I think one of the most misunderstood words is the word equality. If you type equality into Google and hit enter, the very first definition you’ll find is: the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. While I agree wholeheartedly with the last two, I’m divided on the idea of equality of status. Some are born into abject poverty while others are born into wealth and affluence; but at the same time we are all human beings and should be treated equally based not upon our status on the social ladder, rather, we should be treated equally by how we live our lives; by our actions and deeds.
When each of us makes our entrance into this world we are unaware of whether we are born into a life of poverty or wealth; so in that we are all equal. Also, unless we are born with some form of birth defect, we all come into this world with two arms, two legs, two eyes, a nose, two ears, and most importantly, a brain; so in that we are equal as well.
Human beings are amazing creatures; we are both frail and capable of great feats of strength. If you take an ant or a spider and drop it from shoulder height, it will just crawl off as if nothing had happened. Do that to a human from a comparable height and they would break every bone in their body; and most likely die. Yet athletes accomplish great feats of strength and skill all the time; artists create images which cause us to gaze in wonder at them; musicians write songs which stir the emotions, and scientists have done amazing things; such as breaking the bonds which held us to planet Earth and taken mankind into space and given him a glimpse into the inner workings of the atom.
Show me one spider or ant that has accomplished any of these feats. What is it that separates us from the spiders and ants? Why, it is the human mind and the opportunity to put it to use to the fullest extent of its abilities. I have absolutely nothing against equal opportunity for all. What I do have problems with is mandated equality based not upon skill and ability, but upon what one’s skin color or gender happens to be.
I’ve heard time and time again people tell me that they are entitled to a job. No, that is wrong. They are entitled to apply for a job and be given just consideration for it based upon how well their skill set and abilities meet the requirements the job imposes upon those who perform it. If you can’t meet the standards for a particular job you should not be put on the payroll just to fulfill your twisted vision of what equality is. And, if you are hired, your continued employment should in no way be based upon your vision of what equality is; rather it should be based upon whether or not you perform up to the standards set for that position.
I cannot count the times that I have been told things like, “Why should I work as hard as you when they won’t give me a decent pay raise”, or “Don’t work so hard, you make me look bad.” What a bunch of rubbish! Sure, whatever company you work for might be tight with the pay raises, but nonetheless you are on their payroll and you are taking their money to do a job; why don’t you have the integrity to do it properly and to the best of your ability? One of the things that irks me is laziness; the unwillingness to give whatever you are doing 100% of your effort. You say you want equality, why don’t you begin by showing some equality in your work ethics?
But equality is much more than just how well we do our jobs, it covers a wide range of subjects and many of them are disregarded, while the discussion of others is purposefully avoided.
There are many in America today who proclaim that they believe in forced equality, or to use the politically correct term; Social Justice. I find the term Social Justice, and what it implies, to be an oxymoron. Justice is the fair and equal treatment and application of the law. How is it justice to deny a person a position which they have earned simply because they are not the proper race or gender? How is it justice to deny someone the full enjoyment of the fruits of their labors just because someone else has not achieved the same level of success? How can there be justice when the law applies to some, while the repeated violation of it by others is ignored? How can there be justice when the rights of some are denied because others find the exercise of them to be offensive? There can be no justice when the rights of some are denied because others do not like them, or when the full enjoyment of the fruits of their labors is denied them to forcefully provide for those in need. Charity is fine, but government mandated charity is the antithesis to the freedom that so many claim to cherish.
If there was one quote, or idea that I could permanently implant into every persons mind, it would be the following quote by Ben Franklin, “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” So many today think that they should not be required to expend any effort at all to achieve success or riches; that they are simply entitled to it. The thing is, who is going to provide it for them without denying them the justice of enjoying the success they have; and whether they were born into it or achieved it by hard work is irrelevant. The point is that when people believe they are entitled to something, someone else has to provide it for them; often at great cost to themselves. Now tell, where is the equality in that?
As Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1816, “To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”
When you force one segment of society to subsidize another, you place those who subsidize into the position of being slaves to those who are given the subsidies. As a nation that prides itself on being the land of the free, how can we tolerate this double standard?
