There are a great many familiar sayings that are in the mouths of nearly everybody which are perfect nonsense, and one of these many sayings is the one we have chosen for the subject of this article. One would imagine that falsehood became sacred by repetition, judging from the way that certain un-truths live in the literature and language of mankind. Many a holy text is only holy by being with what is true, as we pay respect to many a man whom we know to be unworthy because he is related to respectable people.
The saying that “whatever is is right,” is a dogma of the philosophy of indifference. To anyone who works for the right and suffers wrong, such a dogma is impertinent. Are the deeds that sink a man to the realm of brutes, and the deed that lifts him to heights where virtue in her high estate dwells alone, both right? The worst light for a human soul is that light in which a bad act looks like a good one. We cannot afford to trifle with things pure and true. To succeed grandly in life we must side with what is right.
There is a class of people that hold a don’t-care philosophy. These people don’t care what they say or do; they don’t care what takes place in the world or what the world suffers or endures. The tent in which they dwell is pitched above the plane of human wants and sufferings. They look from their serene abode upon the troubled elements below, and, in contemplation of what is beneath them, pronounce with pious gravity the highest text of their system of philosophy: “Whatever is is right.”
To those who have never seen the bitter tear start under the infliction of injury; to those who have never heard the sigh that disappointment and deception have wrung from a breaking heart; to those who have never witnessed the sufferings which tyranny imposes upon its victims; to those who have never felt the miseries which selfishness heaps upon human beings, this doctrine may seem true; but to those who have beheld the consequences of evil doing, and felt the hard hand of injustice upon their lives; to those who have been the victims of deception, and realized the terrible fate of disappointment; to those who have been trodden upon and denied the rights of men; to those who have been the slaves of the world’s cruel masters, how false it is!
We cannot disguise the fact that there is wrong in the world. It haunts every dwelling-place of man. It follows man to his business, to his work. It goes with him when he seeks his pleasure. It does not leave him when he enters his home.
Every harsh word is wrong, every unjust judgment is wrong, every cruel act is wrong, every deception is wrong, every wicked or impure thought is wrong. Go where we will and we shall meet the ugly face of wrong. On the street its presence will bring shame into the face; in our dealings with the world it will come before our eyes in all its hideous reality. Even when alone we cannot keep this phantom away.
Is it right that a human being should cause another pain and anguish that will leave their marks on the heart and brow for life? Is it right to make a man suffer unjustly, to add to misfortune the weight of cruelty? Is it right to deprive one of honor, of fortune, of life?
Is it right to bear false witness against a brother-man, to abuse a neighbor, to slander and malign a human soul? Is wrong right?
Go to the garret of the poor wretch where want stares him in the face, where extortion robs his family of every joy and every comfort, where the day is made dark from no ray of human love coming into the heart, and the night darker from the absence of warmth and light. Go to the home rent asunder by vice and see the broken promises once so fair and bright, now blushing with shame; hear curses from lips that once spoke in love; see the skeletons of vows beautiful when breathed by the lips of the holiest passion on Earth, but now hideous in their ruin. Go to the den of wickedness, to the house of crime supported by lust and greed; look upon the pictures of wretchedness and sorrow, of sin and guilt painted by the hand of wrong; behold the wrecked human lives that are floating on the sea of existence, only drifting until some sudden wave shall overwhelm them and sink them out of sight, leaving behind a memory that man should contemplate with pity and which kindness would blot out forever. See the world in its vice, in its suffering, in its misery, in its tears and its shame and let your lips say, if they can, that “Whatever is is right.”