Saturday, December 7, 2013

Is Equality Possible?

Is equality possible? Or even good? We hear a lot of talk about it these days as though equality were the most important goal of all goals. From my perspective, equality isn't possible, nor would it be good. It isn't, in my opinion, even a worthy goal to work toward.

Productive societies and prosperous economies work on completely different principles. People are more productive, more creative, more innovative and more dynamic when they are rewarded for what they accomplish. It doesn't matter to them whether their neighbor is just as productive, less productive or more productive. A basic tenant of freedom is that you have the freedom to choose how productive you want to be. Maybe you're the person who loves being a couch potato and watching TV all day. You have the freedom in our society to choose to do that. Your neighbor might choose to be industrious, turning every single moment into an opportunity to achieve, accomplish, invent, produce. I hope it appears obvious to you that these two people do not deserve "equal" rewards.

Together with the idea of equality, fairness has been thrown into the discussion. "Fair" evokes strong emotions, but guess what?...someone has to be the one to decide what is fair. Since we live in a fallen world, filled with sinful people, there is no one who is really capable of deciding what is fair. It is a pipe dream. Are you the one who is qualified to determine fairness? I certainly am not.

Life simply isn't fair. Admittedly some people have more than their share of bad fortune, while others seem to sail through life relatively unscathed by adversity. Who knows why? There isn't really a reason. And the bottom line is that no matter what life dishes out to us, we always have a choice in how we will respond. We can be like the disgruntled school kid on the playground who stomps off in a huff because others aren't playing fair. Or we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and try again. Fairness only exists in the imagination. It doesn't and never will exist in the real world, much as we would like it to.

I remember when I was a child, I had a particularly "difficult" neighbor. My expectation was that this neighbor child would play by the rules, not lie or cheat and that we would be able to be friends - after all, she had way more toys to play with than I did and I loved being able to touch all of those wonderful toys in her playhouse. After trying over and over and over again, I finally and unfortunately came to the conclusion that she was never going to be fair or honest and that I would have to find another friend who was more compatible with my own values and principles. I would never be equal to her in affluence or possessions but I was far richer in inner strength and Christian character. Did I want to be equal? No! In fact, I felt sorry for her rather than envious.

So getting back to equality...there is one kind of equality that is good and helpful and positive. That is having the guarantee of equal treatment in the eyes of the law. In other words, the laws of the land, in order to be "fair" and "equal" need to favor no one in particular and defend and judge everyone equally. That is the kind of equality that leads to true freedom. The idea of equality that means we all get rewarded equally, whether we produce much or little, takes us as far away from true fairness and true equality as we could possibly go.

As we swerve away from the ideas of "liberty and justice for all" and toward the ideas of "equality and fairness" for all, the basic values and principles upon which our nation was founded become more and more diluted. In fact, "equality" becomes the polar opposite of "liberty" and "fairness" the polar opposite of "justice." There was a reason for the choice of those words! And there is a reason our leaders today are using the words, "equality" and "fairness." They are using them intentionally in order to polarize and divide our nation (in my opinion). And that is exactly what they are accomplishing.

What do you think? I'd love to have you weigh in by giving your opinion and feedback. But please be civil. If "R-rated" words are used in any comments, they will not be published here. Sorry, that's my rule.

Have a great day!
Sharon Reece

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