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This week’s episode is a Biden-free zone, so if you’re looking to avoid the Biden-Afghan collapse story, this is the show for you.
Instead we decided to
circle back return to an argument Steve was losing badly at the end of last week’s episode with Michael Anton, and go into greater depth on the meaning of equality in American political thought. To recap, Steve argued that the critics of “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence—from Tocqueville to today’s “paleoconservatives”—have a point, at least historically considered, and that the simple and laudatory instinct of Americans that “you are not the boss of me” is insufficient and prone to the defects of cognitive dissonance.
So Steve decided to enlist a witness on his behalf—the voice of Harry Jaffa himself. Using some excerpts from an audio recording of a lecture Jaffa gave in 1972 on “What Is Equality? The Declaration of Independence Revisited” (you can find the full audio recording here) Steve and Lucretia work through some of the complications of the idea of equality and especially its directly related principle—the “consent of the governed.” Bottom line: this matter is complicated. As Jaffa wrote elsewhere: “Free government would be an absurdity did it require citizens all like Abraham Lincoln; yet it would be an impossibility if it could not from time to time find leaders with something of his understanding.” The trouble is, our entire education system, from K-12 through college, is today now determined to convey only anti-democratic principles, in service of a totalitarian misunderstanding of equality. We have work to do.
Maybe we just need to screen The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance more often. It’s how this episode opens.
(P.S. The fine article “Why Are Elites So Hostile to Merit-Based Hiring” by our young friend Deion Kathawa that we mention at the end of the episode can be found here.)
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