Danielle Allen: ‘Equality in the Declaration of Independence’

Danielle Allen_ Equality in the Declaration of Independence (2014) - Google Search

Source:Amazon– Danielle Allen’s book about the Declaration of Independence.

“The following text is excerpted from Our Declaration: A Reading of the ­Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2014) by Danielle Allen, UPS Foundation Professor in the School of Social Science.

The Declaration of Independence matters because it helps us see that we cannot have freedom without equality. It is out of an egalitarian commitment that a people grows—a people that is capable of protecting us all collectively, and each of us individually, from domination. If the Declaration can stake a claim to freedom, it is only because it is so clear-eyed about the fact that the people’s strength resides in its equality.

The Declaration also conveys another lesson of paramount importance. It is this: language is one of the most potent resources each of us has for achieving our own political empowerment. The men who wrote the Declaration of Independence grasped the power of words. This reveals itself in the laborious processes by which they brought the Declaration, and their revolution, into being. It shows itself forcefully, of course, in the text’s own eloquence.”

From IAS 

“Milton Friedman – Equality and Freedom (Q&A) Debunking Social Justice Theory”

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Source:Basic Economics– Professor Milton Friedman giving a lecture about economics, I believe in 1978.

From Basic Economics

Freedom vs. equality which I guess has been an ongoing debate between Progressives and Conservatives perhaps for an indefinite time now. And this whole discussion is really relates to what is called income inequality and the so-called Progressive (social democratic, in actuality) concerns with it. And Conservative there to say that “people should be allowed to keep the fruits of their labor. And even if they make a lot more money than their fellow Americans because they earned that success.

Social Democrats or Socialists there to counter that “if we don’t look out for struggling Americans then that affects everyone because of the lost purchasing power. But also because the social costs that come from it”. But also because they believe society has a role to essentially take care of the less-fortunate among us.

As the great Classical Liberal Economist Milton Friedman said “without freedom there isn’t any equality”. Why, because if people don’t have the freedom to do as much for themselves as they can and have the ability to take care of themselves as much as possible, then they won’t.

So yeah, if you encourage people not to be successful by taxing most of their money way from them to take care of others you may reach equality. A country that has a lot of struggling people in it where most of the country struggles. And very few Americans having much if any freedom at all. But that is not the society that most Americans want.

Americans tend to want to be as successful as they can and you accomplish that by making sure people have the freedom and tools so they can do that. It is not a freedom vs. equality issue for me as a Liberal. But how you get to a society and an economy where as many people as possibly can have the tools to get the freedom they need to be successful in society and not need public assistance to financially survive.

To get to a true opportunity society where everyone has a real opportunity to live in freedom in America, every American needs to be able to get themselves a good education. And every parent needs to raise their own kids well and have the education and tools to do that as well.

We need more high quality education and job training for low-income adults and kinds whether they are working or not. And making those opportunities for anyone who needs it. And having an education system that produces more high-skilled students and workers. The question for me at least is not freedom vs. equality. To that is a false choice like choosing between food or water.

To me it is how you produce a society where many people as possible that is people who want to live in freedom and would work hard for it, how are they able to accomplish that for themselves which is living in freedom. And then allow them to enjoy the fruits of their labor or at least the most of it so they are encouraged to be successful in the future as well. That is how you have a society that is both free and equal. Not take from the very successful to take care of the rest of the country.

About Erik Schneider

Full-time blogger on a multiple ray of topics and subjects, because of multiple interests.
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