Sunday, July 6, 2014

Equality

On the occasion of the 238th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, a few words on equality.

There are those who claim that without a job, without food, without health care, without whatever the speaker claims must be a fundamental right, there is no liberty, there is no equality.  There are those who claim that without equal pay, without "free" access to birth control for women, without racial set-asides and quotas, there is no equality, there is no justice.  Unfortunately, there never has been and never will be perfect equality of outcome as regards to any aspect of life.  So let's take a look at what the writers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution meant when they wrote "all men are created equal".

In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge, in his Independence Day address said

Placing every man on a plane where he acknowledged no superiors, where no one possessed any right to rule over him, he must inevitably choose his own rulers through a system of self-government. This was their theory of democracy.
Equality, as recognized by the authors of our founding documents did not mean that two people would receive equal pay for equal work, it did not mean that equal numbers of various groups would attend college or be hired in proportional numbers, it meant that each person was free to choose their own course in life, subject only to their natural abilities and their desires.  We do not have rulers and this is what separated us from the Old World of Europe and, in fact, most nations in history.

Today we see an increasing and increasingly strident call for equality of outcome.  Not enough women in college, not enough African-Americans in business, not enough Latinos in government, whatever the demographic group that doesn't have "enough" of something is proof to these people that America is not a land of equality.  This is resulting in a situation where the government takes more of the fruits of your labor in order to redistribute it to others so as to moderate some perceived imbalance.  As a libertarian I would explain it by pointing out that the government takes money from one group at the point of a gun in order to give it to another group who didn't earn it.  This is not equality as envisioned by the founders, it is legalized theft designed to placate those who have found themselves in reduced circumstances either through misfortune or through an unwillingness to step forward and do what is required to be successful.

I hope you will take a moment to think about the ideal of equality, not of outcome but of opportunity, not of success but of self rule.  Each of us has the opportunity in this world to go out, to make our own choices and then, for better or for worse, to live with those choices.   We each have the opportunity to make better choices and succeed on our own merits.  Take a second job, invest your extra money instead of spending it on unneeded luxuries, educate yourself to get a better job or start your own business.  The government increasingly stands in the way of many of these choices, but hard work and perseverance will create more opportunities and in the long run, speak out against government involvement in your life.  As the government controls more trivial aspects of your day to day life, there comes a time when you can no longer say that no one possesses the right to rule over you.  You have ceded this right to others through apathy or lack of action and you will not any longer be able to claim the title of a free man.


2 comments:

david dorian said...

I have opposed government encroachment, parasitism and total power ever step of the way.

There has been no consent, and there is still no consent from me for what the government does.

Government uses violence against me which it pretends is 'legal' to justify its actions.

Indeed it steals from me and gives to others in the name of equality and to justify its own power.

Its evil. If peaceful obejection won't protect your assets and freedom then what will be necessary??

A real question......

heresolong said...

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

I don't know if we are there yet. I know that a vast majority of the people do not consider us to be there yet. I hope that we will know when the time comes. At this point, I think what we can do is try to educate people so that the dissolution does not become necessary. Undo some of the 100 years of propaganda that the progressive movement has put forward.