Friday, March 25, 2016

Best of Enemies

A couple days ago I bought the documentary Best of Enemies, about the 1968 election discussions between William F. Buckley, Jr., and Gore Vidal.

I thought the "debates" would be better; instead, what I saw was two men (who clearly hated each other) trying to knock the other one down with verbal repartee.  While I agreed with Buckley I thought Vidal was the more "entertaining", having won the jabbing contest.  Perhaps viewers in 1968 were more sophisticated, not having had strong doses of reality- and low-attention-span TV.

One thing that Buckley said really sickened Vidal, but it seems to me to be a universal truth.  I cannot imagine how anyone can argue with it.  It was 3 simple words:  Freedom breeds inequality.  If it weren't true I'd be a fighter pilot.  Or an astronaut.  Or a San Francisco 49er.  Or a surfer.  And I'd be rich.

Of course I believe in freedom before the law, and of Equal Justice Under Law.  I also believe we're all equal in the eyes of God.  But we have different abilities, different desires, different beliefs, and our personal freedom gives us the ability to pursue for ourselves that which we can given our abilities, desires, and beliefs.  Forced equality of abilities, or of outcomes based on abilities and beliefs, truly brings us all down to the level of the least able.

That's why government shouldn't try to make everyone "equal"--as I wrote about in my previous post.

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