Wednesday, October 17, 2012


As the 2012 presidential elections are in full swing, we hear "President" Obama continuously spit out such words as "middle class", "fair", "equal", etc.   The main idea he's trying to get across to those who don't know true history and what the meaning of "equal rights" is all about, is that all of us should not only have equal rights but that somehow that translates into equal things.  Therefore, he believes it's "the right thing to do" to take money from the wealthy and redistribute it "equally" to the members of society that are not making $250K/year.

But what did the Founding Fathers (and all ancient and wise Philosophers from whom they drew their wisdom, as well as the Bible) say was "fair" or "equal rights"?  The Founders wrote the Constitution and we need to understand what THEY meant, in order to understand what "equal rights" truly means.  

So here is your "equal rights" civics lesson for the day.  The text comes from the book The 5,000 Year Leap by Dr. W. Cleon Skousen, pages 103-112. Dr. Skousen spent over 40 years doing in-depth research to find out exactly what it is that the Founders really wrote when they wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights. His research came mainly from first hand accounts, documents, and writings by the Founders themselves.  So it's pretty much indisputable and authentic, and can be researched by anyone wishing to verify the information.

The 6th Principle of Freedom is:

What does that mean?

The Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence that some truths are self-evident, and one of these is the fact that all men are created equal.

Yet everyone knows that no two human beings are exactly alike in any respect.  They are different when they are born. They plainly exhibit different natural skills.  They acquire different tastes.  They develop along different lines.  They vary in physical strength, mental capacity, emotional stability, inherited social status, in their opportunities for self-fulfillment, and in scores of other ways.  Then how can they be equal?

The answer is, they can't, except in three ways:  They can only be TREATED as equals

1.)  in the sight of God,
2.)  in the sight of the law, and
3.)  in the protection of their rights.

In these three ways all men are created equal. It is the task of society, as it is with God, to accept people in all their vast array of individual differences, but treat them as equals when it comes to their role as human beings.  As members of society, all persons should have their equality guaranteed in two areas. Constitutional writer Clarence Carson describes them:

First, there is equality before the law.  This means that every man's case is tried by the same law governing any particular case.  Practically, it means that there are no different laws for different classes or orders of men [as there were in ancient times].  The definition of premeditated murder is the same for the millionaire as for the tramp.  A corollary of this is that no classes are created or recognized by law. (that includes not "picking out" the "rich" in order to tax them higher than the "poor"!)

Second, the Declaration refers to an equality of rights . . . . Each man is equally entitled to his life with every other man; each man has an equal title to God-given liberties along with every other. (Clarence Carson, The American Tradition [Irvington-on-Hudson, N.Y.: Foundation for Economic Education, 1970, pp. 112-13.]

Rousseau's Error

John Adams was in France when Jean Jacques Rousseau was teaching that all men were designed to be equal in every way.  Adams wrote:

That all men are born to equal rights is true.  Every being has a right to his own, as clear, as moral, as sacred, as any other being has . . . . But to teach that all men are born with equal powers and faculties, to equal influence in society, to equal property and advantages through life, is as gross a fraud, as glaringly an imposition on the credulity of the people, as ever was practiced by monks, by Druids, by Brahmins, by priests of the immoral Lama, or by the self-styled philosophers of the French Revolution. (Quoted in Koch, The American Enlightenment, p. 222.)

What it Means to Have Equal "Rights"

The goal of society is to provide "equal justice," which means protecting the rights of the people equally:

- At the bar of justice, to secure their rights.
- At the ballot box, to vote for the candidate of their choice. (how ironic politicians claim to want to protect our equal rights, while performing voter fraud all over the place.)
- At the public school, to obtain their education. (the old-fashioned public school, not the corrupt modern public school)
- At the employment office, to compete for a job.
- At the real estate agency, to purchase or rent a home.
- At the pulpit, to enjoy freedom of religion.
- At the podium, to enjoy freedom of speech.
- At the microphone or before the TV camera, to present views on the issues of the day.
- At the meeting hall, to peaceably assemble.
- At the print shop, to enjoy freedom of the press.
- At the store, to buy the essentials or desirable things of life.
- At the bank, to save and prosper.
- At the tax collector's office, to pay no more than their fair share.
- At the probate court, to pass on to their heirs the fruits of life's labors..

The Problem of Minorities

 Admittedly, equal rights have not been completely established in all of these areas, but the Founders struck a course which has thus far provided a better balance in administering the equality of rights than has occurred at any time in history.  The breakdown occurs in connection with the treatment of minorities.

Minorities in any country consider themselves "outsiders" who want to become "insiders."  As long as they are treated as outsiders they do not feel equal.  The interesting part of it is that every ethnic group in the American society was once a minority. We are a nation of minorities!

