One of President Biden’s first acts as Chief Executive was to sign an order titled, “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government,” which wasn’t surprising considering the Democrat Party has pandered on the topic on racism for years and the new president has a very vocal left wing to mollify.
While the executive order is certainly honorable, I suspect it’s more political than noble. I say that because I’ve read the 1,921-word document and find it replete with bromides and vagaries that are subject to interpretation. We should applaud the president for his proactivity. But I fear the agencies where the order was directed will interpret racial equality & equity to mean, “equality of outcome,” a concept tied to critical race and other theories that divide society into identity groups based on gender, race, sexual proclivities, etc., and where government acts as arbiter as to which groups are oppressed and which are the oppressors.
If there’s one word that defines liberal ideology in 21st century America, it’s equality. And while equality is critical in a fair society it is not the most important consideration for a healthy society—freedom is. Equality and freedom are not mutually exclusive terms, but at the same time neither do they form a linear continuum like black and white with shades of grey in between. Rather equality and freedom are stand-alone concepts just like other abstract concepts such as advancement, justice, religion, security, work, etc.
Americans have historically demonstrated great respect for our Constitution. Taking lessons from Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu and other great thinkers, perhaps the greatest collection of political genius ever assembled on earth gathered in Pennsylvania 250 years ago to craft what is arguably the most enlightened document on governance ever created—the United States Constitution.
Consider, whenever we bestow authority on our politicians as they wield the power of the state over free citizens, they don’t take an oath to protect the flag, the nation or even the people; but rather they take an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States. This is an alien concept in most of the world. And regardless of the media hype regarding the illegal and dubious actions of the radicals that violated the Capitol on January 6th, there were no violent anti-Biden protests disrupting the peaceful transfer of power on January 20th.
To paraphrase the late Charles Krauthammer, our Constitution stands for the pillars of the American experiment itself: the ideas, the structures, the philosophy that define a limited government with enumerated powers, with the mission to preserve liberty and individual rights.
What’s important to realize about those abstractions is they exist in the real world only to the extent allowed by government. Look at modern day North Korea or China; the governing philosophy in both those nations is underpinned by the notion of equality rather than freedom. And while the concept of equality is moral, principled and noble, true equality cannot exist without freedom.
The Preamble to our Constitution reads, “…in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty…” Nowhere does our Constitution refer to equality, yet none of those concepts are possible without freedom.
The problem is that the president’s executive order just happens to be congruent with doctrine that advocates using the state to mold social institutions in the interests of the collective by focusing on equality. Social engineering is fraught with peril; and if history has taught us anything, it’s that the more the state becomes involved in the daily lives of people, the fewer liberties and less freedom the people have. The Founders understood the first duty of government isn’t to direct society by fiat, but rather to preserve the great gift of the Enlightenment, i.e., the autonomy of the individual, and by extension, the freedom and opportunity to pursue his or her dreams within the framework of the Constitution.
Quote of the day: “The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”—Isaac Asimov