Is equality always a good thing?

It was recently reported that the scientific community has released a new study. They now believe there may be 300 sextillion stars in the universe, or three times what they had previously believed. Isn’t it nice to see that they are making progress?

Every few years as they develop their telescopes and other paraphernalia to see further and further, they keep upping the number of stars they feel confident of assuming. They’d have better luck counting the blades of grass growing on Shorewood Country Club, or how about in New York state? I’m sure someone could give us a good approximation there.

When we say all men are created equal, we mean that we are equal in our right to exist, and thus all have equal rights under the law. Did you ever wonder what the world would be like if everyone were actually equal to everyone else; all women equally beautiful and shapely, all men equally strong and ambitious? If they did not all look alike, as identical twins do, would we consider that unequal? What if everyone, men and women, were equally gifted in the sciences, the arts, in athletics, and musically ability, in intellect, and equal in drive, and willingness to do their part? Could we accept the fact that we were neither superior, nor inferior to anyone else? Would there be any meaning in baseball games where no one could ever really win, or for that matter any kind of competition?

Could there be competition? Could anyone fill the arena for a concert when everyone else could sing it just as well? Could we appreciate the talents of others when they really weren’t any better than ourselves or anyone else? Perhaps what we see today as outstanding talent in any field would just be mediocrity as it was no better than anyone else. Would mediocrity be the rule in a culture of excellence? Would the advancement of civilization be at a standstill? Perhaps we would rotate through different job assignments from garbage collector to brain surgeon, then bus boy, and then architect, as they are all necessary and no one would want to be stuck in only one permanently. I say thank God for our differences. Let’s appreciate them.

Many of us worry are we good enough? It may be that normal people from all races are born with fewer differences in their potential than we may realize, but the circumstances of their lives, culture, environment, opportunity, education and folk lore develop them in far different ways in a short time. No two people are born into the same circumstances. No two people, even identical twins, are ever exactly alike. I don’t believe that can be changed, and thus, life will never be fair. It obviously is not supposed to be, and we warp it in trying to make it what it is not. There will always be good and bad, winter and summer, desert and oasis, rich and poor, male and female, heat and cold, light and dark, enlightenment and ignorance, strength and weakness, life and death. Some of us are orchids, some roses, some daisies and yes, some even dandelions. They all have their place.

An individual goes through many changes in one lifetime. Progress comes by inches over many lifetimes. Those who would, rule us are those we should watch closely and keep in check. One of the biggest hindrances to the progress of civilization has been those in our midst who try to make their mark by remaking the world. Few people look for trouble. Most of us simply wish to live, love, and do our thing.

Trouble is forced upon us by the power seekers, people who are ruled by their egos, and the need to show their superiority, more than their love of life itself. Tyrants must kill or be killed, and history shows that they usually accomplish both. May God bless America.

Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Send comments to