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The Unbanable Book

The Bible, Past and Present

A recent full-page advertisement in the Chicago Tribune, which no longer calls itself "The World's Greatest Newspaper," listed four documents that supposedly are foundational: the Magna Carta, the Treaty of Versailles, the Declaration of Independence, and the Infiniti Retailer Pledge. These four, according to the advertiser, Infiniti, are totally trustworthy, because: "A promise is a promise." Unfortunately, at least for the reader with some knowledge of modern history, the Versailles treaty is hardly an attractive pattern; it was one of the worst documents ever foisted on the human race. It violated President Wilson's Fourteen Points, the pledge given to the Central Powers to obtain the Armistice of 1918; it falsely defined the origins of the war and dishonestly fastened the guilt on Germany alone; it plundered the already impoverished Central European states, and it set the stage for the resumption of war in 1939. The Magna Carta produced better results, of course, and so did the Declaration of Independence.

Infiniti's advertisement is mentioned here because it shows an astonishing lack of historical awareness, both of the documents that actually have made history, and of the extent to which the promises and pledges they made have been fulfilled or may yet be fulfilled. This is ignorance not only on the part of the Japanese manufacturer, but also on that of the American advertising agency...

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