All men are equal in virtue of their humanity. Black or white, rich or poor. We are all equally entitled to legal, political and civil rights. We are equally entitled to fundamental freedoms such as life and liberty. The challenge now is how to defend this ideal in a world of unequal life outcomes. In truth, we will never have equal wealth, beauty or esteem, and this leads socialists to believe that the ideal of equality should be abolished.
Socialists believe that because the ideal of equality doesn't in fact make us equal in our attributes and privileges, it's a scam. Once we abandon the ideal of equality, they dream, we can build back better, and create a New Normal in which privileged creatures are denounced and sent to purgatory (to punish them for 1000 long years of being privileged). Those who claim to feel oppressed based on their protected characteristics can finally seize their just reward. As Jesus said, "blessed are the poor, for they shall seize other people's stuff by force and mete out painful social justice reparations pay-back to all the privileged".
Legal, political and civil rights, and all the fundamental freedoms formally granted equally to all, will henceforth be allocated only to those who can prove membership of an oppressed group. Everything else will be destroyed. Especially 'whiteness' and 'maleness'. This is to satisfy the fairness requirements dictated by Social Justice Warriors. After all, nobody has to exhibit whiteness and maleness, they just stubbornly choose to do so instead of taking the training that shows them how to be less white, less male.
What is the point of upholding equality as an ideal, if in fact people don't turn out equal in real life? This is another way of asking, what's the point of having the right to own property, if in fact you don't have any money to acquire property? What's the point in having the right to go to university, if in fact you don't have the grades to get in? As one judicial wit asked, what's the point in everyone being equally free to have tea at the Ritz if some people can't afford it? Do equal rights serve any purpose, if there are people who can't actually enjoy those rights for no fault of their own?
The ideal of equality means that you can live free. Your neighbour may be richer than you are, but you don't need his permission to live your life and he has no authority to issue you with orders based only on the fact that he is wealthier than you. Equality doesn't mean all having equal amounts of money, enjoying equal lifestyles, and wielding equal amounts of power, it means that wealth and possessions do not determine legal rights and entitlements. Equality before the law. Each man is the author of his own life whether rich or poor, black or white.
It is because we uphold the rule of law that we describe rich and poor as equal. We do not mean that rich and poor have equal amounts of stuff. We mean simply that the law treats them exactly the same. They must meet the same grade requirements to get into university. They must have the same skills to qualify for the same job. They must produce the same amount to earn the same income. Nobody will get special favours from the legal system because he happens to be rich, or because he happens to be poor, or because he happens to be black or white.
What if, in practice, people with more money than others do tend to boss others about and claim more legal entitlements? What if, in practice, white men dominate the sciences more than black women? What if, in practice, the middle classes end up with more university offers than the deprived classes? Does this prove that the ideal of equality is a scam and should be abolished?
Men must have ideals by which to live. If we declare all the Enlightenment ideals to be a scam designed to benefit a privileged few, and get rid of these ideals to make life more fair, we need to select new ideals. We can't simply live without ideals. We are human beings, not plants, and human beings live their lives on purpose. Upon abolishing the Enlightenment ideals we must choose a different and better set of ideals. Build back better!
It is now proposed that we should get rid of the ideal of equality because it's a scam and it doesn't work. Embrace instead the ideal of BLM because that's not a scam, haha. White men have proved to be unreliable (all that colonialism and slavery from long ago, oh dear) so let's get rid, and give the Africans a chance to rule the world because that will work much more efficiently, hahaha. This is justified by arguing that we should not be concerned if the new ideals don't work, since they are more Moral. Only baser creatures worry about efficiency. Good People only worry about morality.
Now that merit and skill are declared to be evil (because 'privileged' people tend to show more merit and skill), the new ideal requires the nice government to allocate power and responsibility based on selected identity characteristics: race, sex, gender, etc. A range of protected characteristics always looks nice, especially if there are photos alongside to show how well the institution is doing diverse characteristics. Instead of corporate boards of directors being full of elderly white men, they will comprise proportionate representation of all the underprivileged identity groups in society. That will be nice. It is true that all the corporations will collapse in bankruptcy but that will be fine because at least we will know that we did social justice. Like Jesus said, "blessed are they who go woke and go broke, for they shall be called Good People".
Scotland will be famous for being filled with Good People who never do hate-speech even in the privacy of their homes, and that's better than being famous for spawning David Hume with all the rude things he said. Imagine the shame now borne by anyone with the name Hume. How embarrassing! People might think they are racist, and anything is better than that. Nobody has time to worry about economic progress, when they are at imminent risk of being denounced as white supremacists. What is mere money, when people's woke credentials are at stake?
It's tempting to abandon the ideal of equality. A few potential issues to think about though.
First, the possibility that all the groups excluded from society because it's their turn to be excluded (you know who you are!) might fight back like cornered beasts with nothing to lose. This would be inconvenient. Really, we exclude white men because they're too polite and guilt-ridden ever to dream of fighting back. Emasculated, they will just sit at home and reflect on their toxic masculinity while paying out reparations. We think that excluding them is Fair because of historical grievances, so hopefully they will all agree with that view of Fairness and just bend over. So far that seems to be going well. The statues are coming down, everyone is taking the knee, and that at least is progress. But if they chose to fight back, that might create a few problems for us while we're enjoying running amok. We might end up with war instead of peaceful cooperation. Something to consider.
Second, the small matter of incentives. Sometimes, when things change, human beings behave differently. They respond. They don't just continue doing what they were doing before the change. So, all the nice wealth that we plan to appropriate and spread around for social justice so that everyone can have Equal Opportunities to be wealthy and powerful - we might end up in a situation where nobody has any incentive to produce anything. Would you work hard and produce lots of wealth to be seized by others as their 'reparations' for historical wrongs from 300 years ago? No wealth, nothing to redistribute. This would be quite inconvenient. We might have to review the situation.
The ideal of equality therefore commends itself in the absence of any better way to order society. It doesn't work perfectly, because some people end up rich while others remain poor, but it's the least bad way to ensure freedom and peaceful coexistence. All the alternatives being put forward as being 'better' because they are morally superior, turn out to entail destruction and violence.
We uphold the ideal of equality because we want to live in peace and prosperity. It matters that we have equality before the law, because we live under the rule of law. We believe that the rule of law is superior to mob rule. We want to live and let live. We believe peace and prosperity to be worthwhile even though some of us can't afford to dine at the Ritz. Better this, than going to war against each other, and destroying the Ritz so that we're all in this together, doing Equal Opportunities Want and Misery.
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