The Myth of Social Equality
Written by Winter Trabex.
Centuries of oppressive feudalism, combined with ruinous wars with England, and a continued oblivious monarchy turned the nation of France into a powder keg by the end of the 18th century. One group of people were poor (the working class) while another group of people were rich (the aristocracy). The government found itself deep in debt through a series of financial mismanagement decisions. To alleviate this situation, heavier taxes were imposed. In other words, working-class people would have to pay (literally) for the mistakes of the nobility.
This all came to a head in May of 1789 when the people of France had finally had enough: the three estates of France, the clergy (the first estate), the nobles (the second estate) and the people (the third estate) met in the Estates-General of 1789. The Estates-General had been summoned by King Louis XVI to resolve the government’s financial crisis. Naturally, the people would not countenance a higher imposition of taxes upon themselves from a king who had already shown that he could not balance his checkbook. The third estate broke off from the Estates-General in June of 1789 by forming the National Assembly, beginning what historians call the French Revolution.
Liberty, Egality, and Fraternity was the rallying cry of those who supported the revolutionary cause. It was thought that by turning over the power in the country to the people, a more just, fair society would develop. Rather than a king with nearly unlimited authority to do as he wished, there would instead be a group of representatives who could check the ambitions of each other, thus ensuring that no one person’s influence proved to be too destructive.
However, what replaced the aristocratic feudal system in France was not at all what anyone expected. Rather than each man acting towards the good of his fellows, each man acted according to his own prejudices. The National Assembly merely gave voice to the confused, intransigent nature of politics. Under the king, however badly he might have ruled, he had a single aim and a single goal, that of maintaining and increasing his own power. Ruled by the people, anything could be taken for legitimate, and anything was.
Out of the revolution emerged Maximilien Robespierre. Robespierre was a lawyer who, though having opposed the death penalty, nonetheless was accused of being “the soul of terror” during the Reign of Terror from 1790 to 1794 in which people were sent to the guillotine for any reason at all. Life was not treated as important, and death was the primary instrument through which social change was sought.
In this environment, it may not be any surprise to discover that the Thermidorian Reaction- the revolt of the revolutionaries against Robespierre and others like him- was perpetrated with the very same violence that Robespierre himself utilized for the purpose of eliminating his opposition. The sword had proven offensive by reason of it being capable of taking human life; thus, the pistol was introduced to put an end to the sword’s tyranny. It may not be any surprise to discover that the French Revolution- in which social change was attempted by means of violence- gave rise to one of history’s worst aggressors, Napoleon Bonaparte.
Robespierre himself soon found that the blade of Madame Guillotine waited for him. In 1794, crying out in agony from a shattered jaw, Robespierre was executed. The French Revolution would last until 1799. By 1804, the dictatorship of Napoleon began.
When I consider all these events, and other similar ones throughout history, I find myself reminded of the danger of creating an equitable society. Equality, as a concept, often depends entirely on the subjective viewpoint of those who seek to establish it. Feminists and Gay Rights people would define equality differently than fundamentalist Christians, or Mormons. For some, equality would mean allowing people to marry a person of any gender. For others, it would mean allowing people to marry as many people- male or female- as seems most satisfactory to themselves.
The danger of creating social equality through the passage of legislation often means that one group is favored while another group is marginalized, or forgotten. This is exactly the case with LGBT people and bigamists, the first of whom has a powerful voice in politics dedicated to putting into law protections for themselves, but not for the second group who continually find themselves shut out, unable to live as they wish. Naturally, when anyone tries to point out that equality cannot be achieved through the establishment of privilege, many on the social justice side of the argument become unreasonably upset. Failure to support their cause on their terms is the same opposing their cause, and how could anyone ever do that for they seek nothing less but the social equity of humankind in which everyone is treated equally.
