It’s popular these days to scream about “equality”. Equality is a goal to achieve. A lack of equality is a bad thing and we must stamp it out. If someone has more, he is to be detested and dragged down. If somebody has less, he is to be pitied and given handouts to “make it fair.”
But, others point out. People put in different amounts of effort. It’s unfair to take from the hard worker and give to the lazy to make them “equal.” Equality, they say, should be equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.
However, even equality of opportunity has its own problems. Look, I have worked hard to make opportunities for my daughter that she wouldn’t have otherwise. There have actually been claims that reading to her when she was small was to give her a horrible unfair advantage. In addition, horror of horrors, I have made sure she had books she enjoyed reading so that she would not only read but read well–after all, you tend to get good at things you do a lot, and you tend to do a lot things you enjoy doing, so giving her books she enjoys reading is a means to the end of creating a good reader. I have made sure she had the instructional materials and supplies to further her artistic talent. I have made sure she’s competent in math, not just basic arithmetic but the thinking and reasoning that’s the foundation of higher math. I have exposed her to political philosophies and the foundations of economics so she can make informed decisions as she grows up. And before you say otherwise, no, I have not deprived her of her childhood in doing so. These things don’t take a lot of time out of her day. She has plenty of time for play and entertainment, for “kid stuff.”
But these things mean she will have far more opportunity than some child whose parents haven’t done this stuff for them. And I make no apologies for that.
If you think my daughter has an “unfair advantage” which “disadvantages” your child, then get off your hind end and start doing the same kinds of things for your own children. You make those kinds of opportunities for your children. It’s not my job to do it for you. It’s not the State’s job to do it for you. And it is especially not the job of me or the State to handicap my child because you won’t give your child the same advantages.
What the State can do is not put artificial barriers in the way of your child and mine. The only equality that is truly the purview of the State is the equality of getting out of the way and letting each person rise or fall on their own merits.
If your child has trouble because you did not instill in them an appreciation of reading, of the benefits of hard, focused work, of dedication to accomplishment and excellence it’s not the fault of my daughter’s privilege.
Now, if you, because of your own background, are trying and are just having trouble because you don’t have the skills–perhaps because your parents, and their parents, and on back–didn’t, there are people who are more than willing to help you. But blaming those successful at it won’t accomplish that.
I, and many people like me, are more than willing to help people who are trying to pull themselves up. We’re more resistant to those trying to pull us down.
2 thoughts on “The Myth of Equality”
Very well put.
“Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.” (tagline of the late lamented Jerry Pournelle on “Chaos Manor”)