24 January 2013

The Ghastly Idea of 'Equality for All'

That is the title of this post at Lew Rockwell critiquing the omnipresent mantra of the modern politician, our leader included. From the full article, this reflection:

But whatever one means by "equality," this surely is a most dangerous and improper goal for a government to seek – for not only can it not be achieved in human society, it would not be desirous for it to be achieved and certainly not for a government to try to work for. It is one thing to be born equal, as the Declaration said, but quite another to be made equal. A government with that as its purpose would be an Orwellian nightmare and of course still leave some "more equal" than others.

The business of making a society equal is one of those terrible ideas inherited from the French Revolution, and has no more chance of coming about than liberty and fraternity. It hardly matters that no French government, then or now, has come anywhere near providing these, nor has any spent much time in trying to achieve such impossible goals. It was, however, and continues to be for some, a useful banner under which to build and solidify a centralized "modern" state aligning powerful centralizing government with large capitalist institutions, as France went on to do in the 19th century, as Lincoln would do as well, as most 20th century American Presidents have done down to this one. (We seem to have scrapped liberty and fraternity along the way, and Obama is doing a good deal to see that they do not try to surface on his watch, but equality still works sufficiently as a supposed cause for government.)

It is possible, true, to think of "equality before the law," at least as an ideal in our kind of "democratic " society, though no one doubts that no such thing actually exists, as the testimony of the overwhelming disparity of blacks in our prisons amply attests. And in recent years we have tried to believe in "equality of opportunity," with a set of laws to attempt to create it, though inadequate education for the great majority of people in this country... assures that no such thing could ever be.

But "equality for all"? What could that be? And would you want to live in such a place?

1 comment:

Peggy R said...

The feds will open an office of the Handicapper General to assure equality.