Liberty and Equality: Ideals in conflict
In the 1830s, when the French intellectual, Alexis de Tocqueville, toured America he noted the American drive for both Liberty and Equality. He predicted the two concepts would come into conflict. Add the American desire for the Pursuit of Excellence and the likelihood that Liberty and Equality, not to mention Diversity, are mutually compatible is, well, highly unlikely.
The recent outbreak of Measles, Tuberculosis and other diseases in New York, California and along our southern border is an example of the conflict between the ideals of Liberty and Equality.
With the advent of the Measles vaccine in 1963, it was not long before the occurrence of Measles in the USA became so rare that the disease was virtually extinct. While most parents embraced the vaccine for saving their children from the sometimes fatal Measles, a tiny minority refused to go along with the effort to eradicate the dread childhood disease. Some based their refusal on religious grounds. Others feared the vaccine might be harmful.
Fortunately, a vast majority favored the Measles vaccine. Most states passed legislation mandating the Measles vaccine for all children in all schools. Thus, the desire for Equality-of-Results came in conflict with the idea of Liberty for All.
Yet the conflict between Liberty and Equality goes far beyond the Measles vaccine. One of the goals of Progressive Liberalism is to make everyone Equal. Throw in Diversity and Political Correctness, and the puzzle becomes more complicated. Why? Because not all human beings are created exactly equal.
While America’s founding documents of the late 18th Century proclaim universal Equality, modern science reveals everyone’s DNA is a bit different. Resultantly, some are skilled at communication but are poor in math and science. Some are good at math and science but have difficulty with communication. Some are excellent at everything. Just as everyone’s fingerprints are different everyone’s genes are different, a fact that makes absolute Equality an impossible goal and, at the same time, holds Excellence hostage.
The effort to make everyone Equal has the potential consequence of reducing the whole of society to a common denominator. We see this when schools no longer have valedictorians, when everyone gets the same medal just for showing up.
But this conflict is not a matter of race or ethnic background, albeit people struggling just to survive in the developing nations have less access to learning and, therefore, have less opportunity to live up to the potential that might be built into their God-given DNA.
Many Americans do not like being told what to do. Yet, until recently, the idea of mandatory vaccinations for preventable diseases was widely accepted. Unfortunately, some states have relaxed the penalties imposed on parents for failing to have their children vaccinated. One might note that these same, more liberal, states have relaxed several standards and with predictable adverse results. Recreational marijuana being a case in point.
Meanwhile, hordes of migrants, whose vaccination histories are unknown, are causing a humanitarian crisis along our southern border. Sometimes, Crisis and Opportunity are two sides of the same coin. Should we take this Opportunity to vaccinate migrants who have not been vaccinated? We report. You decide.
©2019. William Hamilton.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame. Dr. Hamilton is the author of The Wit and Wisdom of William Hamilton: the Sage of Sheepdog Hill, Pegasus Imprimis Press (2017). "Central View," can also be seen at: www.central-view.com.