Sunday, August 07, 2016
Equality of respect
There could be few more idiotic assertions than the compulsive Leftist claim that all men are equal. The obvious fact is that all men are different. But the absurd assertion does have a purpose. It is aimed at getting everyone TREATED equally. That is of course also hopeless but it makes slightly more sense than the original assertion.
So why do Leftists want everyone to be treated equally? They don't. They just use the prospect as a battle cry to get the less fortunate segments of society involved in the tearing down of the existing system which is their real aim. It is just a con.
But conservatives are sufficiently disturbed by the potential aggression behind equality calls to propose a compromise. Having seen what equality calls led to in Russia, China and elsewhere, it would be most unwise simply to ignore the push for equality. So conservatives have embraced as a value that there should be equality of opportunity.
But that too is basically unreachable. All people may (for instance) have an equal opportunity of gaining a High School education but some students -- the brighter ones -- will get more out of it and will go on to better things than the less intelligent students. So there is no way that all students will have an equal opportunity to move into the top echelons of employment. And, as a result, we don't hear much about equality of opportunity these days. Cynicism about it has set in.
But there is one way in which equality can largely be reached and thus sidetrack social unrest. It is equality of respect. And I happen to live in a society where equality of respect has largely been achieved -- so it is not an airy-fairy idea. Australia has a national ideology of egalitarianism. It's sometimes summarized as "Jack is as good as his master". People largely treat one another in a friendly manner regardless of who or what they are. The cleaner and the businessman will both normally speak to one another politely, with no regard for the differences between them. There will be no condescension from the businessman and no hostility or suspicion from the cleaner.
It is of course not perfect and social status differences are still there but the attitude that one man is as good as another does rule most interactions. I am pleased to live in such a friendly society. Australia does have a national ideology that makes everybody's life less stressful and more peaceful.
Could such an ideology be transplanted elsewhere? Probably not. Any attempt to transplant it to class-ridden England would be a joke and the competitive element in American culture would also rule it out. But it is nice to know that there is one way in which we can make practical sense of "all men are equal". They are not equal in Australia but they mostly act as if they were. Perhaps it's an aspiration for other societies.
Note: In the above I am speaking of native-born Australians with descent from the British Isles and Northern Europe. Such people are seen as a single distinct group in Australia. There are however small East Asian and Indian minorities so what applies to the first group cannot automatically be generalized to minorities. In my observation, however, the Australian-born Chinese and Indians do assimilate strongly to the majority culture so a lot of what I said above will also be true of them -- JR