I’ve recently come to the real reason for hatred between conservatives and liberals. The arguments about big government, taxes, illegal immigration, affirmative action, healthcare, privatization, social programs, etc., all stem from internal beliefs regarding freedom and equality. Conservatives would rather have freedom, while liberals would rather have equality. Obviously, governments get in the way of freedom, but can be strong agents in trying to bring about equality.
Freedom hinges on: capitalism/free markets, democracy, innovation, peace, wealth, discrimination based on merits, inequality. Means: hard work. Ends: attainable.
How much does freedom create inequality?
Inequality has always existed. It will always exist. There have always been haves and have nots. Some people are smarter than others. Some are stronger than others. Some people are blind, and others are deaf. The government tries to fight these 'gross inequalities' by throwing money at problems that can't be solved.
Equality hinges on: socialism, communism, fascism, discrimination based on race and gender, and ideas. Means: infringe on freedom. Ends: unattainable. (Did I just give equality unequal treatment?)
How much does equality suffocate freedom?
Example: government-sponsored healthcare. Government says they will provide healthcare for all. Everyone gets equally crappy healthcare. Though the rich can afford to pay for better healthcare, they are not allowed to pursue such care because well, that would be unfair for the poor people if the rich could, you know, spend their money.
Why can’t we still work towards equality?
I’ll let John Adams do the talking here:
“Are the citizens to be all of the same age, sex, size, strength, stature, activity, courage, hardiness, industry, patience, ingenuity, wealth, knowledge, fame, wit, temperance, constancy, and wisdom? Was there, or will there ever be, a nation, whose individuals were all equal, in natural and acquired qualities, in virtues, talents, and riches? The answer of all mankind must be in the negative. It must then be acknowledged, that in every state...there are inequalities which God and nature have planted there, and which no human legislator ever can eradicate.”
And here’s a scary thought: What if we let our freedoms go, and the government really did achieve stable, financial freedom for all. What would they equalize next? Do you think they would really stop with money? What would they do to people who are stronger, or taller, or prettier? Am I going to far? Is this a slippery slope idea that would never happen? I’m not speculating or anything, but I remember there was one this guy named Adolf who came pretty close to killing everyone that wasn’t like him.
Is there a happy medium?
Yeah. The government needs to give everyone equal opportunity to succeed or fail. The government needs to intervene equally in everyone life. People own the government; the governments don’t own the people. The government’s job is to be an administrator of justice, and should apply punishment to those citizens whose freedom infringes upon another citizen’s freedom.
That was my sarcastic, albeit true, response. Here's something to chew on: Maybe freedom can actually promote equality. Maybe the rich would benefit from giving to charity, helping the poor, or even throw money at eradicating disease. No one told Bill Gates that he had to start up the Gates Foundation. Maybe if people had more money, they would spend more money. And maybe some of that spending would go towards creating a 'more equal' world without forcing the government to force the people to be less free. But that's just me assuming that people have good intentions and generally like to be happy.
But the Constitution says we are all equal!!!
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…
John Adams, who helped to write the Constitution, says this:
That all men are born to equal rights is clear. Every being has a right to his own, as clear, as moral, as sacred, as any other being has. This is as indubitable as a moral government in the universe. But to teach that all men are born with equal powers and faculties, to equal influence in society, to equal property and advantages through life, is as gross a fraud, as glaring an imposition on the credulity of the people, as ever was practiced by monks, by Druids, by Brahmins, by priests of the immortal Lama, or by the self-styled philosophers of the French revolution. For honor's sake ... for truth and virtue's sake, let American philosophers and politicians despise it.
1. Freedom is more attainable than equality.
2. Freedom does more to promote equality than equality does to promote freedom.
3. Our nation is built on freedom and justice.
4. Pursue your happiness, don't wait for the government to give it to you.