There is another aspect to equality that I don’t think many have given much thought; that being the equality one gives for facts and evidence. More often than not people tend to disregard or criticize any evidence which contradicts their position on an issue; no matter how overwhelming the evidence to the contrary is. Is that really equality when one simply chooses to ignore facts which prove their position wrong? How does the truth get justice when that happens? To put it bluntly, it doesn’t.
Equality, especially as it is made reference to in the Declaration of Independence, is not the same social status or wealth; rather it is the equality of opportunity and the equality of rights. Equality can be a double-edged sword if you truly thing about it. What if you forced everyone to be equal in every aspect? What I mean by that is what if you required everyone to wear the exact same clothing, cut their hair the exact same way, do the same things for entertainment, eat the same food day after day, and drive the same car. Don’t you think life would become boring and bland rather quickly? But then wouldn’t we all truly be equal?
What sets us apart, what makes life interesting is our individuality, our freedom to be ourselves; to express ourselves as we see fit, and to do whatever it is that we find enjoyment from. If you take that away you create a nation of slaves; or at least clones. You know, the military cuts the hair off all recruits and makes them all wear the same uniform for a reason; to break down their individuality and get them to work as part of a group. While that is okay for combat units, in civilian life it destroys individuality and takes away our freedom.
There are other places where people are pretty much equal too; serving time in prison and serving as slaves are two examples. Yet in both those the rights of those serving are severely limited, if not nonexistent. If you truly want equality, why don’t you try your hand at being a slave, or serving time in prison?
It’s funny how people have these double standards when it comes to equality. They want their rights, then because others exercise rights they do not like they call for those rights to be restricted. Everyone wants wealth and success, but when people achieve it they are punished by being required to subsidize the existence of those who have failed to achieve it. Everyone, (or most everyone that is), wants a job, but when they get one they often do not want to do the work that the job entails.
If only people realized how idiotic they sound sometimes; they would crawl off and hide in a cave out of shame.
In my last article I spoke of the American Way that Superman defended. Well the American Way is not to be punished for exercising your rights or achieving success. The American Way is to provide equal opportunity for all to succeed, and then get out of people’s way and let them seek that success.
People today view government as an agent to enforce their view of Social Justice upon society, but it wasn’t always so. In his first Inaugural Address Thomas Jefferson gave us his thoughts on what constituted ‘good’ government, “…a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.”
Then almost a century later, Theodore Roosevelt made the following comments, “The worse lesson that can be taught a man is to rely on others and whine over his sufferings. If an American is to amount to anything he must rely upon himself, and not upon the State; he must take pride in his own work, instead of sitting idle to envy the luck of others. He must face life with resolute courage, win victory if he can, and accept defeat if he must, without seeking to place on his fellow man a responsibility which is not theirs.” (Source: How Not To Help Our Poorer Brother, Review of Reviews, 1897)
America will never again achieve the level of greatness that it once had, (no matter how many presidents tell us that the state of the Union continues to be strong) unless we seek equality in one crucial thing; what it is we expect and allow our government to do. As long as each of us has our own beliefs, our own agendas, and we only vote for the candidate who comes closest to meeting our desires, then things will never get better.
While America may still be better than many other countries across the globe, it will never reach its full potential as long as one segment of society believes that another owes it its existence and believes that the rights of others can be restricted simply because they do not like it when people exercise them.
Equality, as our Founders understood it, was the equal enjoyment of our rights and the equal opportunity for success; nothing more, nothing less. What passes for equality today is a joke and it won’t be until people once again stand for equality as our Founders understood it that America can even begin to think about healing and becoming a truly great nation once again.
And I know somebody is going to mention it, so I need to speak on it before they do. Yes our Founders did nothing to provide equality for those who served as slaves in the Colonies when our nation was being founded.
While slavery was a blot upon our nation, there hasn’t been a slave in over a century, so get over it. And for those of you who applaud Abe Lincoln as the Great Emancipator and condemn the South because they were racists, I offer you the following quote taken from Lincoln’s debate with Stephen Douglas, “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races,—that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
You talk about the disingenuousness of our Founders when it comes to equality, well what about your disingenuous view of Lincoln as being for equality for the slaves? Lincoln may, or may not have supported the freeing of them, but he surely wasn’t for their equality as it related to whites.
But then again, that only proves that facts do not matter, that they are less equal to the lies you prefer to believe which support your positions; including those you hold on equality.