Do you think it’s possible to achieve true equality? How about social justice? Perhaps an end to any of the litany of social ills such as racism, discrimination, persecution or whatever the intolerance may be? The answer is clearly no. Unfortunately, human beings are imperfect, always have been and always will be. Doesn’t mean we can’t strive to cure these ills though.
It would be nice if we could say that all activists amongst us were following the road of good intentions in attempting to cure what ails us, but we are imperfect, aren’t we? Take racism for example. It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly half a century since Dr. King delivered his infamous “I have a dream” speech. He referenced the Emancipation Proclamation of a hundred years prior . A century and a half of society decrying slavery and inequality based upon the mere color difference of one’s skin. How far have we come?
In some respects, we have made progress. But in others, nothing has changed. It’s a sad testament that we actually have a race industry in this country, but we do. Why? Money. The lure of one form of evil is greater than the satisfaction of defeating another. Thus we’ll continue to see the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton front and center at every opportunity to further promote divisiveness and keep racism alive and well. It’s a prosperous business.
What’s the most frustrating and disappointing point when it comes to solving societal ills? When the cure isn’t directed at the cause. Look at the current furor over same-sex marriage. It has nothing to do with “rights” and everything to do with eligibility to receive government benefits. There are gays that aspire to achieve true equality in the eyes of society. To be accepted as just another human, no less, no more. Yet those that drive the debate see to it that their cause becomes just another scheme to redistribute wealth and secure votes.
Virtually all aspects of the equality/justice movement have been hijacked. Equality has become ‘equality of outcome’. Justice is now ‘social justice’ and is based upon legal precedent rather than established, traditional law. Political correctness has trumped freedom of religion.
I raise these points to ask if it is feasible for liberty to survive amongst the push to legislate morality, equality and justice? Why? Because when the purity of the basis to solve societal ills is compromised, it must come at the expense of something else. A ‘balanced approach’ as our President likes to call things. We aren’t attempting to solve problems, only to shift blame and profit off of the debate.
If our intentions were true, liberty could surely stand and even prosper alongside the fight to fix our humanity defects. However, we don’t really want some of those “true intentions”. Equality? Do you think we really want it? What would it mean, particularly in our world based upon all things government?
Would people want equality if it meant every American paid the same income tax? Not the same rate, the same amount. Isn’t that equal and fair? One person, one tax. Depends upon where you fall on the income scale as to your view of the “fairness” of true “equality”.
Government discriminates everyday by selecting some groups of people to reward and some to punish. How about the child tax credit? It’s meant to help lower-income parents get along. Should they be rewarded for a life choice? Lifestyle choices are behavior issues. Government is rewarding a behavior by targeting one group against others. Those who elect to not have children by making that lifestyle choice don’t receive the benefit the government hands out those who do. Certainly not fair or equal.
There are an astounding number of examples one could cite in which government picks the winners and losers based upon behavior and lifestyle choices. Those who trumpet equality all day long likely would not be so inclined if they were presented with just how many life events would be affected if true equality were to be implemented.
Equality, justice, fairness, morality, etc. We can’t pick and choose when they apply. Most who promote them do so out of personal gain. To right a wrong in their life. No one can fault them for the desire to do so. So long as they realize the extent to which it really means.
American society today, along with their elected officials that represent their views, doesn’t reflect the true intentions I mentioned earlier. We have become a divided country of special interests. Sometimes they align with others strengthening their impact. However, in all instances in which the intentions aren’t true liberty pays the price.
There is a tipping point. When liberty is compromised enough at the expense of these special interests, freedom is gone and nothing short of a revolution can restore it.
Public discourse today over our rights isn’t very practical since most of the time we aren’t even debating the same thing. Tough to get a consensus opinion when we can’t even agree on the ground rules.
I read an article promoting Ayn Rand’s Theory of Rights – http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2011-fall/ayn-rand-theory-rights.asp.
These are always interesting to read with detailed explanations of why traditional rights arguments fall flat and Rand’s theory succeeds. For instance, here is the intro to the article.
What are rights? Where do they come from? One’s answers to these questions determine whether one is capable of defending a free society. If one does not know the nature and source of rights, one cannot know whether rights are real or imagined. And if rights are not real, there is no foundation for freedom; governments and societies may do as they please.
The traditional answers to the above questions fall into three categories: (1) Rights are moral laws specifying what a person should be free to do, and they come from God. (2) Rights are political laws specifying what a person is free to do, and they are created by governments. (3) Rights are moral laws specifying what a person should be free to do, and they are inherent in man’s nature. But each of these theories is demonstrably false, and a person or society attempting to defend freedom on such grounds will ultimately fail—as Americans are failing today.
Essentially, Rand’s theory subscribes to the notion that anything faith-based is flawed and cannot serve as a foundation to defend rights. If rights extend under natural law or from God himself, supporters can’t prove anything so the whole premise must be thrown out according to Rand.
The article then attempts to explain why the Rand idea of “observation based morality” is superior. Therein lies the problem. I always find this problem with those who wish to defend their view based upon “observation” as opposed to opinion. Observation of reality, as some like to call it, is merely your opinion. Use the glass half-empty, glass half-full analogy for an example. Reality can have widely-varying observations amongst people. The way I see and interpret something may be entirely different than you do. Does that make a sound basis for what reality is?
I’m not trying to delve too deep here and enter the debate over just what reality is, but it is clear that humans cannot ever agree on the basis for the argument, let alone a solution. We aren’t programmable robots and our minds are capable of vastly different interpretations of the same things. Even reality is different to different people so any “observation of reality” is still nothing more than your opinion.
The point is that the Rand theory can also be easily discounted as somewhat of a faith-based theory in that you must believe that all humans are capable of the same level of observation. It is no more sound based upon Rand’s own principles than a truly faith-based belief system.
The author quoted Newt Gingrich.
Newt Gingrich challenges anyone to identify another possible source of inalienable rights: “If you are not endowed by your Creator with certain inalienable rights where do they come from?”
Is observation superior to faith? I think not. Not to mention the fact that observation based thinking cannot account for how our little universe came to be. Wrapping your head around the concept of the really big picture is difficult enough without having to rely upon science to deliver a provable account to explain it all.
So where does that leave us on this beautiful Easter Sunday? Are you comfortable looking within for all the answers? Can you sufficiently prove your own theories as to what equality, justice, morality, fairness, liberty and faith should be not just for you, but for all? Not this guy, I can’t do it. I’ll leave it in the hands of the Almighty. Makes much more sense to me especially when taken in context of explaining what it all means.