And in our attempt to empower the weak, we empowered no one.
This is the phrase I read this morning in a post from my blog roll feed that stuck with me all day. The article itself is definitely worth every bit of the read and I’m grateful it included this phrase because it was nagging at me until I took time to figure out why it was nagging me.
The question was answered when I was doing an unrelated search on a term definition and remembered something I had read recently about equality. Mainly, the thrust of the idea was that equality as a concept is quite unlike equality as it must be established.
But, what do I mean when I talk about equality? That’s actually the question we all should be asking when someone brings that term into a discussion as well as anyone who identifies with or opposes a movement that includes the word equality somewhere in the description.
The Multiple Faces of Equality
The common dictionary definition defines equality as a noun that means
the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.
And, if one were to stop there it seems like when someone says they are ‘for equality’ that means they think the group of people that represents them should enjoy the same status, rights and opportunities as the group that has what they want. Or, conversely, it could mean that a group of people should not be denied equal status, rights and opportunities.
This is so palatable to accept as egalitarian and true, that the definition is left unexamined while the person who swallows this definition begins to identify themselves with movements that have, as their core principle, that word ‘equality’.
And there would be no problem with this except the fact that when equality is taken out of its theory and applied to an existing society of people, it meets a barricade. Because, it turns out, the definition of the word was really just referring to equality as a container word. As a container word, equality contains sub-types of equality that as a whole, describe the general concept.
In a series of posts I’ll write about these sub-types. They are
- Ontological Equality
- Equality of Opportunity
- Equality of Condition
- Equality of Outcome.
And it is this equality of outcome that I believe is hidden in the agenda of the feminist movement even to the mainstream supporters of feminism who are not cognizant of either the existing effort to achieve it nor the implications of doing so. As long as they believe that they support a feminism meaning something benign they continue to identify with a term hijacked by a covert agenda. I don’t make the news, here, just reporting what the facts available are.
The lack of understanding that exists by those who support ideology founded on the equality concept creates an enormous amount of confusion for themselves and others when one of types of equality at play are not aligned with reality.
When equality is not the ontological equality assumed as given but is one of the other types, that means that equality is being introduced to an existing state of inequality.
And, the only way equality can be applied to an existing state is to change it by exerting itself. That means that in order to create a new state of equality, actual people have to either be given or must otherwise assume power of authority over the other people. There is just no way around that. Equality is not a condition that spontaneously exists when everyone is sufficiently informed of its impregnable moral superiority. No.
It is a process of some group making an assessment of what another group has that they believe that group has unequally to them AND is thought unfair. Because we have any number of occasions where a group has something that other groups do not have but it isn’t considered unfair because of the nature of the thing and the group that has it. As a very off the top of my head example that I’m sure is lame, but attempts to explain, there is a group of people I do not belong to because I am sighted and they are not. This group of people identified as those who are blind have an unequal right to bring their dog where ever they want. Sighted people don’t have that right. That isn’t an equality situation. But I would be rightfully mocked if I were to further assert that it were unfair and then pressed to have the same right for my group. It’s a strange example because in effect the right of blind people to use service dogs was one that was established in order to bring equity of accessibility to a disadvantaged group.
And this is the crux of the argument. Those arguing for equal status, condition and opportunity must not be a group that is a position of power or advantage to the group it will ultimately be saying must sacrifice what they have either voluntary or by imposition.
A feminist, specifically, has recently been defined as anybody that believes there should be equality between men and women. And for so many people, that is all they want to know. Based on this sentiment, they identify as feminists and go forward to argue the merits of this idea. I mean, who would even suggest that people shouldn’t share equality just because of their sex, right?
In truth, this belief doesn’t hold any useful meaning when argued this way. It makes no attempt to address the meaning of the term equality beyond the surface of a container description and without intellectual honesty, there is little reason to be persuaded to think the changes that would be required had any credible basis.
But, instead of understanding that the problem is caused by ignorance of meaning and implication coupled with a refusal to acknowledge when the opposition has a valid point, the entire discussion disintegrates into divisiveness and resentments fester as people one the extreme and radical ends of each position begin to make ground towards the middle, ultimately, creating problems for anyone who affected by distracting attention away from the cause of the conflict onto something that feeds an emotional craving. It makes it easy to give in to the temptation of lashing out in anger when a target generously presents itself, which is exactly what the factions do. In many cases, they aren’t more than attention seeking groups. In some, they are radical in their agenda and negatively associated with the mainstream movement du jour.
Next post will cover Ontological Equality