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President Obama and ‘Equality’

Obama with haloAs all the world surely knows by now, “equality” is the ideological key to President Obama’s domestic policies. That all people are created equal, the president says, is the “most evident of truths.” Whether that’s so or not, it is unquestionably the case that you express any reservations whatsoever about equality these days at no little personal risk.

Be that as it may, the meaning of equality is hopelessly unclear in the absence of specifics. Clarification requires asking and answering a prior question: equal in regard to what? Weight? Height? Intelligence? Misery? This plainly can’t be what the president has in mind.

On the contrary, when Mr. Obama speaks of equality, he seems to be talking about giving things to particular individuals and groups who enjoy his favor and that of his administration. Feminists and gays come immediately to mind as prime members of this privileged group. So we have administration policies like women in combat and same-sex marriage, where the inconvenient fact of significant differences is brushed aside while people who raise rational objections based on the public interest are branded as foes of equality and, very likely, bigots to boot.

In the examples cited, the species of equality involved goes by the name “gender equality.” Here, of course, certain distinctions must be made. Usually, they aren’t.

Women, homosexuals, and heterosexual men are indeed equal in regard to some things. But everything? High up on any serious list of evident truths is the truth of sexual complementarity, and its claims also must be heeded. Sorting out the competing requirements of equality and complementarity is a political task calling for the exercise of virtues like justice, solidarity, and especially prudence. Unfortunately, this is something a one-dimensional ideological faith in equality can’t be bothered doing.

In modern times, painful public events have repeatedly shown that political ideology can be a very dangerous thing. Ideologues, whether they be Islamic fundamentalists or die-hard old Marxists, commonly nurture visions of some kind of paradise on earth and, if fanatical enough, they will do profoundly disturbing things in order to make their vision real. Barack Obama is no fanatic, but he is an ideologue of equality with a strongly secular slant and worrisome on that score.

The HHS Mandate is a case in point. This is the proposed regulation emanating from the Department of Health and Human Services in implementation of Obamacare that originally would have required (and indeed may do so yet) that a large number of church-affiliated institutions and programs provide their employees with insurance coverage for contraceptives, abortifacient drugs, and sterilization.

Pardon a digression, but notice those words–contraceptives, abortifacient drugs, and sterilization. The verbal sleight of hand often employed by defenders of the mandate involves speaking only of “contraception” while keeping mum about the abortifacients and the sterilizations. That’s part of the ongoing flacking for Obama that some journalists have been practicing for years.

In any event, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a Harvard audience earlier this month that as of August 1 “every employee who doesn’t work directly for a church or a diocese will be included.” That remains to be seen. But as matters stand, and leaving aside technicalities, religious employers are to become cogs in a vast machine delivering universal coverage for contraception (and the rest) in the name of equality.

If this succeeds, don’t imagine for a minute that agitation won’t quickly begin to add abortion at any stage of pregnancy to the package. After all, the ideology of equality mandates it.


Russell Shaw is a freelance writer from Washington, D.C.


  • Noel Fitzpatrick

    I read here “Barack Obama is no fanatic”. I have read elsewhere that 25% of
    Americans think Mr Obama is the Anti-Christ. I also hear of him being worse
    than Hitler, Stalin and Mao. Please tell me what this man, who is the leader of
    the free world, really is.

    However recently there is not much about Obama in CL and some time ago there were more articles about him than about Jesus Christ. Will he soon be as forgotten as Mitch Romney?

    But this article goes around the place a bit, so it is hard to see what the
    point is. s it about equality?

    Reading it I am reminded of Marilyn Monroe who said “Women who seek to be equal
    with men lack ambition.”

    Again the onus should not be on me to remind you of the Declaration of
    Independence.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
    that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that
    among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

  • Anne Gomes

    Noel, the article is about the HHS mandate giving extra-legislative powers to a non-elected cabinet officer. This is extremely unpopular. President Obama is just a Chicago politician whose definition of equality is equality of outcome, except for those elites who deserve more due to their elite status. Btw, the Declaration of Independence is a founding document and one of great importance for our heritage. But, it is not codified in our law. We see equality as applying to everyone. What you do with it is your business.