Egalitarianism Is Not What Leftist Politicians Make You Think

by Enza Ferreri   8/26/14

“Egalitarianism” sounds so good, progressive, enlightened and compassionate. And above all, of course, caring.

But in reality the opposite of all those adjectives is closer to the truth of egalitarianism. For the only way to make all the individuals of a society equal is to reduce everyone to the lowest common denominator.

Recently it was the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Three years later, in 1917, the Russian Revolution took place.[pullquote]There is no way to equalise at the top or in the middle. It’s only possible to equalise at the bottom.[/pullquote]

This should remind us that in the past almost 100 years during which attempts at equalisation were repeatedly made, everybody — except the “equalisers”, those ordering and doing the equalising — became equally poor, hungry, wretched, oppressed and slave. And these were the lucky ones who hadn’t been killed in the process.

There is no way to equalise at the top or in the middle. It’s only possible to equalise at the bottom.

The egalitarians of today, who obviously have not (or appear to have not) learnt the lesson of history, are either naive to the point of stupidity or know exactly the consequences of what they are promoting and don’t find them morally reprehensible enough to desist.

Either way, they shouldn’t be given power or heed.

Like the Biblical wolf in sheep’s clothing, they appear like the contrary of what they are. Choosing a charitable-sounding label for yourself is in this case the verbal equivalent of dressing yourself up. Declaiming on social justice is a rhetorical mask hiding a dangerous predator’s face.

Destroying an economy makes everybody in a society equally suffer. If this is the price of equality, only the fools or the evil may want it.

EnzaEnza Ferreri is an Italian-born, London-based Philosophy graduate, author, and journalist. She has been a London correspondent for several Italian magazines and newspapers, including Panorama, L’Espresso, La Repubblica. She is in the Executive Council of the UK’s party Liberty GB.

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9 Responses to Egalitarianism Is Not What Leftist Politicians Make You Think

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Destroying an economy makes everybody in a society equally suffer. If this is the price of equality, only the fools or the evil may want it.

    Indeed. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    I think it was Churchill who observed that capitalism is the unequal distribution of plenty, whereas socialism is the equal distribution of scarcity. (Equal except for the nomenklatura, of course. Just ask Orwell’s pigs, or for that matter the Inner Party.) A good example of the implications of total egalitarianism is Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron”.

  3. Cato says:

    This is a European opinion that Enza states … that the only way to achieve an egalitarian state is by dragging down the high and mighty … informed both by the long history of aristocracy in the Old World in which one’s birth and family wealth and “blue blood” dictated one’s status and future, and by the ideas of Marx. Karl, not Groucho.

    There is an American vision of egalitarian society, however, and it’s wrong to say there is none. It is baked into the Constitution, embedded into “one man, one vote” equal political access. It’s the underpinning of American law, before which all men are absolutely equal … be that equally guilty or equally innocent and treated the same regardless of wealth or status. It’s the equality of freedom of religion, and all the other rights listed in the Bill of Rights.

    Enza is describing where we will end up in the US, if we follow Europe down that path, create “political nobility” (the Clinton’s and Obama’s come to mind) and allow mere wealth to subvert law. Our goal must be to reestablish the meaning to the term egalitarian that informed the American Founders, and the system they conceived to establish it.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I understood Enza’s opinion in the context of critiquing the Left which values “equality” over freedom. It’s one reason the French are so philosophically messed up. As Dennis Prager notes, “equality” and “freedom” are two values that are at odds, so the French ideas of “liberty, equality, and fraternity” are botched at the get-go.

      Of course, equality under the law is a quite different thing than the kind of “equality-of-result” envisioned by the Left. And one need not parse this much further to get to this central truth.

      Here’s the definition of “egalitarian” that comes up on my Mac’s dictionary: “of, relating to, or believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities”

      One could say the “egalitarianism” of America is based upon the idea of being a meritocracy rather than an ingrained aristocracy of privileged classes. That’s a fine concept, as well as the idea of equal rights.

      But it’s when we come to “equal opportunities” that the Leftist type of “equality” raises its ugly head, for to have “equal opportunity” in any meaningful way means that we must all start with equal “stuff.” And this version of “equal opportunity” therefore denies the most important aspect of achievement: values and principles.

      Yeah, it sucks that some kid with a crack-whore mother doesn’t have “equal opportunity” to become a doctor. But that is why conservatism and its principles are so vital. What we’re trying to do today in contrast via the Leftist meme is to “equalize” and normalize the crack-whore mother by inserting government programs to try to do what people themselves need to do. That is, there is no substitute for having the values of monogamy, hard work, and good character. These cannot be “equalized” by a government program.

      Yeah, it sucks that life cannot be made perfect or even “egalitarian.” But it can be made somewhat fair if the laws apply equally to all, if there are no (or at least few) entrenched aristocracies, and if people acknowledge their own moral responsibility in the task of achieving. It’s not all about “poverty.” Poverty is the mere result.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        One must remember that the Left wants to Europeanize America. So it’s no surprise that their radical egalitarianism comes from Europe. Note that Robert Paxton, in The Anatomy of Fascism, argued that traditional liberalism believed in the ideals (though not the methods) of the French Revolution, with “equality” being defined as equality of opportunity. Modern liberals (i.e., the radical left, as Paxton noted) prefer equality of opportunity (and reject individual liberty).

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Oh, I fully agree, Timothy, that the Left in America looks to Europe as their model.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Modern liberals (i.e., the radical left, as Paxton noted) prefer equality of opportunity (and reject individual liberty)

          I believe they prefer equality of results more than of opportunity. Even with equal opportunities, most people to not attain great success, which is “unfair”.

          As for the traditional ideals of the French Revolution, I don’t know how one can work out the contradictions inherent in “Liberte’, egalite’, fraternite'” if each, or even one of them, is absolute as the Leftists seem to believe.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Oops, you caught me in a weird typo (but then, a lot of my typos are weird that way). I did indeed mean to write “equality of result” as a contrast to “equality of opportunity”. Paxton said that the traditional liberals defined liberty as “individual liberty” and didn’t say how they defined “fraternity”.

            • Mitchell Robinson says:

              That could not technically be considered a typographical error. I call it an “expresso!” Perhaps “Fraternité” was code for the beer-swilling camaraderie of their guillotine after-parties!

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