Liberty and Equality: “Singularly Discordant Companions”

In his essay Individual Liberty and the Rule of Law, written in 1971, Ridgway K. Foley Jr. writes the following:

When liberty is properly defined as the absence of human interference with the actions of a
pur­posive individual except to the ex­tent required to assure like liberty to all other individuals in society, liberty and equality become singu­larly discordant companions. Lib­erty has long survived the grave­yard of dogma because the liber­tarian accepts man as he finds him, an extraordinarily complex, voli­tional being, capable of creation or destruction, searching for multiple goals;19 equality is curiously in­compatible with both liberty and the nature of man, because the egalitarian refuses to accept man as he finds him. The egalitarian all too often bottoms his view on the premise that mankind is es­sentially brutish and incompetent, incapable of betterment and unde­serving of salvation, although the same thinker may posit that man acting in the collective somehow achieves great creative powers.²º

Liberty is both a desirable and achievable goal; equality is neither  unless equality means “equality before the law,” equal treat­ment of saint and sinner found in the same posture or circumstance.”

Read the entire essay here,


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