One of the most striking characteristics on mankind is our diversity. No two humans are exactly alike although there may be overlaps in areas in some Venn diagram of human characteristics. Even still, this diversity makes the notion of equality somewhat strange because by definition, equality means “sameness.” Diversity, or inequality, is what defines the human race more accurately. Therefore, it is mind-boggling that there is so much worship at the altar of “equality” in politics and policy. In fact, one can say that our political parties are both guilty of this worship of equality that they have forgotten about a more important factor- freedom.
In the real world- not the Utopian world of college professors- equality simply does not exist. But instead of embracing this fact, there is the insistence that equality can be established. The result is the modern welfare state with its distortions and horrendous outcomes.
To be sure, this worship of equality is relatively new in human thought. Prior to the Enlightenment of the mid-18th century, the notion of equality among the great philosophers seemed absurd and was even denigrated. Ironically, the declaration that “all men are created equal” ends right there for after birth, all men are not equal. Even more ironically, even when this true equality exists- in the womb- the purveyors of equality are the very ones advocating for abortion.
Instead, thanks to the media and academia, there is now the assumption that the desire for equality is somehow above reproach. Equality needs no justification. Sadly, freedom needs justification to those on the Left.
And what exactly is supposed to be made equal? The classical answer is economic in nature be it monetary income or real incomes. Assuming this equality can be achieved- and the failures of socialism and communism prove it cannot- how are people, cultures and our individual traits supposed to be rendered equal? The obvious answer is through brainwashing that reduces everyone to a lower and common denominator. Still, individual differences, abilities and advantages will remain. Not only will they remain, but in a world of income equality, these other differences become more obvious and glaring. Differences in status and prestige become more important.
When we look at the “equality movement,” we immediately encounter our first contradiction and hint of hypocrisy. Most of the noteworthy advocates hardly reside among the oppressed masses. Instead, we find them in Ivy League schools, fancy offices in Silicon Valley, and media corporate boardrooms. Precious few if any are shedding their income, status and prestige to go live among the poor, or even the working poor. Instead, they prefer to bask in their verbal virtue and congratulate themselves on their work for “the common folk and the poor.”
This program works only insofar as they have a means of coercion. The noted British Marxist sociologist describes it thus:
Egalitarianism seems to require a political system in which the state is able to hold in check those social and occupational groups which, by virtue of their skills or education or personal attributes, might otherwise attempt to stake claims to a disproportionate share of society’s rewards. The most effective way of holding such groups in check is by denying the right to organize politically, or, in other ways, to undermine social equality.
During the 1960’s, some on the New Left, before veering off into Marxism-loving Che-T shirt wearing agitators, tried to put forth the theory of participatory democracy. It permeated college campuses. It taught that the normal teacher-student relationship was evil and hierarchical. Since the teacher knew more than the student, thus unequal, the only way to overcome the inequality and put them on an equal footing was to abandon traditional course content. The progeny is the proliferation of departments with the word “studies” after it.
The problem with this mindset is that it can never be appeased. Assuming there was decision-making and income equality, differences in a variety of areas like looks, body shape, and intelligence would remain.
The recent trend towards the alleged equality of not individuals, but groups is advocated by the intellectuals, academics, media journalists and writers. Although small in numbers, they dominate among those who attempt to mold public opinion. The advocates of equality need the assistance of the opinion-molders to get the consent of the governed.
This is evident in policy proposals where the definition of the “wealthy” is lowered (thus, more money for the government to plunder) while the definition of the “oppressed” is expanded making more people eligible for government hand-outs. And the list of oppressed groups has grown exponentially over the years. First, there were the blacks, then women, then Hispanics, immigrants, the disabled, the fat, the skinny, the blind, the deaf, etc.
With the creation of every victimized group, more followers to the cause of equality are drawn in and the oppressors are made to feel guilty. One supposes that it is not out of the goodness of one’s heart that today’s philanthropist makes donations, but out of a sense of inculcated collective guilt.
Behind the cries for equality lies the desire of criers to rise to the top of the hierarchy of power. As such, they are therefore unequal. Although it is necessary to point out the absurdity of equality and the policy prescriptions that have had disastrous consequences as the tombstones of socialism and communism attest, it is also important for true conservatives to expose the drive for equality for what it is: a costume to be worn by the Left in their drive for power. To use the words of one of their own, Saul Alinsky, they must be “demystified, delegitimized and desanctified.” It is a drive for power, not a desire for equality, that motivates the Left. Equality, especially equality at the expense of freedom, is simply the slogan and tool the Left uses in their drive for power.
Today, “need” has been redefined to achieve the means to plunder the wealth of others. Today, “greed” is redefined as the desire to keep one’s hard-earned money. Today, “compassion” is the function of those who redistribute wealth from the “greedy” to the “needy.” It is quite easy to signal one’s compassion when someone else is footing the bill.