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B. Royce

Equality letter

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Editor: Imagine yourself living in a land of material equality. There are 100 couples living in 50 houses all of the same type and size. You all have the same three changes of clothing and two pairs of shoes. You all have the same TV's, refrigerators and sundry appliances. You all work the same, relatively easy, 40 hour week. You all get paid the same $200 which covers all your needs. You can't increase your wealth and you can't lessen it. You can't go up and you can't go down. For your entire life you will all receive the same health care and you will be materially equal to everyone. There is nothing to aim for, nothing to achieve; no mystery, no adventure, not even the fear of losing your place in life and having to work like Hell to get it back. Are you happy? Why should you care? You are equal. Isn't equality the meaning and fulfillment of life, the sign of a morally healthy society?

It is said by some (anti-American professors and in movies like Avatar) that America is evil, the most evil society in history, because she makes possible the most self-indulgent achievements and the greatest number of unequal, selfish individuals. I dispute this---not the fact, but the evaluation.

I say that American society is the most moral in the history of the world because it makes possible the highest number of independent-thinking, creative, happy and unique individuals, and it does so by recognizing the essential fact of each man's nature-made nature. This fact is that each individual is responsible for his own actions. Nature gave man a mind and a will, and the capacity to choose how to use these in the guiding of his nature-made, unique life. Nature made man separate from the animals and the plants, just as she made animals and plants separate from streams and hills. Man must live according to nature, which means according to his nature. America was the first country in the history of the world to make that possible. The rich man, the poor man, the well-educated and the little educated, prosper more or prosper less according to each one's growing ability (and, by nature, each one grows at a different rate). The code here recognized is the opposite of that of anti-nature communism, which is "[forced] from each, according to his ability, [forced] to each according to his need." The nature-following, American code is: "Freely from each, according to his thinking, freely to each, according to his ability."

This principle leads to further recognition of fact: that all men are, by nature, materially different. Some men are short, some are tall, some thick, some thin, blue-eyed, brown-eyed, long-fingered, pudge-faced, crook-nosed, high-browed, dark-skinned, light-skinned, and all possible varieties among these and all other physical characteristics. And yet, within these material differences, the one basic fact remains: it was recognized at the founding, not of Russia, or Italy, or China, or England, nor by the Aztecs or the Irroquoi, but by the first morally good country on earth, America (and its court of objective law): each man is responsible for his own actions. Again, from the negative standpoint, the rich man, the poor man, the well-educated, the little-educated, must each go to jail if he is caught stealing; each must go to jail for life, or lose his life, if he takes another man's life. No one has a special privilege because he knows the king's cousin or the dictator's brother, or the communist party's password. This American kind of equality is known as "equality before the law", and is the only kind of equality which is in keeping with nature.

A land of equality before the law is an interesting, exciting, challenging, robust land of many variables and thousands of possibilities, with the chance of adventure around every corner. A land of material equality is a graveyard in the making. The choice is plainly before us---materially-equal communism (or its socialistic or fascistic cousins), or self-responsibly-equal capitalism.

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Brian Faulkner

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Ayn Rand described just such a society. Read -Anthem-.

Bob Kolker

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Ayn Rand described just such a society. Read -Anthem-.

Bob Kolker

Anthem was the first book by Ayn Rand which I read, some 45 years ago. One of my most cherished possessions.

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