Russell Kirk on Equality, 1963

Really, men are equal in two ways only: before the judgment-seat of God (who, remember, doesn’t assign them all to the same place), and in the eyes of the law. But human beings are not equal otherwise; and because they are unequal, they are not entitled to identical things. Every man is entitled to what is his own; but he has no right to take away from another who has more by his talents or inheritance.

For the slothful man is not equal to the diligent man. The brute is not equal to the saint. The fool is not equal to the sage. The traitor is not equal to the loyal man. The selfish is not equal to the loving. The coward is not equal to the hero. The rogue is not equal to the just judge. And nothing could be more unjust than to treat all these, under the lunatic pretext of natural equality, as if they ought to live one life and enjoy the same rewards.

—Russell Kirk, CONFESSIONS OF A BOHEMIAN TORY, 1963, pg. 280.

One thought on “Russell Kirk on Equality, 1963”

  1. Thank you for this post Bradley!

    I would add that equality should not even be pursued or desired in any other way. It’s not really what we want. We are not equations. We are all uniquely created and (as St. Pope John Paul II reminded us) “unrepeatable.” Why in the world would anyone desire to be equal to anyone else?

    (I would also point out that we are only *theoretically* equal before the law—in practice it rarely works out that way)


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