Therein lies much wisdom. And I think that it has proven enormously useful for the left's unravelling of Western culture...so much of which is being done by those who ought to be protecting and defending it. Indeed by those who should be offensive about it, as they used to be, rather than as now, terrified of offending people who hold them in contempt.
As I've written here before, when the Founding Fathers signed on to the Declaration and the Constitution, the "all men" they talked about was in fact "some men". They took this for granted. Just as so many AmerIndian tribes own name for their tribe translates as "The People" --implying that the other tribes are not quite--, the Founders "all men" really meant "us". Even the sainted Abraham Lincoln was clear and unapologetic that while he abhorred slavery, it was not because he thought that Blacks were equal to Whites in any way, or that they should have citizenship or serve on juries or hold office or worse, be integrated into the social worlds of Whites.
My point is that when most sane human beings talk about humanity in general, they usually mean people like themselves. Even now, when The Enlightened go on about their various egalitarian projects, they do not for a moment think that minors should be included. It doesn't have to be made clear because it's taken for granted. They might even think that Paco the Illegal should vote, but they never imagine that his just Quinceaňera'd daughter should. The Marriage Equality crowd think Everyone Should Have The Right To Marry...but everyone "obviously" excludes minors and siblings.
But the grandiose and abstract language of the Enlightenment has become, thanks to many others who are Alinsky's forebears, functionally contranymic. A new term I learned yesterday: when a word keeps its form but comes to mean its opposite. Like "awful", which once meant "awesome" but now means "terrible"...which once meant "terror-inspiring" but now means "awful". "All men" now means women and illegal aliens.
Jefferson's misleadingly brilliant words
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.Now they are heard more like this (including a recent quoting of them by the execrable incumbent in the White House)
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that everybody should be equal, that they are endowed...with unalienable rights to life, liberty and happiness.
What once meant that free Englishmen in America had a right to pursue their business unencumbered by the financial and regulatory hindrances of the hereditary monarch of Britain and his agents has now come to mean that every Tom Dick and Lupe and Sheniqua deserve to have the State and their neighbors completely mirror their self-imagination and should provide them with whatever they want.
How much of the success of the left has been bound up with Alinsky's Fourth Law! Getting people to live up to their own ideals --as written, but not as intended. Funny how a political attitude which has contempt for religious fundamentalism gets so old-time-religious with the text of political documents sometimes. (Except, of course, when the Constitution becomes "living".)
So the wisdom for the day, children, is this: avoid grandiose ideals, especially those of the universal kind, for some day they will be used to hoist you on your own petard. Keep your ideals moderate and particular and self-interested and never (thank you, Mr Burnham) morally disarm yourself just because you're dealing with someone you think is less well off than yourself.
Instead, take the advice of a wise teacher in the San Francisco community college system, who understands Burnham's Law instinctively, who is often confronted by plaintive students with a variety of work, home, personal and financial pressures, coming to him to say why they can't or couldn't do this or that required task. His reply is respectful but clear: "I'm afraid you're trying to make your problem into my problem."