Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: Inequality--It's the American Way

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Inequality--It's the American Way

Wow. It's pretty amazing what's coming out of the conservative movement these days. In the company of a number of middle-profile conservatives (Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved,etc.) at a rally in Minnesota, radio talker Dennis Prager announced that equality is not an American value. We appreciate the clarification.

I first became aware of Prager when we lived in LA and he was a local radio host. Although he was clearly on the right, he insisted on calling himself a "passionate centrist." It didn't take too long to figure out that he was able to pull off what might seem like a challenging task by simply defining the center as wherever he happened to be. He apparently never had to worry about tracking the changing political moods of the American people to know whether he needed to track left or right to remain in the middle. He also never really had to face up to the intellectual bankruptcy of passionately believing in a constantly shifting position. It was intriguing, though, to see how Prager's "center" always seemed designed to piss off the left and reassure the right.

Even knowing what I did about Prager, when I first saw this statement come up on some blogs, I wondered if he was somehow taken out of context. It appears not. He said the same thing in a column two weeks ago:

The left subscribes to the French Revolution, whose guiding principles were "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity." The right subscribes to the American formula, "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Boy, that's some selective reading of the Declaration of Independence. Because some, like Prager, need to be reminded of the text of that august document, here's an excerpt:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Hey, look at that! There's the word equal in the very same sentence as Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. And equal even comes first! Whoever would've thought that the Declaration Independence would be caught pushing un-American values? Does that mean that this founding document of the American nation is actually over to the left of the passionate American political center? Imagine that.

Because this is the Internet and because we can, go to this page, where you can gawk at a JPEG of the most frequently reproduced version of the Declaration or the original (but sadly fading) document.


At 10:37 AM, October 30, 2008, Blogger Stevie T said...

I once read a cross-cultural psychologist's take on the idea of equality. He said that while equality is important in Australia and the US, Australians believe in "equality of resources" and Americans believe in "equality of opportunity."


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