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The Founders' Understanding of Equality THE 1776 SERIES


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Real Clear Politics

All people are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential and unalienable rights. – John Adams

We have reached a time when each of us must make an effort to rediscover what Adams and Jefferson and the other Founders meant when they declared that we are all created equal. For over a century, instead of trying to help each generation of Americans understand the Founders’ idea of America, political thinkers in academia and their minions in the press have made a concerted effort to replace the Founders’ vision. They have worked to redefine the very terms that the Founders used. No term has suffered more at their hands than “equality.”

It is remarkable that while the Founders’ writings were focused on equality, public discourse today focuses on social and economic inequality.

It is remarkable that while the Founders’ writings were focused on equality, public discourse today focuses on social and economic inequality; “inequality” has replaced “equality” as the term of art in discussing America. This focus on inequality is part of the assault on the American idea that we see every day in the media and in academia. It has become an important source of many Americans’ confusion about America, causing many Americans to doubt that America is an exemplary country, or even a good one.

Today, an ever-expanding notion of inequality dominates public discourse. Assigning grades to schoolwork has come under attack for promoting inequality, as has using merit to determine who is to be admitted to America’s universities. The Founders would have found this preoccupation with inequality—and the understanding of equality implied by it—simply absurd.

So if we need to rediscover what the Founders meant when they declared that we are created equal, how shall we go about it? I propose that we begin by turning to the most famous passage in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.:snip:

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Well, if you mean the race, I don't rightly know. This is not a thing to be ashamed of. [b\The thing is, you cannot judge a race. Any man who judges by the group is a pea-wit.[/b]


No two things on Earth are equal or have an equal chance. Not a leaf, not a tree.

Sgt Buster Kilrain Gettysburg


What we see is the difference between the two ideologies. The Left wants (DEMANDS) Equality of Outcome. The Right wants Equality of Opportunity.

So many people have no, or very little knowledge of history and Civics...what is sadder is (it appears) no interest in leaning any.

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Americans who accept this counterfeit without protest do so because they have forgotten, or never knew, the look and feel of the real thing.

The wisdom of the Founders is nowhere more evident than in their profound understanding of equality. They understood that equality decoupled from strong individual rights, rights understood as inherent and unalienable, would inevitably result in despotism. That is what has occurred everywhere in the world where it has been tried. For one example, consider Cuba. Castro promised that communism would establish equality in Cuba. Once in power, Castro and his henchmen set about confiscating the Cuban people’s property and systematically violating their rights to life and liberty. It can happen in the U.S., too. The further we as a people drift from the Founders’ idea of equality, the nearer we come to being a once-free people who have lost our liberty.


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