Egalitarianism. Is It Equal To The Task?

The 2014 Olympics is fast approaching… starting-line

 Should Olympians ‘race’ when everyone gets the same prize at the finish line?

 Egalitarianism = equal outcomes.  And equal outcomes are what Progressives want to have happen within our legal system, within our education system ~ within society as a whole.

 Egalitarianism is posited as a means to create the unspoken Utopian bureaucratic island where near-perfect socio-politico-legal systems exist and where no one has advantage over another except for the so-called elite who have been ‘blessed’ with “superior intellect.” Only they know enough to define life for you. (e.g., Cass Sunstein’s recent Nudge book).

 In my younger days I was a sprinter.  I would run many heats and then the final events.  To do so I had to prepare for the weekly track meet. I will use my own ‘summer event’ experience to help you to consider whether egalitarianism is equal to the hard work and discipline required for life’s trials and to decide whether the rise of “egalitarianism” will benefit or hurt our society.

 I wrote the following as a ‘real-life’ depiction of my understanding of the “Constrained Vision” and the “Unconstrained Vision” as delineated by Thomas Sowell in his own favorite book A Conflict of Visions:

A Tale of Two Foot Races

Race Number One:

Eight men enter a race.  They are roughly about the same height and weight but come from very different backgrounds. The eight men enter the race knowing that there will only be one winner.  It was for this outcome that they had prepared themselves with rigorous discipline during the past four years.

Months prior to the track meet the eight men are told of the rules:  A runner must run in qualifying heats. If the runner is successful in those heats the runner will then be allowed to compete in the final race with the other qualifying runners;  a runner who jumps the gun twice at the starting line will be disqualified as having a “false start”;  the commands “Ready”, “Set” and a gun shot will be used by a track official to start the race fairly;  each runner must stay in his lane or he will be disqualified;  runners will be timed and the first runner to cross the finish line will be the winner of the race.

The runners all agree and sign off on the rules before the race.

On the day of the race and after qualifying in the heats eight runners come to the starting line.  They know that they must run straight ahead in their own lane to reach the one-hundred meter line. They know that if they jump the gun twice they will be disqualified from running. They know that they must sprint as hard as they can to cross the finish line first. They are knowingly competing for first place. The race before them has now become the culmination of years of exhausting training and dedication to finishing the race and receiving first prize.

When the race is announced the runners shed their sweats and come to the starting line. The track official then announces, “Ready”. The runners will then carefully position their legs into the starting blocks and place their open hands stretched behind the starting line.  

Once the runners have settled the track official then snaps “Set”.  The runners immediately come up to a “set position”, coiled in their starting block. With the burst of the starting pistol eight men bolt from their starting blocks and run down the track as fast as their disciplined bodies will carry them.

The winner of the race is the one who breaks the tape. There is also a second, a third and fourth place finisher. The runners-up each congratulate the winner for his speed and, implicitly, for his fidelity to the rules and his commitment to the sport of racing.

The first three finishers receive medals, adulation and wreaths of honor from the thousands who have come to watch a fair race between those who have so vigorously prepared themselves. The experience of the race has bolstered each runner’s self-esteem. The cheering crowd is also moved by each runner’s self-sacrifice, dedication and self-discipline. This spectacle has confirmed the crowd’s understanding of athlete’s playing by the rules and aspiring to excel within those rules. Those who witnessed the race that day are stirred, encouraged to excel at what they do.

All eight racers later return home.  The runners-up are now more dedicated than ever to prepare for another day of racing and to receiving their own crown of victory. Ciltius, altius, fortius.

Race Number Two:

Eight men enter a race.  They are roughly about the same height, weight but come from very different backgrounds. The eight men entered the race knowing that everyone will be a winner.  It was for this outcome that they saw no need to prepare themselves with rigorous discipline during the past four years. They just had to show up.

Months prior to the race the eight men are told the rules.  They are told the rules are subject to change at the time of the race based on the current ad hoc articulated reasoning of one superior intellectual with unquestionable virtue.  A runner must run in qualifying heats but this will not be a constraint. Whether or not a runner is successful in those heats he will be allowed to compete in the final race with other ‘qualifying’ runners. The heats are basically events created to satisfy the need for more equality.

More rules: a runner who jumps the gun twice at the starting line will not be disqualified from running. Instead he will be given another chance; the commands “Ready” and “Set” and a gun shot will be used by a track official to start the race fairly, though any sincere attempt to cooperate with the official will be accepted; each runner must stay in his lane or he will be disqualified unless, of course, their background is such that they have never stayed within the lines; runners will not be timed because such keeping of minutes would be discrimination against slower runners.  The first runner to cross the finish line will wait at the finish line so that everyone will be considered a winner of the race. This must be done at any personal cost to the first one crossing the finish line.

The runners agree and sign off on the rules before the race.

On the day of the race all of the runners come to the starting line.  They know that they are supposed to run down to the finish line before the outcome-determining patrons. They know that there will be equal prizes and the egalitarian appreciation of well-wishers to look forward to. They are going to run for this reason. This race is now the culmination of years of knowing that the battle is just showing up and doing what you are told.

When all the runners are in their starting blocks and their hands are behind the starting line the track official then says, “Ready”.  After a long moment of reasoned judgment the official says “Set”.  The runners come up to set position.  Then the race official shoots the starting gun. The eight men come out of their starting blocks and run down the track as fast as their unfocused discipline has trained them.

At the finish line everyone is a Finisher, even those who left the race due to being out of breath. There are hand-shakes and kudos all around for having shown up for such an event.

At the awards ceremony all the runners receive medals and congratulations. Thousands have come to watch a race between runners who have shown up for a race where the outcome was predetermined to be fair ~ fair as defined by the few judges of superior intellect and of unquestioned virtue.

