Most Americans are in favor of freedom and equality. Those two values are contradictory, however.
Those who value freedom above all believe in the greatness of individuals and want government to stay out of our lives as much as possible.
Those who value equality, whether they realize it or not, support a powerful central government.
We are born unequal and live our lives unequally. We have different amounts of money and power. And we have different levels of opportunity due to our age, race, sex, where we live, and how good looking we are.
For people who are outraged by inequality, big government is the only answer.
Firstly, only government can define what equality means since it is a made-up concept with no connection to nature or reality. Secondly, only government has the power to levy progressive taxes and redistribute wealth in order to put its grand plans into action.
In the 1830s, a wise Frenchman named Alexis De Tocqueville visited the United States and wrote “Democracy in America” based on his observations of our country.
Basically, De Tocqueville wrote the history of the United States before it even happened. He observed that Americans highly value both liberty and fairness and that these two opposing forces were going to shape the country in profoundly different ways.
Liberty is what inspired the greatest American businessmen – Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs – to expand our economy and enrich our lives.
Equality is what inspired politicians and bureaucrats to create the most powerful and most expensive government in human history.
As you can tell, I value freedom over equality. So do the people who made “The Giver.”
“The Giver” is about a seemingly perfect future society in which inequality and passion are stomped out and violence and strife have been eliminated.
Thanks to a mandatory emotion-suppressing drug, people no longer see color and no longer feel strong emotions. Everyone is blandly and lovelessly content.
In this serene society, there is only one man who is cursed with the responsibility of remembering the way the world used to be – with love and war and human differences: The Giver (Jeff Bridges).
But the The Giver is getting old. The film tells the story of Jonah (Brenton Thwaites), the teenager who is given the task of learning the truth about humanity’s past and true nature just in case the society elders need to use that knowledge to deal with a crisis.
Unsurprisingly, Jonah decides that his government is wrong to suppress human individuality and to enforce uniformity.
“The Giver” is a simple, fast-moving morality play. Its biggest flaw is that its conclusion is so obvious and uncontroversial.
On the other hand, politicians to this day are still clamoring for fairness and are eager to rob us of our money and our freedoms to try to achieve it. One hundred eighty years after De Tocqueville, the war between Americans who cherish liberty and Americans who crave equality rages on.
I vote freedom.
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