Equality

How should society be organised, if at all?

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Nick_A
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Equality

Post by Nick_A »

“Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville
Equality is one of these words people use without realizing that their are two distinct paths to two different meanings. The first is the liberal path towards social justice making people equal in servtude. The conservative definition strives for equality in liberty or equality under the law.

When you read or hear the word "equality," do you associate it with liberty, servitude or something else?

Do we really want equality either of opportunity or outcome or does it just sound good for a society to argue it as in the debate over entitlements. Are their equality of entitlements or are they decided by characteristics such as skin color and sex?

As I understand it the most powerful societal motive is prestige and equality nullifies prestige.

John Adams wrote: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

We are educated so who needs the religious and moral influence? What sort of education deals with the problem of prestige other than religious influence?
"The combination of these two facts — the longing in the depth of the heart for absolute good, and the power, though only latent, of directing attention and love to a reality beyond the world and of receiving good from it — constitutes a link which attaches every man without exception to that other reality.

Whoever recognizes that reality recognizes also that link. Because of it, he holds every human being without any exception as something sacred to which he is bound to show respect.

This is the only possible motive for universal respect towards all human beings. Whatever formulation of belief or disbelief a man may choose to make, if his heart inclines him to feel this respect, then he in fact also recognizes a reality other than this world's reality. Whoever in fact does not feel this respect is alien to that other reality also." ~ Simone Weil
Equality for the truly religious person as Siumone describes is the recognition that we are out of balance as some would call sinners. So it is silly for one idiot to call another idiot, an idiot, if we are all idiots. We share the equality and human diversity of idiotism. Obviously this is insulting and unacceptable. People have been killed for less. But without being a slave to prestige, the question of justice vs mercy would resolve itself. But the sad truth is that society as a whole is now incapable of it.
Last edited by Nick_A on Sat Aug 08, 2020 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
commonsense
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Re: Equality

Post by commonsense »

Nick_A wrote: Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:56 am
“Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville
Equality is one of these words people use without realizing that their are two distinct paths to two different meanings. The first is the liberal path towards social justice making people equal in servtude. The conservative definition strives for equality in liberty or equality under the law.

When you read or hear the word "equality," do you associate it with liberty, servitude or something else?
Equality of opportunities.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Equality

Post by Immanuel Can »

commonsense wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:32 pm Equality of opportunities.
Agreed. NOT "equality of outcome."

You can only have "equality of outcome" by forcing the majority to inhibit themselves to the lowest common denominator. That's not justice: it's oppression. And it's denying excellence, in favour of not merely mediocrity but in favour of the poorest possible levels of achievement. Because otherwise, somebody is inevitably going to be "left behind," and we'll have inequality of outcome again. So that forces all equality-of-outcome types to opt every time for the lowest we can possibly get.

Anyway, where is it written that people are all "equal"? :shock: I agree that race is no good as a differentiator, because it's superficial. But some things are not. Like, what about intelligence? What about athleticism? What about age? What about health, height, musical talent, wisdom, spontaneity, creativity, craft, industriousness, risk-aversion, educability, moral earnestness, honesty, cleverness, inventiveness, courage, perceptivity, sacrificiality, leadership skills, and so on? There are a vast number of metrics in which people are undeniably and obviously different from one another, for better or worse...

So what empirical metric overrides all that and tells us that they are all "equal"? :shock:
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henry quirk
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Re: Equality

Post by henry quirk »

Equality of opportunities.

Agreed. NOT "equality of outcome."

neither

there can be no guarantee of outcome or opportunity for some without regulatin' the outcomes or opportunities of all

no, equality is only meaningful as created equal

that is: Joe, the crippled idiot is no less a person than Stan, the vigorous smarty-pants

in other words: you don't have to hire Joe, but you don't get to pack him in a cattle car and send him to the camp just cuz he is a crippled idiot
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Equality

Post by Immanuel Can »

henry quirk wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:08 pm Equality of opportunities.

Agreed. NOT "equality of outcome."

neither

there can be no guarantee of outcome or opportunity for some without regulatin' the outcomes or opportunities of all
Yeah, okay, you're right...you can't even guarantee equality of opportunity. Fair enough.

I think, though, that the advocates of equal opportunity would say that you don't have to guarantee that the person TAKES the opportunity; just that no irrelevant consideration is allowed to impair a person who should have an opportunity from taking one. So, for example, if Tom is Chinese and Franco is Itallian, and both are of similar intellect, skill, and so on, that they should get level consideration for the same job or school placement, so far as that can be arranged.

