy that has ultimately come back to bite America in the ass—since they are still divided over the status of blacks in the country down to this day.
Even if Flew—a logic chopper, an academic philosopher who specialised in logic—was right in his supposition that the Founders only referred to negative rights, his grounds to do so are weak. After all, he says that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are fundamentally negative rights—yet from the words there are no grounds to think so. For example, if I said, “All men are born equal with respect to their right to life,” there are many ways that could be interpreted—and Flew, as a logician, should have known that “life” is highly ambiguous in that sentence. An equal right to life in accordance with birth as a man could mean that the government has a duty to provide a criminal justice system (negative right) or that the government has a duty to provide a food dole so nobody dies of starvation (positive right); it is only with the context of English history that it can be construed as a negative right—and yet Flew works purely by logic, if not lawgic, in his argument (being supposedly based, in an act of academic pedantry, on the placement of a comma).
Comma be dammed—such fiddlesticks with the language centuries later is unlikely to be true; it is unlikely that everyone was confused about what the Founders meant for centuries—or were totally blinded by FDR’s propaganda. No, not at all—the Founders were not as extreme as the Jacobins, but they were the same family; and that family held all men are created equal—no aristocrats, no kings, no blood-borne superiority. So they meant what they said and what they said was retarded—ultimately it implies there are no families or nations, just individual atoms. Taken to its logical conclusion, the Declaration of Independence ends in communism. Selah.