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Letters: Freedom vs equality

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  • SEY Sandy, UT
    June 21, 2013 6:55 a.m.

    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
    June 21, 2013 7:39 a.m.

    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
    June 21, 2013 8:19 a.m.

    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.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    June 21, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    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
    June 21, 2013 8:42 a.m.

    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
    June 21, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    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
    June 21, 2013 9:31 a.m.

    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
    June 21, 2013 9:45 a.m.

    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
    June 21, 2013 9:47 a.m.

    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
    June 21, 2013 10:47 a.m.

    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
    June 21, 2013 11:05 a.m.

    Roland,
    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)

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    June 21, 2013 11:28 a.m.

    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
    June 21, 2013 12:21 p.m.

    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.

  • GiuseppeG Murray, Utah
    June 21, 2013 12:21 p.m.

    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
    June 21, 2013 12:28 p.m.

    Truthseeker,
    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
    June 21, 2013 12:29 p.m.

    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.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    June 21, 2013 1:18 p.m.

    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
    June 21, 2013 3:02 p.m.

    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
    June 21, 2013 3:05 p.m.

    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
    June 21, 2013 3:26 p.m.

    SEY

    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).

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    June 22, 2013 8:28 a.m.

    We should not look for equality of outcome but for true equality of opportunity.

    We may say we have the latter, but I think even a cursory examination reveals we do not. That is where we should focus our efforts.

    One quick point here is in higher education (and that can mean education in the trades as well). There is no better provider of opportunity for young person. But look at college costs today versus 30-40 years ago. It used to be that a young person could earn enough in a summer to pay for tuition, room, and board at a state university. To do so today would mean that they would have to be able to take home (save) over $1,000 per week.

    There are various reasons for the increase in cost. Fancier stuff at the colleges, and a lot less state support to name two. But the simple point is we cannot have true equality of opportunity unless education after high school (including for trades) is accessible by all.

    Unless every kid who has reasonable grades can look at getting a good education, we are wasting talent and do not have sufficient opportunity.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    June 22, 2013 12:20 p.m.

    Freedom is sold the highest briber - er, um, I mean...bidder.

    Gadianton Robbers and Master Mahan Eco 101.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    June 22, 2013 3:01 p.m.

    "Success" and even life longevity is determined by whether one is impoverished or not. Studies have shown children with higher IQs in impoverished areas do worse than middle class children with lower IQs. People don't choose the circumstances of their birth, at least as far as we know. Whether one is born in a crime-infested inner city or into an impoverished nation or into an upper class affluent neighborhood appears to be a result of "luck." Not everybody has the same opportunities--particularly in this country as compared to other industrialized countries.

    Therefore, it is our moral obligation to continue to address poverty especially with how it affects children.

    Republicans seem to have forgotten the welfare reform that they pushed and passed under Pres. Clinton. Broadly painting those who don't owe federal income tax (47%) as lazy, "ner-do-wells" reveals deep blindness and ignorance.

    Pres. Obama's and the Democrat's ultimate goal is that all Americans have a basic level of dignity, an affordable and good education, jobs that can provide economic security and the necessities of life, and the conditions and opportunity to advance. Wealth does not confer moral superiority. Often it reflects the opposite.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    June 22, 2013 4:17 p.m.

    When WallStreet corporations can go to jail for theft, robbery, and murder -- THEN there will be equality.
    When a poor old woman goes to jail for shop-lifting - while the privileged few with $$$ like ex-Enron CEO Jeff Skilling gets his sentence cut in half, or celebrities joke about their illegal drug use and some even getting away with murder -- THEN there will be equality.

    When Corporations and the uber-Romney rich pay 30%+ in taxes like the rest of the Poor and Middle class do -- THEN there will be equality.

    There is no Freedom, when there is no Equality.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    June 23, 2013 12:50 a.m.

    "When the US government didn't try and manipulate the free market, we had one of the best distributions of wealth in the world."

    Odd. Strange take on history. But perhaps you can be more specific. What era are you talking about?

    "You don't become wealthy without risking your money in some manner, either through buying property or else through starting a business."

    Again, an odd statement. You give two options to becoming wealthy. What about things like inheriting wealth, or playing ball games really well? Perhaps you did not mean to be inclusive with your two ways to become wealthy.

    "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."

    This also is a very strange statement. "The more free. . ." But you stop short of anarchy. So it would seem that you recognize some limits on freedom in society are necessary for a more equal distribution of wealth. Trying to prove your point using communist countries doesn't work. The fact that communist countries were massively corrupt and failed does not prove your statement.

  • the old switcharoo mesa, AZ
    June 23, 2013 11:55 a.m.

    If you leave your children long enough and you come home to find the eldest charging the younger siblings rent would you be ok with that?

    It keeps happening to the Lord.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    June 24, 2013 6:51 p.m.

    to SEY

    You mean socialism for the uber-rich and/or well connected and capitalism for the rest.

    Maybe just maybe Adam Smith (invisible hand of the market) & Darwin (natural selection/survival of the fittest) are in cahoots!?