Equality: The Level of Mediocrity
JUNE 01, 1967 by HOWARD E. KERSHNER
Dr. Kershner is President of the Christian Freedom Foundation. This article is from his weekly column, "It’s Up to You," March 27, 1967.
Most of us are conscious of the fact that the world contains multitudes of men who are far abler than ourselves. Far from making us jealous or unhappy, we are exceedingly grateful for them. We enjoy great music, but we could not write it, as Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Schubert, Mozart, Verdi, and a host of others have done. We can play a few instruments, but not like Liszt, Paderewski, Kreisler, Heifetz, Rubenstein, and many other immortals who have brought heaven down to earth with their superb excellence.
Our libraries are filled with good books, the treasuries of history, literature, and culture. We take great delight in reading Shakespeare’s plays and Tennyson’s poetry, but we could not have written such marvelous works. We are fortunate that they could. Suppose we had no great minds such as these! How fortunate that we can ride along with them, enjoying their creations as if they were our own. Why should we be jealous of them? Rather we should be thankful and pay tribute to them.
Our devotion and spiritual perception is vastly inferior to that of a Saint Paul, a Saint Francis of Assisi, a Saint Augustine, or a Saint Thomas Aquinas, but we can soar up into the heavens on the spiritual power generated by a host of saints and prophets.
We enjoy our automobile, riding about the world in jet planes, our radio, television, and stereophonic music. We could not have developed the great industrial giants of our country that have lifted the burden of toil from our backs and emancipated us from the handicraft age into a degree of luxury unknown by kings a few centuries ago, but we can enjoy the results of the efforts of the great men who created these things for our enjoyment.
When taking a loved one to the hospital, who wants a common, average surgeon? We all want a doctor, not only with superior skill, but a conscientious, honorable man whom we know has spent many long years developing the knowledge and skill required to save the life of the dear one we entrust to his care.
We don’t want equality. If there were no men in this world superior to ourselves, no men capable of earning more than we earn, no men capable of preaching finer sermons, organizing greater businesses, developing greater skill in medicine, in the arts, and in literature, and no men of great devotion or spiritual insight, it would be a poor, drab world in which to live. Let us have done with the cult of the common man and begin to recognize and appreciate worth, talent, ability, and devotion wherever we find it. Gifted men have carried the world forward on their shoulders. Whatsoever progress we have made, we owe to them. Let us acknowledge it and be grateful for it, and not try to clip their wings and reduce them to the level of mediocrity.
Changes in England
A substantial change in public opinion is taking place here —and it is largely education by events. The Government is finding that it cannot do certain things without also adopting policies which are at least uncomfortable. We have reached the zenith of trade union power and from now on it will decline.
This week on the television we have even had a Socialist Member of Parliament advocating freeing imports so as to help so-called underdeveloped countries and as a substitute for aid.
We have also had the socialist National Union of Teachers urging that free meals to school children should be abandoned and that parents should accept that responsibility. Free meals have been costing the budget something well over £100,000,000 a year.
It looks as if we are going to get out of Aden and let the Russians in — the consequences of which may be very serious -but I imagine that your people can see what ought to be done.
From a letter by S. W. ALEXANDER (London) March 31, 1967