No need to patronize. Being a declaration made to the collective, it addresses that collective as an entity - men here being mankind itself. There is within the language a realism that accepts the fact that the collective mindset will persist regardless - Jefferson wrote to Washington in 1786 that, "It is an axiom in my mind that our liberty can never be safe but in the hands of the people themselves, and that too of the people with a certain degree of instruction. This it is the business of the state to effect, and on a general plan." This attitude purports to place the power of fashioning a collective mindset within the hands of the collective itself. It implies the sentiment of Socrates, that not every person has the capacity to understand effective law and that there is within a Republic a necessity for a governing body, but the assertion that there is an inherent equality demands that those who govern not use their governance to allow themselves extra liberties. It is unfortunate that we live in a world where nothing is sacred but a superficial image, an existence that is constantly changed to fit the needs of a few.
But Jefferson was not God Himself. Though he often stated that slaves should be free, he himself was a slaveholder. Indeed, there was no possible way any of the US founders could have anticipated the world we live in today, where nearly every semblance of collective is ruled by the enslavement of the mind to a select few. Stripping away the veneer of appearance exposes the fact that rulership will persist even apart from civil governing laws due to this deterioration of inherent human equality.
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