But now, instead of discussion and argument, brute force rises up to the rescue of discomfited error, and crushes truth and right into the dust. "Might makes right," and hoary folly totters on in her mad career escorted by armies and navies.
Christian Non-Resistance: In All its Important Bearings, Illustrated and Defended (1846).
How many does it take to annul the commandments of God, and render that lawful, which HE has forbidden? How many does it take to metamorphose wickedness into righteousness?
One man must not kill. If he does it is murder. Two, ten, one hundred men, acting on their own responsibility, must not kill. If they do, it is still murder. But a state or nation may kill as many as they please, and it is no murder. It is just, necessary, commendable and right. Only get people enough to agree to it, and the butchery of myriads of human beings is perfectly innocent.
But how many does it take? This is the question. Just so with theft, robbery, burglary, and all other crimes. Man-stealing is a great crime in one man, or a very few men only. But a whole nation can commit it, and the act becomes not only innocent, but highly honorable. So a whole nation can rob on the largest scale, and perpetrate burglary on an entire city by martial power, without crime. They can do all these things with impunity, and call on the ministers of religion to say prayers for them.
Verily there is magic in numbers! The sovereign multitude can out-legislate the Almighty, at least in their own conceit. But how many does it take? Just enough to make a nation. It did not take many thousands to make Texas a nation. Yet Texas, especially after the battle of San Jacinto, was perfectly competent to decree any of these things, and to make slavery, murder, &c. absolutely meritorious. Whether any smaller number could nullify the divine law, we leave to our great metaphysicians to determine.
Alexander the Great demanded of a pirate, by what right he infested the seas. By the same right, retorted the pirate, that Alexander ravages the world. How far was he from the truth?