La noción de que la gente tiene derechos inalienables –el derecho a la libre expresión y asociación, o el derecho a no ser torturado—por el simple hecho de existir: tal noción es, por supuesto, una ficción. En realidad, las personas no son sino bultos de carne y hueso. Tal es, al parecer, la verdad rigurosa sobre la que se basan la mayoría de las tiranías en todo el mundo –todo lo que sus pueblos son o tienen, lo gozan o sufren según el capricho del régimen.

En efecto, la noción de los derechos absolutos inherentes a los seres humanos nace originalmente como una afirmación estrafalaria frente a los siglos llenos de evidencias contrarias. Sin embargo, es una afirmación mágica. “Sostenemos que estas verdades son evidentes, que todos los hombres son creados iguales, que su Creador les otorga ciertos derechos inalienables, que entre estos están la vida, la libertad y la búsqueda de la felicidad...”

Lo verdaderamente revolucionario de este pasaje de la Declaración de Independencia de los Estados Unidos no está tanto en las palabras “verdades”, “evidentes” o “creados iguales” o en ninguna de las demás; más bien, se encuentra en la tranquila certidumbre de la primera palabra: “Sostenemos...” Nótese cómo el texto no empieza con “Es absolutamente evidente que...”, ni con alguna construcción similar, como podría sugerirlo la lógica. De hecho, lo evidente de la afirmación es esquivo, inmanente hasta que un grupo de personas insiste en ello, comprometiendo sus vidas, fortunas y su honor sagrado en el proceso. Sostener que esas verdades son evidentes es lo que las convierte en tales –y, específicamente, hacerlo en conjunto, con otros.

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