Sunday 29 September 2013

The Myth of Equality

The Myth of Equality

The idea of equality is one that whirls all around us, we hear it so often and so convincingly that we can fall for it's seductive charm. It's sirens call is that Human conflict is artificial because under the skin we are all the same, we are all equal to each other. Here is presented a way forward for Humanity, the old tensions are old and best forgotten, the way forward is to remember that there is no difference between you and the person next to you, or on the other side of the world. Best of all equality is easy to remember and it makes people feel good as they are doing something good and resisting something bad. How could anyone oppose it in good conscience? I'll come to that.

The idea of equality isn't a Leftist idea, nor is it a Liberal one, it's origins are Christian, it comes from the belief that we are all Gods children, we are all descendant from Adam and Eve, that we are all born in original sin, that Jesus Christ died for the sins of all of Mankind, that we can all be saved, that there is a place in Heaven for all of us if we are saved. In other words we are all equal, at least in theory. 

In reality the vast majority of Christians, Church and Lay, accepted that Christian fellowship was one thing and society was another. That society was hierarchical, that different people did different tasks and had different levels of wealth and obligations. For Traditional Christians there was nothing controversial in this, it was simply life. But that idea of everyone being equal in the eyes of God took on a life of it's own. It left Christianity and came back, weaving in and out of politics and theology along the way. It's origins remembered by some and never known of by others, it went out into the world and spread it's lovely message. That war could be vanquished from the Earth because two equals would see no reason to fight, that our personal relationships would be harmonious as we would see others as our equals and they would return that feeling, that no man should look down upon another man because we are all equal. It is a lovely message.

Sadly, it's not true, to hear that for the first time can be quite shocking. But let me use you, the reader and myself as examples. The chances are I've never met you but I still know we are not equal, in fact I know we are distinct individuals. Which of us is taller? Which one of us is heavier? Which one one of us is smarter? Which one of us has more technical ability? Which one of us is faster? Which one of us is better looking? Which one of us is a better dancer? 

To be honest, I don't know the answer but I heavily suspect that it is unlikely that we are equal in any of these. Either you or I will be the "winner" in each of these, that much I think is clear. So in what way are we equal?

You might argue that that is not what is meant by equality. In my experience thats when people fall back upon the legal definition. That we should all be equal before the law. Ok fair enough, I like that. Unfortunately many people think it also means fairness. That people should be treated fairly regardless of who they are. In principle I think thats a fine thing to aspire too, I'm not sure how you achieve it but in principle it's a worthy goal. Others think equality means that not only are all people equal but all behavior is equal. You can see this in zero tolerance, fighting back against a bully makes you a bully, both equally guilty. Some think that equality means that outcomes should be the same, a sort of every child wins a prize attitude, except for adults.  Still others think that there is something shameful if everyone is not equally good at everything. 

So why is it that these are wrong? 

Being equal before the law isn't wrong, it is both fair and good policy, a Traditional Conservative should always support this equality.

Being fair to all people is one of those things that sounds easy but is in reality very difficult. A big problem is that when you treat everyone equal you treat everyone the same, the distinctiveness of the individual is lost because they must now fit your or your organisations idea of fairness. One size fits all and the individual must give up their distinctiveness to fit that size. It sounds equal but is in reality incredibly dehumanizing. Here there is no perfect answer, both approaches have problems. My suggestion is to have a policy that treats people equally but that still allows for people to be individuals and different, in other words a compromise.

That all behavior is equal is mindless, it is an unintelligent anti-idea. Nothing good can come of this and it should always be rejected. It is not equality it is the promotion of bad behavior and morals, it is the rejection of standards and should not be tolerated.

Equality of outcome is one that Liberalism loves because it means they always have something to fight for. The innate differences in ability and resources that exist within the human race is the enemy here and to fight this "problem" they will call for greater Government power and involvement in peoples lives. It will not solve the unsolvable problem because it is not privilege, nor is it wealth, nor is it negative discrimination that is the enemy, here the enemy is life and peoples ability or lack there of that decides these issues. 

