Equality in Our Time
What is equality? The Democrat party continues to allege that Republicans are against it, or at least uncaring of equality. Those who claim there is rampant inequality throughout American society have a particular understanding of the word, which leads them to assert that artificially restoring equality through government intervention is necessary.
The Democrat version of equality can be understood by looking into what they mean when they say “inequality.” Sometimes a disparity of representation of a specific group in a given statistic warrants the use of the word. Democrats and social justice warriors love to point to instances where minorities are underrepresented according to the racial makeup of a particular area as proof inequality. Their charge is that something must be causing this underrepresentation, this inequality, thus government intervention is necessary to artificially guarantee equal representation.
When dealing with wealth, class, and status, Democrats always assert that any difference in the amount of material wealth individuals have is unequal, and must be reconciled by government fiat. Their belief springs from their definition of equality. It is the equality of outcome that they seek to “create.” How do they aim to get there? By constructing the perfect governmental machine that is so fine-tuned that it addresses every instance of unequal outcome, returning the universal “ledgers” to infinite balance among individuals. The Democrat party seeks to address all of these instance of inequality. Their party platform is essentially built upon the notion that America fundamentally damns a certain segment of the population to poverty, and their party is the sole arbiter on behalf of those “forgotten” masses.
Yet, this is not how Republicans—particularly conservatives—view the idea of American equality. Equality doesn’t mean that every person has exactly what their neighbor does. The same amount of money, healthcare coverage, the same house, etc., etc., etc… That is essentially what the other side is fighting for when they talk about any of their redistributive policies. Think about it:
1. Welfare: This program takes money from individuals who earn it, beginning at a certain level of income and tax bracket. Let’s say, for the sake of this argument, that the cut off is $40k per year. Welfare and every other form of income replacement takes money from everyone above the $40k level, distributing it down to those who fall at the lower end of the spectrum. All this does is take money from an American who earned it and indiscriminately distribute it among those who haven’t earned it.
2. Income Tax: Income tax is particularly ridiculous, in that so many people do not actually understand how it works. I work with people who curse people who receive “handouts,” paid for by their income taxes. The problem is that they aren’t taking into account the fact that they receive refunds at the end of tax season. They cry over the fact that they pay about, say, $4,000 in income taxes every year, while they receive a refund in March for $6,000! Not only are they benefitting from everything the government provides society through tax revenue, but they are actually having money redistributed to them. Another instance where money is being taken from the Americans who earned it, and given to others who haven’t earned it.
3. Government-Subsidized Healthcare (ACA/Obamacare): The government is given a dangerous amount of power, when the people allow it to control healthcare. Since the government is “paying” for health coverage for certain Americans, they begin to assert their authority of rates, coverage, and eventually the hospitals and doctors who actually care for Americans. When the government takes over an industry, the usual checks and balances of the market are wiped away. At any rate, this policy takes money from earning Americans and uses it to redistribute as subsidies to other Americans, who haven’t earned it.
I could go on, but I will leave it at that, since I believe the picture has been explicitly painted for you. Republicans, on the other hand, believe that equality begins and ends with equal protection under the law. Equal protection under the law maintains that no person’s rights will be valued over another’s, as far as the law is concerned. Inequalities in class, wealth, or status do not justify violating the equal rights other Americans have to their own property. This is an idea that few people want to argue, in my opinion. The rights of those who “have.” The rights of the “have nots” are routinely cited, and principally used to build just about every social program mankind can conjure. Yet, if all men are created equal, then all men have a right to their own earnings.
Those who tend to support social redistributive programs will also subscribe to the idea that we all have a responsibility to feed and clothe the poor. Beyond that, they believe the government then has the right to involuntarily collect from the earners of society and use it to subsidize the lives of the poor. Equality, however, does not lend itself to that conclusion. If every person is created equal, thus retaining basic human rights equally protected by our constitution, then the right to our own property must be included as well. Republicans, on average, believe in this definition of equality, which does not “guarantee” a government-sponsored basic standard of living, as the Democrats have been moving us toward. The conservative fire burning inside many Republicans seeks to restore personal responsibility back into our society.
Personal responsibility is a perfect enemy of the Democrats’ version of equality. While it seems so elementary and simple, it is actually quite a powerful principle. One that is incredibly threatening to any bureaucrat who depends on the dependency of citizens for the sustenance of their lifestyle, their wealth, and their power. You see, while the Democrats champion the opposite of personal responsibility characterized by an infantile dependence on government, many Republicans secretly count on the continued growth of government to enshrine and guarantee their positions of power. What the Washington Establishment understands is this: As more citizens begin to move away from government dependence, the need for government programs wanes, and government is inevitably reduced. Not only is there a reduction in government positions, but the issues that affect the voting public shifts as more individuals aren’t voting based on their own dependence on government. Nobody in “the swamp” wants to reduce the size of government.
So, while I began this discussion talking about equality, personal responsibility is the topic of the conclusion. Equality and personal responsibility are infinitely linked by the fact that one directly influences the meaning of the other. In this sense, equality can be looked at like a balloon with a net enclosing it. The net, in this illustration is personal responsibility—and it is incredibly fragile. As long as equality remains small or simple, the net of personal responsibility remains intact and healthy. Small equality, in this example, means it simply covers the inherent protection of our God-given rights under the law. As equality expands to encompass what it was not intended to, like equality of wealth, property, or general outcome, personal responsibility is spread dangerously thin. As the balloon of equality, which now represents the government and its incredibly expensive pursuit of leveling, the net of personal responsibility is broken. Thus removing the freedom that we all seek and enjoy, as personal responsibility is overthrown by government interventionist manipulation. My fellow Americans, if we are not responsible for ourselves, then the government is all too ready to step right in and fill that void. In doing so, the government can lay claim to everything we have. When the government owns everything, the government chooses how everything is then distributed. Sound familiar?