The New Democrat Online

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Constitution Center: Constitution Daily: NCC Staff: Danielle Allen Traces Equality in the Declaration of Independence: Freedom and Equality in a Liberal Democracy

Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence
Freedom vs. equality which I guess has been an ongoing debate between Progressives and Libertarians perhaps for an indefinite time now. And this whole discussion is really relates to what is called income inequality. And the Progressives concerns with it and Libertarians there to say that “people should be allowed to keep the fruits of their labor. And even if they make a lot more money than their fellow Americans because they earned that success”. With Progressives there to counter that “if we don’t look out for struggling Americans then that affects everyone because of the lost purchasing power. But also because the social costs that come from it”. But also because they believe society has a role to essentially take care of the less-fortunate among us.
As the great libertarian Economist Milton Friedman said “without freedom there isn’t any equality”. Why because if people don’t have the freedom to do as much for themselves as they can and have the ability to take care of themselves as much as possible, than they won’t. So yeah if you encourage people not to be successful by taxing most of their money way from them to take care of others you may reach equality. A country that has a lot of struggling people in it where most of the country struggles. And very few Americans having much if any freedom at all. But that is not the society that most Americans want.
Americans tend to want to be as successful as they can and you accomplish that by making sure people have the freedom and tools so they can do that. It is not a freedom vs. equality issue for me as a Liberal. But how you get to a society and an economy where as many people as possibly can have the tools to get the freedom they need to be successful in society and not need public assistance to financially survive. And to get there instead of having government take so much from the successful and people who live in freedom we empower as many people as possible who want to work and be successful in life to get themselves the tools to be able to accomplish that for themselves.
Which means things like expanding education and job training for low-income adults whether they are working or not. And making those opportunities for anyone who needs it. And having an education system that produces more high-skilled students and workers. The question for me at least is not freedom vs. equality. To that is a false choice like choosing between food or water.
To me it is how you produce a society where many people as possible that is people who want to live in freedom and would work hard for it, how are they able to accomplish that for themselves which is living in freedom. And then allow them to enjoy the fruits of their labor or at least the most of it so they are encouraged to be successful in the future as well. That is how you have a society that is both free and equal. Not take from the very successful to take care of the rest of the country.