I saw a clip of a recent Ashton Kutcher speech the other day that, quite honestly, made my blood boil a little. Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I saw it and am struggling to find a direct clip of it. I blame our over-exposure to 80 million different clips and headlines every day, coupled with a poor memory, and less than average technology skills.
The basic gist was him talking about how the constitution lied to him because not all people are created “equal.” And then went onto tell how his twin brother, who was born with cerebral palsy, taught him to love. Aww. Yet another piece of propaganda, not so cleverly, disguised as an appeal to one’s pathos by a Hollywood elite. (Don’t get me wrong, I love Ashton Kutcher as an actor and have likely seen every film/tv show he’s ever done).
First, as Conservative Review correctly points out, Kutcher should recall a high school US History class (do they even still teach that?). The document he meant to refer to was actually the Declaration of Independence. In his defense, the “two old pieces of paper” are both seen as just that by leftists (aka 99.9% of Hollywood), so why should he be able to distinguish between the two? What he touches on, though, is a commonly held fallacy about our founding fathers and documents. As Conservative Review also mentions, the Constitution and the Declaration should be looked at together to fully get to the heart of what the founders believed. (The Federalist Papers also deserve far more attention than they currently get).
And Kutcher isn’t wrong. His brother and he were clearly born “unequal.” I too was born and am “unequal” to him, but he doesn’t seem all too concerned about that one. Equality, by the founders definition, meant we were all created equal in value in the sight of God. No one man was created to have more inherent value than another. Hence the phrasing.
“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.” (If you really don’t know where this comes from, then stop reading now and go get a US history book).
What’s ironic, is that I doubt Mr. Kutcher, or anyone espousing similar opinions for that matter, would ever argue everyone is unique in talents, abilities, looks, etc. They are after all the champions of “individualism”… (so long as you don’t diverge from the collective that is). Yet that individualism is exactly what they throw out the window when they speak of “equality.”
If everyone were truly equal, then Mr. Kutcher would likely be out of job. Why would a studio pay him millions when there are millions of people out there equally as talented, funny, attractive, etc. And even further, why would anyone excel in any industry?
It is not surprising the definition of “equality” is as contentious as it is. I totally get it. It sounds so nice to be able to say we’re all equal in opportunity and outcome and we can all go hold hands and sing Kumbaya. But reality is, I couldn’t act to save my life. If anyone ever put me on the silver screen, the production company would likely lose money.
But, to me, what the founders were able to touch on with equality was truly revolutionary. And it is what separated us from the rest of the world and has helped to sustain us for the last 240 years (really hoping my math is right here). America broke the mold of monarchs, and even other democracies, who virtually always had some form of class or group that was seen as better simply because of their genes. And it was the concept that drew so many to immigrate here. The idea that it didn’t matter who your parents were, you could succeed and make a name for yourself because you were no less important in inherent value than the President himself.
Over time, as a society, we have drifted from many values that founded this country. But if there was only one that could be restored, I would argue the value placed on equality as the founders intended. The acknowledgment that while we all have different talents, backgrounds, appearance, etc. we are all equal in our value and worth. To quote a great wizard: “While we may come from different places and speak in different tongues, our hearts beat as one [aka as Americans].”
So, Mr. Kutcher, no, the Constitution didn’t lie to you. And not because it was the wrong document you cited in the first place. Though I’m sure there have been times of pain and sadness due to your brother’s condition, if you were both equal I doubt he would have been able to teach you how to love the way he did.