The Myth That Equality Brings Utopia

“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.

Observations On The Culture of Exposure

“The only thing forbidden in our culture of exposure is the inclination to forbid — to set limits on disclosure.”

Christopher Lasch
Article — For Shame

Some observations consonant with Lasch,

1.) Every culture defines itself by its taboos. By establishing taboos a culture locates the holy by designating the blasphemous. Those who violate the taboos may exist within a culture but they cannot participate in the culture. The taboo in our culture of multiculturalism and pluralism is anything that restricts, isolates or forbids. In short it is taboos that are taboo.

Here is a quick example of this. Fifty years ago if a high schooler was pregnant out of wedlock the expectation is that she would drop out of high school, be disciplined by her church, be a negative example in her extended family, and be the gossip of the town. Today if a high schooler is pregnant out of wedlock anybody who would behave with the behavior of fifty years ago would be met with the same response by the larger community as the out of wedlock high schooler received fifty years ago. The taboo has switched. Fifty years ago the taboo was towards a set behavior. Today the taboo is toward any taboo.

2.) If you extend Lasch’s observation about ‘exposure’ to the general culture one might argue that this is a consequence of the confessional booth going into abeyance in the Church and the Church where the confessional booth is present going into abeyance in the culture. One could reason that there is something inherent in human nature that desires to make its seamy side known to somebody, or similarly one might argue that there is something about every culture that requires ‘exposure.’ Catholic culture has the confessional booth. Communist culture had forced confession of sins against the revolution. When that exposure isn’t weaved into the culture in a sensible way it comes out in Maury Povich and Oprah Winfrey talk shows.

3.) Such exposure creates a weird sense of ‘community,’ but this sense of community is reflective not of the friendship that normally denominated concrete and traditional communities but rather it is a abstract community of strangers where all that links this community of strangers together is their dysfunction and their exposure.

4.) Ever since the fall man has had the tendency to hide himself from God because man was ashamed of his sin. I believe what we are seeing in this culture of exposure is that man, both those who are doing the exposing and those who are titillated by the exposure, have lost the sense of being ashamed of sin, and so have lost the fear of God.

5.) Traditionally exposure through confession was a means of self-denial but in a culture of exposure, exposure by confession is a means of self-inflation. The cameras are rolling or the small group who has gathered for mutual affirmation are sympathetically looking on and the conditions are right for self to be inflated. In a culture of exposure people begin to wish that they had something aberrant that they could confess before the world.

When Compassion Is Sin

(Policies based on a therapeutic model have) “give rise to a cult of the victim in which entitlements are based on the display of accumulated injuries inflicted by an uncaring society. The politics of ‘compassion’ degrades both the victims, by reducing them to objects of pity, and their would be benefactors, who find it easier to pity their fellow citizens than to hold them up to impersonal standards, the attainment of which would make them respected. Compassion has become the human face of contempt.”

Christopher Lasch
Article — For Shame

The consequence of this reality that Lasch describes

1.) Is not the relief of the victim but rather the empowerment of those who draw attention to the victim. For example, race pimps could not hold the power that they hold were it not for their ability to be the official spokesmen and representatives for victims.

2.) Is a political culture whereby power is gained by manipulating guilt by promising to relieve the victims of their situation thus relieving the putative oppressors of their guilt. This explains, at least in part, the phenomenon of Barack Obama’s popularity among white guilt ridden voters. Voting for Obama is a twofer. It not only relieves them of their guilt but it also provides direct relief for one of those who have ‘suffered’ at the hands of their putative oppression.

Political campaigns are thus characterized as a prolonged series of stump speeches that identify both victims and victimizers and looks for votes from both groups so that those who are victims are promised relief from their oppression and those who are victimizers are promised that their vote will provide atoning relief from their alleged oppressive behavior.

The really odd thing is that many people who are not guilty of being victimizers own the guilt and grasp the solution to their guilt that the politician promises. This may happen because pagans know they really are guilty and so live with an ongoing sense of guilt but since they won’t turn to Christ, who alone can provide atonement for their objective guilt, they grasp at other means that are offered, by which atonement can be by self-achieved by the atoning action of casting a vote that will temporarily relieve their conscience. R. J. Rushdoony called this ‘The Politics of Guilt and Pity.’

That which I really love about this quote is how it draws a direct line between compassion (so-called) and contempt. The human heart being the source of all that is foul takes one of the noblest virtues that it can find and twists it to such a degree that compassion is really contempt in disguise with the result that we lose the capacity to be able to know and distinguish what both compassion and contempt really look like.

Musings On Harnack & Barth

Adolph Harnack gave the Church a immanent and historical Jesus without a transcendent and ascended Christ. Karl Barth responded by giving the Church a transcendent and supra-historical Christ without a immanent historical Jesus. Harnack was all history and no kerygma. Barth was all kerygma and no history. The result of each was a skewed christology that resulted in each school, though at severe odds with one another, embracing a subjective Jesus.

Inevitability Of The Gods

“Western society, in turning away from Christian faith, has turned to other things. This process is commonly called secularization, but that conveys only the negative aspect. the word connotes the turning away from the worship of God while ignoring the fact that something is being turned to in its place. Even atheisms are usually idolatrous, as Neibuhr said, because they elevate some ‘principle of coherence’ to the central meaning of life and this is what then provides the focus of significance for that life.”

Herbert Schlossberg
Idols For Destruction — pg. 6

This observation by Schlossberg is a the stake through the heart of Westminster West Concordia Seminary (WWCS) radical two kingdom theology (R2kt). WWSC desires a secular, pluralistic, putatively non-religious culture but they advocate for that without realizing that the codification of a secular pluralistic putatively non-religious culture creates a religious culture where the god that has been elevated to provide the ‘principle of coherence’ is a god who will create a civil cult that insists that all the various gods of all those varying competing cults which are part of the pluralistic society must stay within the confines of their religious ghettos. With all the gods (including the God of the Bible) restricted to their religious ghettos what happens is that the putatively common realm will be guided by a god that goes about wearing the garb of non-existence. In other words when we seek to sanitize the public square of God, or when we pretend that the public square can be ruled by ‘no-God’ because it is a common realm, what transpires is that the god who rules the public secular square is a god who escapes notice by his adherents insisting that the god that is ruling doesn’t really exist and will argue that the way things are in the culture is ‘just the way things are supposed to be.’