There is no spot on the planet earth where so many different ethnic groups have been poured into the same milieu as in the United States.  It was appropriate that America should be called the melting pot of the world.

Two things are especially notable about this.  First of all, it is remarkable that the Founders were able to establish a society of freedom and opportunity which would attract so many millions of immigrants.  Secondly, it is even more remarkable that within two or three generations nearly all of these millions of immigrants became first-class citizens.

As we noted above, newcomers to any nation are not considered first-class citizens immediately. Human nature does not allow it.  In some countries, "outsiders" are still treated with hostility after they have resided in those countries for three or four hundred years.  In the United States, immigrants or outsiders, can become insiders much more rapidly.  Nevertheless, the transition is painful.

Crossing the Culture Gap

Being a minority, even in the United States, is painful because acceptance depends on crossing the culture gap.  This means learning the English language - with an American dialect more or less;  attaining the general norm of education - which in America is fairly high; becoming economically independent - which often means getting out of the ghetto and becoming recognized as a social asset to the community - which always takes time.  Usually it requires far more time than the minority group can patiently endure.

But the impatience of a minority can be an advantage.  It expedites their assimilation by motivating greater effort to gain acceptance.  In the United States, as a result, many members of a minority group are assimilated in a single generation. Others must wait until the second generation, and a few are still struggling in the third.  But these are the exceptions.  They can't quite get across the culture gap.  It is a fact of life in America, as everywhere else, that no ethnic group is going to be entirely comfortable or treated completely as equals in an adopted society until they have crossed the culture gap.

A Nation of Minorities

As mentioned above, there is not a single ethnic group in the United States but what has been treated at one time or another as a minority, or less than first-class citizens.

The story of minorities in the United States is a fascinating tale. Beginning with the French in the 1500s and the English in the 1600s (and the Dutch, Germans, Swedes, Scots, an Irish in between), it was one grand conglomerate of tension, discrimination, malice, and sometimes outright persecution.  But the miracle of it all is the fact that they fought side by side for freedom in the Revolutionary War, and all of them could boast of descendants in the White House or the Congress as the years passed by.  So all of this became America - a nation of minorities.

The Japanese and Chinese

One of the best examples of minority adjustment under adverse circumstances is the American saga of the Japanses and Chinese.

The treatment they received is an embarrassment to modern Americans.  They were not only shabbily treated, but sometimes they were treated brutally. (In certain situations this happened to other minorities as well.)  But practically none of the Japanese and Chinese went home.  They became domestics, field workers, and truck farmers; they ran laundries, worked for a pittance on railroads, ate their simple fare, and slept on bare boards.  Meanwhile, they sent their children to school and endured their mistreatment with patience.  By 1940 the Chinese were virtually assimilated and the Japanese had almost made it.  Then came the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Within weeks the vast Japanese population in California had been hauled off to concentration camps in the Rocky Mountains.  J. Edgar Hoover knew there were practically no espionage agents among them. The few security risks had already been identified and incarcerated. He vigorously protested the Japanese evacuation and so did many others, but all to no avail.

The Japanese could have been very bitter, but to the ultimate embarrassment and chagrin of those who had engineered this fiasco, they loyally mobilized their sons and sent them into the American armed services as volunteers!  Japanese-American regiments were among the military ranks under suspicion and resentment, but they came out in hero roles.  A few years later the entire State of California was represented in the Senate by a Japanese-American.

The Black Minority

But of all the minorities in America, the black have undertaken assimilation as first-class citizens under the greatest number of handicaps.  Many early political leaders of the United States, including Abraham Lincoln, were fearful the blacks might never achieve complete adjustment because of the slavery culture in which the first few generations were raised.

Nevertheless, freedom and education brought a whole new horizon of hope to the blacks within three generations.  Tens of thousands of them hurdled the culture gap, and soon the blacks in other countries saw their ethnic cousins in the United States enjoying a higher standard of living than blacks in any part of the world. In fact, by 1970 a black high school student in Alabama or Mississippi had a better opportunity to get a college education than a white student in England.

Providing equality for the blacks has never been approached with any degree of consensus.  Some felt that with education and job opportunities the blacks could leap the culture gap just as other minorities had done. Others felt they should be made the beneficiaries of substantial government gratuities.  Experience soon demonstrated, however, that government gratuities are as corrupting and debilitating to blacks as they are to the Indians or any other minorities.  The blacks themselves asked for equal opportunity at the hiring hall.  Thus, the trend began to shift in the direction which no doubt the Founders such as Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin would have strongly approved.

