Monday, April 4, 2011

Equality Before the Law is a Must for Freedom

Freedom is the eternal yearning of most human beings. Over the millennia humans have fought for freedom, usually both sides claiming they are fighting for freedom. Impressive as the revolutions that changed the key political players in Tunisia and Egypt are, will the end result be freedom. Billions around the world have taken heart these dramatic changes, will the result in the long term inspire billions around the world. One should not beat about the bush, a key component of freedom is equality before the law.

Equality before the law ensures for a similar transgression of the law, the president’s son will be equally punished as the unfortunate homeless man. If the homeless man commits murder and gets a sentence of life imprisonment, the president’s son must also receive a sentence of life imprisonment for the same offense.

Equality before the law must also ensure and guarantee equal rights. Equal rights simply are what one citizen can do, another citizen can do. For example, if citizen A can open a casino, then the law must guarantee that same right to citizen B to operate a casino if they have equal rights. A casino is just a gambling establishment. One can purchase a deck of cards and find a shack and they have their own gambling establishment. You do not need tens of millions of dollars to have a gambling establishment. With enough work the shack can grow into a fancy casino, who knows, what is important is that the law is treating all citizens equally.

Another example, take banking, what is a bank? It is merely a place where one deposits money and collects it at a later date. Do you need a 50 storey skyscraper to say that is a bank, no, you need a safe and entrepreneurial spirit. Once you have laws like you need $20 million to open a bank, be sure that society does not believe in equality before the law, such a law cannot spring up where there is freedom, there is no excuse to chip away at peoples freedom, the usual excuse is to claim protection of society. In reality it is not society that is being protected but a few whose needs are be taken over the needs of the many that equality before the law ensures.

Any business is treated the same under equality before the law. If one citizen can start a particular business, in a society where there is freedom, any other citizen no matter of race, ethnicity, religion, or class can involve themselves in that business, the people will decide with who they want to do business with. A line connecting your cousin and his friend is a phone company, if you do not want to work for a phone company, use your knowledge and business acumen to start your own.

Note that manufacturing companies are not as highly regulated as say a casino or a bank, the reason being simple, elites know that it only takes a safe to start a bank, but the cost of starting a manufacturing concern usually requires huge capital up front. If the bank does not like you, usually because of race, ethnicity, or class, you will not get a loan.

Equality before the law ensures that those with qualifications, no matter where they got those qualifications can practise their profession and their customers will be satisfied or not. If qualifications are from another society, freedom will ensure that they can prove themselves quickly by writing exams similar to those written in the society. When medical doctors drive taxis, that society cannot claim to believe in freedom, it would be telling lies, that society loathes equality before the law.

If equality before the law is not guaranteed by a respected constitution, then one in the long run is inviting special interest groups to take hold of that society from both the left and the right. Those on the right having more money to fill the pockets of the politicians, those on the left sometimes able to amass enough numbers to change laws. Overtime, the system becomes clogged and special interest groups become entrenched as in the USA, corporations end up having more rights than human beings. A society that recognises the humanity of all beings believes in freedom and equality before the law.

Equality before the law recognizes that all have something to contribute to society and they must not be hindered. Humans must choose how best to contribute to society. Such a law ensures humans use what the know to survive, the right to use their knowledge and their judgement. The knowledge base will grow at a faster rate as obstacles to the mind are removed.

Egypt is an important country, the direction that 80 million people take will be judged by the world, especially the more oppressed peoples of the world, peoples in countries like Burma, Zimbabwe, Peru, Nigeria, indeed Canada, Sweden, Portugal, every corner where equality before the law is subverted for special interests will watch what happens in Egypt. 80 million free people can generate a lot of wealth if they are allowed to use whatever knowledge in their possession, an economic miracle will no doubt take place. To believe in freedom is to believe in the people, to control them is to despise them.

Bhekuzulu Khumalo

3 comments:

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Bhekuzulu Khumalo

I write about knowledge economics, information, liberty, and freedom