Your Overlord took a short hiatus to celebrate the July 4th holiday which involved gross quantities of various and sundry barbecued meats, a healthy supply of liquor, and a conversation that evoked dangerous thoughts bordering on Common Sense...
Belated Happy Independence Day to the seven or eight people who read this (actually, it's more, but I start to get confused the closer I get to running out of fingers to count upon while intoxicated). Two hundred and forty one years ago this week, a bunch of drunken, provincial tax dodgers got together to create and sign a document that laid out the philosophical basis for Revolution against, and separation from, the greatest Empire the world had ever seen, or is ever likely to see again.
In signing said document they risked their lives, as such a bald-faced declaration of grievances against the Crown was considered treason. Many more made greater sacrifices in order to see those principles of government and human rights put into action in the creation of something that had never been tried before; the Constitutional Republic.
I have always been somewhat ambivalent about the Declaration of Independence. By it's very nature it is a radical document whose implications certainly were not appreciated or perhaps even imagined at the time it was written and signed. For example, had Jefferson known that his statement that "All Men Are Created Equal" would have been used as a means to establish a system wherein a government would go out of it's way to ensure that All Men Are Treated Differently, he might have opted for a different turn of phrase. Had Adams and Franklin, who re-wrote and creatively-edited Jefferson's masterpiece been a little less effusive with their invocation of the deity, they would not have emboldened the religious fanatics who have been America's Curse through Abolition, Reconstruction, Prohibition, and a passel of other periods in between.
"All Men Are Created Equal" is perhaps the biggest lie ever told. It is so obviously a lie that I'm almost reticent to explain why. I figure anyone with the sense not to stick their wet genitals into a live electrical outlet already knew this, and it shouldn't have to be pointed out.
However, this is the early 21st Century and brain power is in decreasing supply.
"All Men Are Created Equal" (AMACE) is obviously untrue. One needs only to realize that people are born with, or develop, different talents, they have varying levels of intelligence, some are physically strong while others are weak. I could go on in this vein, but you get the point; we don't begin or develop as equals.
LeBron James is a physical specimen, a talented basketball player, and master of mass media.
I have trouble tying my own shoes, some days (although this may have more to do with my expanding gut than it does raw, physical ability).
Mozart was a musical genius who arranged notes in a mathematical fashion that created enduring pieces of stately, dignified music.
I'm lucky if I can whistle a tune at the proper pitch.
Albert Einstein explored the mysteries of the universe, unlocked the secrets of the atom, and inspired millions to take up science as a vocation.
I barely understand half of the scientific theories underlying Relativity.
On the other hand, I'm sure LeBron couldn't write software if you spotted him 1,000 IF-THEN-ELSE statements, Mozart couldn't throw a curveball, and Einstein would probably be completely perplexed if he had to make a lasagna on the fly. I can do those things, easily. Are we all equal in abilities? Fuck no.
In fact, I'm fairly certain that having read that, at least 20 panty-bunched mental midgets will stop reading this missive to fire off a response or an e-mail explaining to me (like you have to?) that AMACE isn't meant to be taken literally, or instead refers solely to Men being considered equal under The Law. I'm about to save you the trouble.
It doesn't matter what I think about the phrase: when Jefferson wrote it, he obviously believed it. Otherwise, it's a meaningless piece of word puke. It's also belied by the subsequent actions of the nascent American State in which the institution of slavery persisted, the same consideration wasn't given to women, and the American Indian wasn't even considered a human being.
My point here, if I ever get around to making it, isn't that we're somehow a terrible, hypocritical nation that needs to atone for the sins of the past, and which has often made a mockery of the spirit (if not the letter) of AMACE. My point is that Jefferson's assertion of intrinsic human equality always was, and will continue to be, a self-evident farce, and that the attempt to live up to this ideal has resulted in a most unequal society that Jefferson, himself, probably never envisioned.
For in Modern America, the ideal that All Men Are Created Equal is shat upon on a daily basis.
It is the realization that All Men Are NOT Created Equal that is one of the main sources of our current, dismal state.
That realization has reared it's ugly head time and time again, and led to policies and programs which are genuinely harmful to the basic human Liberties that Jefferson invoked, and which are largely motivated by a need to ignore objective reality in favor of "let's pretend", a system animated by a desire (not always genuine or altruistic) to square the circle between the Lofty Ideal and the Undeniable Facts.
If you doubt this, then consider the following:
Affirmative Action grants privileges according to race, gender, or membership in a politically-favored group. In consequence, people who are not equal in ability are given something -- a job, a seat in Law School, someone else's money -- that comes at the expense of another.
We create "victims" in our society on the basis of politics and ideology (and sometimes just squishy feelings) that must be compensated for their (often-imaginary) victimhood. This often results in extra-constitutional exceptions in law or laws that directly target others as a means of addressing and redressing the original (usually petty) grievance.
We have, from time-to-time, singled out individuals or groups for social censure, legal punishment, silencing, cultural denigration, and worse, in order to "level the playing field" on someone else's behalf.
These examples all represent the direct opposite of what Jefferson was aiming at when he put treasonous pen to insubordinate paper to scold intransigent Monarch.
Far from being a land where AMACE, America has become a land in which Some Are More Equal Than Others (to paraphrase Orwell). If, indeed, AMACE, then the use of government force to impose a giant regime of Make Believe across a wide spectrum of human endeavor would never have been necessary. Therefore, not only is AMACE the biggest lie ever told, it requires a shitload of other lies to be told in order to prop it up.
