“All men are created equal.” Ostensibly, this is the American creed. But most of the conservative agenda flows from an essential belief in human inequality. Oh, conservatives pay a lot of empty lip service to the Declaration of Independence and to the notion of individual freedom. What they really want is to codify a political great chain of being with them at the top and the less worthy stuck in and pacified in their places.

Could Scott Walker’s assault on unions and the middle class make this any more obvious? Or the conservative war on women made obvious by the cynical, deceitful, destructive attacks on Planned Parenthood? Or conservative efforts to deny voting rights to everyone outside of their gated communities? Or their economic policies that advance, justify and guarantee a gross economic inequality that makes yesterday’s Banana Republic seem like paradise?

It is, I think, my greatest political frustration that so many in the media and elsewhere consider these anti-democratic policies legitimate in a working democracy. They are not. They are, at their core, authoritarian, hierarchical and disenfranchising. They have much more in common with the philosophy of King George than the philosophy of Thomas Jefferson. They are anti-democratic and intended to hand power and wealth to a tiny minority while relegating everyone else to second-, third-, and fourth-class status. And they want the law to guarantee this political chain of being.

It remains an ugly wonder that so many in the punished classes buy the argument that egalitarian efforts to reign in the rich are assaults on their already shrunken freedoms. One day, historians will have a field day with their sad ignorance.

There was a popular song from the Revolutionary Era, “Come Here, Fellow Servant.” It was taken from an 18th Century English satire of the upper class, High Life Below the Stairs. Imagine for a moment a Boston tavern scene of 1770. The raucous drinkers are lifting pints to revolution and freedom. Someone begins singing, and all sing along:

Nature made all alike, no distinction she craves,
So we laugh at the great world its fools and its knaves;
For we are all Servants, but they are all slaves.

Where is that spirit in America today? Where is the commitment to egalitarian freedom, to an ethic that recognizes human equality? To a recognition that Power seeks only its own future at the sacrifice of the powerless?

Where is it? On the Streets of Madison. Here’s a song to sing along:

Come here, fellow Servant, and listen to me,
I’ll show you how those of superior degree
Are only dependents, no better than we.
Both high and low in this do agree,

Chorus
‘Tis here, fellow servant, and there fellow servant,
And all in a livery.
‘Tis here, fellow servant, and there fellow Servant,
And all in a livery.

See yonder fine spark, in embroidery dress’d
Who bows to the great, and, if they smile, is blest;
Who is he? i’faith, but a servant at best,

Chorus
‘Tis here, fellow servant, and there fellow servant,
And all in a livery.
‘Tis here, fellow servant, and there fellow Servant,
And all in a livery.

Nature made all alike, no distinction she craves,
So we laugh at the great world its fools and its knaves;
For we are all Servants, but they are all slaves.

Chorus
‘Tis here, fellow servant, and there fellow servant,
And all in a livery.
‘Tis here, fellow servant, and there fellow Servant,
And all in a livery.

The fat shining glutton looks up to his shelf,
The wrinkled lean miser bows down to his pelf,
And the curl-pated beau is a slave to himself

Chorus
‘Tis here, fellow servant, and there fellow servant,
And all in a livery.
‘Tis here, fellow servant, and there fellow Servant,
And all in a livery.

The gay sparkling belle who the whole town alarms,
And with eyes, lips and neck, sets the smarts all in arms,
Is a vassal herself, a meer drudge to her charms

Chorus
‘Tis here, fellow servant, and there fellow servant,
And all in a livery.
‘Tis here, fellow servant, and there fellow Servant,
And all in a livery.

Then we’ll drink like our betters, and laugh, sing and love,
And when sick of one place, to another we’ll move,
For with little and great, the best joy is to rove,

Chorus
‘Tis here, fellow servant, and there fellow servant,
And all in a livery.
‘Tis here, fellow servant, and there fellow Servant,
And all in a livery.