Pat Buchanan: ‘Egalite is rather a founding principle of Robespierre’s revolution, not ours’
“They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Ben Franklin is much quoted in today’s debate on the trade-off between freedom and security, as we learn about the National Security Agency’s easy access to our phone records and emails.
Yet we Americans have often sacrificed liberty for safety.
In World War II, Korea and Vietnam, we conscripted millions of men and sent hundreds of thousands to their deaths fighting against Italians, Germans, Japanese, Koreans and Vietnamese.
The greater antagonist of liberty is not the quest for security, but our insatiable demand and inexorable drive for equality – not equality of rights but equality of results.
To equalize incomes the government confiscates 40 percent of the earnings of the most successful Americans and uses that wealth to subsidize the food, health care, housing and income of that half of the nation that pays no income taxes.
A steeply progressive income tax was originally advanced by that great egalitarian Karl Marx.
The federal estate tax is 40 percent for the wealthy. Some states tack on 16 percent. Individuals may spend entire lives acquiring wealth for their progeny. And governments, in the name of equality, will seize half of it on their deaths. Socialism, said Winston Churchill, is the philosophy of envy and gospel of greed.