Why is it that some people are rich and others poor? You might just as well ask why some people are healthy and others unhealthy. It is certainly unfair but it is not a right to be healthy anymore than it is to be wealthy, no matter how desirable it is. Unfortunately there are those who claim that if something is unfair in outcome it must be stopped or changed so that it can no longer occur. Many who seek this don't understand that this has been tried before, it's called Socialism and it doesn't work. The attempt to create a world of equal outcomes sounds to many as fairness but it is exactly the opposite. It takes from those who have done better and gives to others who haven't. Do you want to be operated on by a Surgeon who obtained their degree because it was fair or because they earned it? Annoyingly some people complain that that example is stupid but it simply shows that they haven't thought through the effects this idea would have, if unequal outcomes are bad then it is only a matter of time until we get the first blind surgeon. That is what equality of outcomes means.

Still others think that unless everyone is equal in every way then somehow the world is a bad place, they complain about not enough women doing certain jobs but not about men. But how often do you see them complaining about the Olympics, where not only are there winners and losers but the winners are graded? Of course they don't because their position is untenable, it is the loony side of the equality argument. They only operate on emotions and logic has no place here.

The Traditional Conservative should always support equality before the law and it is probably for the better if we compromise upon trying to treat all people equal in our personal and professional dealings. Of course that doesn't mean put yourself or others at risk, it still means using your judgement and common sense. It is an attempt for us to use our better nature instead of being hard or cynical, of course if you have good reason to be hard and/or cynical than be that way. Just don't start that way.  

In regards to the other "equalities", Traditional Conservatives must reject them, they are not equal they are a rabbit warren into which there is nothing but confusion and despair. We will not gain anything, politically or as individuals by supporting or agreeing to them. Equality is not the natural state of things, it is in fact rare and extreme. We should remember that and strive to do what is right for ourselves and others instead of trying to create a false reality and then trying to force people to live in it.

Upon Hope Blog - A Traditional Conservative Future


  1. The Father imposed His wrath due unto, and the Son underwent punishment for, either:

    All the sins of all men.
    All the sins of some men, or
    Some of the sins of all men.

    In which case it may be said:

    That if the last be true, all men have some sins to answer for, and so, none are saved.
    That if the second be true, then Christ, in their stead suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the whole world, and this is the truth.
    But if the first be the case, why are not all men free from the punishment due unto their sins?

    You answer, "Because of unbelief."

    I ask, Is this unbelief a sin, or is it not? If it be, then Christ suffered the punishment due unto it, or He did not. If He did, why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which He died? If He did not, He did not die for all their sins!"

  2. 1. The New Creation is the perfect community and the perfect society. It is perfect in terms of God’s word, God’s law, not mans. Man’s idea of the perfect society is creating the ruin around us. Man’s idea of a perfect society is a society of equality, but that is a contradiction of terms. You cannot have equality and society. But man because he believes man to be his own god, logically is driven to the doctrine of equality, even though it contradicts our experience. There must be equality in the godhead in any faith, and if man is god then all men have to be equal because the godhead has to be equal.

    Moreover we find that the doctrine of equality is commonly read into scripture, in terms of Galatians 3:26-29, and before we consider the implications and the falsity of this concept, let us look at that text. [15:43]

    Galatians 3:26-29 says: “26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
    27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
    28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
    29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

    This is the text that is used to assert the doctrine of equality of all men. But Paul is here speaking of salvation, not the human situation. What Paul is saying is that no man has by birth any special privilege which makes unnecessary Christ’s atonement, or gives him a special status before God; all men are sinners in Adam, and salvation for all is only through Christ and His grace. There is no racial, sexual, social or economic status that makes any difference in the sight of God.

    Thus Paul says that all men are on an equal status in that only Christ can save them. None have any special advantage by reason of birth, race, status or sex. It does not follow that after salvation there is any loss of status, humanly speaking. There is status and authority in the church, in the family, and in the world around us. So that to assume that because with respect to salvation there is an equality of status, that it follows that there is the same in life, is ridiculous. None of us have any claim on God; we do have claims one upon another.

