What must be the goal in a system of government? Over the billions of years leading to this point, nature has given us very many tools with which to live on this planet. We developed a system of governance that helped us live together in relative harmony. As we evolved from lower animals to the beings of immense intellect and higher level consciousness that we are today, our system of governance has also had to evolve.
If you HAD to choose between Liberty and Equality, what would you pick? I first saw this question on facebook (which received some interesting answers btw) and have asked this question to different people over a period of 2 weeks. Most of the people I got answers from have said Liberty for a variety of reasons, all very understandable. I am firmly on the side of equality though and this post will seek to explain why.
I think the Liberty vs Equality question is one of the most important questions we have to answer because the correct answer largely defines the kind of system you will exist in.
Liberty is freedom (duh). As free beings, we were responsible to ourselves for ourselves. There was no law (although there was a morality). When you are truly free, you are not subjected to any law, any government, any rules. Government means laws, laws mean confinement and confinement means a lack of liberty. What this in essence means is that liberty is chaos.
Even pre-civilization, humans understood this. Nature “realized” that trading in our liberty was necessary for the survival of our species. And so the social contract was “signed”. Every animal that lives as part of a group has “signed” this contract. The complexity varies from specie to specie but the underlying end game is the same; Equality.
Equality, therefore, is the evolution of liberty. What is this equality? The effective and constant defense of the fundamental rights of humanity. Our 10000 year journey to equality has led us to different forms of government, starting with monarchy.
For most of human civilization, we have used this particular system of government to varying degrees of success. It’s effectiveness (or lack of) is decided by the level of thought put into its set up. A monarchy is supposed to be very effective; public funds are given to the monarch’s family who use it to train themselves up to effective rulers for the people. This reduces the decision-making time and leaves the business of governing to the king/queen and the people to run their own business. The monarch is basically the Leviathan (Hobbes). But I’m sure you can see the propensity for disaster here. It is often so terribly set-up though, that it ends up causing way more harm than good. Because such immense power is concentrated in one place, it is easy to misuse and one misuse can set off a chain of events that can take generations to resolve. History is FULL of such experiences.
This post continues next time.