"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

- US Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776. "I define Equality of Opportunity as the following : Equality before the Law.
It is a career open to the talents. No arbitary obstacles should prevent people from achieving those positions for which their talents fit them and which their values lead them to seek. Not birth, nationality, colour, religion, sex, nor any other irrelevent characteristic should determine the opportunitiues that are open to a person - only his abilities.
Equality of opportunity, like personal equality, is not inconsistent with liberty, on the contrary, it is an essential component of liberty. If some people are denied access to particular positions in life for which they are qualified simply because of their ethnic background, colour, or religion, that is an interference with their right to "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." - Milton Friedman, "Free To Choose" "The authors are badly confused about equality. They are hung up on the term 'equality of opportunity.' Jefferson's 'equality' in the Declaration is, of course, what Hayek called isonomia - equality before the law. Philosopher Robert Nozick called it process equality, which he carefully distinguished from end-state-equality. The authors pursue the latter of those mutually exclusive concepts." The struggle for the high school and the debate over its proper role in American democracy would focus once again a question that had recurred throughout American history and that would bedevil the nation in the 20th century. It was in some ways the central problem of modern democracy, for it was nothing less than the meaning of human "equality". Was the good society one which allowed all citizens to develop their natural differences, including their natural inequalities? Or was it a society which tried to make men equal? Did "equality" mean the maximum fulfillment of each, or did it mean the levelling of all? This question was nowhere more sharply posed than in education, and especially in the high school.
        - Daniel Boorstin, "The Americans: The Democratic Experience"

All men are by nature... born equally free and independent... not a physical but a moral equality. Common sense was sufficient to determine that it could not mean that all men were equal in fact, but in right, not equally tall, strong, wise, handsome, active, but equally men... the work of the same Artist, children in the same cases entitled to the same justice.

        - John Adams

'All men are created equal' says the American Declaration of Independence.
'All men shall be kept equal' say the Socialists.

        - Winston Churchill

Let our children grow tall, and some taller than others if they have it in them to do so.

Let a thousand flowers bloom, and if some are prettier than others, so be it.

        - Robert Locke

We have so many people who can't see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion that the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one!

        - Ronald Reagan

You do not make the weak strong by making the strong weak.

It is the character of egalitarian measures that they pull down what is above. They never raise what is below. Beware dependency on the state.
        - Edmund Burke, 1770.

Those who attempt to level, never equalize... Very plausible schemes, with very pleasing commencements, have often shameful and lamentable conclusions.
        - Edmund Burke

Socialists make the mistake of confusing individual worth with success. They believe you cannot allow people to succeed in case those who fail feel worthless.

        - Kenneth Baker

Even if it were proved - which it is not - that the incidence of men of potentially superior brain power is greater among the members of certain races than among the members of others, it would still tell us nothing about any given individual and it would be irrelevent to one's judgment of him. A genius is still a genius, regardless of the number of morons who belong to the same race.

Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude. - Alexis de Tocqueville A society that puts equality - in the sense of equality of outcome - ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality or freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom. On the other hand, a society that puts freedom first will, as a happy by-product, end up with both greater freedom and greater equality. Freedom means diversity but also mobility. It preserves the opportunity for today's less well off to become tomorrow's rich, and in the process, enables almost everyone, from top to bottom, to enjoy a richer and fuller life. - Milton Friedman, "Free To Choose" The urge to distribute wealth equally, and still more the belief that it can be brought about by political action, is the most dangerous of all popular emotions. It is the legitimation of envy, of all the deadly sins the one which a stable society based on consensus should fear the most. The monster state is a source of many evils; but it is, above all, an engine of envy.

        - Paul Johnson

There exists in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to attempt to lower the powerful to their own level, and reduces men to prefer equality in slavery to inequality with freedom.

- Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) Everything that I have experienced and everything that I have read about socialist experiments in the field of equality convinces me that, not only is equality of outcome an evil myth, but that all attempts to engineer it, that is, to rig the race, are certain to end where they have ended from the French to the Russian revolutions: the guillotine and the gallows. Hierarchy is vital to any human project. In a storm, no mass meeting is a substitute for a captain on deck to shoulder responsibility.
        - Eoghan Harris, "The Irish Independent"

Socialism was always a crappy philosophy based on the stupid idea that we couldn't allow anybody to succeed in life becacause if would make the rest of us feel like failures. Good riddance to that.
        - Marc Coleman, urging a new approach for the left in "The Irish Independent"

My experience of life tells me that equality is a hopeless cause. From the minute you are born, you are unequal to others born on that same day and in the same location, and there is nothing any state directive can do about it. You may be born plain-looking. This is one of the greatest disadvantages in life. To be born handsome is to have a first-class ticket on the journey of life. You may be born to two rather stout parents, in which case you have an inherited genotype which will make you fat however many diets your torment yourself with.
Like the ideal of chastity, the ideal of equality is a war against nature, and in wars against nature, nature usually wins. Philosophers say that Liberty, Equality, Fraternity - that trio of aspirations still stamped on official French documents - are contradictions in terms. You can never have both liberty and equality: you have to choose. I'll take liberty.
        - Mary Kenny, "No Such Thing As Equality", "The Irish Independent"

Equality has always been a threat to liberty, since you can never have both. One person's "equality" is another person's lack of choice. The state which enforces "equality" will trample on liberty. The nation which embraces "liberty" will always be an unequal one, since free individuals will make different and thereby unequal choices.
        - Mary Kenny, "The Irish Independent"

It is a terrible misunderstanding of meritocracy to assume it means everyone is somehow (or could be) of equal merit, with equal success. Innate ability varies, obviously enough. Merit varies. All cannot have prizes, though all can do well in some way. No one believes these days that anyone should be held back by some long-discredited idea of knowing your place or getting above your station. We do live in a meritocracy, imperfect though it is, and few people would wish to change that. However, the painful truth is that meritocracy is cruel. It offers no excuses to those who donít do well. It is even more cruel when teachers and politicians offer false encouragement based on a confusion of meritocracy with socialism. Socialism is incompatible with meritocracy.
         - Minette Marrin, "The Lies They Tell Children", "The Times"

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.

- Henry David Thoreau, "Walden," 1854 Somebody had said, that a king may make a nobleman, but he cannot make a gentleman. God may have made men and women, but Colt made them equal. There is no principle in the conservative philosophy than that of the inherent and absolute incompatibility between liberty and equality. EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW

The great aim of the struggle for liberty has been equality before the law.

The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law. - Aristotle, "Politics V", c.322 BC "The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities." It is of the essence of the demand for equality before the law that people should be treated alike in spite of the fact that they are different. From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict which each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.

        - Friedrich Hayek

 If a test of civilisation be sought, none can be so sure as the condition of that half of society over which the other half has power.

- Harriet Martineau, Society in America #

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