This, of course, is a false dogma created by a dialetic rooted in perceived inequality. Those who seek social equality often fail to realize that it is the state itself, or more properly, the concentrated authority of the state, which exacerbates naturally-occurring differences between people into substantial sociological problems. The state disproportionately harasses and arrests black men and women with the result that black men and women are seen on the evening news every night, being held responsible for one crime or another. The state sends its enforcement agents to collect additional revenue in the form of fines; this is accomplished by beating people into submission. The most natural course for any enforcement agent looking to collect revenue is to beat those whom he perceives to be unable to resist. What began as a social inequality thousands of years ago due to the natural strength of a woman’s body, as opposed to that of a man, has become a means of victimization for women everywhere.
Women who feel oppressed, or feel that they have fewer opportunities in life than men, do not immediately come to the conclusion of seeking to abolish, or make obsolete, the state which oppresses them. Instead, their quest for gender equality often leads them down erroneous paths such as “ban men,” a phrase that would do nothing to change the injustice perpetrated by the state on a daily basis. The state’s actors would merely by women. Women would oppress women, instead of men oppressing women. Social equality would not, and can never be, achieved in this manner, just as the French Revolution did not achieve equality for anyone by replacing one centralized authority figure with another.
Even presuming that such equality does not arise by means of legislation, it is still nonetheless absurd to presume that a vast group of people, all of whom have had different experiences, different educational backgrounds, work in different vocations, live in different areas, socialize with different people, should all be treated equally upon one basis or another. To do so removes the process of selective evaluation which causes people to treat each other by what they have earned. A man who works 80 hours a week at a job will, over the course of time, be treated differently in his workplace than a man who works only 20 hours a week. Whether their productivity per hour is the same, whether their skills are the same, does not factor into it. The owner of the company, seeing that one person produces more value to the company than another, will naturally prefer one person over another. This selective difference demonstrates discriminating preference- not discrimination conceived in malice, but discrimination conceived in the evaluation of the facts available to the owner.
Social equality, in whatever form, does away with selective preference. People are forced to treat each other with respect and courtesy, even though some (such as agents of the state) may not always be deserving of such. In this manner, equality becomes a variation of socialism, one which is based upon supposed good will, instead of income and economics. Just as economic socialism- a system of punishing the productive while rewarding the non-productive- is ultimately a destructive methodology, so too is “emotional socialism.” In this case, emotional socialism is the system that punishes the man who thinks for himself while rewarding the man who lets others think for him. It is a system that enshrines the collectivism of groupthink while vilifying individual cognitive function.
Of course, emotional socialists- those who wish to establish societal equality- fail to realize that their system is unworkable in the long run. Removing a person’s discriminating taste also removes that person’s ability to accept or reject another person’s behavior or identity upon any basis whatsoever. An individual who is a violent thief (at the very best) in the person of a police officer nevertheless receives special treatment because he wishes to have sexual intercourse with a person of the same gender as himself. His crimes, however legalized they may have been, are overlooked when he finally triumphs against the system by entering into a marriage contract with the partner of his choice. Rejecting this officer’s marriage becomes unthinkable for an emotional socialist, for that socialist has forgotten the possibilities and perils of being discriminatory.
Without discrimination, we as a society would be unable to reject the behavior of bad businessmen, or bad individuals. We would be unable to act upon discernment of whether we believed a person to be good or bad. We would be forced, like the French revolutionaries of centuries ago, to accept into compulsory brotherhood those whom we would rather not encounter. Such a system cannot long sustain itself save by compulsion, for people who realize that not all gay couples are good couples soon voice this opinion. Gay marriage advocates who believe otherwise, that all gay couples are good couples, only have the law to resort to in order to enforce their feel-good ethos.
Few such advocates understand how dangerous an instrument the law can be. At best, the law provides for institutionalized theft and kidnapping. At worst, it provides for mass murder, genocide, nuclear attacks, torture, mass incarceration, and corruption on a gigantic scale. Trying to create social equality by passing laws is no different than trying to create an equitable society by drawing pistols upon distasteful tyrants. Both methods produce the same result: inequality, compulsion, and violence. The only thing that changes is the person receiving the benefits of societal privilege generated by state law.
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