Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
God, the White Man and the Negro Race[orig. untitled]
In the Advertiser of September 22nd, an article can be found entitled, “God, the White Man and the Negro Race.” All men reason from certain premises, according to their intellectual plane. So do the animals and each man. An animal shows his development as plain as his color. The Ethiopian cannot change his skin, nor the leopard his spots. This figure is to show that a man, in his reasoning, cannot make himself wiser or clearer than he started at first. If his wisdom is as black as the Ethiopian’s skin, he cannot make it white by his argument - and if it is spotted by the corruption of a demagogue, his reason cannot wash out the spots.
The writer is known by his fruits. He begins by saying that all men must admit that the creator is wiser than the creature. Then he assumes what he does not confine himself to. God made the black man but not the slave - but he makes God the author of slavery by making both identical.
Creator, the Bible says, made God in his own image. The writer says that the white man and the Negro race are both of the human species; it is folly to deny - but that they are unlike in color and capacity, it is no less folly to deny. Now if the white and the black man are both of the human species, how comes it that the black man is enslaved by the white?
But I will return to the creator. According to his own reasoning, he admits that color has nothing to do with species, so we class all colors of men together with equal rights. Everyone knows that might is right with the animals, so it must have been the case in the early ages of mankind; for all beings admit this law by their acts. No one supposes that God put one class under another; neither is it supposable that what is wisdom in one race is not so in another.
Here is where I differ from the writer. His God makes one man superior to another; mine makes all men alike. Now there is nothing plainer than that they are not alike - then how comes this absurdity? It is in us and not in God. Creation and formation are not alike. If God created man in his own image, it cannot be that he had reference to what we see with our natural eyes. The man that my God created is science - which must be put in practice, else it is not science.
Therefore to form an idea is to reduce to practice the man that God has created. So out of the dust, he formed man - just as every other living being was formed. Now the earthly man and the brute was of the same formation and governed by the same law of all matter. As matter is developed, changes must follow - and what we call man’s wisdom is only the working of matter to bring about a higher principle of God.
So all persons, by their reason, show just where they stand. This can be illustrated by two persons - one governed by the wisdom of science and the other by the workings of matter. The natural man is a blank. As he begins to develop, he begins to be arbitrary, and he wants to rule, so he shows his plane (or sphere) by his reason; and when his reason destroys his error, out comes the scientific man. And when this man commences his career, he assumes a higher plane.
To make it clearer, we will take two men who are reasoning about the same subject. The scientific man is to loose the fetters with which the man of opinions binds his fellow man. The latter is not a man but a sort of half-breed between the brute and the man. One sees no way of getting man free from his chains and reasons that God never intended he should be free. The other contends that God never made man a slave, but man - by his own act - has created his life in matter and believes he is superior to his fellow man. The scientific man reasons that it is God in us to look upon all men as of the same family and that our acts separate us and not our color - for there are blacker hearts under a white face than ever there were under a black one. The writer admits the Negro inferior to the whites - then he cannot be so dangerous.
It is the duty of every man to relieve his fellow man from the burdens that bind him down. You may not have your dog eat at the same table with yourself, but in your wisdom, you ought to respect his position and not despise him, because he is not as good as you are - and you should rejoice that he is contented.
There is a vast difference between a man being a slave and being a servant. This difference cannot be seen by the writer, for his plane (or development) is not up to that standard - and if it were not for the wisdom that makes this difference,the writer would see no difference between the poor whites and the black slave; for he makes no distinction, except in name.
Everyone knows that you can find all grades of intellect, from the idiot up to the philosopher in the white race. Then why should not the same intellect be enslaved as well as the black? Let the writer answer. His mode of reasoning shows his development - that his intellect is kept in check by a wisdom superior to his own, which does not come outside of his own opinions.
