The Nightmare of the Egalitarian’s Dream

PUBLIC DM ORIGINALS 31/05/2003 (P43) 1933 STALIN SLAVE LABOUR CAMPSo President Obama and his fellow travelers want to eradicate, or at least ameliorate, “income inequality.” What else is new?

But why stop there?  An intellectually and morally consistent egalitarian knows that if inequality in the prices of labor (i.e. income) is an injustice deserving of rectification, then so too is inequality in the prices of all other “commodities” an injustice deserving of the same.

The price of an Apple computer and that of a pencil are radically “unequal.”  So too are there massive “disparities” between the respective prices of a Mercedes Benz and a tricycle; a package of underwear from Walmart and a Gucci Coach Bag; a necklace from Tiffany’s and graphic novel from Barnes and Noble; admission to a movie matinee and reservations aboard a two week vacation on a Cruise ship.

If the government is obligated to “close the gap” between “the rich” and “the poor,” then is as well obligated to close all of these “gaps” as well.

A consistent leftist egalitarian would recognize that there is no principled ground for not taxing every red cent of either the wealthiest “one percent” or, for that matter, of that earned by anyone else. There may be prudential reasons for drawing an arbitrary line at some tax rate or other.  In principle, however, if it is morally permissible for the government to tax (confiscate) some of the legitimately acquired assets of citizens, then it must be just as permissible for the government to tax (confiscate) all of their resources.

To acknowledge this, though, our consistent egalitarian would then have to acknowledge that the idea of self-ownership is nothing more or less than a “capitalist” or “bourgeoisie” fiction, for if a person is not entitled to refuse the government any of his resources, then he does not own those resources.  And if he doesn’t own the resources in his labor, time, energy, and money, then he doesn’t own himself. 

Rather, it is the government that owns all.

Monetary inequalities aren’t the only inequalities to which the true egalitarian will object.  Inequalities in physical attractiveness and ability are just as undeserved, just as unfair, as any other.

In order to compensate the ugly for their accident of birth, the real champion of equality knows that the government should, say, compel the beautiful to at least date, for a specified period of time, the less beautiful. To the objectors, the egalitarian’s reply is simple: such a policy is nothing more or less than another species of integration designed to combat but another species of discrimination based on physical appearance.

Nor is it fair that some people are endowed with more physical strength and musculature than others.  So as to “close the gap” between the fit and the unfit, the strong and the weak, he should implore government to, among other things, require all remotely able-bodied Americans to sign up with a government-approved gym at which they will be required to exercise for, say, at least an hour at a time three days a week.  As for those Americans who already exercise regularly, they will be permitted to continue doing so—unless they already satisfy the government’s standard for “fit and strong.” These Americans will be “asked” of their government to “invest” their time more in other activities and less in the gym while the unfit and weak seek to become the fit and strong.

A consistent egalitarian, given his disdain toward “racism,” will insist that the government integrate what were, or what would’ve otherwise been, racially “segregated” families and homes. Many inequalities—and certainly those with which contemporary egalitarians, like Obama, are mostly concerned—are racial in character. Well, if racial segregation in “public accommodations” was a great evil because it gave rise to gross racial inequalities that persist to the present day, then racial “segregation” in families must be at least as great of an evil, for it too is racially discriminatory.  In fact, who can seriously doubt that a person’s family promises to exert a far greater influence over the formation of his character than does, say, a stranger who refused to allow him to eat with strangers of another race in a restaurant nearly a half-of-a-century ago?

A truly devoted egalitarian wouldn’t rest until mono-racial families were desegregated, their members “redistributed” to other families and homes. At the same time, those who aspire to marry and procreate intra-racially would be prevented from doing so via reverse miscegenation laws.   

Of course, neither Obama nor any other left-wing egalitarian would openly countenance any of these measures.  But here’s the point: given their ideology, they have absolutely no grounds for not endorsing them, and every ground for doing so.

