“Egalitarianism, as we have already intimated, cannot make much progress without the use of force: Perfect equality, naturally, is only possible in total slavery. Since nature (and naturalness, implying also freedom from artificial constraints) has no bias against even gross inequalities, force must be used to establish equality. Imagine the average class of students in a boarding school, endowed with the normal variety of talents, interests, and inclinations for hard work. The power and dictatorial principle of the school insists that all students of the class should score B’s in a given subject. This would mean that those who earned C, D, or E would be made to work harder, some so hard they would collapse. Then there would be the problem of the A students whom one would have to restrain, giving them intoxicating drinks or locking them up every day with copies of Playboy or The New Masses. The simplest way would probably be to hit them over the head. Force would have to be used, as Procrustes used it. But the use of force limits and in most cases destroys freedom.
A “free” landscape has hills and valleys. To make an ‘egalitarian’ landscape one would have to blow off the tops of mountains and fill the valleys with rubble. To get an even hedge, one has to clip it regularly. To equalize wealth one would have to pay ‘equal wages and salaries,’ or tax the surplus away — to the extent that those earning above the average would refuse additional work. Since these are usually gifted people with stamina and ideas, their refusal has a paralyzing effect on the common weal.
In other words there is a real antagonism, and incompatibility, a mutual exclusiveness between liberty and enforced equality.”
Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn
Leddihn brings out what we need to realize as a culture and that a social order must choose between Liberty and Equality because it can not have both. Liberty and equality are antithetical to one another. Equality requires standardization and so someone (an elite class) to be the standardizers. A social order, given over to equality, can not allow the individual the liberty to move beyond the expected standardization for such a move beyond the standardization as set by the egalitarians would threaten the egalitarian order.
Egalitarianism is often driven by envy and is embraced by many because of the promise that it holds out to people who, if the egalitarian social order is built, then they will no longer have any reason to have envy for the talents and skills of those whom are superior in giftedness in some area. It delivers people from the insecurity, accompanied by Liberty, that someone else might actually excel above and beyond them in some area. And so the plea for an egalitarian social order is supported and championed by those who, being envious of the gifted, and insecure over their real or perceived lack, believe that what they lack can be nullified by insuring that everyone else is required to share in their real or perceived lack since all are required to be equal.
Of course the cult of the equal, as it pertains to social orders, always means the least common denominator equality. In egalitarian orders, the equality does not lift the slightly talented and marginally gifted person up but instead pulls the significantly talented and the greatly gifted person down. A prime example of this is the “The No Child Left Behind” programs in the schools which leaves no Child behind at the cost of insuring that no Child excels. No Child is left behind because all children are left behind. This is what the cult of equality always yields.
I’ve just started Leddhin’s book. The insights here I’ve culled from the first few chapters as combined with what I learned from the book “Egalitarian Envy,” by de la Mora.
“THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.”
Opening Lines from Harrison Bergeron
|Short Story — Kurt Vonnegut