Leftist Untruth #2: Equality
Do we want government mandated equality? Leftists claim that most of us do want that, but do we really?
According to the Oxford English
Dictionary, the word “equal” means “being
the same in quantity, size, degree, or value”. Synonyms include “identical
When we did a search for images for illustrations for this article, using the “equality”, we found page after page of people who were apparently chosen because they were all different. “Diverse” means different. We are supposed to have huge amounts of both sameness and difference?
Better is a difference. Who will take risks to do better if no one is allowed to be better. The "Progressives" want progress, they say. But how could we really have progress if no one is allowed to excel?
It seemed that in the history of the U.S. many citizens chose inequality. Even Leftists seemed to choose inequality.
Americans rise up and fall down the income ladder over time, in large part because of the individual decisions they make. Mr. [Bernie] Sanders is living proof, as he and his wife have chosen to build a personal fortune estimated at more than 25 times that of the median U.S. household.
James Freeman "Income Inequality Is Often by Choice" Wall Street Journal (2021)
If Bernie chooses to be inequal, then why should he have the power to prevent me from doing what he has done?
Surely freedom requires the ability to choose. Mandating equality requires that no one will be allowed to choose to be different. That means that much, probably most, choice itself will be illegal. And that is fine with Leftists. Their proposal is more government and less freedom. Government regulators will mandate equality. As we will see, there is really no other way, if Leftists' demands for equality are to be realized.
Maybe the Leftists don’t mean general equality, but only equality under the law, but we will see that that is the last thing they want. The kind of societal/governmental system that Leftists want for us is the opposite of one where everyone is equal.
The Leftists promise equality, but they propose systems of government and economy which will always produce inequality. Because those systems — including real socialism, as collectivism — must be societies structured as hierarchies of control (as we show in Leftist Untruth #5: Socialism). And people in hierarchies of control are always inherently unequal, because some have power over the others.
Leftism is always about more government control. The Leftists say that once they get enough power, they will use government control to mandate equality. It never, ever works. How can we have real equality, when some people have so much power over the rest of us? If history has taught us anything, surely it has taught us that when human beings get that much control over others, they will eventually abuse that power. And probably sooner rather than later. That power difference is inequality. The truth is that growing inequality — as Leftists give government regulators more and more control over us — will never, ever produce equality.
Are the Leftists merely mistaken when ever that increasing government control will eventually produce
equality? No. As the words “untruth” and “lie” imply, the Leftists’ real intent and goal is not equality.
The powerful and generally unchallenged cry for "equality" is driven by the decidedly inegalitarian aim of climbing on its back to increasingly absolute political power, a triumph which will of course make the egalitarians themselves a ruling elite in income and wealth as well as power. Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves at the top of a new hierarchy of power.
Murray Rothbard, "Egalitarianism and the Elites", Review of Austrian Economics (1995) https://cdn.mises.org/rae8_2_3_2.pdf
There always more misery at the bottom of the ladder than there is brotherhood at the top.
Victory Hugo, Les Miserables (1862)
As we will see, some French writers are experts on the effects of Leftist efforts to install equality.
The History of the Equality Untruth
In the past, those people who loved government control — such as for example kings, emperors, the nobility, the lords and ladies of the aristocracies, monarchy loyalists, and authoritarians of all stripes — rarely if ever publicly argued for equality. One of the first Leftists to do so was Thomas Hobbes. In his 1651 book Leviathan he argued for statist dictatorship by a totalitarian sovereign. He was a royalist who wanted the return of a king to the throne after the English Civil War had temporarily ended the monarchy and replaced it with Parliamentary government. Hobbes was actually attempting to hijack the movement for freedom and representative government which at the time was riding in on the Enlightenment (that is not an uncontroversial claim, but, in other writings, we argue that it is indeed the truth about Hobbes and Leviathan).
But Hobbes was a true Leftist, in fact arguably the proto-Leftist of the post-Graeco-Roman age. So he was a hypocrite. While arguing for hierarchical system of total, hierarchical inequality, with a Leviathan state of hierarchy, where a few people had total power, wealth, and social status, he also said that men were equal.
