The Myth of Equality

Thomas Jefferson may have written that all men are created equal, but he never meant for them to live that way. Our history books gloss over our founding fathers’ real intentions to foster a class-based society. In America, as in the rest of the world, equality has never existed.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” These venerated words were written into America’s Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson. A century and a half later George Orwell, in {italic}Animal Farm,{/italic} added an insightful footnote: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

It seems that Orwell spoke closer to the truth—and that Jefferson’s choice of the word “equal” was unfortunate at best. Men are created equal only in the common requirement of sperm joining to egg. From conception onward, each embryo develops according to its own genetic makeup, environment, the stars, and whatever decisions might have been made at the soul level before entering the body. I relish my uncommon individuality, and honor the same in you. I can’t imagine anything more boring than everyone on this planet looking, thinking, and acting the same. It’s no wonder Barbie and Ken eventually split.

Furthermore, even though Jefferson used the term “men” in the collective sense, referring to all people, the founding fathers never intended equality of status in the new nation. Common laborers, ethnic and racial minorities, and women alike were deliberately denied the right to vote. That privilege was reserved almost exclusively for landed gentry belonging to the approved church. James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, clearly confirmed the founding fathers’ deep-rooted belief in social inequality: “The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government.” And so it has been ever since.

Indeed, if we look around, we see in the creation itself nothing but diversity. It is out of fear alone that humans gravitate toward uniformity. The Australians have a curious term for it: the tall poppy syndrome—a graphic reference to how their society cuts down those who claim superior status. In our scramble for security and identity, we’ve become river rocks, smoothed by the passage of time, all the glorious crags and juts of individuality worn away in the interest of conformity.

Even mathematics misleads us by using the equal sign (=) to indicate {italic}ameness of value.{/italic} 2X + 2X = 4X. If X stands for apple, then the equation would have us believe that all apples are interchangeably identical. But no two apples, like no two humans, are the same. All the laws of math and men can’t turn a Granny Smith into a Macintosh.

A society based on the belief that all its constituents are equal cannot endure. Imagine an army, corporation, hospital, or any institution run that way. Each morning the members assemble and draw their jobs out of a hat. Yesterday’s corporal is now in charge of the Pacific fleet; your surgeon today is the charming orderly who served your dinner last night. By law, pygmies must be included in the NBA draft, and everyone has an equal opportunity to co-star opposite Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie—unless, of course, those two heartthrobs are reassigned as chicken graders for the FDA.

Political correctness calls for us to parrot Jefferson; common sense dictates otherwise. Our planet is paved with the carnage left in the wake of the well-intentioned who took Jefferson at his word and, in the name of freedom, democracy, or some such noble cause, unwisely meddled in the affairs of others. Millennia of differences cannot be erased by fiat. And, as we are reluctantly coming to observe, equality cannot be created by decree. Have we become so blind, so inexplicably insane, so unwilling to admit that we just might be wrong, that we cannot see the harm we cause? We can insist on equality under the law, we can legislate for equality of opportunity, compensation, and human rights, but we would be fools to demand that A = B. Three bars of bath soap do not equate to an avocado just because they cost the same. A woman isn’t equal to three large bags of bird feed just because a scale says both weigh 120 pounds.

Absolute equality exists nowhere in the universe except the mind of man (women, no doubt, know better), who has sadly tried to declare an abstract concept as a self-evident truth. And when man and nature clash, nature inevitably comes in next to last.

Jean-Claude Gerard Koven is a writer and speaker based in Vilcabamba, Ecuador. He was a featured weekly columnist for the UPI (United Press International) Religion and Spirituality Forum and is the author of Going Deeper: How to Make Sense of Your Life When Your Life Makes No Sense, recipient of both the Allbooks Reviews Editor’s Choice Award and the Award for the Best Metaphysical Book of the Year.

©2004 – 2021. Jean-Claude Gerard Koven / All Rights Reserved.


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