Myth of Equality
No one is born equal. Every single person on earth is born with a uniqueness that qualifies them as a genuine individual. This disparity does not change as people grow older. Some people work hard; some are lazy. We use phrases like equal treatment under the law, but does this even exist? People under 21 are not equal under the law compared to those of age. People with prior criminal histories do not receive equal treatment for new offenses compared to first-time offenders. There are jobs and universities that give special access to women and minorities as well. Proponents would argue that this current system is attempting to bridge the gap from years past of inequality, but the point I want to make is that our current society is not getting closer to equality even though it longs to. Perfect equality in any society is a myth.
Our philosophy of life must inform our opinion of equality. For the atheist that accepts Darwin’s account of life, equality is a logical impossibility. “Preservation of the Favoured Races” is always the forgotten part of Chuck’s philosophy. A consistent Darwinist cannot and should not be concerned with pesky issues like the poor, equal treatment under the law, and justice. The strong will survive and the weak will not. If those issues are of any importance, then a consistent philosophy of equality must be developed. The first step is determining who or what defines equality for humanity. This is the big question Darwin cannot answer. What good reason do we have to say that humans are valuable and should be treated with equal care? For Christians, God has given the standard for equality and value. God’s intimate handiwork in creation and love of his creation defines our humanity (Gen. 1:27, John 3:16). True equality only comes from our creator and his love for us.
A Christian’s philosophy of equality has to inform how we think politically about culture and economics. I use the phrase think politically because the candidates we vote into office have a large effect on the country’s culture and economy. What exactly does equality look like in culture? A contemporary example comes to mind. Recently ESPN ran some columns from a few of their writers critiquing the number of minority head coaches in college football. Words like disproportionate were used. A huge myth of equality is that all facets of culture and business will reflect the diversity of population. I mean diversity in more ways than ethnicity. For example, many left leaning Americans believe that because women make up 50% or so of our population, then 50% of CEO’s, 50% of Ph.D’s, etc. should be women. This is truly an impossible state of affairs. A society would have to go to some extremes to accomplish this while at the same time harming males. The huge error here is interfering with organizations right to hire the most qualified people! Do we really want a society that favors people for positions or college placement because of something out of their control like gender or ethnicity? This is not a healthy society. This is not equality. Here’s another myth: there is a fixed amount of available income to be earned, so it should be distributed out with some mentality of fairness and equality. What exactly is fair? Is redistributing income the best way to help those who make lower wages? The best way to help these people is to attack the problem, not the symptoms. I always borrow a great example from Dave Ramsey when discussing this issue. He asks if the best thing you can do for a broke brother-in-law is write him a check every month. The answer, of course, is no. Sitting down with him, talking through budgeting, helping update his resume, and maybe even giving him money to pursue higher education are all ways to fix the underlying problem. That way, he’s not a leach on society and he may actually get out of poverty.
Some believe that the federal government needs to make the society as “fair” as possible. But exactly does fair mean? It is impossible to exalt one segment of people without hurting another. The reality is that we cannot all be CEOs and captains of industry. Most people are just not qualified to thrive in these positions. Some people will be born with a trust fund, others in poverty. This will always be the case. The best society can offer is a free market with minimal regulation to account for all the inequality that will always be with us. The only real equality we have is in Christ.