Pat Buchanan

Our mainstream media have discovered a new issue: inequality in America. The gap between the wealthiest 1 percent and the rest of the nation is wide and growing wider.

This, we are told, is intolerable. This is a deformation of American democracy that must be corrected through remedial government action.

What action? The rich must pay their fair share. Though the top 1 percent pay 40 percent of federal income taxes and the bottom 50 percent have, in some years, paid nothing, the rich must be made to pay more.

That's an appealing argument to many, but one that would have horrified our founding fathers. For from the beginning, America was never about equality, except of God-given and constitutional rights.

Our revolution was about liberty; it was about freedom.

The word equality was not even mentioned in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights or the Federalist Papers. The word equal does not make an appearance until the 14th Amendments equal protection of the laws after the Civil War. The feminists' Equal Rights Amendment was abandoned and left to die in 1982 after 10 years of national debate.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote that memorable line -- All men are created equal -- he was not talking about an equality of rewards, but of rights with which men are endowed by their Creator. He was talking about an ideal.

For as he wrote John Adams in 1813, Jefferson believed nature had blessed society with a precious gift, a natural aristocracy of virtue and talents to govern it. In his autobiography, a half decade before his death in 1826, he restated this idea of the aristocracy of virtue and talent which nature has wisely provided for the direction of the interests of society.

Equality, egalite, was what the French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution, Maos Revolution of 1949, Castros Revolution of 1959 and Pol Pots revolution of 1975 claimed to be about.

This was the Big Lie, for all those revolutions that triumphed in the name of equality were marked by mass murders of the old ruling class, the rise of a new ruling class more brutal and tyrannical, and the immiseration of the people in whose name the revolution was supposedly fought.

Invariably, Power to the people! winds up as power to the party and the dictator, who then act in the name of the people. The most egalitarian society of the 20th century was Maos China. And that regime murdered more of its own than Lenin and Stalin managed to do.

Inequality is the natural concomitant of freedom.

Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
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