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spelling class was an honor which made many a boy or girl work hard to master the difficult words.
Now it may be said that good clothes, a fine house, an automobile, and all the other attractive things which money can buy, are prizes. The power which a railroad president or banker or manufacturer has is a prize. It stimulates men to work harder if they have such a prize to look forward to. It stimulates invention. It makes men keen to discover the most efficient ways to carry on their business. In other words, it is a part of the general competitive idea. We cannot have prizes and competition without inequality.
Here, then, are four reasons for inequality. Let us View of now hear what is to be said for equality.
equality And first as to facts. Are men naturally unequal (1) Men or naturally equal? The Declaration of Independence are not says flatly, “ We hold these truths to be self-evident,
so unequal that all men are created equal." Is this so? We have seen that the view of “natural inequality” is that men are naturally unequal. Isn't this common sense? Is it not evident that if you take any dozen persons you meet on the street they are very different in ability, to say nothing of comparing Sir Isaac Newton or Shakespere or the author of Job with an Esquimau or a native Australian?
Before answering this question we notice that although in early days Jews and Greeks despised others, it was yet a Jew who wrote “God created man in his own image,” without making any distinctions. It was a Greek who wrote, “ We are his offspring,” and a Jew with Greek education that wrote, “ He [God] made of one every nation of men." It was a Roman, Cicero, who said over and over, “Men are equal," " There is nothing so like, so equal, as we all are, one with an
other. Reason is common to us all, we have the same senses; we differ in knowledge, we are equal in capacity to learn; we are similar not only in ability to know what is right but in our ways of going wrong."
It was an English philosopher, Hobbes, defending the power of the king, who said:
“ Nature hath made men so equal, in the faculties of the body and minds; as that though there be found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body, or quicker in mind than another, yet when all is reckoned together, the difference between man and man, is not so considerable, as that one man can thereupon claim to himself any benefit to which another may not pretend, as well as he. For as to the strength of body, the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by secret machination, or by confederacy with others that are in the same danger with himself.”
The church maintained that in the sight of God the little differences which appear so important to us do not count. But it was the philosopher, Locke, who was nearest to the men who wrote our Declaration of Independence. He describes a state of nature which is first a state of freedom, and then
“A state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one has more than another, there being nothing more evident than that creatures of the same species and rank promiscuously born to all the same advantages of Nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another.”
We can see, then, that Jefferson and his fellows had many authorities to uphold their claim that “all men are created equal.” But none the less we ask what did they mean by it? They probably meant chiefly that men are at any rate not divided into two classes, one
of which has a right to rule the other. They probably meant to protest against the view that just because a man is of royal blood he has a divine right to rule other persons, without any regard to whether he is wiser and better than they. They went on to urge that governments were formed to secure rights for men. They meant this as a contrast to the view that certain men, just because of their birth, have a right to govern others. They probably had no intention to deny that some men would be better than others for rulers. They had not long before chosen Washington to be general. They did this because they thought he was the best man, and no doubt they thought that in this respect he was not exactly equal to all the rest. In his discussion of the Dred Scott decision, Lincoln has told what he thinks the authors of the Declaration meant:
They did not intend to declare all men equal in all respects. They did not mean to say that all were equal in color, size, intellect, moral developments, or social capacity. They defined with tolerable distinctness in what respects they did consider all men created equal,-equal with certain inalienable rights among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'
So much, then, for the claim of equality by nature. It means, first, that men are not so different that any one class can claim the right always to rule another, or to be supported by another, or to claim for itself everything above the necessaries of life. It holds that men are equal in rights to at least life, and liberty, and happiness, even though they may not always find happiness in just the same ways.
The second motive which has led men to uphold the doctrine of inequality was stated to be: It is natural
to despise outsiders and conquered peoples or races.
The advocates of equality claim that although this (2) Race explains why men have been treated as inferiors, it is and class
not a good reason why they should be so treated now prejudice
and in future. Many natural ways of acting—for exare crude
ample, taking revenge upon those who injure us—we have replaced by better methods. Race prejudice and class pride are natural, but they are crude and stupid attributes. And as for conquest in war, this was no doubt at one time the most prominent mark of ability. But now when we need so many kinds of talents—in invention, science, art, music; and so many moral qualities—such as honesty, fairness, and kindness—it shows a narrow mind to despise others merely because we are physically stronger than they, or can shoot straighter, or even because we are braver in battle. There are other ways of showing courage and power
than by killing people. (3) Inven The third argument is also losing its force. Once, tion is
it is true, there was not enough to go around. The making
only way to have art and music and schools, the only enough
way to have beautiful houses and temples and all the round things which make civilization as contrasted with
savage life, was by having the many support the few without sharing in any of the good things. Now, however, with the great inventions of machinery, of steam and water power, and with the great increase in production which comes when men work together, there is no need of this older method. We are now, it is claimed, producing enough to keep us all in decent
comfort if we could only “pass prosperity around.” (4) Not
The fourth reason given for inequality was that it all care
is a stimulus, and men need prizes in order that they for prizes
may do their best. This is fatly denied by some.
They claim that it is all wrong to be thinking of prizes. For example, in school, who is the real scholar, the boy who is trying to work the problem simply to beat the other fellow, or the boy who has a real interest in mathematics? We can scarcely think that a very great scholar cares very much about getting ahead of some rival. Newton wanted to discover the truth about the movements of the earth and planets. Pasteur wanted to discover what was spoiling the grapes, and in that way began those investigations which led to the germ theory of disease. Lazear and Reed wanted to find out the causes of yellow fever in order to save life. Surely this desire to know is a far nobler motive than the desire to get ahead of some one else and to wear some kind of a decoration, whether it is an eagle's feather or a particular kind of title or dress. It is claimed that this desire for some kind of prize is a rather childish or savage desire. We should get over this desire as we grow up and become more civilized. Kipling has put it finely from the point of view of the artist:
And only the Master shall praise us, and only the Master
shall blame; And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work
for fame, But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his
separate star, Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things as They Are!
- Kipling's L'Envoi.
So far we have merely answered arguments for in- Positive equality. Are there any positive arguments for equal- values of ity? It is no doubt true that instinct for power and equality mastery is deep rooted in men. Is there any correspond