Every ignorant being is either black or blind, and as he grows wise, he becomes spotted. This is the demagogue, and his wisdom is his reason - but he is wise only in his own conceit. True wisdom rules by science; false by opinion - and when we see a person set himself up as wiser (or a dictator), then you may know that his wisdom is of this world of opinion. But when man can see that God never made one scientific truth to tyrannize over another of the same combination - then you will see a man that is not of opinion.
Slavery - black or white - is the offspring of opinions, like the earth; and when the earth becomes enriched by the wisdom of science, it brings forth fruits (like freedom), but in its original state, it brings forth only briers and thorns. So with the development of man. As he becomes wise, he loses the earthly, over-bearing (or brutal) man and sees that intellect is the man and not color or opinions - but what man can put into practice. Then he respects each man for what he knows; and instead of making himself popular by deceiving the masses, he will try to elevate them by his wisdom, breaking down the bars of progression and letting the minds of men live and feed in the sound pasture.
Like David, he will lead the people along by the voice of his wisdom, and he will not teach them to forge fetters to bind their fellow man, giving God the praise that they are not slaves, like their neighbors. This kind of slavery is demagogism. It appeals only to one set of slaves to rule the other and is on a level with the thief that enters the African shores and sets the black tribes to fighting - and then making money out of the quarrel, telling them that God never intended that those who can be subdued should have their freedom.
The same writer would carry out his theory applied to every nation on earth. It is not one whit above the lowest treason of the black-hearted traitor of the South, and it is in keeping with his life and acts - whoever he may be; you will find him popular with one kind of slaves, just as any Negro-stealer is popular with those who will sell their race into slavery.
The writer is honest - and so is the wolf who steals the sheep for his own eating. The two are both brutes - one a little higher than the other. Neither has any claim to an intellectual mind but show just how far they have advanced from ignorance into error on the road to wisdom. So he is to be looked upon - not as a fool, but as a man of opinions and not to be classed with that refined class of intellect that judges everyone by his acts. Then he becomes a harmless serpent, whose bite will not poison the multitude.
The trouble with all such demagogues is that error and hypocrisy usually go hand-in-hand, and persons keep out of sight the very object they wish to attain. This is the case with the writer. His aim is selfish and not honest; therefore he keeps out of sight the working of the higher intellect, because he knows it can’t be appreciated. So he gives way to the evil in his heart, and like Judas, sells his higher wisdom for a petty office or popularity with the masses. Like Nebuchadnezzar, weighed in the balance and found wanting, he shows which end of the scale he is on. His God is one of his own make, like all others who wish to dictate to the masses by their opinion.
My God speaks in this way. He has finished his work (or machine) and sits down to see it work. It needs no repairs; it will run and perform its work, till everyone shall know that to be good is to be wise, and man’s color is not the problem of progression - but wisdom. And wisdom, when reduced to practice, will be recognized by every wise and benevolent person, without regard to color.
Slavery is one of the very first acts of man; at least it is an element as necessary as any other evil. It was intended by the creator for a wise purpose, but it never will be looked upon by a scientific mind as containing any of the elements of wisdom. It is the yeast in the lump of wisdom that agitates the mind (or matter) to bring out this Great Truth - that man is capable of governing himself and that all will submit to science when it is shown, either in the white or black man.
So slavery is one of the evils that is necessary to show man the error of his own way and teach him that, so long as he is capable of enslaving his fellow man, he is digging a pit that he may at some time fall into. Look at the progression of freedom ever since the world began, and you will see just how far the bonds have been broken and the tongue of wisdom and liberty let loose. The two elements have always existed by a variety of names. Error at first was called the “serpent,” then the “devil” - and has always had its cloven foot.
Everyone knows that when a person tries to palm off an error as mathematical science, he shows the weak part of his wisdom (or his cloven foot). This the writer has shown and will always show in every communication he can write, till he is exposed and sees that his hypocrisy can be detected by the wisdom of science in the masses. Then he will cease from doing evil, and learn to be honest and do good. The writer - like others of the same stripe - will never cease from his hypocritical reasoning, till his errors are exposed. Their wisdom is in their strategy - and their strategy is in their deception.