But, of course, only one will get the job -- there are not two jobs at the same position, at the same time -- which is why equality of outcome is again impossible there.
uwot
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Re: Equality

Post by uwot »

Nick_A wrote: Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:56 amWhen you read or hear the word "equality," do you associate it with liberty, servitude or something else?
Hope.
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henry quirk
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Mannie

Post by henry quirk »

I think, though, that the advocates of equal opportunity would say that you don't have to guarantee that the person TAKES the opportunity

doesn't matter if the opportunity is taken: that it's arranged to begin with is a stone thrown into a pond

the ripples affect everyone

seems to me: the market (people transactin') can handle inequality of opportunity way better than central planning
Gary Childress
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Re: Equality

Post by Gary Childress »

commonsense wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:32 pm
Nick_A wrote: Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:56 am
“Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville
Equality is one of these words people use without realizing that their are two distinct paths to two different meanings. The first is the liberal path towards social justice making people equal in servtude. The conservative definition strives for equality in liberty or equality under the law.

When you read or hear the word "equality," do you associate it with liberty, servitude or something else?
Equality of opportunities.
Equality of opportunity seems to be a pretty prominent topic in liberal theory these days (or so I gathered from a class I took online). I guess the simplest approach is to just let life run its course and let things sort themselves out the way the market or whatever is going to do it. Don't have the government interfere with the market or peoples' lives. And some say that a free market is the biggest nemesis to crony capitalism (capitalism where favoritism is granted through nepotism and other inefficient and unfair means). Maybe they're right.
Gary Childress
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Re: Mannie

Post by Gary Childress »

henry quirk wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 10:11 pm I think, though, that the advocates of equal opportunity would say that you don't have to guarantee that the person TAKES the opportunity

doesn't matter if the opportunity is taken: that it's arranged to begin with is a stone thrown into a pond

the ripples affect everyone

seems to me: the market (people transactin') can handle inequality of opportunity way better than central planning
It is pretty amazing thinking about it. People theorizing in the liberal tradition have thought about equality and such for a long time; devoted academic careers to the subject and Henry manages to dismiss it all in a few sentences. It makes one wonder why anyone bothers to waste their time and tenure thinking about such archaic things as equality of opportunity.
Skepdick
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Re: Mannie

Post by Skepdick »

Gary Childress wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 10:02 am It is pretty amazing thinking about it. People theorizing in the liberal tradition have thought about equality and such for a long time; devoted academic careers to the subject and Henry manages to dismiss it all in a few sentences. It makes one wonder why anyone bothers to waste their time and tenure thinking about such archaic things as equality of opportunity.
You have this backwards, Gary.

If we could all get cushy jobs where we could get paid comfortably for simply thinking about equality, then equality will stumble upon us.

Tenure. Universal basic income. What's the difference? You don't have to work for either.
Last edited by Skepdick on Sat Aug 08, 2020 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
Gary Childress
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Re: Mannie

Post by Gary Childress »

Skepdick wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 10:36 am
Gary Childress wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 10:02 am It is pretty amazing thinking about it. People theorizing in the liberal tradition have thought about equality and such for a long time; devoted academic careers to the subject and Henry manages to dismiss it all in a few sentences. It makes one wonder why anyone bothers to waste their time and tenure thinking about such archaic things as equality of opportunity.
I think you have this backwards, Gary.

If we could all get cushy jobs where we could get paid comfortably for simply thinking about equality, then equality will stumble upon us.

Tenure. Universal basic income. What's the difference? You don't have to work for either.
I don't follow why you say I have it backward. What do you mean?
Skepdick
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Re: Mannie

Post by Skepdick »

Gary Childress wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 10:41 am I don't follow why you say I have it backward. What do you mean?
If we just give everybody tenure then we've practically solved inequality.
Gary Childress
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Re: Mannie

Post by Gary Childress »

Skepdick wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 10:46 am
Gary Childress wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 10:41 am I don't follow why you say I have it backward. What do you mean?
If we just give everybody tenure then we've solved inequality.
I assume not everyone can be a university professor, someone has to grow crops or do the other essential tasks, so how is everyone to get tenure. That seems unrealistic.
Skepdick
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Re: Mannie

Post by Skepdick »

Gary Childress wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 10:48 am I assume not everyone can be a university professor, someone has to grow crops or do the other essential tasks, so how is everyone to get tenure. That seems unrealistic.
Indeed. Not everybody knows how to swindle people into paying them a salary before producing any goods.
Gary Childress
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Re: Mannie

Post by Gary Childress »

Skepdick wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 10:56 am
Gary Childress wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 10:48 am I assume not everyone can be a university professor, someone has to grow crops or do the other essential tasks, so how is everyone to get tenure. That seems unrealistic.
Indeed. Not everybody knows how to swindle people into paying them a salary before producing any goods.
Well, technically aren't tenured professors supposed to be the ones who have already demonstrated enough value to the universities that they are offered tenure? In any case, I still don't follow why that is "backward" from my post saying what a waste it must be that professors have devoted their lives to the ideal of equality only to have Henry so easily dismiss it. Apologies for my thick headedness.
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