“It’s very clear. If we stay on this road Washington has us on right now, we will risk the essence of what makes us exceptional. We will lose what makes us unique. I know this because this idea about America being exceptional is not something I read in a book. As the son of exiles, my parents were born into a society pretty much like every other in the world where if you’re not from the right family or with enough money you can only go so far. And that is a very different place from our America – a place where the son of bartender doesn’t have to become a bartender and where the son of a maid can achieve any dream. So now we’re being asked whether we want to keep all that or whether we want to become more like the place my parents came from.” – Florida Republican Senate Candidate, Marco Rubio
What makes America different, special, unique?
According to Marco Rubio, (and I happen to agree) it is not a matter of monetary equality, but a matter of freedom. If people choose to become more, to earn more, to work for more, then they have the freedom to do so.
It is freedom. It is self-determination. It is this equality that has made America great.
It’s an argument that I’ve made before, but it bears repeating. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Our definition of equality, the one that has worked for America, the one that I believe is correct, is that we are equal in the eyes of God. He who created us makes no distinction between us in terms of value to Him, value as a creation, value as persons.
In this equality, whether you have more money than I or less does not affect in any way our equality as people. You are not mightier before God because of money. You are not more valued, of greater worth to God, because of money. Money does not distinguish you in the eyes of the Creator. He who made all things is not impressed by our ability to aggregate the things He has made.
But be careful. This equality speaks to self-determination as well. If we are indeed equal, then you have no right to tell me what to do with my resources. You have no authority to rule over me and make such moral decisions. You are not my judge, but my equal.
The corruption of this comes in a painful double stroke. First, those who hold that equality can only be realized in equality of wealth hew to the same principle. They have made wealth their god, and have demanded equality before it. They do not therefore reject the principle of equality before the higher power – they merely reject God as that higher power; unable to accept the notion that equality and justice could ever mean that people are of different levels of wealth. (Though, the Bible is chock full of differently wealthy people, with no indication that this is in error. Further, we even see that we are to store up treasures for ourselves in heaven, and that the Lord will give to each man according to his work [see Jer 17:10 or 2 Cor 5:10] – could it be that even in heaven the utopian ideal of equal stuff does not exist?)
The second stroke of the corruption is more sinister. It is bad enough that the pursuit of this equality in wealth leads to poverty, not wealth. (It is truly a shame. The one thing that was attempted, the one thing that was the goal – wealth and equality thereof – is the most elusive.) But worse yet, it is intervention in the mechanisms of free creation of wealth that opens the door wide for manipulation of the system – by the wealthy. It is this interventionism that allows the wealthy to rig the game for themselves and remain wealthy, while crippling any attempt by the poor, or even the less-wealthy, to climb to such a station.
No, freedom is the way. Equality must be in the eyes of God. More than this is only a trap.