"When Thomas Jefferson wrote that "all men are created equal," he did not mean that all men were equal in all respects...Yet, many today quote Jefferson as though he intended to state that all men ought to be made as equal as possible. This is to speak of equality of condition, a position rejected by Jefferson and all political thinkers in the Age of the American Revolution. It was rejected because even a cursory examination of human nature reveals ineradicable differences among men."
- The Idea of Equality in America
Equality means equal in virtue of our humanity, equal rights to life, liberty and property, and equal in our relationship to law and the state. Equality does not mean the equalisation of life experiences. It does not mean the equalisation of life opportunities. Despite what liberals say, everybody in life cannot have "equal opportunities". Opportunities are influenced by family, income, culture, geography, language, skills, intelligence, history, fortune or misfortune - too many variables for any government to ensure that the opportunities of all human beings are equal.
Nor does equality mean the equalisation of wealth. The socialist dream in which all wealth must be equalised, even at the cost of impoverishing society, has nothing to do with the classical ideal of equality.
Egalitarians who are keen to equalise everything devote substantial effort to measuring inequality. There are several things that could be measured to ascertain the degree of inequality:
As we know, socialists focus only on the first: income and wealth. This may partly be because income and wealth are easier to identify and measure, tend to be more envy-inducing and are treated by governments as easy to fix through tax policies or the simple expedient of printing more cash.
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