The phrase “All men are created equal” has been repeated by Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama and most major political figures in the two ruling US political parties over the last several decades. It is certainly the most enduring meme in American history. But it is also self-evidently and demonstrably false.
George Fitzhugh pointed out the obvious in his book Sociology for the South, or the Failure of Free Society (1854):
It is, we believe, conceded on all hands, that men are not born physically, morally or intellectually equal, – some are males, some females, some from birth, large, strong and healthy, others weak, small and sickly – some are naturally amiable, others prone to all kinds of wickedness – some brave, others timid. Their natural inequalities beget inequalities of rights. The weak in mind or body require guidance, support and protection; they must obey and work for those who protect and guide them – they have a natural right to guardians, committees, teachers or masters. Nature has made them slaves; all that law and government can do, is to regulate, modify and mitigate their slavery.
Fitzhugh’s understanding of the world “slavery” was not limited to the African chattel slavery of his time but extended to all social and legal limitations – even family roles and submission to the rule of law. In the excerpt above the Virginian first pointed out the inequality of our birth or condition and then made the case that this justly leads to inequalities of rights. The criminal has no right to freedom; society justly limits his rights by imprisoning or punishing him. The child has no right to vote; society justly limits his rights and sets laws under which he must live without his consent. Rights are naturally restricted by families (in the case of children) and governments (in the case of criminals, aliens and other classes of men) and this serves a positive social good.
This is a major red pill and perhaps the fundamental belief shared by all those on the Right since the time of the American and French revolutions. We may debate policy on precisely how government should regulate, modify or mitigate inequality but it naturally exists. And, as Hunter Wallace has pointed out, liberalism (i.e., the war against inequality) yields “a permanent state of social revolution” that “push[es] liberty and equality to greater and greater extremes at the expense of solidarity.” Ultimately, it brings about “the unraveling of the social fabric.” Like Fitzhugh, men of the Right today embrace inequality as we seek to build a healthy society and avoid “a loss of social cohesion that results in extreme atomization and social strife.”