When you stop to consider that The Government, for the most part, consists of a great mass of Civil Servants at the bottom, many of whom owe their jobs to their ability to pass a watered-down exam written by and for illiterates, lorded over by a semi-aristocracy of political appointees whose main claim to fame is that they went to the "right" schools and know the "right" people, and that we are being ruled by a broad cross-section of the Truly Stupid that represents anything BUT equality and ability, you can begin to see why Jefferson might facepalm and reconsider his catchy phrase out of pure shame.
Some will quibble with me on this point; they will point to the policies of individuals such as Presidents and Senators, Judges and Congresscritters, but they will be missing the point: The Government is not an amalgamation of elected officials, for the elected are temporary -- they are term -limited, they die, they retire, they get caught screwing their interns or something similarly stupid -- and leave office.
The Bureaucracy is FOREVER. And it doesn't care if it runs Reagan's America or Stalin's Russia, because such concerns are not it's business. It's main task is to perpetuate itself, to continue to draw salary and benefits from the taxpayer without having to do anything remotely constructive.
And it, too, laughs at the notion that All Men Are Created Equal, for if this was true, then it would have nothing to do, and it would have nothing to keep it employed, and so this vast Bureaucracy goes out of it's way to ensure that not only aren't people treated equally, but that there's also a constant supply of Unequals to cater to and justify their continued existence.
The American Government itself, therefore,graphically displays the The Big Lie of AMACE on a daily basis by it's mere composition and activities.
For example, take the American Tax Code, which, as of this writing, is some 21,000 pages long (and growing). It requires that level of complexity because the illiterate bureaucrats and political appointees who oversee them (but who have little clue as to what the bureaucrats do) need specific instructions on how to classify citizens and then treat them UNEQUALLY, based on income, manner in which income is earned, size of their families, marital status, and a million other petty details, all of which are designed to either punish success or encourage criminal activity, which the IRS then punishes.
The War on Drugs treats offenders unequally when it results in policies where crack dealers get more jail time than the peddlers of powdered cocaine. It encourages governments at all levels to seize the assets of offenders, whether they were obtained illegally or not, in order to fund itself. This system encourages prosecutors to lay on charges with a trowel in an attempt to force plea bargains, creating a dual system of Justice which shits all over the ideal of AMACE, at least before the Law.
Title IX creates an unequal playing field in higher education, skewing the outcomes of everything from distribution of scholarships to outright removal of legal protections for those accused of sexual assaults, while accusers are granted superhuman extra-constitutional rights regarding their privacy, the accused's right to due process, and even the removal of what is strictly a criminal matter from the jurisdiction of criminal courts.
Unchecked illegal immigration creates an unequal system when it comes to employment, wage rates, law enforcement, utilization of civil services. In some places in this country, the illegal alien has more rights than the native-born citizen, or at least it appears that way, sometimes.
And the reason why these inequalities exist within a system based on the principle that we're all pretty much equally worthless is, naturally, political, and not philosophical.
When Suzie Fivefoottwo can't pass a firefighter's exam, she sues, and the Law says that while she can't perform the duties of a real firefighter, we have to pretend that she can in order to soothe her itchy vagina...at least until someone dies as a result of her lack of qualification... Is that equality?
Police departments are not allowed to racially profile when investigating crime and terrorism, but race had better be taken into consideration -- sometimes, it should be the ONLY consideration -- when deciding who gets that last seat in law school, qualifications or no. Does this this smell of equality to you?
I currently live in a culture that reviles and ridicules everything people like Jefferson created, but Heaven Forbid I point out that while my Culture builds Space shuttles your's dies of malaria; and while my Culture creates supercomputers your's is still hunting gazelles with a fire-hardened stick; or should I make the observation that I am a descendant of a Culture that has been the source of everything you take for granted -- from the cell phone to the university to the tampon -- and complain about, your's can't even grow food, I need to be silenced as a racist.
(Incidentally, isn't it racist to denigrate the race that created everything you use on a daily basis and which has made modern life possible -- all free of the hassle of having to dodge lions, with hot and cold running water, pepperoni pizza and HBO, liberally sprinkled with museums, public schools, public transportation, hospitals, and international air travel, and without having to live in a mud-and-grass hut hunting albinos to eat or screwing underage girls in order to dodge the AIDS virus -- itself racist?).
So, as I reflect, no, there is no Equality in Modern America. Or at least not in the sense that Jefferson would have understood the word.
Perhaps it's time to prepare another, similar document, laying out a new philosophical basis for a second revolution? I know what it would say if I were writing it:
We hold these truths to be self-evident; that anything with a sandy vagina or descended from the scientifically-proven dumbest people on Earth, that which can dunk a basketball but not pass algebra, those who can do nothing but complain about how badly it sucks here, but who somehow never have any useful alternative, those who can castigate others for their greed as they pick up a welfare check, are not worth leaving alive. They have been endowed by their Creator (assuming they have survived the process of abortion and morning-after pills) with certain, inalienable rights to shut the fuck up, pay their own way, and do something useful with their lives, or to GET THE FUCK OUT if they find life here such an abomination.
(Update: Cleaned up some spelling boo-boo's and grammar).A Majority of One is a weekly diatribe about things most people are probably thinking, but afraid to say out loud.