Social Question

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Is freedom or equality of greater value?

Asked by FireMadeFlesh (16563points) May 30th, 2016

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn stated that since people are born with different capacities, those that are free will not be equal, and those that are equal are not free.

Since the two principles are in a measure of conflict, would you rather freedom or equality take primacy?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

9 Answers

jca's avatar

I think it’s hard to answer a question like that without considering the context. What is the context of the equality? What is the context of the freedom?

Dutchess_III's avatar

If you actually have equality (which no country actually does) you would automatically have freedom. All things being equal.

Zaku's avatar

My intuition is the opposite of Dutchess’ comment. That is, my first thought is that is I had enough freedom, I wouldn’t need equality, or at least not a lot of it, because I would be free to go where I wanted and do as I please and find some happy place to be.

I am curious what @Dutchess_III means, as it seems to me I could feel equal yet have little freedom, which sounds pretty bad. I guess it depends on the degree to which a person (or people) have each. That is, a bunch of slaves or prisoners would be equal to each other, but maybe she means if you had ultimate equality for everyone, then no one could make someone else a slave? It’s much easier for me to imagine the situation I thought of first.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But what if you couldn’t go to where you wanted because someone said you weren’t worthy of being there? Freedom doesn’t really meaning doing anything you want to do. You still have people and your culture to deal with.

And I think having equality would give the whole country a lot of freedom, not just a little.

Zaku's avatar

Interesting! The words conjure different situations for different people. Seems like the specific situations and specific people make a huge difference.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I don’t give a shit about being equal. I just want my own freedom and happiness. Since we are not equal and never really will be it can only be simulated by….lots of governance. That kind of life probably will greatly limit most of us and what we are allowed to do. I’ll take freedom.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

^ This.

Soviet Communism, for example, only succeeded in making everyone equally miserable.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@jca When I read the quote, my mind immediately strayed to a number of examples.

My government places value on a degree of financial equality, and therefore taxes the wealthy while subsidising the poor. The balance they have decided upon achieves a measure of equality, though not much, while limiting the freedom of the wealthy to enjoy the fruits of their labours.

European governments value gender equality in business, and have set quotas of female board members for large companies. This limits the freedom of the companies to choose the best person for the job (who may or may not be female).

The Hulk Hogan vs Gawker Media lawsuit is all about this issue. Freedom of the press to report what they want is in conflict with Hogan’s quest for equality in maintaining the same right to privacy as another private citizen.

I think the principle applies across such a range of situations that we can talk about it in terms of the general principle.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SecondHandStoke Communism isn’t what I had in mind. That’s a forced financial“equality.” And since men were the authors of that equality it was by no means equal. Those at the top cheated and lied and stole from the masses, thereby getting personally rich, while most of the masses were miserable and starving.

IMO, true equality means everyone has the same opportunity to achieve what they want.

I think America is getting closer to that. If there can be such a thing as a free education after public schools, that will be one step closer.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther