Some romantics several hundred years ago floated the notion that “all men are created equal.”
This was in opposition to their existing reality that all men were not equal. Their aim or their dream was to make all men equal. The notion that they were born equal made equality their birth right.
Today, the notion of equality before the law is a common term. What does equality mean here?
Men revolted against their governments to become independent of those who would not treat them as equals. The governments of France and of the United States were the eventual realities and the expected fulfillment of these dreams.
These governments were called democracies, governments of the people and Lincoln added “for and by the people.” They were to bring equality to the human race.
The United States especially has been involved in a constant struggle to bring democracy to the whole world. Democracy has diminished somewhat just to a simpler meaning, merely the right to vote. As we look around for its truth, voting in itself does not bring about equality nor democracy.
We have had the tendency to confuse the concept of democracy with the notion of equality. Voting and democracy might aim at equality, but whatever equality is, few if any claim that it has been achieved anywhere in the world.
Is this what Thomas Carlyle admonished as he warned not to become slave to words? For in fact we have become such slaves to many of these words even though they carried no specific meaning over the years and have less meaning today.
The political socialists are still today exponents of equality even in the face of underlying economies that advocate and promulgate the opposite notion.
So what do the words, equality and democracy mean to us today? Have we becomes slaves to these words? Do they express our ideals rather than reality and if so shouldn't we find ways of freeing ourselves from notions of the ideal and those of reality? 'Jus' thoughts from the public square.