‘Tis the Season to Rethink Equal Outcomes

 

The Progressive’s notion of equal outcomes: “income equality” realized through redistribution; test results based on tests revised so that certain people could pass the test; participation-trophy type merit; laws that ‘fix’ opportunity for certain people; verdicts and sentencing of activist judges who rule based on a defendant’s social circumstances rather than by the crime committed upon another; homosexual ‘marriage’ as marriage equality; “equal pay for equal work” which dismisses the resultant quality of what each worker produces; a state in which people have approximately the same material wealth and achieve equal levels of income; equating equal opportunities with equal results…

Economist Thomas Sowell gives us some insight into Progressive thinking:

Equal opportunity does not mean equal results, despite how many laws and policies proceed as if it does, or how much fashionable rhetoric equates the two.

An example of that rhetoric was the title of a recent New York Times column: “A Ticket to Bias.” That column recalled bitterly the experience of a woman in a wheelchair who bought a $300 ticket to a rock concert but was unable to see when other people around her stood up. This was equated with “bias” on the part of those who ran the arena.

The woman in the wheel chair declared, “true equality remains a dream out of reach.” Apparently only equality of results is “true’ equality….

…Confusion between equal opportunity and equal results is a dangerous confusion behind many kinds of spoiled brat politics. -Thomas Sowell from Spoiled Brat Politics, The Thomas Sowell Reader

To put us in the proper reflective mood for the Season to Rethink Equal Outcomes, below are three accounts from Scripture which reveal to us God’s concept of equal outcomes.

But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them. 2 Samuel 24:24

The first thing I notice about the above account is that forms of capitalism have been around for a long time. That is, capitalism, simply defined, as an economic and social system in which property, business, and industry are privately owned and directed towards making the greatest possible profits for successful organizations and people, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.

In the above account there was a cooperative exchange of private property between two individuals. Both were satisfied with the outcome. And, apparently God was satisfied with the outcome. David’s desire was to not give God the impression that he was doing something good for God, a.k.a. virtue signal or tokenism, but to pay proper respect and attribute worth to God through his offering.

David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the LORD answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped. 2 Samuel 24:25

The second thing I notice is restraint. Though Araunah offered his property freely to king David (2 Sam. 24:23) the king did not accept it without paying Araunah its worth to Araunah  and perhaps more. That cost David. The king could have just taken the property to begin with. Beastly kings and rulers throughout history have seized property for themselves and for “the masses”. David was not about to disrespect his neighbor Araunuh or his God by stiffing either. The king did not exploit Araunuh for righteous ends.

Worth had to be accounted for with regard to Araunah’s property and with regard to a show of respect to God. “I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” That is what David said and that is what the widow thought.

Then Jesus sat down opposite the offering box, and watched the crowd putting coins into it. Many rich people were throwing in large amounts. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. He called his disciples and said to them, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others. For they all gave out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in what she had to live on, everything she had.”  Mark 12:41-44

The first thing we notice in this account is the virtue signaling and tokenism of cha-ching-ers who want to appear to profit God while incurring little or no cost to themselves. In kingdom contrast, the unassuming widow, like king David, gave an offering that cost her appreciably and was God’s Temple worthy. The widow gave her financial security. The Lord was pleased to acknowledge her gift acknowledging the God Who is Faithful (Psalm 146: 8). She loved God more than life itself. Now, did you notice in these two stories that taking into account the worth of each party and their property creates equal outcomes – both parties being satisfied and even pleased with what is exchanged? This method of accounting, making sure the ‘other’ is considered and is valued as at least equal with ourselves, can be applied to all interactions.

In a previous post I wrote:

We are told by Jesus to “love your neighbors as yourself”. To do this we must consider our own self-interest and then apply the same measure of self-interest toward our neighbors. This parity of accounting is not unlike the Lord’s accounting of forgiveness: “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others their trespasses.” […,] the resentment worldview has a perverted accounting system: the self is to be credited and others must be debited for there to be parity in their world. If the word “fairness” is ever to be applied socially and economically to our culture then these two commands of our Lord define its limited and personal application.

As shown from Scripture, God endorsed equal outcomes are marriages of opportunities with offerings. The outcomes are not forced or determined by a higher power or the state. The individuals involved come to an agreement about the outcome. A marriage of a man and woman is the archetype of this union of opportunity and offering.

The man and woman exchange vows and rings and, over time, their lives. The opportunity: they met and each determined that an exchange of their life for the other would make both happy. The offering: they give themselves which costs everything. They do so freely. The exchange is not coerced as in a shot-gun wedding or when those in power decide to take your property by force. When things are forced and a person is acted upon without it being offered it is called rape. It is called stealing when a person’s property is forcibly taken.

The equal outcome of marriage is that the two become one. The transaction creates a greater good (including little ones) and both parties equally, with God’s help, continue to be satisfied with the outcome.

One more illustration from Scripture regarding the marriage of opportunity and offering. Remember this woman?

While Jesus was at Bethany, in the house of Simon (known as “the Leper’), a woman came to him who had an alabaster vase of extremely valuable ointment. She poured it on his head as he was reclining at the table.

When the disciples saw it, they were furious.

“What’s the point of all this waste?” they said. “This could have been sold for a fortune, and the money could have been given to the poor!”

