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Originally posted by AnIntellectualRedneck
Being equal does not mean being exactly the same.
Men and women are not the same. This is a fact. In general, we have different roles. Equality is not ignoring basic facts of biology and human social roles that transcend time, space, and culture; it is the ability for those that don't fit the general stereotypical roles to have the freedom to be themselves without censure.
People have different intelligence levels and personalities. I am an egghead; I have no business trying to become a mechanic. Similarly, my twin sister has no business trying to become an engineer. The world needs mechanics and plumbers every bit as much as it needs lawyers and bankers; recognition of this concept represents real equality.
Being equal means of equal value, not necessarily exactly the same.
The opening of the United States Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776, states as follows:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
Thomas Hobbes also proposed an early variant of equality among men in his treatise Leviathan:
Nature hath made men so equal in the faculties of body and mind as that, though there be found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body or of quicker mind than another, yet when all is reckoned together the difference between man and man is not so considerable as that one man can thereupon claim to himself any benefit to which another may not pretend as well as he. For as to the strength of body, the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by secret machination or by confederacy with others that are in the same danger with himself. And as to the faculties of the mind, setting aside the arts grounded upon words, and especially that skill of proceeding upon general and infallible rules, called science, which very few have and but in few things, as being not a native faculty born with us, nor attained, as prudence, while we look after somewhat else, I find yet a greater equality amongst men than that of strength. For prudence is but experience, which equal time equally bestows on all men in those things they equally apply themselves unto.