The question who is the better man, has no place in the condition of meer Nature; where, (as has been shewn before,) all men are equall... If Nature therefore have made men equall, that equalitie is to be acknowledged…
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651)
So to Hobbes, we all might be hypothetically equal in nature, but in the state we are to be the opposite: Subjects of totalitarian rulers.
Then came Rousseau et al, arguing that we, by being born in a nation, magically agree to a “Social Contract”, that makes us subjects of the Leftist rulers of that nation.
…the citizen always in motion, is perpetually sweating and toiling… He cringes to men in power whom he hates, and to rich men whom he despises; he stints at nothing to have the honor of serving them…and proud of his chains, he speaks with disdain of those who have not the honor of being the partner of his bondage.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau A Discourse Upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality Among Mankind (1755)
But it was, of course, in the French Revolution that Égalité became a major Leftist slogan. But, as so often happens, the promised Leftist equality took the form of a dictator who seized most of the wealth of the nation, conscripted the citizens into an army where they died in the tens of thousands, to attack and try to conquer as many nations and peoples from Scandinavia to Africa as the ruler could hope to enslave in his empire.
...I shall endeavor to show what errors, what faults, what disappointments led the French to abandon their first aim, to forget liberty, and to aspire to become the equal servants of the master of the world...
Alexis de Tocqueville, The Old Regime and the Revolution (1856)
Fast forward to the 20th century.
What’s Genocide Got to Do with It? Nothing.
All historical changes finally boil down to the replacement of one ruling class by another. All talk about democracy, liberty, equality, fraternity, all revolutionary movements, all visions of Utopia, or ‘the classless society’, or ‘the Kingdom of Heaven on earth’, are humbug (not necessarily conscious humbug) covering the ambitions of some new class which is elbowing its way into power.
George Orwell, "Second Thoughts on James Burnham" Polemic (1946) https://orwell.ru/library/reviews/burnham/english/e_burnh.html
Why then do Cambodians and the world call the mass murders by the Khmer Rouge “genocide”? ...I suspect that the most important reason for the usage worldwide is that many people in the international media, international agencies, and international NGOs (not to mention academia) are reluctant to face up to the crimes committed by Communism in the name of equality.
Douglas B. Levene "Reflections on Cambodia" National Review (2012)
The mass murder of millions of Cambodians was, indeed, not “genocide” but rather it was an “equality” initiative by Leftists, the idea being to murder all the educated people so as the create an egalitarian Communist workers’ paradise.
Cambodian Communists killed between 1.5 and 2 million people from 1975 to 1979, almost one fourth of Cambodia's total 1975 population. The Cambodian Communists received help from Leftists around the world, e.g. at least $1 billion in interest-free economic and military aid from China. Since then, very few Leftists in the U.S. have ever publicly criticized the Cambodian Communists, or even seem to remember what happened. In the 21st century, Leftists went to great lengths to make sure that no one ever forgot the relatively isolated incidents of mass-murder committed by non-Leftists in the previous decades. But the Leftists seemed to suffer from a weird amnesia regarding the scores of millions of people killed by Leftists in China, the USSR, North Korea, and so on.
The idea that Leftists controlling us will produce equality is pretty close to the height of absurdity.
Certainly anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit atrocities.
Voltaire, “Collection des lettres sur les miracles” (1765)
Now fast forward to the 21st century.
As of this writing, the Leftists’ “Equality” label has lost some of its selling power — due to its having been associated with so many massively destructive and murderous Leftist equality initiatives. So Leftists have been experimenting with replacing “Equality” with “Equity”. Can you blame them? Leftists have to keep changing labels to try to stay ahead of the truth. Leftism itself seems to be insanity in a race with reality.
Equitable treatment means we all end up at the same place.
Kamala Harris “There’s a Big Difference Between Equality and Equity.” Twitter (2020)
(Based on Kamala’s and her husband’s 2019 tax return, their income was $1,889,156. So her proposal was that we were all supposed to make $1,889,156 in 2021 while her income stayed the same?)
As long as our economy and political systems prioritizes profit without considering who is profiting, who is being shut out, we will perpetuate this inequity. So we cannot stop at criminal justice system. We must begin the work of dismantling the whole system...
