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Letters: Freedom and equality in opposition

Some years ago I read a book on freedom v. equality. I was reminded of this recently by an article explaining again how these are in opposition to each other. And that they represent the fundamental values of our two political parties. The conser...

Some years ago I read a book on freedom v. equality. I was reminded of this recently by an article explaining again how these are in opposition to each other. And that they represent the fundamental values of our two political parties. The conservative branch favors freedom; the liberal branch favors equality.

So how are these in opposition? As you increase freedom you invariably decrease equality because with increased freedom there is a natural and progressive inequality with individuals as they freely express themselves in society. Similarly, as you attempt to increase equality among all individuals you necessarily decrease the freedom of some, many, if not all.

A prime example of this is our current, pressing and catastrophic sub-prime home mortgage morass.

A CSPAN 2 video records how a number of elected representatives at a congressional hearing regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2004 refused to correct the problem as brought to their attention by Mr. Armando Falcon. The conservatives spoke, rather pleaded, for the committee to have greater oversight into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because there were very serious concerns over its management and therefore its viability. The liberals defended Fannie and Freddie, insisting that it was "not broke," "not a problem," "nothing wrong" and was fulfilling its "affordable housing mission." Here we can see the liberal bent toward equality which, as we all now feel, is significantly decreasing our freedom.

Another example would include taxes. As we tax the so-called "rich" we decrease their freedom to go about their lives and do business as we attempt to bring more equality to others. And we should ask: Is it working?

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When you think about all the implications of this you can begin to see the significance it plays in a number of other applications.

As we consider freedom and equality we need to keep in mind some sort of balance. Certainly freedom is not meant in the sense of license to do anything and run wild and equality does not mean the homogenization of all. But we must be aware that as we strive to help those who need and would benefit from help (equality) that in some sense we are diminishing freedom to others. And to those on the freedom side need to be aware that too much increase in freedom may subject others to an inequality that is not desirable.

If you would like to see the C SPAN 2 video it is: www.ameripac.org/video .

Roald Fuglestad

Park Rapids

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