Comments about ‘Letters: Freedom vs equality’

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Published: Friday, June 21 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Sandy, UT

So is the writer trying to say that equality is attainable only be eliminating freedom? I suppose I can go along with that. What I can't accept is the notion that freedom is worth sacrificing for equality. That only results in all being equally miserable.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

When a machine turns out more rejects than good products, we recognize that the machine needs repair. It doesn’t matter that the good products are exceptionally fine, it is the ratio that counts.

The machine that pumps the life blood of our society has become obsolete and is failing to do its job of properly handling the exchange of labor for money. The failure is not necessarily the machine’s fault, it is more the fault of the changing environment that the machine works in.

The fault is of little concern, we need the machine fixed.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Much of what Wall St does should be illegal, and used to be illegal. But the Masters of the Universe who work there have made enough "contributions" to our members if congress that they have gotten the laws changed to allow their criminal behavior. Saying the financial community has made their billions by "hard work and saving" displays a basic ignorance of what they do.

Sandy, UT

The naive assumption commonly made in discussions like this is that too much market freedom inevitably results in extreme income disparity. The truth is that we live under a regime of crony-capitalism as Roland Kayser referred to. Government-favored corporate pals get special treatment while those outside the "good-ol'-boys club" have to live by a less friendly set of rules. The notion that income disparity is a free-market phenomenon is laughable.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The concept of "Equality" in various contexts is NOT a guarantee that we will all experience Equal-results, or have "Equal" stuff. That's the promise of Marxism/Communism, but not in a liberated society such as ours.

Liberty to make your own decisions obviously means we will all make our own choices and experience our own results (we will not all experience the same results insured and doled out by the collective).

"Equality" means different things in different contexts.

In a religious context... we are "Equal" in God's eyes because we are all equally his offspring and his family. He gives us ALL the same rights. But what we do with those rights is up to us, and the results we experience will be up to us (and the decisions we make). He did NOT insure equal results for all. That was the other plan.

In the Government context... Equal means we all have the same laws and protections of the law. But we are all free to decide our career, how we spend our income, if we will break the law, etc. It doesn't insure equal stuff.

We are all "Equal". That Doesnt guarantee equal results.

Copy Cat
Murray, UT

Equality worth having is in opportunity.

Equal opportunity does not mean equal outcome.

Schools would do well to learn this lesson, and stop trying to control every outcome. Students have a say in their outcome, regardless of how great or bad the teachers are.

Society/socialists need to understand this also.

Trying to for equal outcome is futile.

Not everyone wants the same outcome. (This is called diversity)

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

I wasn't my dads favorite not the fortunate one. Life's never fair. Some get's the gold mine and some get the shaft.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

Chrisanne, there are at least two flaws in your basic assumptions. First, you assume that liberty and equality are mutually exclusive. Unfortunately, the current system is devised so that hard work, saving, and sacrifice don't get you ahead in the game. Most fortunes are made by people who are able to treat other people as commodities and resources and therefore pay them as little as they can get away with. At the same time, they reap profits they have not earned by any definition of the word. Thus, greater equality in terms of receiving a share of the profit proportionate to your work in creating it would actually increase freedom for the majority.

Second, you apparently assume that the inequality in our society is harmless. Au contraire. The rapidly increasing gap between the rich and the rest is not only damaging to our economy, it is unsustainable. So, unless your version of utopia is Botswana or Colombia, you should be more concerned about our rapidly expanding inequality. And by the way, the USA's Gini index is already closer to Botswana than it is to Sweden.

Ford DeTreese
Provo, UT

2 bits,

Since you brought up religion, it is interesting to note that all four volumes of LDS scripture, particularly the D&C, promote (or even require) economic equality (and that would be equality of outcome, not or opportunity). But I challenge you to find one verse of scripture where God actually promotes economic liberty.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Ford DeTreese,
You must not read your Bible. Here's a few.

-Parable of the talents
The lord gave unto one 5 talents another 2 and another 1. When he returned he rewarded those who invested wisely. The other he asked, "Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest"?

-1 Thessalonians 3:10
"For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat"

-Genisis 41
Joseph is instructed to plant, save, store and invest during the 7 years of plenty so he can survive the 7 years of famine.

-Luhe 12
“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

I Timothy 5
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever

You asked for references. I was just pointing out that economic equality, civic equality, spiritual equality... are not the same concept.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

thank you for the condemnation of BO - he garnered more campaign cash than his opponents.

Ford DeTreese,
the D&C may promote, but does not guarantee economic equality. there's that little statement about he is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garment of the laborer.

God promoting economic liberty? how about, "seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you"? (paraphrased to the best of my memory)


re:2 bits
"it doesn't insure equal stuff"

Because that is what we've created and find acceptable.

"To deal with the poor, everyone who came to the city was to consecrate everything - all of their property - to the bishop of the church, who in return would deed back to them properties sufficient for their needs. It was an equalization program.

In fact, the word "equal" has a fairly strong place in Joseph Smith's revelations. For example: "That you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things. For if you are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things." At another point, he made the drastic statement that inequality was a sign that the whole world lay in sin. These Cities of Zion were to create unified, egalitarian societies and eventually fill up the world."
(Richard Bushman, Pew Forum "Mormonsim and Politics Are They Compatible?")