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), news conference (2020)
So the problem now is not “inequality”, it is inequity. And the solution is to destroy the current system, which does not have enough government control, and replace it with one that will deliver “equity”, and which under the control a totalitarian deep state, and a class of Leftist elites.
[Trumps'] call to greatness was a repudiation of the cruel hypocrisy of America’s New Class, the dominant 10 percent who deploy the language of egalitarianism while jealously guarding their own privileges. The New Class talks like Jacobins but behaves like Bourbons.
F. H. Buckley, The Republican Workers Party: How the Trump Victory Drove Everyone Crazy, and Why It Was Just What We Needed
The raging polarization of American political life is not the consequence of bad manners or a lack of mutual understanding. It is just the loud aftermath of escalating inequality.
Matthew Stewart, "The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy", Atlantic Monthly (2018)
21st century Leftists, such as those at the Atlantic Monthly, continue to blame the inequality, er we mean inequity, that they cause on “capitalism”, i.e. too much free-enterprise and other kinds of freedom. Their solution is, as always, more government control and less freedom.
True, freedom does not produce equality of wealth, but at least it produces wealth. Socialism and other Leftisms produce neither equality nor wealth.
MANKIND being originally equals in the order of creation, the equality could only be destroyed by some subsequent circumstance... Oppression is often the CONSEQUENCE, but seldom or never the MEANS of riches...
Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)
Capitalism offers greater prosperity and opportunity for everyone, while socialism, unnecessary interventionism, and other choices inevitably fail. But capitalism is quickly falling out of favor with the middle class in the Western world.
Daniel Lacalle, Freedom or Equality: The Key to Prosperity Through Social Capitalism (2020)
We Americans have cheered the collapse of socialism in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. We celebrate as the people of those unfortunate places, long bound and exploited by their governments, strive to create institutions more compatible with individual freedom and economic prosperity. Ironically, however, we Americans ourselves seem hell-bent on making our own governments ever larger and more intrusive.
Robert Higgs, Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society (2004)
One of the main reasons people tell a lie is to hide a truth. Here are Rightful Freedom we are thinking about developing a system of epistemology, based on that fact. We suspect that inside every Leftist untruth there is a truth dying to get out. Leftists have gone to a great deal of effort and expense to create their wall of untruth, to hide the truth. So it makes sense that if we want to find a truth, we can do it by tipping over a Leftist untruth and seeing what’s behind it. Like flipping a coin over to see what’s on the obverse side. Reverse the “Equality” lie to reveal the… What?
Flip to the Truth
Let’s try flipping the Equality Untruth to a truth:
The untruth is that the Left will create fairness by using the force of government to mandate equality. And everybody likes fairness. But the truth is that equality does not equate with fairness. What does equate fairness? Justice. The truth is that justice is the opposite of the Leftists’ idea of “equality”.
Leftist “equality” treats those who do harm the same as those who do good. In the name of “equality”, Leftists let criminals go unpunished, and refuse to enforce laws to protect the law-abiding. Leftism rewards those who choose to produce nothing the same as those who are productive. It rewards those who fail, and punishes those who succeed. It is the opposite of justice.
Taking this a step farther, the truth that we get from flipping the untruth is this:
Perhaps the two most salient and true differences, the differences that make the Left Left and the Right right, are two concepts:
Leftist Control and Equality — Rightist Freedom and Justice
The ever-increasing government control promised by Leftists will be delivered, the promise of equality is a fraud, and the idea that equality is fairness is a lie.
If we look back to the riots and tumults which at various times have happened in England, we shall find that they did not proceed from the want of a government, but that government was itself the generating cause; instead of consolidating society it divided it; it deprived it of its natural cohesion, and engendered discontents and disorders which otherwise would not have existed.
Thomas Paine, "Chapter I. Of Society and Civilisation", The Rights of Man (1791)
The Right has always been for more freedom and for true justice. In this world, universal and perfect justice may not realistically attainable — the world is just too big and too complex. But the ideal of justice for all, and equality under the law, is a goal that the Right will always rightly pursue. It is the Right who will try to come as close to that ideal as possible. Leftists will always promise equality and always produce injustice.
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 oppression and servitude.
Alexis de Tocqueville (1848) quoted by F. Hayek in The Road to Serfdom