Egalitarian Fallacies Galore!
Tibor R. Machan
I assume that writers like me want to be read, not ignored. But, alas, there isn’t much we can do about this except perhaps fine tune our craft. Even that merely improves the odds. None can make others read one’s works. Thousands are simply left unread. (Do they actually burn all those unread copies?)
Or take chefs who would naturally want the public to prefer their cuisine. Still, only a few customers will give it a shot. Or all those artists whose works hang in galleries but without being viewed by visitors. Or museums no one goes to. Or athletics no one cares much about, like the ones that were popular with my family, fencing and rowing. Just compare their fan base with football and baseball!
It’s all so unfair, one might shout out, especially if one is convinced that fairness is the highest value in society, which is the essential message of egalitarianism. From everything we know it is clear that life isn’t fair. What we forget is that there’s nothing wrong with that at all. People pick pretty or colorful flowers while weeds are not taken home and placed in vases, not most of the time. How unfair is that?! Most people have preferences for the company of certain types of other people, by no means for just anyone, let alone for everyone. Your favorite actor or comic or singer isn’t going to be everyone’s favorite. And so it goes, on and on without end.
As the title of one of the late Dr. Murray N. Rothbard’s books put it, “egalitarianism is a revolt against nature”. And some egalitarians are quite aware of this, which explains why under certain political regimes that want to transform societies to follow egalitarianism there is even a push not to allow parents to favor their own children with their love and care. When Mao was the dictator of communist China, news reports came out about a father who in a flood saved someone else’s and not his own child! This “father” was hailed as a hero!
That makes sense for a consistent egalitarian. As does the banning of friendship in a society since friends get special attention from us. Karl Marx’s preferred society was communism in which one had to love everyone equally! Which is why we hoped–indeed predicted–that communism will require a total transformation of human nature! And why under Joseph Stalin his pseudo-scientific agricultural guru, Lysenko, worked on manufacturing a society with everyone the same, with no unique individuals.
Interestingly, despite the fact that President Obama and his team of intellectual backers make a lot of noise in favor of equality–just go back and listen to the most recent state of the union speech which stressed egalitarian themes at every turn–the Republicans hardly touch the topic. They should critique it all over the place, point out some of the stuff Dr. Rothbard covered and is mentioned here! But either their advisers are falling down on their jobs or are scared of the topic since sadly a good many citizens, not to mention college professors in fields like moral and political philosophy, sociology, and the like, do hold such egalitarian ideals, at least implicitly, never mind how fantastic it all is.
Once I had a discussion with someone who defended Karl Marx, saying he was really quite democratic and advocated peaceful revolutions, not violent ones. Never mind the scholarship here, although there is something to it; the problem is that when one’s political ideal is so skewed, so much “against nature,” the only way to attempt to implement it is by means of massive violence, via a totalitarian police state. Everyone must be cut to the same size, made to fit the unrealistic vision of all citizens being fully equal. (Never mind that this bring about the most insidious inequality of all, some in society having inordinately more coercive power than do others!)
Why don’t the Republicans point this out against their political adversaries in any of their speeches and in the “debates”? Is it perhaps because they too have dreams of remaking society to fit some alternative vision that goes against human nature? Perhaps unlike liberal democrats and the fierce socialist among them, many Republicans and conservatives really want to bring about a society regimented along lines of spiritual equality, with everyone forced to get ready for their perfect afterlife!