    In fact, in the parable of the talents, our Lord in Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 19:20-27 says to the faithful servant, who having received one talent multiplies it into ten: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Be thou ruler over ten cities.” And to the one who takes the one talent that is given to him and multiplies it into five: “Well done thou good and faithful servant, be thou ruler over five cities.” And the one who takes one talent and only returns one talent to his lord (the talent was a sum of money, a weight of gold or silver) that he is to be cast out into the outer darkness. [18:59]

    Very obviously then there is a difference in status, not only in this world, we have only to look around to see it; but in the world to come. In this world it often creates tension because of envy and because of sin; in the world to come it is our blessing.
    Now, because the myth of equality is so often projected in terms of these words from Galatians on to the new creation, the idea of service and community in the new creation is destroyed. Equality makes both impossible. What follows if all men are equal? It means we all have equal abilities, equal talents, equal status; it means that I don’t need anyone, because I can do everything that anyone else can do, and I am as good as anyone else. I can use other people then, but I don’t need them.

  3. 2.
    But because of the fact of inequality, I need other people. I excel in one or two things, within a very limited sphere; in a vast area I am not equal to other people, therefore I need them. I have to pick up the phone and call on them. I need them in my personal life, which creates an interdependence. When you have the concept of equality promoted you have, in every era of history that you’ve had it, a communications problem; which you have today. And why not? If everyone thinks they are as good as anyone else, they will not be ready to express their need for others, and even though they may in their heart know that they need such and such a person, to acknowledge that need is to deny their equality, and so they will try to use the other person rather than admit their inequality at that point.

    All of us represent a multiplicity of abilities or inabilities, so that we need people at a hundred and one points where we can serve them at two or three points. This is what makes community possible, this is what requires interdependence.

    But in every era of history when people have been taught to believe: “I am as good as anybody else.” Then there is a communications problem. The communications problem becomes prevalent in all circles, it leads to insubordination in every area also, and of course today one of the problems that once was minimal is most considerable: insubordination in schools. And it is going to take a couple of generations or more of the prevalence of Christian schools to root out that mentality, insubordination. But we all need to be subordinate at 101 points; we do not go to a doctor to tell him what to do, but to find out what is wrong with us, and then he prescribes to us. At 101 points, day by day, we have to depend on the prescription, the work, the superior abilities of other people. Without this that is called in economics ‘the division of labor,’ life would collapse. It would become exceedingly primitive. [24:10]

    The doctrine of equality is thus very dangerous. But in the new creation we have community, because we know our total need and dependence on God, and there we depend on Him totally, and therefore without sin; and we are interdependent one upon another, and so there is perfect community because of that interdependence. Each of us knows that we cannot stand alone, that we need other people, and that community is necessary for true life; and so we have what we call in the doctrine… or in the Apostles Creed it is spelled out: the doctrine of the Communion of Saints. The Communion of Saints.

  4. 3.
    The Communion of Saints thus is an article of faith. It means as Paul says in Ephesians 4:25 that we are members one of another.

    Now in this world we have problems with that membership. We have problems because we are sinners, and as sinners we find other peoples sins intolerable, and ours lovable. And so we are annoyed by everybody else’s sins, and very indulgent of our own. We want people to meet our expectations, not the Lords; and hence there are divisions and disharmonies, even amongst Christians. But let us remember, in hell we have no community, no communion. Hell is a place where there is perfect equality; it is the equality of many gods, all who have carried to its logical conclusion the principal of the tempter: ‘Ye shall be as God, every man his own god, knowing, determining for yourself what is good and what is evil.’ Hence, total isolation, and no community, and no service because there is no interdependence. Every man is his own god, and men who will not serve God cannot serve one another, and this is the logic of hell, the ultimate rejection of the service of God, and membership one with another; and men who believe themselves to be God will insist on their ultimate self sufficiency, and will serve neither God nor man, and are finally served by none. [27:50]

    But the new creation is the fulfillment of the covenant. The covenant is of grace and law, of works and grace; works belong to the covenant irrevocably, belong to it fundamentally, because the new creation is the place where the covenant in all its fullness is the total fact of life, and there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the lamb shall be in it, and the servants shall serve Him.

  5. Dear Caddy

    I'n afraid this is a political blog so I'm not going to get into the Theology. Except to point out that I never said "unbelief", it is the idea of all Christians being equal before God that inspired the idea of equality, the actual belief or unbelief of the thinker was mostly unimportant.

    I thought this was a very interesting insight you had:

    "But because of the fact of inequality, I need other people."

    As is the rest of what you've numbered 2.

    Mark Moncrieff