And All Shall Equal Be

This is our annual summer vacation issue, which means I am free to ramble on like an old lizard soaking up gin and sunshine at the beach and telling stories that all begin, “Did I ever tell you about the time . . . ”

Did I ever tell you about the time I first fully grasped the true evil known as equality?  It happened many years ago (over 40, to be more precise), when I was part of an interdisciplinary discussion group of young college teachers.  The group included an economist, several social scientists, and a zoologist.  We met once a week in the back room of a bar to study and debate some provocative book.  As luck would have it, the two classicists were the only Christians in the group, though, after working through Augustine’s De Doctrina Christiana, most of the rest dropped their hostility to the Faith, and one or two began to question their assumptions.  Two things have always amazed me about this experience: How easily otherwise intelligent people swallow the ideology that dominates in their professional group and social class, and how open a really bright scientist or scholar can be to an alien way of thinking.

Jack, the economist, was a student of Armen Alchian and a big admirer of Douglass North, one of the few economists who could make sense out of everyday political issues.  I was astonished that the Scandinavians were smart enough (or dumb enough) to...

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