Thanks for the comment and question Trisha.
I took the quote to mean that as we seek to increase freedom, we will thereby create trade-offs in equality, and vice versa. We need to acknowledge this. Or else we end up blind to the second and third order consequences of these actions.
We’re all born with unique talents and some individuals are better equipped to thrive in this world than others. We recognize this inequity and take steps to help the less fortunate gain a more equal footing. But with each action, it removes some level of individual freedom. Every step towards equality is taken by making some reduction in the freedom of those who are better off.
If you look at our political divide today, Democrats often want a more equitable society. They’re generally in favor of funding programs to help the poor and would like to ensure Americans have access to health insurance. They achieve this by raising taxes and placing additional requirements on businesses. But this infringes on the freedom of individuals to spend their money as they wish. They may not want to fund these programs, but they no longer have the freedom to make that choice.
Conversely, Republicans typically seek to maximize individual freedom, despite recognizing that it will further widen the income gap between rich and poor and create a system where a significant portion of our country cannot afford health care.
Last week, a Senator lobbied to return to the times where hospitals could refuse to serve patients. Recognizing that the Senator cites non-insurance reasons for this move, it’s easy to see how it could devolve into a return to the days when if you were uninsured, you were shown the door. Requiring all hospitals (if they want Medicare funding) to treat everyone who comes into the ER is a great win for equality, but it limits the freedom of the hospital.
I don’t think there’s a sweet spot on this continuum. It’s a constantly changing balance as the world continues to evolve. The important part is to recognize there are trade-offs. And we need to talk about them. Otherwise we get leaders who assure us they can provide both equality and freedom, often with the intention of providing neither.
Just my thoughts on the topic. Let me know what you think. Cheers!