Later, all the runners return home and rest for another day of showing up.

*****

A Tale of Two Foot Races:  Equal Opportunities vs. Equal Outcomes by Sally Paradise © Sally Paradise, 2013, All Rights Reserved

Added 2/7/2014:

Communism Leads to Slavery Not To Equality

Green with Egalitarianism

After addressing an envelope this morning, I pulled a recently purchased book of postage stamps out of my wallet.  The first thing I noticed was the words “Equality Forever” on the stamp I used.  The stamp booklet included a series of U.S. postage stamps:  “Liberty Forever,” “Freedom Forever,” Justice Forever,” and “Equality Forever.”

 four flagsU.S. Four Flags (Forever) Stamps:

 “The U.S. flag flies high with stars and stripes! Each stamp represents an important theme in America’s development as a nation: Freedom, Liberty, Equality, and Justice.”

 Be aware.  The word “Equality” is taking on a new meaning, a meaning proscribed by Obama and the Progressive Left. Equality is now to be understood as “equal outcomes” and not simply as “all men are created equal.” 

 Since the foundations of this country were laid with the Bill of Rights and the Constitution we have agreed as a nation that “All men are created equal.” This includes and is limited to the God given natural rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” afforded to men and women of every race. Beyond that there are no guarantees in life.  Life is not fair.

 Now when you consider egalitarianism or equal outcomes as “equality” as Progressives do you must by necessity look at what your neighbor has to see if your social-economic status is equal or unequal to that of your neighbor.  You will by necessity be looking to see if you are keeping up with the Joneses.  You will by necessity be looking to see if grass is greener beyond your own yard. Right? We do this right now without the prompting of government.

 But with Obama and the Progressive Left’s ever increasing demands for “fair share” redistribution you are provoked to look with dissatisfaction, with greed and envy, upon your neighbor.  You are not encouraged to view your personal situation with contentment.  Instead, you are encouraged to look upon your neighbor as a certain class of people above or below you.  Obama is in effect telling you to be discontent and to seek “equality” or “equal outcomes” through redistribution of incomes. That is the spiel of Obama and the Progressive Left. 

 If the spiel is accepted and acted on it will affect every aspect of your life. Consider this scenario:

 Two men work as drafters in an engineering company.  They were both hired at the same time.  Drafter Number One comes to work early, does his work as drafter and back checks his work to ensure its quality. 

 Drafter number Two comes to work a few minutes before 8:00.  He does the work required of him and some of his work requires redrafting.  He spends a lot of time talking to his cube mates and on the internet.  He also goes outside to have a ten minute smoke break every half hour.

 Would it be fair to pay these men the same wage?  Egalitarian wages ignore work ethics ~  empirical reality ~ in favor of being…equal.  But would paying both men the same exact wages be fair?

 I’ll give another example of the folly of equal outcomes from one of my most visited posts:  Where Do You Start?

 And from the Thomas Sowell Reader, his article Meaningless “Equality”: 

 “Anyone who questions or opposes equality is almost certain to be regarded as someone who believes in inequality ~ in “inferiority” and “superiority.”  But all of these concepts suffer from the same problem:  For equality, inferiority, or superiority to have any meaning, what is being compared must first be commensurable.  A symphony is not equal to an automobile.  Nor is it inferior or superior. They are simply not commensurable…

With many groups as well, the fundamental difference between equal treatment and equal performance is repeatedly confused.  In performance terms, virtually no one is equal to anyone.  The same individual is not equal to himself on different days.”

For more information about the foolishness of the current use of the word “equality” read Thomas Sowell’s The Quest for Cosmic Justice.

 Should government be the arbiter of what is fair?  Does government share your values? As we speak Obama is seeking to redistribute monies ~ “spreading the wealth” ~ from the suburbs to the cities to effect egalitarianism.

 You work hard to have a suburban home where your kids can go to school.  The suburbs provide space for your family to grow.  You feel safer out in the suburbs.  Your tax money pays for the fire and police, for parks and clean streets and many other benefits.  Many black Americans move to the suburbs to be free of the city and its onerous taxes and its crime.  Obama is right now taking your tax money and redistributing it to the cities. In other words some of your tax money is not being spent on your home district but it is given to someone else. Is this fair?

 The reality of recent redistribution is much grimmer.  The truth is that the money taken from you the taxpayer under the guise of “fair share” egalitarian purposes is given to special interest groups that support a certain political party – cronyism.

 And in the recent fiscal cliff deal who are the big winners?  Not you the taxpayer.

Who are getting tax breaks? 

 Among others rum distillers, Hollywood film producers and NASCAR!  Is this egalitarian?

 Finally, should we be looking at our neighbor’s property and demanding that we have the same things, the same wages, and the same health care, the same…? What does Jesus want us to do instead of being green with egalitarianism?

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  Luke 12:15

And from the writer of the letter to the Hebrews:

 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

 And from the apostle Paul:

 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.  I Timothy 6: 6-8

Is Jesus being dismissive of our needs? Or, is He realigning our view of our worldly needs in accordance with True values found only in a personal relationship with him.  Right now Obama’s Progressive message is directly opposed to God’s message of contentment.  Right now Obama wants you to have a personal relationship with government. He wants government to be the theocratic Benefactor much like how most of Europe has chosen government over God.  Does the godlessness and socialism of Europe make you green with envy?  Green with egalitarianism?  I wonder?  If so, you are at odds with the God Who is Just and will give to every man as he deserves.

WYSINATI:  What you see is NOT all there is.

Our Father in Heaven “Give us this day our daily bread.”