Equality is a sacred word in the modern American lexicon. It’s the politically correct positive to the negative of discrimination. There’s a philosophy known as Egalitarianism based upon a belief in human equality in all social, political, and economic affairs. This philosophy advocates the removal of all inequalities among people. Egalitarianism is one of the foundational principles of the Progressives currently controlling the government of the United States.
There’s one major flaw with this philosophy. It doesn’t reflect reality. No matter what anyone wants to believe, hopes to encourage or pretends to see people are not equal. There are the physical differences of size, shape, appearance, intelligence and temperament. There are also differences in family environment, economic situation, education, and location. There’s no natural way to eradicate these inherent differences. This is where the progressive philosophy kings seek to insert the coercive actions of government to level the playing field creating what they believe is a perfect environment for human activity. However, perfect equality is impossible to create, for in the artificial hothouse of government enforced equality there are still those who decide what equal is, and as the privileged commissars of the USSR taught us everyone is equal but some are more equal than others.
Founded in the fires of revolution against the tyranny of hereditary monarchs and privilege, the people of the United States sought to establish a nation unique in the world where everyone could work their way to the highest positions in a free society. Today the richest people in the country, the most celebrated in media and the most powerful in politics, bare witness that this system works. However, beginning at the end of the nineteenth century the Progressives began their Long March to power building upon the idea that government intervention, as opposed to the withdrawal of government control, was necessary to create, as opposed to allow, the equality of opportunity which has always been the key to America’s greatness.
To gain control, the Progressives changed the definition of equality from the opportunity to achieve to the absence of failure advocating governmental action to create a safety net. Unfortunately, while their plan isn’t based on the reality of human nature it must deal with the results of human nature. Many people, when they’re given a safety net turn it into a hammock and decide life isn’t a challenge it’s a vacation with the bill sent to someone else.
The first step the progressives identified as necessary to impose an unreal vision upon reality was education. The goal: expel God and positive views of American History to turn a nation founded upon inalienable rights endowed by a Creator into a secular Humanist commonwealth where government is the arbiter of all, and change our iron-clad Constitution into a Living Document. The press came next growing into a media monster ridiculing traditional values and extolling deviance as the new normal. To protect people from the predatory practices of rapacious capitalism government regulation became the Progressives’ tool of choice.
The federal regulators led step-by-step to massive government distortion of the marketplace. Federally-funded Fannie and Freddie inflated a housing bubble. Casino capitalism run by government cronies invented bazaar financial instruments convincing people that buying funds backed by bad loans made sense. Central planners were picking winners and losers instead of the self-directed interests of consumers, thus making this economic shell game unsustainable. The Progressive’s answer was more government intervention, which successfully transformed a recession into the Great Recession.
After serial bail-outs, which haven’t bailed out anyone except politically-connected interest groups, we have career politician Sen. Christopher Dodd’s going away present. Another magical mystery bill: crisis-driven financial reform, which even he admits, "No one will know until this is actually in place how it works." One more multi-thousand-page document redrawing how our society works all in the name of promoting equality, fairness and security by extending government control instead of freedom.
Political and social philosophy cannot change human nature, and no matter how people wish for another reality all we have is the real one. It’s time people admit that once government acts to equalize the lives of all it must act unequally towards some. Equality of opportunity is based upon the idea of treating everyone the same. Equality of outcome is based upon the idea of redistribution. To prevent economic inequality take from those who produce and give to those who don’t. To prevent racial inequality make judgments based on race using racial quotas. In this drive to create an unreal reality the Progressives have manufactured an endless supply of special classes of people, giving some extra rights and privileges while encumbering others with added burdens and barriers. The goal of perfect equality always ends in rearranged inequality. Perfection is not attainable in this life. The utopian dream that humanity can create a government funded heaven on earth has led to more carnage and human suffering than any other delusion known to man.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens [email protected]