Monday, June 9, 2014

Freedom vs. Equality: It's Either/Or

In the comments section of the editorial Campaign finance ruling another blow to democracy, which I posted on last month, a correspondent argued that it is unfair that the wealthy be allowed to spend more than others, "unless you're prepared to make the case that freedom is somehow more important than equality."

I replied:

I certainly would argue that ["freedom is . . . more important than equality"]. More than that, I'd argue that it's either/or—freedom or equality.
Equality does not exist in nature. Each of us is unique, with our own individual qualities and personal circumstances. We are unequal in innumerable ways. Any attempt to equalize human beings necessarily requires restricting liberty. The more equality one demands, the less freedom is possible, and the more brutal the tactics required. Full equality means a murderous totalitarian state (in which case campaign spending would be irrelevant). The fullest embodiment of the equality ideal is Khmer-Rouge Cambodia, which murdered 1/3 of the population in its quest for the ideal.

The ideal of equality, or egalitarianism, is pure evil. There is, in fact, only one type of equality that is suitable to man's nature. Political equality—meaning, equal protection of individual rights, for all people, at all times. Any other type of equality—whether economic, or opportunity, or educational/intellectual, or spending, or whatever—in incompatible with political freedom and a humane society.

Related Reading:

"McCutcheon" Advances Free Speech and Republican Government

A Few Thoughts on the SCOTUS Campaign Finance Ruling

Economic Equality vs. Political Equality: Which is Your America?

1 comment:

Mike Kevitt said...

ckurrhut lythylcIn fact, nothing in nature is equal, not even photons, electrons or oxygen atoms. I think a certain ancient Greek philosopher, Zeno I believe, would tell us that if he was still alive.

As for rights under law, they're equal, in concept, as are oxygen atoms in concept. But if we can precisely measure oxygen atoms, we'd see inequalities. But they're all essentially, conceptually, the same and, from any practical human perspective, they act the same.

When applying rights, honest mistakes can be made, and knowledge can be insufficient. So, even here, things might not always be the same. It's just that this is one place where things are supposed to be the same, equal, as much as we can make them that way. But even the most rational applications of the most rational laws and government can occasionally come up short. But then, corrections can be made, so everybody can and ought to be treated essentially the same so their rights are essentially respected, equally, under law.