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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Publication Announcement !!!

Life among the Ordinary: Completing Our Nation's Great Unfinished Business --- the book, a product of comprehensive, multi-year study --- is published !!!

Here are the important links to purchase in the desired format ...

... hardcover:

... paperback:

... digital (kindle):

A formal press release regarding the book's publication will be issued shortly.  Please keep an eye out for it!

And thanks for all your support!

-Michael D'Angelo

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Liberty and Equality of Opportunity

Beneath every truth and appearance there seemingly lies a measure of paradoxical opposite --- take "Liberty" and "Equality of Opportunity" for example ...

Liberty and equality of opportunity make for interesting bed fellows.  Bed fellows?

Liberty --- together with life and the pursuit of happiness --- are without question the most cherished rights of US citizenship.  Generations of Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice defending them.  Equality of opportunity --- the notion that each is entitled to the same access to the American economic opportunity structure --- has been more elusive.  It is in this area of economic opportunity --- the “chance through honest toil to advance one's station in life” --- where the goals of our nation have fallen most short.

Yet liberty and equality of opportunity, each a desirable principle, are often at odds.  Insofar as equal rights are freely exercised, they are bound to result in inequalities, made to be perpetual.  As one leading progressive thinker has pointed out, the “marriage” --- which the free exercise of equal rights is designed to consecrate between liberty and equality --- “gives birth to unnatural children, whose nature it is to devour one or the other of its parents.”

One of the most interesting challenges in American democracy involves the delicate balancing act which liberty encounters when confronted with equality of opportunity.  Give the people liberty, and all is well.  Give them too much liberty, and equality of opportunity is at sufferance as wealth begins to concentrate and perpetuate unacceptably in the hands of a few.  Give the people too much equality of opportunity, on the other hand, and our nation may devolve to an undesirable societal status which lacks the proper incentive to advance on merit.

Perhaps it was easier in Jefferson’s time on an 18th century Virginia farm.  The farmer would bring his bushel of wheat to market and receive whatever the market would bear at any given point in time.  In current times, however, when the economic system of capitalism incentivizes speculation --- making vices such as greed and pride appear as virtues --- it’s not so easy to separate the wheat from the chaff.  Beneath every truth and appearance there seemingly lies a measure of paradoxical opposite.

Although confounding at times, that which has one guessing keeps life interesting, as we strive to create a more perfect union.  Americans value self-reliance and individual responsibility.  But we also have empathy for those in need.  Many who are weak have been in need for a long time.  Why does it take so long for some of us to hear them?  In a more perfect union we strive for that elusive balance --- all in the nature of things.

-Michael D’Angelo