"And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of bone heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them."
(Moses 7:18)

The Parable of the Laborer
Matthew 20:1

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

To lost in D.C.: The problem started in the late 70's so we can't really pin it on Obama, although the President has been no better than anyone else at reining in Wall St. It is a bi-partisan issue, Wall St. money has corrupted both sides. Also, in the last election, nore Wall St. cash went to Romney than Obama. Not that that means much.

My conclusion is that Democrats are bad, but Republicans are worse because they oppose even the meager efforts of the Democrats to give a little supervision to our Casino Capitalists who run the world.

Murray, Utah

re: Truthseeker

Agreed, but please define "poor" as stated in Moses. Do you believe it is measurable in the same way the various states in the U.S. define "poor?" For example the bar to receive medicaid, CHIP, etc benefits varies from state to state from 2*poverty level to 6*poverty level. Or you think it's defined by the governmental label of the poverty line? If someone makes poverty level income, but stays out of debt, has a modest home paid for, and doesn't go hungry, are they STILL "poor"?

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

If you were talking about the law of consecration that was experimented with in early history (and proved we are not ready for it)... The concept isn't that everybody gets "equal stuff". Each gets what they need. That is a perfect example of things not being "equal".

And I never said we should not have equality. I said that we ARE Equal (in every example I gave). Each human is equal in Gods eyes. Each Citizen is equal in the Government's eyes. Each person is equal in the law's eyes. I'm not against equality. I'm just pointing out that that liberty and equality doesn't guarantee "equal outcomes or stuff".

I also never said we should have poor among us. I do everything I can to help the poor. I approve of the Government's efforts to help the poor (as long as they teach people to work for the aid they receive). And I approve of my church's attempts to help the poor.

I also agree that Stuff is not important. I never said stuff was important. I just said liberty and equality doesn't guarantee equal stuff.

patriot vet
Cedar City, UT

Kass' statement "We were once a people who prized individual liberty above all else." is false. The Natural Man may prize freedom for himself above all else, but we certainly do NOT prize it for many others. When did we prize it for the black Americans? American Indians? Hispanics?

You say these peoples need to earn it. Did you?

The Declaration of Independence proclaims all men are created equal. Thomas Jefferson and our other Founding Fathers, due to traditions, left out women, black people and even non-landowning white men.

We haven't changed. We pass our traditional bias's to the next generation. And that often includes the principle that we are entitled to freedom, but others must earn it. Especially the immigrant, the minority and others not like us.

USS Enterprise, UT

To "Chrisanne Sueltz" you are almost there. What you should also point out to the liberals out there is the fact that the more free (not anarchy) a people are, and the more capitalism present in their society, the more equal the distribution of wealth becomes.

Just look at the communist nations. They have massive poverty, and have a few with massive wealth.

When the US government didn't try and manipulate the free market, we had one of the best distributions of wealth in the world. Now, not so much, thanks to the government trying to manipulate the free market.

To "Kent C. DeForrest" just saving money in the bank will never make you rich, that is well known and established through history. You don't become wealthy without risking your money in some manner, either through buying property or else through starting a business.

To "Truthseeker" nice try, but still nothing you write says that you will have equal "stuff". If you studied what Zion is to the LDS faith, you would have known that equal in posessions does not mean that you will all have equal stuff.

Ford DeTreese
Provo, UT

2 bits, you failed on every count:

Parable of the talents-
It's a parable, likening money to something else. Jesus isn't giving an economics lesson here. Read a little deeper.

1 Thessalonians 3:10-
This verse is not about economic liberty.

Genisis 41-
Good grief! This is Joseph instituting a command economy in Egypt, for crying out loud. It's an ancient example of, well, Social Security or Welfare. Wow.

Luke 12-
Guard against covetousness. Good advice, in all sorts of economies. It has nothing specifically to do with economic liberty.

1 Timothy 5-
Provide for your family. Again, good advice, in every type of economy. It has no tie to economic freedom.

Try again. In the meantime, please read D&C 49:20; 70:14; 78:6; 104:14-18; Mosiah 18:27; 4 Nephi 1:3; Acts 2:44-45; and Moses 7:18. Not a lot here about economic liberty. Plenty of insistence on economic equality.

Ford DeTreese
Provo, UT

Lost in DC:

That verse also refers to the idle rich who eat the bread and wear the garment that the laborers have created. That sword cuts both ways.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT


In one way what you said is technically correct (equality is attainable only be eliminating freedom)... but it's not that simple.

total-equality OF OUTCOME is attainable only by totally eliminating freedom (IF by "equality" you mean equal-outcomes/results).

The only way to guarantee equal-OUTCOMES would be to, as you put it, "sacrifice freedom" and FORCE everyone to make the same decisions. That plan has been proposed many times throughout history. And yes... That only results in all being equally miserable.

This is how I see it...
We are all equal. There's no question that we are equal in my mind, and nothing can make one person more valuable than another (in my opinion). The only way you can say we are "unequal" is if you see peoples REAL-value as people's "stuff" or their "social-status". I don't.

So depending on how you look at it... Either all of us are already equal (the way I look at it). Or there is no way to be totally_equal except to give up your freedom (IF you see "equal" as equally rich, equally important, equally talented, equally beautiful, etc).

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