It continues to cause problems. Let’s consider one of the bedrock principles from the Enlightenment: “equality.” Pay attention to the evolution of the term.
From John Locke:
A state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another; there being nothing more evident, than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection, unless the lord and master of them all should, by any manifest declaration of his will, set one above another, and confer on him, by an evident and clear appointment, an undoubted right to dominion and sovereignty.
According to Locke, all men are equal unless the lord makes manifest otherwise.
Man being born, as has been proved, with a title to perfect freedom, and an uncontrolled enjoyment of all the rights and privileges of the law of nature, equally with any other man, or number of men in the world, hath by nature a power, not only to preserve his property, that is, his life, liberty and estate, against the injuries and attempts of other men
Man has a right to preserve his life, liberty, and property.
From Thomas Jefferson:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…
According to Jefferson, all men are created equal no matter what the lord says.
…they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
What happened to preserving his property, his estate?
From Woodrow Wilson:
There can be no equality or opportunity, the first essential of justice in the body politic, if men and women and children be not shielded in their lives, their very vitality, from the consequences of great industrial and social processes which they can not alter, control, or singly cope with.
Men, women, and children must be shielded if they are to be equal.
From Franklin Roosevelt:
For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality.
Economic equality is a precondition for political equality.
The true conservative seeks to protect the system of private property and free enterprise by correcting such injustices and inequalities as arise from it.
Locke is dead. Justice requires eliminating the inequalities due to private property.
That will go on, and those rights will expand until the standard first forged by the Nation's founders has been reached, and all Americans enjoy equal opportunity and liberty under law.
All men must have equal opportunity.
It ought to be possible for American consumers of any color to receive equal service in places of public accommodation, such as hotels and restaurants and theaters and retail stores…
And also equal service, the equal rights of the private property owner be damned.
The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated.
Equality = the golden rule.
Only an America which practices what it preaches about equal rights and social justice…
Equality = social justice.
How about Lyndon Johnson?
We believe that all men are created equal. Yet many are denied equal treatment.
…those who are equal before God shall now also be equal in the polling booths, in the classrooms, in the factories, and in hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, and other places that provide service to the public.
Everyone is equal except the property owner.
We seek not just freedom but opportunity—not just legal equity but human ability—not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and as a result.
Equality must be the result.
I find 128 uses of some version of “equal” for Barack Obama; just a few highlights, with no commentary:
A woman who is denied an education is denied equality.
…equal pay for equal work…
…if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
From Mark Zuckerberg:
Every generation expands its definition of equality.
Yes, so it seems.
Previous generations fought for the vote and civil rights. They had the New Deal and Great Society. Now it’s our time to define a new social contract for our generation.
We should explore ideas like universal basic income to give everyone a cushion to try new things.
Equality = cushion.
Clearly, Zuckerberg is considering a run for president. He will fit in perfectly.