College Of Political Knowledge
Take a good look around you….does anything look like equality to you?
Just what the Hell is meant by the term?
Equality means “the state of being equal.” It’s one of the ideals a democratic society, and so the fight to attain different kinds of equality, like racial equality, gender equality, or equality of opportunity between rich and poor, is often associated with progress toward that ideal of everyone being truly equal.
Now did our wise and noble Founders mean any of this when they used the term ‘equality’?
What the Founding Fathers meant by equality is this: All men share a common human nature. The assertion that all men are created equal means that all persons are the same in some respect; it does not mean that all men are identical, or equally talented, wise, prudent, intelligent, or virtuous; rather, it means that all persons possess the inherent capacity to reason.
In the early decades of the Republic, equality meant equality before God; liberty meant the liberty to shape one’s own life. The obvious conflict between the Declaration of Independence and the institution of slavery occupied the center of the stage. That conflict was finally resolved by the Civil War. The debate then moved to a different level. Equality came more and more to be interpreted as “equality of opportunity” in the sense that no one should be prevented by arbitrary obstacles from using his capacities to pursue his own objectives. That is still its dominant meaning to most citizens of the United States.
Neither equality before God nor equality of opportunity presented any conflict with liberty to shape one’s own life. Quite the opposite. Equality and liberty were two faces of the same basic value—that every individual should be regarded as an end in himself.
Apparently the word ‘equality’ does not meaning today what it was intended in the 18th century…..
Maybe a better term would be ‘fairness’.