Equality of Opportunity

George Lloyd

[Part of an address made on radio station WPCH, 27 March.
Reprinted from Land and Freedom, March-April 1929]

One of the most important statements that Herbert Hoover has made is the need of equality of opportunity. These few words express far more than appears on the surface. To bring about a condition in which every inhabitant of the United States would enjoy an equal opportunity as regards life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, would be one of the greatest achievements the world has ever known. History does not record wherein the people of any nation every enjoyed a condition of equal opportunity. It has been the dream of millions of men, and although the citizens of the United States enjoy political equality as regards the franchise of the ballot when it comes to economic equality, or economic freedom, it is still a mirage that floats before the eyes of those whose hearts hunger for a condition that is best expressed in the statement, "equal rights for all and special privilege to none."

One of the greatest questions that will confront the next President will be, how to guide the ship of state so that the tremendous changes that are bound to occur will leave our nation in the supreme position that it occupies today. If economic freedom is to come to the people in the next four years through equality of opportunity then it will spread all over the earth and a new world will be born, and the economic slavery of today will no longer afflict billions of workers as it does at present. Let us not deceive ourselves into believing that we can achieve economic liberty for the toilers of our country in mill, factory and farm, without a wonderful change for the better, but are the beneficiaries of the present thieving system going to stand by and watch the workers come into their own with out protesting as strongly as possible against any chang that would abolish the special privileges they enjoy There is no doubt the day of special privilege is drawing to an end. All over the world the workers are asking the question, why is it that those who produce do not possess the things they produce while those who possess do not produce? Surely the beneficiaries of the present unjust system grasp the full significance of the phrase "equal opportunity, for it implies Justice and from Justice flows all blessings."

God still watches over the destinies of the people of the United States. This is exemplified in the heart and mind of our next President. He loves humanity; the highest expression of love is service, and he has nobly served millions of people abroad when famine and death confronted them. Another expression of his is American Individualism. That is the pioneering spirit that has made the United States what it is today. The initiative and the inventive powers of the people have carried the nation to the supreme position that it occupies today. He calls our attention to five or six social philosophies that are at struggle in the world for ascendency. There is the individualism of America and the individualism of the more democratic states of Europe, and there are Communism, Socialism, Syndicalism, Capitalism or finally Autocracy. How indeed shall the age-long struggle of humanity for liberty be brought about in spite of the warring philosophies?

Socialism That the machinery of production and distribution shall be community-owned and democratically administered. Communism From you according to your ability and to you according to your needs. Syndicalism Control of Industry through industrial unionism. Anarchism Individual liberty with no check by the state on Capitalism, the result of Landlordism.

Through all that welter of chaos, economic illiteracy and racing up blind alleys comes the greatest of Americans, Henry George, and shows in his immortal work, "Progress and Poverty," the straight and narrow path to economic freedom as no other human being has done. He pictures the cause and remedy for poverty and the soul-destroying fear of poverty and unemployment, slums and war. Already the victims of the evil begin to glimpse the light from his torch of liberty. They are taking heart of hope and beginning to ask why are the producers of all wealth constantly burdened with the fear of poverty from youth to old age?

What is the cause of poverty in a world of plenty? Men are turning to Henry George and finding the answer and the remedy for their slavery and fears. The problem of the production of wealth has been solved, but the problem of the just distribution of wealth has not been solved and that is the greatest problem that will confront the coming administration, and until it is solved there will be no such thing as equality of opportunity for the people of the United States. How then can we bring about a condition in which every one will enjoy equal opportunity as regards life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? To attain the above mentioned condition in which all the wealth produced by the workers shall be the property of the workers, and none shall reap where they have not sown is the goal of humanity.