One fairly easy method to differentiate conservatives from liberals is simply one of terminology choice. For example while conservatives and libertarians prefer the concept of liberty, liberals and socialists work for equality. Need proof? Fair enough. For example, if one were to look through all the posts on this site through today, you would find that the word liberty shows up 17 times while the word equality appears only twice and both are in reference to the notion of state equality.
At some level, all of us, besides those who express open hostility toward a certain socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, or cultural group desire equality. The equality of which I speak is equality under the law. Everyone, be they man or woman, white or black, Christian or Hindu, rich or poor, should be constrained by the same agreed upon rules and regulations. Despite the claims of Senator Stephens, even our leaders must abide by the same restrictions that bind the common man. Ideally this same equality would apply to many facets of life: e.g. employment opportunities, college acceptance, our commercial dealings, equal work for equal pay, etc. Merit would be the sole determining factor between two otherwise fairly equally qualified individuals.
The Equality of Race
Liberals however do not like the idea of merit determining equality. After all, they say, some groups are disadvantaged. Now it is certain that certain groups have been discriminated against in the past. One of the most notable groups is the blacks. After the abolition of slavery, black people were subjugated to a number of laws that not only dehumanized them, but always prevented them from enjoying the same rights and opportunities that white people had. Fortunately, due to the efforts of the civil rights crusaders, black people achieved equal rights. Liberals, however, were not satisfied. They argued that as a result of past discrimination, in order to have true equality, we must create extra opportunities for minorities and thus affirmative action was born. Of all attempts to create an equal society, affirmative action is one of the most ill-conceived and unfair programs ever introduced. They clamor for equality among the races and then they offer a system that sharply divides us based upon race. If you are an employer, you cannot necessarily hire the best-qualified candidate due to racial quotas. If you are looking for either education or employment despite your merit you may be denied simply based upon the color of your skin. And if you are a minority and received your position solely as a result of your merit, how do you quell your coworkers’ spoken or unspoken thoughts of mere racial promotion? Does this system cause resentment? Does this system promote racial equality or does it hinder it?
The Equality of Income
When it comes to income levels, liberals, unlike conservatives, do not trust the free market to distribute wealth fairly. Everyone, they argue, should receive a “living wage” from their employment. Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast definition of a “living wage”. Is $15,000 a living wage? How about $20,000? What about $40,000? $120,000? In order to achieve greater economic equality, liberals promote policies of welfare and a progressive income tax where your tax rate is based upon your level of income. Now why would liberals act in such a fashion? Why should they punish those who prosper? Often times, super wealthy liberals feel guilty for their success and therefore feel better by forcing themselves and their neighbors to offer some of their wealth to the lower classes. Certainly those who make their wealth through illegal or unscrupulous means should suffer guilt, but those who achieve honestly should harbor no such remorse. Other liberals, who do not enjoy material success resent the successes of their fellow man. After all, shouldn’t his or her labor be of equal value to anyone else’s? It should make no difference if the marketplace holds some work in higher regard.
Although I believe it is strange to the conservative’s mindset, equality often comes to the forefront of a liberal’s mind. Most liberals, I would argue, push for this lustful hope of equality merely to further their own notion of fairness in the same way conservatives push for liberty out of fairness. Therefore their goal is laudable, though misguided. Unfortunately, their efforts over-inflate the worth of some work, they upset the established social and religious norms, they create new discrimination, and worst of all, they further bloat the power of the government. Seeking to right some perceived wrong, they cling to the skirt of government, like children looking to have their nanny/parent solve all their problems. By doing so, they forfeit not only their own liberty and responsibility, but also, the liberties and responsibilities of all their fellow citizens and, slowly but surely, all traces of freedom. Thus, the more dangerous liberals use race and class under the guise of equality to sharpen the distinctions among us. Divided, confused, and resentful, they make us their pawns to achieving their goal of absolute and unquestioned power. But, if we return to my earlier point, in order have true equality in this country, we must arrive at a system whereby we are all treated the same under the law and in the marketplace irrespective of the color of one’s skin or the coins in one’s pocket. We have seen the so-called equality of welfare, discrimination, and dependency created by the liberal acts of the federal government. Is this legislated equality the kind of equality you desire?