Brillian piece by Victor Davis Hanson...........
American vs. French
The notion of freedom then butts up against equality, as if they are as often antithetical as symbiotic. (NB: note the French Revolutionary sloganeering of "fraternity" and "egalitarianism" versus the American Revolutionary emphasis on "Give me liberty, or give me death", "Don't Tread on Me!", "All men are created equal" [by opportunity rather than by result]. And note Obama's references to the French ideal.)
In response, the state has two choices to preserve its original ideal of equality (and we see elements of this further debate voiced in the Old Oligarch, Aristolte Plato, Hobbes, Hume, etc, as well as in histories of the middle and late Roman Republic).
One, the state and culture at large can be coercive to ensure a equality of result-in the modern liberal world by high redistributive taxes, generous means-tested entitlements, inflationary monetary policies to diminish the power of capital (in the ancient world by forbidding the alienability of land, mandating the maximum size of estates, coining cheap bronze/silver coated money in vast amounts, redistribution of property, cancellation of debt, etc.).
Such efforts at commonality are what we are now witnessing with income take hikes, $1.7 trillion dollar deficits, inflationary federal spending and borrowing, along with huge new entitlements. Its extreme form is the European Union, its extreme, extreme manifestations are the failed -isms and -ologies of the bloody 20th century where authoritarian elites broke the requisite eggs for the omelet of "for the people" and in service to "equality."