Podcast: The 3WHH on Equality, Consent, and the Problems of Self-Government

This week’s episode is a Biden-free zone, so if you’re looking to avoid the Biden-Afghan collapse story, this is the show for you.

Instead we decided to circle back return to an argument I was losing badly at the end of last week’s episode with Michael Anton, and go into greater depth on the meaning of equality in American political thought. To recap, I argued that the critics of “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence—from Tocqueville to today’s “paleoconservatives”—have a point, at least historically considered, and that the simple and laudatory instinct of Americans that “you are not the boss of me” is insufficient and prone to the defects of cognitive dissonance.

So I decided to enlist a witness on my behalf—the voice of Harry Jaffa himself. Using some excerpts from an audio recording of a lecture Jaffa gave in 1972 on “What Is Equality? The Declaration of Independence Revisited” (you can find the full audio recording here), Lucretia and I work through some of the complications of the idea of equality and especially its directly related principle—the “consent of the governed.”

Bottom line: this matter is complicated. As Jaffa wrote elsewhere: “Free government would be an absurdity did it require citizens all like Abraham Lincoln; yet it would be an impossibility if it could not from time to time find leaders with something of his understanding.” The trouble is, our entire education system today is now determined to convey only anti-democratic principles, in service of a totalitarian misunderstanding of equality. We have work to do.

Maybe we just need to screen The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance more often. It’s how this episode opens. (P.S. The fine article “Why Are Elites So Hostile to Merit-Based Hiring” by our young friend Deion Kathawa that we mention at the end of the episode can be found here.)

You know what to do now: listen here, or exercise your consent to download it from our hosts at Ricochet. (Not just any old consent: it must be enlightened consent. And now you have to listen to find out what that means.)

Notice: All comments are subject to moderation. Our comments are intended to be a forum for civil discourse bearing on the subject under discussion. Commenters who stray beyond the bounds of civility or employ what we deem gratuitous vulgarity in a comment — including, but not limited to, “s***,” “f***,” “a*******,” or one of their many variants — will be banned without further notice in the sole discretion of the site moderator.