“Fairness for all citizens is not the same as equality of all citizens. To level all individual citizens without regard for their abilities, achievements, offices, or obligations is not only unfair and unjust it will only bring manifest disorder.”
Johannes Althusius — 157-1638
Calvinist Political Theorist
The Christian believes in equality of all men before God’s law, which is to say that it is the Christian teaching that there is one law, by which all men are measured and held accountable to, regardless of their station, rank or place. This is the Christian idea of equality. This Christian idea of equality does not, as Althusius understood, serve as a means by which superior men are leveled, nor does it eliminate the idea of social hierarchy intent on flattening out the kind of distinctions among men that Althusius mentions (distinctions of abilities, achievements, offices and obligations).
This idea of equality is far different then what modern man has embraced. In these United States, because of our long leveling history, we tend to think that equality means equality of opportunity, and even equality of outcome. And now because of our lust for ‘equality’ we are working on creating a society without distinctions, reasoning that distinctions undermine equality. Consequently, distinctions between the roles of men and women, the roles between superiors and inferiors, the roles between children and parents, and the roles between Elders and non-Elders are eliminated in the name of equality.
Let’s take these one at a time.
Currently there is a legislative push to make sure equality expresses itself in equality of opportunity. Such an idea is sheer nonsense and intrudes upon God’s sovereignty. God places men in their stations and ranks and it is hubris of the highest nature to think that men can legislate that the son of farmers or factory workers (and I am both) should or could have the same opportunities as the sons of wealth, power, and position. Such a thing could only be accomplished by the most severe government intrusion into family life and if pursued could only lead to least common denominator opportunities. In short, if equality of opportunities were ever realized the net effect would not be to give the sons of the less fortunate the opportunities of the sons of the more fortunate but rather it would work to make sure that the opportunities of all sons were equally dismal. The mad search for equality never ends in lifting all to a higher plateau but rather always ends in pulling all down to a least common denominator dreariness. Equality is certainly achieved but it is the equality of the miserable. Keep this principle in mind the next time you think about the foundational premise of ‘no child left behind.’
If equality of opportunity is disastrous then the pursuit for equality of outcome is disastrous on steroids. In the name of equality of outcome we are currently adding points to minority applications for entrance into University settings just on the basis of their being minorities or women. The consequence of this is that people who are less qualified then other people who are competing with them are being given consideration over the more qualified simply because we are pursuing equality of outcome. The consequences of this are obvious. First, when lesser qualified people gain admittance into places they have no business being because they are not qualified what happens is that excellence cannot be pursued at the same pace because those who are equipped to pursue that excellence are retarded because of the necessity of giving time to the unqualified to catch up, or if that doesn’t happen the unqualified are passed along with the qualified, even if they are clueless just so the elites can tell themselves that they are building a culture of equality of outcome. Keep this dynamic in mind the next time you visit a minority doctor, lawyer or minister. Second, the larger consequence of this is that we end up filling our cultural and intellectual leadership with second rate people and once again the equality that is achieved is not a equality that provides cultural lift but rather a equality that produces cultural deterioration. The pursuit of equality of outcome tends towards a culture where all are equally inept.
Now the mad lust for equality, inherited from the French Revolution, and being part of every post revolutionary West state hence has us striving towards the curing of God given distinctions. This has led to the claim that men and women are really not distinct but rather are interchangeable parts. Women can fly fighter jets the same as men. Men can be caregivers and nurturers as well as women. The consequence of this ungodly egalitarian lust is not the lifting up of men and women and their relationships but rather it works the diminishing of both men and women and wreaks mass confusion in how they relate one to another. In the name of equality men are trained to treat women just like they treat one another. In the name of equality women are taught to be just as tough as the guys. Is it any wonder that sexual roles are confused? Once again the pursuit of equality among the sexes doesn’t end up in lifting men and women to a higher plane but rather works a ugly lowest common denominator blandness.
Althusius was right that fairness for all citizens is not the same as equality for all citizens. Indeed it is the situation that when equality is pursued in the name of fairness the result is that all are harmed.