Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

The 2020 presidential election pitted (as have all prior elections) the Army of Liberty against the Army of Equality. That’s right; what you and I think of as two essential things upon which our nation has been founded are actually diametrically opposed. In order for the pursuit of equality (or justice) to proceed, citizens must relinquish some liberties (or freedoms). For example, the government taxes citizens disproportionately to provide benefits (such as Social Security and Medicare benefits) that reduce inequities among citizens, but the provision of these benefits requires that many Americans reduce their degree of liberty to utilize ALL of their wealth as they wish.

Pursuing increased equality for all can only occur with the reduction of individuals’ absolute freedom. Liberty and equality, terms first used as clarion calls in France during its first revolution, are now two-thirds of that country’s national motto: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. While the American Armies of Liberty and Equality have been battling each other since our nation’s inception, and despite fraternity’s absence in our founding documents per se, the existence of fraternity is what has allowed negotiation and compromise to prevent the two armies from tearing our Republic apart, except of course, for two notable exceptions: what the South calls The War Between the States and whatever it is that you would call what we have all been experiencing in America for the past 30 or so years.

Once, despite our differences (the Civil War notwithstanding), we thought of ourselves as members of the same family who figuratively fought tooth and nail across the national kitchen table to find compromises that were driven by the emotional bond of fraternity. But now, there is zero sense of fraternity between the Armies of Liberty and Equality because of the near-sighted, ego-driven selfishness spewed by media echo chambers and by scared or falsely empowered users of social media. All that remains of our Republic are two clans of irrational and intractable howler monkeys clinging precariously to the branches of our beliefs, screaming disadvantageous epithets at each other from opposing treetops.

Maybe it is high time for us all to stop behaving like the bungling primates our words and behaviors prove that we are and start behaving like the noble beings our prophets and philosophers have long tried to tell us we can become.

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