“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” – Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address
President Lincoln’s question was simple, can a country founded on a belief in fundamental human equality endure? Can it survive? I believe the answer to that question is a resounding yes.
Today I think we face a different question. Does the country founded on that belief still believe? And will that belief survive?
When the government spends much of its policy-making time picking winners and losers, favoring this group over that, taxing all to give back to a few for political favors, taking down private industries for the benefit of political backers, telling the people how they should and should not behave … when these things happen it bespeaks a government that does not believe in equality. For if they did believe in equality they would not lightly treat the people with double standards. They would not lightly trample freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of self-determination. They would not lightly presume to live out our lives for us, deigning to come down to our level occasionally to inform us about how they have done all of this for our own good.
No, a government founded on belief in human equality does not exalt itself above the citizens – it is the most obvious denial of equality.
We’ve written in the past about the pervasive confusion in this country about the proper role of government; accepting a government to which they must be ultimately subservient for the good of the masses. A philanthropic, do-gooder government out to solve your problems will ultimately not solve your problems and increase its own power in the process, enriching the legislators and the well-connected insiders along the way.
This is not equality before the law.
But I, like Lincoln, believe “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” It is my sincere hope and prayer that we will move back in the direction of human freedom. That we the people will return from the days of darkness and confusion, and that a new birth of freedom will reign.