Jesus knew what they were thinking.

“Why make life difficult for the woman?” he said. “It’s a lovely thing, what she’s done for me. You always have the poor with you, don’t you? But you won’t always have me. When she poured this ointment on my body, you see, she did it to prepare me for burial. “I’m telling you the truth: where this gospel is announced in all the world, what she has done will be told, and people will remember her.”

Matthew 26: 6-13

 

 

What do we learn about opportunity and offering from this account of a woman pouring a very expensive offering onto Jesus’ head? We learn that the Progressives around Jesus were highly offended when they couldn’t control the outcome of the “alabaster vase of extremely valuable ointment”. We also learn from Jesus about the opportunity that brought them together: “… you won’t always have me”. The woman’s offering was what she could have lavished on herself. Maybe she applied David’s words to her head: “I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

The extravagant and expensive offering given freely was freely accepted by Jesus in preparation for his burial. In fact, he tells us that the equally shared outcome of what she had done was worth proclaiming: the marriage of opportunity and sacrificial offering as an act of love.

One Nation Under a Bed of Roses

 

Our current notion of cultural diversity — trumpeted as the repudiation of racism and biological essentialism — in fact grew out of and perpetuates the very concepts it congratulates itself on having escaped. The American love affair with race — especially when you can dress race up as culture — has continued and even intensified. Almost everything we say about culture (that the significant differences between us are cultural, that such differences should be respected, that our cultural heritages should be perpetuated, that there’s a value in making sure that different cultures survive) seems to me mistaken. We must shift our focus from cultural diversity to economic equality to help alter the political terrain of contemporary American intellectual life.

The Trouble With Diversity by Walter Benn Michaels, August 13, 2006

 

 What do you make of the above quote from the web article? What do you make of “We must shift our focus from cultural diversity to economic equality to help alter the political terrain of contemporary American intellectual life.”?

 

 

I thought of how everything the Left offers as societal ‘fix’ is off-kilter. I thought of how the Left seeks to alter the political and cultural terrain so as to espouse the “For the people” narrative for their own Ruling Class benefit.

Has dictator literature a future? If the absence of a sense of humor in public life is anything to go by, it very well might. Indeed, dictator-like literature seems to be increasingly common in academe, as a genre to be imitated rather than eschewed. It is either self-imposed or a manifestation of ideological conformism in the face of social pressure. – Author Authoritarians: The literary talent (or lack thereof) of tyrants at the typewriter by Anthony Daniels

I also was reminded of some of the clarion words of Thomas Sowell, economist:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regarding the initial quote, there are certainly cultural differences and they are certainly not of equal worth to humans. A culture of cannibalism or animism or Voodoism or a culture of abortion where human life is deemed an inconvenience or a culture of hedonism where self-pleasure is god or a culture of enforced slavery to a socialist political state or a culture of ‘red in tooth and claw’ materialism…none of these are worthy of humans.

We must maintain what is worthy of humans. That would include the cultural heritages that have sustained and benefitted humans down through time: mother and father families, transcendent art, music, and literature, the rule of law, and Christianity. There are without doubt differences between us that are more significant than cultural. These differences come down to whether one believes in the one True God and His kingdom way of life. One cannot equalize light and dark

Regarding the income inequality narrative, promoted as “For the people”: the benefit is solely for those pushing it – the ruling class who want to maintain control of their narrative and of you to flesh out their narrative. But, income inequality should not be an impetus driving anyone to do anything. Income inequities like cultural inequities should be resolved by the free individual and not by coercion.

People, though born equally human, are not equal in ability, desire or will. What should happen: each inequity should be the impetus for us to assess our personal values and goals in the light of loving God and our neighbor. Coercive income redistribution, whether via taxation or increased minimum wages, does not enable human flourishing. Rather, coercion supports further dependence, class animosity and the intellectual’s narrative that goes toward tenure consideration in the ivory tower.

 

The Left’s focus on materialism under the guise of ‘righting’ the Left’s storied wrong (“income inequality”) will have the same devastating effects as defining our culture down to the lowest common denominator for equality’s sake: humans acting as irrational animals to survive.

By seeing every human being as a soulless captive to impersonal economic forces, socialism kills human dignity. After that, as we have witnessed too vividly and too frequently, killing the human body becomes inevitable.Socialism Disregards Human Dignity, Eugénio Lopes

  In its attempts to “alter the political terrain”, the Left demands that there should be no work effort without income equality. Red clenched fists (an ersatz bed of roses) is the Left’s social justice poster.

 As a follower of Jesus in his kingdom on earth, I have no doubt whatsoever that the Evil One wants a social justice where people ‘love their neighbor’ vicariously through an impersonal government program. The Evil One does not want anyone to give directly to their neighbor. That is what Jesus wants – agape love. The Evil One would rather you move your mouse to virtue signal than do any heavy lifting for your neighbor. On the receiving end, the Evil One would rather you be one of the nine lepers would did not return to Jesus and give thanks to him for what he did for ten neighbors. The Evil One would rather you get what you want and not be grateful.

If the Left’s income equality narrative ever becomes reality you can be sure that we will become one nation under a bed of red-fisted roses.

 

 

 

Added 7-23-2018: