On the Road to Oblivion: “Quality, Thy Antonym is Equality!”
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
― C.S. Lewis
On Thanksgiving eve, I was notified of a circumstance which caused me to drive thirteen hours round trip the following weekend. The event which precipitated my travels is now beside the point, but I will say, given prior commitments and work scheduling, I was compelled to go alone. I didn’t mind. So I booked my hotel located in a major American metropolis, and that Saturday, packed my bag, grabbed my toothbrush and car keys, and bid my bewitching bride fare-thee-well.
Rather than take my larger rig, I decided to drive something more compact for the city; and more fun. Soon, I was rolling over roads that were seemingly slung before me like waving ribbons in a whimsical wind. Although my material journey had just begun, mentally, I was already traveling down familiar, distant thoroughfares at the speed of thought; what The Grateful Dead would call the “West L.A. Fadeaway”: Little red light on the highway, big green light on the speedway, hey hey hey.
My coincidental cognitive cruise began with gratitude. If I were to align sonic bell curves to represent my personal automotive preferences, the car I was driving would percuss the pinnacle position of every measure. With just the right exterior dimensions, and the perfect amount of interior room, horsepower, safety, comfort, reliability, economy, and style, I am fortunate to own such a vehicle. I knew I would successfully complete my mission and favorably manage all comers. Yet, with any other make, model, or trim level, I would have had to accept some degree away from the apex of my carefully calibrated predilections.
How fortunate was I to live in a nation where I was provided the means and opportunity to acquire that which I desire. For whatever reason, I always assess modern modes of transportation in accordance to the cars I drove in high school. With certain relish will I mentally compare cold-starting fuel injected engines to the four-barreled carburetors of yore; smooth acceleration versus slight feathers of the gas pedal; compact discs, satellite radio, and MP3 sound systems, to older AM/FM cassettes or eight-track players with analog dials, push buttons and levers.
Every “daily driver” I ever owned improved incrementally by model year. Truly, by the early 1990’s, I thought I had arrived; fuel-injected twin-cam power, front-wheel and four-wheel-drive vehicles with impressive fuel economy, performance steering and suspension systems, and all with luxurious, “loaded”, interiors. How could it get any better? Well, obviously, it did get better, and better in ways I could never have imagined. In fact, I have driven pick-ups and mini-vans in the new millennium that, at seventy miles an hour, navigated the same highway curves my supposed “sporty” nineteen-nineties sedans could not handle at even twenty miles per hour less.
But what I find most amazing of all today is Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation. After four hours of driving, and just as the setting sun fell upon the horizon, as if on cue, the screen of my GPS device transitioned to its evening illumination. Then, in the hours that followed, the technology guided me far and away into the urban deep, in the dark, and within minutes of its estimated time of arrival which was calculated near seven hours before in the daylight of another state.
The next morning, after breakfast in my hotel, I sat in my room, sipped my coffee, and viewed through the hotel window a megalopolitan municipality in motion. It was morning drive-time in the city. Cars, buses, trucks, vans, and sport-utility vehicles alike, all traveling to and from, on three separate levels below me; front to back; left to right; and inclined at oblique angles, climbing and falling, exiting, circling, accelerating, and slowing down, in what appeared to be carefully calculated choreography. Within minutes I knew I would be joining the dance and was glad I brought the car I did to the party. I was excited; and a little terrified.
Driving to my morning destination was thrilling to say the least, and it reminded me of an excerpt from Tom Clancy’s cold-war thriller, The Hunt for Red October, when representatives of the U.S. Government purposely detoured a busload of potential Russian defectors in order to showcase America’s bustling highways and byways littered with modern modes of transportation. During the circuitous route the American’s faux lamented the onus of driving one’s own car to work each day. But to the Russians, that sounded like heaven on earth, as they imagined the privilege of cruising over such roadways in their own car every day.
Once again, I felt fortunate to be an American living in an avant-gardeAmerica; the land of high quality living, advanced technologies, multifarious material blessings, and where ordinary citizens enjoy the liberty to travel at their leisure and in consummate comfort and style.
“How did I get here?” I wondered. What did I do to deserve all of these blessings and benefits?
In thinking it through, I concluded that liberty paved all of the roads to excellence; and that it was the roads which enabled the race. The race mandated competition and competition engendered winners. Winners created losers, but losing also forced both winners and losers to constantly strive for better; and better birthed quality, which was more of a journey and less of a destination. Quality improved life. It certainly did mine; even still.
All of the travelers outside my hotel window were free to drive to better. In so doing, their self-interest yielded a type of self-preservation that, in turn, created a capitalistic, coordinated choreography which was wonderful to witness. But how did the choreography not lead to chaos? How does self-interest in the realm of liberty not descend into disorder? What ethereal guardrails prevented the gravitational and inescapable forces of destruction?
When considering the yin and yang of liberty I mentally balanced Isaiah Berlin’s “I am slave to no man” with “I am my own master”. Surely, it is common sense, even unto the lofty ideological elevations of moral law, which preserves free society from anarchy. Or, in the case of Thomas Hobbes, that which separates a benevolent monarchy from tyranny.
John Locke claimed: “The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom.”
Hobbes theorized on the social contract as did Locke regarding the consent of the governed; both derived from natural law to balance the scales of liberty. Nonetheless, both men held opposing views regarding the inherent nature of Man. Locke believed Man to be a social animal who, more often than not, would choose rightly in relation to his fellow man; whereas Hobbes believed otherwise, and that mankind required the protection of a benevolent dictatorship to secure harmony on earth.
Both were right.
Either way, liberty, balanced by the social contract, allowed American society to pursue quality on earth; which was the visible manifestation of Adam Smith’s invisible hand that single-handedly raised the tide to lift all boats; just another allegorical mode of transportation on the journey to better.
So what has changed? What is changing now?
Regrettably, aligning the pathways to America’s economic growth and prosperity were trees in which were already sown the seeds of their demise. Today, the roots of those trees are breaking the pavement and fracturing the excellence of what once was. Wrong turns have been taken and the social contracts have been forsaken. Moreover, natural law has been left far behind, shrinking in the rear-view mirror, as we drive onward toward certain demolition.
The branches of American government have grown top-heavy and will soon fall, thus blocking any pathways to prosperity. In addition, the self-interest of the Bureaucracy is now misappropriating power for its own preservation; and the same technology which currently serves as a blessing is potentially, right before our very eyes, becoming a curse. The same GPS system which delivered me to my hotel safely and in a timely manner also has the potential to relay my exact coordinates to a tyrannical government.
When contemplating of the levers of power, I am reminded of a 1977 book, written by Frank Herbert, entitled the The Dosadi Experiment. Therein, the story takes place in a distant future on the planet Dosadi which was isolated behind an impenetrable barrier in space called The God Wall. The planet was hostile to life except for a small geographic area that was drastically overpopulated, ruled by a dictator, and controlled by a computer system which managed the planet’s inhabitants without their consent. Needless to say, it was a dog-eat-dog, chaotic world where only the smartest survived through the establishment of various machinations which were used as methods to manipulate specific levers of power. It was a world without a social contract. It was a world with no natural law; a world which was filled with those whose time had come.
We need a revolution every 200 years, because all governments become stale and corrupt after 200 years.
– Benjamin Franklin
Power is both pinnacle and a pump. It draws fuel from civilized society like a well from the earth, ascending upwards to its vertex, then flowing downward and outward like water, polluted and poisoned over time. It is fractional reserve banking and the Federal Reserve generating money from nothing. And if wealth is created by applying labor to natural resources, then power is the excess waste; a trickling up, trickling down, corrupting force like channels of water frozen into the gaps of a road, disintegrating, degenerating, and degrading.
Power creates problems and exponentially expands by making worse the problems it created. Or, like a snake consuming its tail, power consumes quality and after it is digested, it is then defecated into another form.
Welcome to equality.
Under the guise of neutrality, power claims to equalize and impart fairness, but it is a lie. Power mandates equality under the guise of neutrality, but in so doing, it simultaneously inhibits, and even prohibits, the liberty of those not wishing to be equal. Power chooses sides; it nullifies the social contract, and compels into unnatural actionthose who provide the ones in power with ever-increasing power.
If justice is blind, then power is the all-seeing eye. To those wielding political and economic power, neutrality is a negation because neutrality and power cannot coexist. By the same token, what then is equality if not a reduction to the mean? This implies direction; or rather, the opposite direction of quality. There are the strong and the weak, and then, there are the Expropriators who rule over them all. Except the Expropriators became strong, not by innovating, but by stealing, and then showering their spoils upon the weak.
Each according to his ability to each according to their need.
Equality defies natural law because it does not exist in nature. The cheetah runs faster than the elephant. The elephant grows stronger than the gazelle. Yet those in power, who embrace evolution and economic Darwinism themselves, utilize political correctness as form of thought control in order make equal those who are not. In truth, the great equalizer of political correctness has destroyed actual, natural diversity on the path to what has now become a strange, new mandated religion.
John Locke, who penned “The Reasonableness of Christianity”, believed denying God would ultimately lead to a breakdown in society towards chaos. This is why he embraced the biblical “Golden rule” when he wrote: “To love our neighbor as ourselves is such a truth for regulating human society, that by that alone one might determine all the cases in social morality.” Yet the Elite Expropriators have declared all divine power for themselves, it seems. They take, they give, they demand. Paradoxically, they do so by way of a tyrannical authoritarianism that is completely foreign to the volunteerism and charity requested by other religious faiths.
Acquiescing to political correctness is cowardice. To accept equality over quality is to worship Government’s embezzled power as god. Yet those in control have succeeded in using the ethical standards of liberty-loving people as a weapon to be wielded over them. Ironically, those possessing power do so while holding nothing sacred themselves, except power.
Quality is striving for better. Equality is the renunciation of better; it is, in fact, its relinquishment. Darkness cannot harness light. Only one or the other will trend at any given time. The slide toward the slough will continue and those feigning neutrality will persist in the lie. Even so, in the eyes of the governed, neutrality implies having no preference or discernment. It is nothingness. In the extreme it is death; and at the very least, a dead-end road on a journey to nowhere good.