March 26, 2006

Are men created Equal?

This is not a debate, though the question mark at the end might suggest it is. The answer to the question is a resounding NO.

A couple of centuries ago(in 1776 to be exact), some people in America got tired of the British repressive rule and decided to frame The Declaration of Independence. The words ," All men are born equal," find a place somewhere in the begining of the document itself, which if I am not wrong was penned by one called Thomas Jefferson. But where the document said "men," it conveniently chose not to include the Indians and the black slaves.

Shift to two centuries later. India gets it's independence and frames its constitution, one of the most secular, most liberal constitutions in the world. Yet, here too they could not make every man born into the country equal. They had to leave a margin for reservations and make special laws for people from different religions.

So, why are we fed this lie unversally. Instead of being told the truth, we are told that we are born equal, only to find out later that we are not. Some of us find ourselves to be in a better position than others, some worse. But to a thinking mind both are equally bad.

It should be accepted that we are not all born equal. Some of us are born rich, some poor, some black, some white, some geniuses, some autistic and these differences will remain till the end of time. Yes, its possible to get over them but for that we have to accept that not all men are born equal, but the right they have on this planet, on the air we breathe, on the food we eat and the right to live decently is equal for all.


Milton said...

I think that before quoting the US's Declaration of Independance, you need to do a bit more studying as to the context in which the statement, which you slightly misquoted, "All men are CREATED equal" was meant. Jefferson was referring not to rich and poor, black and white, male and female in that document. He was referring to the propensity for the king of England to tax the colonists for goods and services. He was stating that the colonists should enjoy self-governance and not be beholden to a king 3000 miles away.

When the same concept was later used in the construction of the Bill of Rights -- amendments to the new constitution in 1791 -- he was limiting his "Men" to white males and had he not been outvoted, would have limited it to white, property-owning males. Women didn't get the vote until (I believe it was 1921) and slavery wasn't eliminated until 1861 in Lincoln's emancipation proclamation.

"Created equal" referred to opportunity, not status at the time of birth. There is no caste system in the US and the poorest wretch can become a trillionaire through diligence and effort. In the history of the world, the form of governance in the USA was, at the time of its inception, unique. In principle, the ancient Greeks and Romans had the same concept but in practice, it never happened before that there was no legal difference between leaders and led. A president is a salaried employee of the people. Means to remove officials from office without a coup exists in law from the local to the national level.

Why the US citizens don't get overly upset when a Geogge Bush fumbles his way through eight years in office is that we are already warming up for the election of his successor. Thus, there is both continuity and change built into the system.

I was present to see the beginnings of the business development of what is now the richest man in the world. I lived not too far from the garage in which Bill Gates and his friend started a software business which would in a few years grow into "Microsoft." In the late 1970s, "micro" was an euphemism. Computers were large and ungainly and information storage took an amount of space that today we would look at as ungainly. I was privileged to have seen the first majopr computer in the world, ENIAC, built by the Unioversity of Pennsylvania and stored in a building the size of a department store. It still stands but my home computer can do more than that multi-ton monstrosity which used cathode tubes where now microchips rule.

pushkala said...

Rite to live decently ............this phrase is very badly influenced by the other factors like his wealth, religion, country....

what these endless doctrines "visualise" is not practical more of an utopian view!
sooner or later ...we must either make this utopia true or replhrase all those doctines..
the ulimate parodoxy spells both of these as higly impropable!!!

Cecilia said...

What is equality? dear friend. Why does the world fool itself with that term? We are all born in our own states. But we must be TREATED equal.

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