The dream of the egalitarian is a world that can only be characterized as the liberty-lover’s worst nightmare.

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  • Dyer’s Eve

    Stalin didn’t die in 1953. He went online.

  • Chiron_Venizelos

    Excellent analogy for showing the difference between equal opportunity and equal outcome. We are not all “equal” but our Constitution guarantees that we shall all be treated equally under the law – a concept the poor egalitarian can never seem to grasp.
    (Got to admit though, I liked the part where the beautiful should date those of us who are “less than beautiful.”) ;-)

  • American1969

    An excellent article for people who are always spewing “social justice” without fully understanding what it actually means. This is the “utopian ideal” that so many Leftists get excited about and fail to understand. History bears time and again that “egalitarianism” doesn’t work. What’s “fair” to one, is not “fair” to another. And, always under this “egalitarian” system, people are made poor while the rich elite are not subject to the same rules as everyone else.
    Why do so many Leftists believe that if communism has failed everywhere else that they’ll somewhow, miraculously, make it work here?
    Liberalism is a mental disorder.

    • Softly Bob

      Because their ideology always trumps their Common Sense – every time!

  • johnlittle

    Simply stated: Egalitarianism equals mediocrity.

    Cordially, John Littlt, Sr.

  • greg

    the promise of the American liberal is the promise of joe stalin. everybody gets an equal share of a crumby life.

  • Peter Ehrich

    Kurt Vonnegut Jr. wrote in one of his novels, way back in the 1960’s I believe, a short chapter on inequality. In one of the instances he mentioned a ballerina and her partner who were so graceful, so light on their feet and so beautiful that it was decided they were to be handicapped to make ‘the rest of us’ feel not so clumsy/stumbly/ugly. They were made to wear masks and extra padding on their bodies and weights on feet, legs, hands and arms to counter their abilities. When the first handicapping didn’t work well enough, more were added. Eventually I think the powers that be decided that they could not perform anymore at all since even with handicaps they were still better than most others. I’m going to have to buy all his books again. I know it wasn’t in ‘Breakfast of Champions’ or ‘Slaughterhouse 5′. Just can’t remember in which novel but hey, they were all great. A man ahead of his time in many ways.

    Coeurmaeghan in Twentynine Palms, CA

    • tanstaafl

      That story came into my mind as I read this story as well.

    • Raymond Cameron

      The story is titled “Harrison Bergeron” from the book Welcome to the Monkey House.

  • seewithyourowneyes

    Progressives never tire of heaping scorn on knuckle-dragging Creationists. But they themselves virulently oppose the necessary Darwinian competition between ideas, systems, and products, preferring instead a government Creationism of international scope.

  • Geoffrey Britain

    Egalitarianism, communism, socialism, all the ‘isms’ of the left are various degrees of protest against and rejection of reality, protests against life’s essential ‘unfairness’. Liberals and leftists suffer from arrested development, never having accepted that life itself is unfair.

    And because they reject life’s inequities, they are congenitally unable to appreciate that life’s inequities are absolutely essential. Without the reality of inequity, of individual genius, civilization would never have arisen.

    Most ironically, without reality’s inequity, evolution itself would be impossible. Evolution is the process of beneficial individual adaptive mutation. That is passed on to the individual’s descendants and gradually, generation after generation, spreads through the greater population. Nothing ‘fair’ about that, is there? But without it, nothing beyond the amoeba is possible.

  • Howard Duntreath

    If American “progressives” like Barry Soetoro and Nazi Pelosi were sincere in their bleatings about the 1% and the need to “spread the wealth around” they would be donating their “surplus income” accordingly instead of amassing great wealth through public office.

    From a global perspective anyone making over approximately $25,000/yr IS the 1%.

    Next time a progressive tells you “we” need to give our “fair share” ask them if they are donating all of their income over $25,000 to the poor.

    None of them are. They are hypocrites trying to put a nice ethical spin on the act of picking your pocket.