“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.“
Just because our founding documents codify the humanistic and fundamentally monotheistic concept that “all men are created equal,” that does not in any way assure that all men will end up that way. Nor does our Judeo-Christian founding assume that all people will be judged equally by the Creator.
Isaac Asimov makes a very important point here about the inequality of ignorance and knowledge.
In fact, as specified in the Bible, the Holy Scriptures, upon which our politicians solemnly take their oaths of office, some people will face eternal glory and others eternal damnation. The outcome for sinners is not equal to the outcome outcome for saints.
Read what has been reverently called “the immortal declaration” from the United States Declaration of Independence in its entirety:
“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.– That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
“Equal,” in the sense originally intended by our founders here, means equal in the eyes of the Creator, with respect to the endowment of certain unalienable natural rights, which pre-existed all government. It also means equal in voice, to consent to a representative government which secures those rights.
“Equal” in this sense doesn’t not mean government-imposed, codified or mandated equality.
Despite the equal opportunities to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” our founders knew full well that intellect, aptitude, ingenuity, ethic, education, and motivation could quickly create a gap that no amount of meddling by an over-reaching government could ever equalize. They therefore did not in any way attempt to create a guarantee in the social contract to equalize that gap.
The founders knew equal opportunity in no way guaranteed equal outcome, and neither would a republican form of government, nor should it.
They knew equality of outcome, despite and contrary to the outcries of modern constitutional meddlers, is in no way a natural right, ignorance to that fact notwithstanding.
They forged a path instead which harkens up the immortal words of the poet, Robert Frost:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler,
long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
—The Road Not Traveled, by Robert Frost
Our founding fathers had a choice. They could follow the path of all other nations and appoint a king, or forge an entirely new type of government, based on the natural rights of man, a path never taken by any other nation theretofore in history.
Instead of taking the easy road and appointing a monarch or a dictator—the road Hayek called The Road to Serfdom—a path which so many others since relegated to the dustbin of history have chosen—our founding fathers in their infinite wisdom chose to give us something new: a constitutional republic. It was a form of government never seen in the world, fashioned as it was after the Ancient Greek and Roman republics and tempered by the wisdom of the Scottish, English and French Enlightenment.
They took the road less traveled by…and that has made all the difference.
Education exposes to envy, which is bad, but makes men wise, which is good (Aristotle Rhetoric B23)
We derive something useful for our orthodoxy even from the worldly science… Everyone who has a mind will recognize that learning is our highest good… also worldly learning, which many Christians
incorrectly abhor… those who hold such an opinion are stupid and ignorant. They want everyone to be just like themselves, so that the general failing will hide their own imperfections, and their ignorance will not be exposed (Gregory at Basil’s funeral)
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‘O homines ad servitutem paratos!’