Equality is an unequal thing. For example, there is a difference between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome. In addition, no two people are ever equal unless they’re twins; but even here there are differences. No two people can ever perform the same job with the same result. Some people are better at a job than others. Some people perform better than others because they work harder, smarter, and longer. In a free society, the better performing employee would get paid a higher salary.
This very logical practice is forbidden in most of our government (public) schools. Teachers are paid in terms of how long they’ve been teaching and not on performance standards. The unions have fought merit pay.
Forced equality cannot build a free society or spur innovation. Here’s something from Sweden that is typical of the “equality of outcome” worldview:
A talented head cook at a school in central Sweden has been told to stop baking fresh bread and to cut back on her wide-ranging veggie buffets because it was unfair that students at other schools didn’t have access to the unusually tasty offerings.
The municipality has ordered [Annika] Eriksson to bring it down a notch since other schools do not receive the same calibre of food — and that is “unfair.”. . . “It is about making a collective effort on quality, to improve school meals overall and to try and ensure everyone does the same,” Katarina Lindberg, head of the unit responsible for the school diet scheme, told the local Falukuriren newspaper.
The better policy would have been to bring the quality of the lunches at the other schools up a notch.
Socialistic governments are all about equality of outcome. This means that in a socialistically “just society,” everybody should receive the same salary (or food) even though people might differ in job performance, talent, or performance. Over time, the more industrious will work at a level that is equal to the lowest performing worker since better and more aggressive work will not be rewarded. Mediocrity is the result.
But what about inequalities that are the result of birth? Some people are born with higher intelligence and/or a better physical skill level. The State will moderate against any benefit by handicapping the advantage. In some youth sports leagues teams aren’t permitted to keep score since one team might have an “unfair” advantage over another team.
The principle of forced equality is depicted well in J.P. Hartley’s 1960 novel Facial Justice:
“Imagine a culture that strove so hard for equality that many women were required to have plastic surgery to make them less pretty or prettier based upon their grade-level. Each woman required to change [her] face could choose from a few variations that were approved beforehand to avoid evoking envy in other women.”
This current election is a referendum on policies that are designed to produce equality of outcome. The results would be disastrous. In the end, we might all be equal . . . equally mediocre and poor.