Monday, December 5, 2011

Simple Truth: Inequality does not exist because of Liberty. Liberty exists to minimize inequality.

The ones at the top always have Liberty.  The only question is if those at the bottom do as well.

Consider two men of middle stature.  Both are professionals; both have wives and children.  Both have houses and food.  Above both men, in society, are "the rich and powerful."  Politicians, successful businessmen, kings, and queens.  He knows they wield money, and therefore power and influence.  The first man, however, has no hope of ever joining that elite group.  He is told where to live, what to eat, and what to do.  He has no choices, or they are so limited that he may as well have none.  The other man has hope.  He could, tomorrow, if he chose, sell his possessions, go into business for himself, and possibly enter the rolls of the Rich and Powerful.  Which of these men would you rather be?

Consider two more men.  Both are considered "poor" by their respective societies.  The first eats a subsistence diet, going hungry on many days.  His clothes are old.  He has no heat or air conditioning in his domicile.  He relies solely on his feet or public transportation to get from point A to point B.  The second man eats at least two, and probably three meals a day.  He has a car, a television, and complains when his AC or Furnace need repair.  He consumes more information in a day than most people throughout human history would have been able to consume in a year.

In both of these cases, the difference is Liberty.  In the first case, the second man has the Liberty to chart his own course; to decide his own destiny.  Certainly, he may fail, but it is only because of the possibility of failure that the possibility of upward mobility exists.  They are opposite faces of the same coin.  In the second case, the second man benefits from the Liberty he shares with those who are more successful.  Because he lives in a society of Liberty, goods are more plentiful and, therefore, less expensive.

In every society there will be those with wealth and power.  It is simply a fact of human existence that the majority of society's wealth will belong to a relatively small group of people.  Nothing in Man's history has changed this, and nothing suggests it can change.  To complain about that fact is the same as complaining about gravity or the tides.  Even in Communist Russia and China, those at the top had power and wealth.  So the question of Liberty is not whether those men will exist, it is whether it will be possible to join their ranks.

In a society with Liberty, where I can enjoy the fruits of my own labor, I can choose to take risks and reap any rewards.  It is in a Liberated society that a college drop-out can decide to start the most ubiquitous computer company in the world.  It is in a Liberated society that poor black man can feed the south by discovering the vast uses of a native legume.  In a controlled society, in a society without that liberty, no incentive exists to do those things.  One cannot keep the rewards of their endeavors, so why take risks?

Remember when one is offered "comfort" and "equality" at the cost of liberty- you will not be equal with those on top.  It will not happen.  And your comfort will depend on the benevolence of men with means greater than yours.  However, at the cost of guaranteed, if minimal, comfort, and at the cost of the trivial equality of shared misery, you can have the chance at the rewards of true comfort- comfort from your own labor, and guaranteed true equality- the equality of opportunity, and self determination.


  1. Our Constitution calls for equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. To suggest the latter to our founders would elicit derision.

  2. I really want to read your post, but my eyes cannot stay focused on the white-on-black type. I would suggest a change would be a good idea. My 2¢. -- David

  3. Okay, that's two or three of that comment... so the background has changed.

  4. Thanks! Now I can read it. -- David