Thursday, November 6, 2008

What is equality?

The bullets fly ahead, the shells destroy our town,
as into the dreary dust, our blood to mud is ground,
the dreams of generations past, ground into dust,
how can we not now fight this fight, when we know we must?

Our nation is an old one, it is a nation of dreams, hopes, of prosperity, when things are going well, and of solidarity, when they are not.

But what has come to our nation now? As a human being, eyes opened looking toward the future, I see that there is little solidarity. There is much blame, in fact, blame for fear, blame for hate, blame for this and that, all apparently reasonable, all apparently logical, but all based in emotion and blinded thinking.

Our nation clamors for equality, but what does this mean? Is equality having equal things? Is it 'equal opportunity', whatever that vague term means? Is it equality in creation, or equality in means?

We stand as a nation divided, divided by its own petty visions of inequality, but what does that mean? What is it to be unequal?

It is my contention that equality does not come from what you have. It does not come from the opportunities presented to you. It does not come from anything external to humans, but from that very state of humanity, a state which was granted, by accident or design, and wrought into our very being.

We cry out about inequality, but can anyone truly be equal, or unequal to anyone else? To imply absolute equality implies a state beyond totalitarianism, a denial of opinion, of will... but such subversive arguments often lead to far more horrific acts with their own consequences for 'equality'. To explore equality and inequality... we must explore ourselves.

Let us look at how we enforce anything. For any law, we create restrictions. Those restrictions are bound by the 'will of society', which is represented by the makers of those laws, and the interpretation of the courts. We enforce via restriction, via punishment... but is that equal? Do we have equal representation, rich and poor, within that court system? The statistics would scream most certainly not... so is the law yet equal? If the restrictions of a man cannot enforce equality, for the ability of some to remove said restrictions, what then?

Is equality in your money? Ultimately money can be gained and lost, but what does this say about equality? If equality comes from equal money, is money even needed?

Is equality in the education? Not entirely, though an education can help one to understand their equality.

Equality... is in the capability to make choices. The capability to grow, to learn, to bring one's self to understanding. To question and explore is the right of equality. Such a right cannot be trammeled by law without destroying the equality itself. Equality is not being offered equal opportunity, but being able to embrace the opportunities that life presents without the impositions of your race, your gender, your sexual orientation, or even your own past.

Humans have the right to equality, a right built in to something deeper than blood or bone, something intrinsic, and epherimal in the human existence. Some call this invisible something a soul. Some call it a gestalt. Some call it simply... humanity.

Some humans will always question others about their differences, and ignore the similarities. That is their path, and their failure of learning. Some will attempt to correct this by restraining all humans from such folly... but again, such is a failure of the humanity. By restricting some choices, one restricts others. By restricting some from learning, we restrict all from learning.

Education is part of equality, but far more important is the ability to think, explore, conceive ideas, to learn. Equality is the right not to be restricted arbitrarily by the will of others, in public property and public thought. It is the right to associate freely. It is the right to speak, to understand, to write, to communicate without restrictions so long as that speech is not libelous or slanderous.

It is the right to make the opportunities to buy your own home, to own your own property, to have a family by mutual consent, to raise that family, without arbitrary imposition. It is the right to have law that is not arbitrary, not constantly being redefined, rewritten. It is the very right to be free of legislative attainder, to be free of retroactive law, of any stripe, the right to defend one's self, the right to privacy from the invasion of your home by any person, save by due process of law with a writ of warrant upheld by probable cause, with due affirmation of that probable cause.

It is the right to have that for which you have worked kept safe from seizure, to keep it from the grasping hands of others save, again, by due process of law, and the hearing before the court and jury. It is the right of the person, and of the people, to all of the rights within the Bill of Rights.

These rights are not simply something that was tacked on, something that the government created. They pre-existed the very government, as did others, unspoken of in the Constitution for their very nature being so obvious as to not need speaking. The right to sit in your front yard and stare up at the clouds, for instance, the right to travel on public roads, the right to the use of the public waterways for transportation. The right to walk to and from that church that the first amendment guarantees as the right of religion, the right to self-defense that was encoded in the right to keep and bear arms.

The secret to rights, is they are rights only so long as everyone has them. If any class of citizens, for whatever reason, loses those rights, outside of a court of law, or after the sentence of that court for a just, and due penalty paid to society is completed... then they are no longer rights. Those classes invariably, inevitably expand. This was the reason for the writs of habeas corpus, quo warrantio, and ultra vires.

The first term was one of the foremost securities of the free people, the right to challenge the court to know why one is being held, and the second is related to it, to know what power the court holds you under. The third is equally important, a writ declaring the court to be outside of its guidelines, outside of its own powers.

The last two have been more and more delegated to civil contracts, however, due to the shifting and ephimeral nature of the system of laws.

Do you want real equality? It doesn't come from a government... it comes from within. It comes from due diligence, and due exercise of the rights, freedoms, priviliges and immunities of a citizen of your state, as well as the protection of the rights of others. All rights are linked. All rights must stand, or all fall together. In this, the many truly are one, and always have been.

So do we stand, equal, or tear each other down through myriad laws, myriad regulations, which destroy the rights of individuals... which are that which makes up the very society itself?

1 comment:

elysium said...

The only thing equality should mean, from our government, is equal treatment under the law. If a poor, homeless black man commits fraud and theft, then he should be treated the same as a rich white ex-President who's committed fraud and theft.

In the war on some drugs, if you catch someone with cocaine, that rich son of a Senator should be treated equally to that Mexican-American dock worker caught with it.

If you give tax incentives to companies using solar power, then you need to do that for all companies, not just certain ones.

Equal treatment under the law, regardless of the wealth, power, skin color, sex, sexual orientation, political party, or religion of the person. That's the only equality the government should be concerned with. That's what equality means.