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Creeping egalitarianism

By Rachel Alexander
web posted April 3, 2006

Perhaps the biggest lesson learned in the 20th century was that communism does not work. Forced equality is an oxymoron. As Francis Fukuyama wrote in The End of History and the Last Man,the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 brought about the realization that liberal democracy had triumphed as the optimal form of government for civilization. Communism did not work and could not work, because human nature is inherently flawed. The communist ruling class itself was corrupt, and greed quickly supplanted any idealistic notion of creating equality for all people. In their desire to control the masses, communist leaders did not take into account human nature. Humans have an innate desire to be free, which includes the freedom to help others. Under communist rule this freedom was severely limited, leaving the common people unable to be creative and use initiative. They lacked the ability to prevent those around them from starving to death from a lack of sustainable work.

Yet less than 20 years after the fall of communism, egalitarianism is returning, unashamedly under the banner of communism and socialism in the former Soviet and eastern bloc countries, and more subtly in the West under the guise of multiculturalism, diversity, and secularization. As civilization becomes increasingly prosperous, people find less important things to complain about. The current trend is to dramatize differences in life experiences – no longer just disparities in wealth - and assert those differences as proof why government should pass laws to make society more egalitarian.

Superficially, being concerned about inequality sounds kindhearted and altruistic. History tells us, however, that it is naïve. Communism disguised as good intentions and feel good words is still communism.

The population under age 30 is too young to remember or were not around when the former Soviet Union fell. They never saw TV coverage of gaunt Russians in lines outside empty grocery stores, photos of dissidents wasting away in GULAG labor camps, or threats against the West like Khrushchev's "We will bury you."

What they can understand, however, is an analogy to marriage. In a marriage, both the husband and wife must make compromises for the marriage to work. In theory, although it sounds good to say that both spouses are completely equal in the marriage, it is impossible, no matter how progessive the marriage is. For example, if the wife prefers to watch politics, but the husband prefers to watch sports, unless they want to have separate living rooms and hang out alone, one or both of them is going to have to compromise.

Or, let's say the couple has a baby, and both parents work. When the baby wakes up at night, who is going to get up and console it? It is probably going to be the parent with the less demanding job, or the parent who needs less sleep. If it is the parent who needs less sleep, this is a physical difference between the two that cannot be resolved by treating both parents equally – if so, it would unfairly punish the parent who needs more sleep.

Similarly, egalitarianism today fails to take into account physical differences and the fact that human beings must compromise in order to live together. Let's look at a common form of equalization pushed today, language. In theory, it sounds fair that immigrants should be able to receive information in their native language, just like we receive information in English, and it seems kind to permit them to hear their country praised equally as much as we praise our own country. But practically, it is impossible. First, the cost is prohibitive. Providing translation into many different languages costs taxpayers millions of dollars.

Secondly, the results are ludicrous. If we were to truly be fair, we would include translation into every single language spoken in the U.S. – a total of 176 languages. Imagine walking into a government office where every notice on the wall is written in 176 languages. It is just not possible.

Finally, separating people by groups erodes their identification as a nation, resulting in balkanization and civil war. We learned that lesson from slavery, which separated people by race, almost splitting the country apart with the American Civil War, where between 600,000 and 700,000 lives were lost. Today that lesson is being learned in other parts of the world; in Africa between different races and different tribes, in the former Soviet Union and eastern bloc countries between different ethnicities, and in many other parts of the world where diverse groups value their own identity over the common good of the nation.

The solution to managing differences between groups in society is the same as it is in marriage; there must always be compromise in order to achieve the optimal situation of people getting along with each other. Furthermore, the compromise must provide an optimal situation for the largest number of people, not for a minority. Rarely will the interests of the minority outweigh the interests of the majority even when the interest of the majority may sometimes result in death for a minority.

In a free society, there is always going to be some risk of death in every conceivable action. In other words, no matter how many precautions are required, accidental deaths will occur. If we were to require everyone to walk around in blubber suits, and forbid them from driving cars or owning any weapons or prescription drugs, there would still be accidental deaths. Therefore, generally, other than situations more severe to the minority than a few accidental deaths, the compromise should benefit the majority. Let's call this modified version of majoritarian rule the "workajority."

One of the most disturbing areas today where egalitarianism is replacing the workajority is in the religious ambit. The optimal compromise, which should acknowledge Christianity as the prevailing religion permitting the majority to worship unimpeded, while tolerating other religions, is being displaced by a radical egalitarianism mandating that Christianity be permitted no more presence in society than other religions and even secularism. The absurdity of this tenet can be seen when it is considered that secularism means no religion. Since it is impossible to give both secularism and all the other hundreds of religions in the U.S. completely equal treatment, secularism has prevailed, resulting in the exclusion of virtually all religion from public life, as the secular minority rules under the guise of "egalitarianism."

Using words like "equality," "discrimination," and "tolerance," a divisive minority is fooling the majority into eroding the workajority optimal compromises that hold this country together. Using deceptive analogies, such as unrelated horrific events from past history, a hostile minority is able to frighten people into running from common sense.

Since almost half of today's population did not witness the fall of communism, maybe the way to reverse this trend is not to look to the past. Instead, put the word "diversity" on a poster of Serbs and Albanians slaughtering each other. Put the word "equality" on a poster of despondent Chinese religious dissidents languishing in prison. Transform the disingenuous words used by the egalitarians into reality. And paint a picture of marriage where both husband and wife spend excessive amounts of time ensuring that everything is done equally – each one's superior abilities in an area dumbed down to match the other's lesser ability. Even if one spouse is better at tracking the finances, or prefers to vacuum rather than shop for groceries, any division other than 50/50 is "unfair," "oppressive" and "unequal." Which leads to the question, is it fair if the husband drinks Coke and the wife drinks Pepsi?

Rachel Alexander is the founder of the wildly popular Intellectual Conservative.

 

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