Monday, May 21, 2012

Suppression by Equality

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal...” - Thomas Jefferson

This epic line of the Declaration of Independence is one of the most quoted, and I believe misinterpreted lines ever written. Our founding fathers were a highly intelligent and forward-looking group. They clearly understood that no two things in nature are equal nor do they have an equal chance. Everyone and everything is unique and the value each contributes to the world differs. This foundational belief of our nation defines America as a place where one's destiny is the culmination of their beliefs, natural talents, and decisions, combined with the effort the individual is willing to put forth. It is the promised land where one is able to realize their full potential, free of the bonds of governmental repression. At least it used to be. This is a nation where a person's station in life is not determined by how they come into this world, but by how they chose to live their life. This does not; however, mean that the natural inequalities that exist between all people do not exist here. While our Constitution removes barriers imposed by mankind, even this mighty document pales in comparison to the irresistible force of nature.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” - Abraham Lincoln

I believe that everyone is endowed with some special gift, an ability or aptitude at which they naturally excel, but not all talents are equally valued by our society. Some attain great fortune and recognition by cultivating their gift, others do not. Some are the recipients of great support and receive multiple opportunities to showcase their skill set, others do not. Just because some are lucky enough to be blessed with advantages, does not mean they will prosper, nor is it something for which they should be disparaged. Advantage does not guarantee success, nor does it condemn those not privy to it to a life of misery and obscurity. It simply means that the ascent to prominence requires more effort from some than from others. Life is not always fair and when government is enlisted to try and make it so, there are many unforeseen consequences and the ultimate price is the sacrifice of our freedom and liberty. Success is not given, it is not owed, it must still be earned. In order to be free to succeed, we must also be free to fail. For true success is exploring the extent of our potential, and this is not possible without the prospect of failure.

“Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.” - Thomas Paine

There is a growing sentiment in our society that it is the duty of government to nullify life's inherent inequalities. To those that view this as good intentioned, remember the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It is not possible to elevate everyone to excellence, as the behavior and attitude necessary to attain excellence are the product of personal commitment. Since government has no measure available to them to generate this. their chosen strategy is to restrain, vilify, and diminish the value and rewards of achievement. This path leads away from the liberty of democracy and down the dark tunnel to the equality of mediocrity and misery desired by socialism. We will not all succeed, that is a fact, but we must not sacrifice our natural right to realize our fullest potential so that others may not feel the sting of failure. As Marianne Williamson so eloquently wrote, “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.” Success is something to be celebrated and revered because failure is always a very real possibility. Beating the odds and rising triumphant is the stuff of legends. The reality of failure by some does not justify denying the many their chance to excel. We are the land of opportunity and we must not sacrifice this wondrous gift because of those who refuse to take a chance or simply fail to measure up. Our nation is the envy of the world and the undying dream of so many because this is the place where a person's actions determine their fate, it is not dictated to them by an obstructionist and repressive government. We lived under this once, and we defied all the odds to cast it off. To revert back in the name of some poorly conceived notion of equality is foolishness of the highest order and an unforgivable insult to those that bestowed this blessing upon us.

“I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”- James Madison

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