Violence Proves Counter-Productive

In the mid-sixties there were groups of Marxist agitators who moved in among the blacks to promote direct action by violence.  One of these was Eldridge Cleaver, who had been trained in Marxist philosophy and tactics while serving a fifteen-year sentence in a California state penitentiary.  In 1967 he became the Minister of Information for the Black Panthers.  In his books, Eldridge Cleave describes the rationale behind their philosophy of violence.  It was to destroy the whole economic and social structure of the United States so that blacks could enjoy equal rights under an American Communist regime.  The crescendo of violence increased year after year.  During the summer of 1968 over a hundred American cities were burning.  But the burning was always in black ghettos.  The idea was to put the blacks in direct confrontation with the police and state militia in order to solidify their apparent need to become a racial bloc for the coming revolution.

But the burning and fire-bombing backfired.  The black population began to realize it was only the homes of blacks that were being burned.  Other than police, it was primarily blacks that were being hurt in the melee of the riots.  In the shoot-outs with the police, nineteen of the Black Panther leaders were killed.  Eldridge Cleaver was wounded.  He and his wife later fled to Cuba and then to other Communist countries.

The whole scenario of violence had proved tragically counter-productive.  It temporarily jolted out of joint a broad spectrum of reforms which the blacks were really seeking and the rest of the nation was trying to provide.

A Dissident Returns

After nearly eight years as an exile in Communist and Socialist countries, Eldridge Cleaver asked to be allowed to return to the United States and pay whatever penalty was due on charges pending against him.  He and his wife were no longer atheists.  They were no longer Communists.  Those bitter years behind the iron and bamboo curtains had dispelled all the propaganda concerning "equality" and "justice" under Communism.  Cleaver told the press:  "I would rather be in jail in America than free anywhere else."  He then went on to say:

I was wrong and the Black Panthers were wrong. . . We [black Americans] are inside the system and I feel that the number one objective for Black America is to recognize that they have the same equal rights under the Constitution as Ford or Rockefeller, even if we have no blue-chip stocks.  But our membership in the United States is the supreme blue-chip stock and the one we have to exercise. (Laile Bartlett, "The Education of Eldridge Cleaver," Reader's Digest, Sept. 1976, pp. 65-72.)

By 1981 Eldridge Cleaver had paid his final debt to society.  No further charges were pending against him.  Although he had been involved in a police shoot-out in Oakland, California, he had not been accused of causing any deaths.  In fact, it was in the Oakland shoot-out that he was wounded.  As he was released on parole, the judge required that he finish his obligation to society by putting in several hundred hours of public service at a California college.

Soon after that he began accepting speaking engagements before schools, churches, community gatherings, and even prison groups to describe his new and yet profound appreciation for America.  He described the despondency which came over him when he found what a betrayal of human rights and human dignity Communism turned out to be.  He described the long and strenuous intellectual struggle with his Marxist atheism before he recognized its fraudulent fallacies. He frankly and patiently dialogued with university students still struggling with similar philosophical problems.  He assured them, as Locke had done, that a persistent pursuit of the truth would bring them to the threshold of reality, where the Creator could be recognized and thereafter have a place in their lives.

The Eldridge Cleaver story is simply the account of a prodigal American who found himself and returned home.

Constitutional Amendments to Insure Equal Rights

After the Bill of Rights was adopted in 1789, Americans added four amendments to make certain that everyone, including racial minorities, could enjoy equal rights.  These amendments are as follows:

13th:  The Thirteenth Amendment to provide universal freedom
14th:  The Fourteenth Amendment to provide universal rights of citizenship
15th/19th:  The Fifteenth and Nineteenth Amendments to provide universal voting rights regardless of race, color, or sex.

The Founders distinguished between equal rights and other areas where equality is impossible.  They recognized that society should seek to provide equal opportunity but not expect equal results;  provide equal freedom but not expect equal capacity;  provide equal rights but not equal possessions;  provide equal protection but not equal status;  provide equal educational opportunities but not equal grades.

They knew that even if governmental compulsion were used to force its citizens to appear equal in material circumstances, they would immediately become unequal the instant their freedom was restored to them.  As Alexander Hamilton said:

Inequality would exist as long as liberty existed . . . . It would unavoidably result from that very liberty itself. (Harold C. Syrett et al., eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, 19 vols. by 1973 [New York: Columbia University Press, 1961-   ], 4:218)

Nevertheless, there are some who insist that people do not have equal rights unless they have "equal things."  The Founding Fathers were well acquainted with this proposition and set forth their belief concerning it in the next (7th) principle of freedom:  "The Proper Role of Government is to Protect Equal Rights, Not Provide Equal Things."  (I'll post about that tomorrow.)