America

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Freedom and "The Eternal Inequality of Man"

From Owen Wister's The Virginian
It was through the Declaration of Independence that we Americans acknowledged the ETERNAL INEQUALITY of man. For by it we abolished a cut-and-dried aristocracy. We had seen little mere artificially held up in high places, and great men artificially held down in low places, and our own justice-loving hearts abhorred this violence to human nature. Therefore, we decreed that every man should thenceforth have equal liberty to find his own level. By this very decree we acknowledged and gave freedom to true aristocracy, saying, "Let the best man win, whoever he is." Let the best man win! That is America's word. That is true democracy. And true democracy and true aristocracy are one and the same thing. If anybody cannot see this, so much the worse for his eyesight.

2 comments:

  1. Since aristocracy usually means a hereditary ruling class, I think the more appropriate term would be meritocracy.

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    Replies
    1. Well, there is an "aristocracy of merit" but you point is correct.

      Too bad Mr. Wister isn't about to discuss it with.

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