Monday, October 10, 2016

Equality as an Affirmation of our Common Humanity - The Far Center: Equality as an Affirmation of Our Common Humanity

Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government, practically just so much. Public opinion, or any subject, always has a “central idea, from which all its minor thoughts radiate. That “central idea" in our political public opinion, at the beginning was, and until recently has continued to be, “the equality of men. --- Abraham Lincoln 1856

The Declaration of Independence was written in the manner of Euclidean geometry. It begins with the “self-evident truth” and moral assertion that "all men are created equal" and that put everything that followed, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, in a moral context. Jefferson, Madison, Tocqueville, Lincoln and the great reformers such as the women suffragettes and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr all considered equality to be the primary moral concept of United States constitutional democracy.

After the tragedy of two World Wars the preamble to the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights also begins, “Whereas the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world...”

It is the moral concept of an inherent universal equality that makes the accommodation of diversity and a wide variety of attributes possible. Yet, in the past 40 years our government, the media, and the academics have been promoting liberty as our primary value with very rarely any mention of equality.