05 June 2013

Day 229: Can Equality only be Achieved through Inequality? | Equality and Human Rights – Part 7

Within the next blogs to follow within the Equality and Human Rights Series, we will be working our way through some selected quotes/statements with regards to Equality and Inequality.

These statements are either direct quotes or summarizations of lengthy statements which have been summarized for the sake of brevity from the book ‘Political Ideas’ compiled by S.L. Kant.

Within this blog we will be looking at the following statement, which mostly consists of a quote by Robert Nozick, who was an American political philosopher and strong proponent of the minimal-state:

There are two ways of providing equality of opportunity, namely “by directly worsening the situations of those more favored with opportunity, or by improving the situation of those less well-favored. The latter requires the use of resources, and so it too involves worsening the situation of some: those from whom holdings are taken in order to improve the situation of others”
The first point which requires to be clarified, is that in political and philosophical discourse a distinction is made between various ‘kinds’ or ‘types’ of equality.
Examples of this are:

- Legal Equality
- Political Equality
- Social Equality
- Equality of Opportunity
- Economic Equality

Within the context of Equal Money and the Equal Life Foundation, we only focus on one ‘kind’ of Equality, which is Equality as Life:

The First Fundamental Human Right that the Equal Life Foundation Promotes and Underwrites is that: Every Individual, Every Human Being has an Equal Life Right. That means: the Life You Have is Equal in Each One at the Point of Birth. That which Separates Man from Man is What Happens After-Birth once your Education starts for instance or your Environment Influences you, your Parents Influence you or the System Influences you - then You Start becoming a Separate Individual and are Taught Not to Respect the First Point that Makes your Existence Possible, which is Life. Life - that is the One Thing that is the Same. You cannot say: “One Person Has More Life than Another Person” – that Life, as a Life Force, is the Same in Each One and thus is the First Fundamental Right.
The Equal Life Foundation recognizes the Equal Right to Life as the first Inherent and Inalienable Right of Every Human Being endowed with the Breath of Life and Herewith Declares that an Equal Life Right Shall Include for all Living Men, Women and Children
The point that every human shares, the point that all Living Beings share – is that they are alive. We are all Equally, living, breathing, beings – Here – on this Planet. So whether you are a person with the characteristics to make a philosopher or a person with the characteristics to make a baker – the fact still stands that you are a human and you are alive. This stands indeterminate of the variety of characteristics we share among ourselves that make us ‘different’. So even though we are ‘different’, we can, and are still, equal: in Life – and should treat each other accordingly.

Thus, as we have seen in the previous blog Day 227: When is something Equal and Unequal? – Equality and Human Rights – Part 6, the only Equality which is relevant is that which is directly linked and connect to the support of Life, and the Inequalities which are relevant are those that hamper/diminish Life.

We will thus ignored the first part of the statement in terms of the statement referring to ‘Equality of Opportunity’ and we will take this as Equality in general.

So, within this statement a distinction is made between two particular groups, the ‘more favoured of opportunity’(Group A) and ‘those less favoured’ (Group B). The assumption is made that, in order to come to Equality, we have two options available:

1. Group A needs to be disadvantaged in order to be ‘level’ with Group B
2. Group B requires advancement in order to be ‘level’ with Group A

The writer states that, no matter which course we take – we end up ‘abusing’ Group A, because we either directly ‘disadvantage them’ or indirectly disadvantage them by ‘taking resource from them’ to provide support for Group B.

There are several points which require to be addressed with regards to the implications of this statement:

1. Narrow Definition of Equality: Equality as Sameness
2. False/Irrelevant Dilemma
3. Ideas and Values concerning Intervention (Interpretation of Inequality)

Narrow Definition of Equality: Equality as Sameness

This issue has been discussed in Day 225: Equality and Disinformation - Equality and Human Rights – Part 4, where it was said that:

Those who come from a more liberal point of view, tend to use the word Equality and Inequality, synonymously with ‘the same’ and ‘different’ respectively. Thus, whenever something is different – the argument is made that it is ‘unequal’. When something is ‘exactly the same’ – it is supposedly equal (Which explains where ludicrous statements such as ‘if you want to make people equal you will have to genetically disable the more able’ come from).

This leaves us on the one hand, with a very ‘black and white’ view on Equality -- Where two beings or more are equal only, if and when they are the same in every respect – and on the other hand a very broad view on that which is Unequal, where any two or more beings are ‘unequal’ the moment any form of ‘difference’ is exhibited. As we all know, there are many things that can be ‘different’ and thus it is easy to argue that something is ‘unequal’ when one places one’s definition of ‘Unequal’ equivalent to ‘Different’.

This is applicable to the particular statement we are discussing today, as the writer takes on a very limited view on Equality as Sameness where apparently to be ‘Equal’, those who are ‘more favoured’ require to be ‘unfavoured’ in some way or another to be just as ‘disadvantaged’ as everyone else. So if you would broadly split up humanity into for instance people who have complete physical functioning and those who were either born or through events ended up with some form of physical dysfunction or handicap – we would have to disable all those who are physically completely functional so that everyone can be dysfunctional / handicapped and thus ‘be the same’. In terms of Equality as Life, this is of course complete nonsense because this ‘Equality as Sameness’ as ‘Everyone being just as Dysfunctional/Disabled’ has got nothing to do with Supporting and Honouring Life and is thus not Real Equality. In fact, from an Equality as Life Perspective, this would constitute a Human Rights Violation because we are unnecessarily limiting Life for the sake of a Perverted Idea of Equality as Sameness.

False/Irrelevant Dilemma

The writer puts forward a False Dilemma within giving us an ‘either/or’ option to be able to achieve Equality. This Dilemma falls away instantaneously when we recalibrate our definition of Equality to that of Equality as Life. This is because the Dilemma stems from the narrow definition of Equality within looking and analyzing the situation from a purely homogenous perspective, where the writer’s conception of Equality as Sameness can only be achieved by either adding or extracting the variable which makes us heterogeneous/different, and as such this ‘dilemma’ is not Relevant to Equality as Life as these additions or extractions are not in function of the support of Life on Earth, and does have nothing to do with Actual Equality.

Ideas and Values concerning Intervention (Interpretation of Inequality)

This point relates to the author’s perception of outcome within intervening within the current allocation and distributive system of resources. Since physical resources are relevant to the support of Life on Earth, their allocation and distribution is relevant to the discussion of Equality. Within our current world system and established ‘way of life’ – resources are distributed through a system of merit and discrimination, where one needs to ‘pay up’ and ‘deserve’ resources before one’s Life is secured. Life Security is not a given, and made a variable/function of one’s ‘favorability’ -- to use the writer’s words – which can broadly be interpreted as one’s productive capacity (skills, talents, education) and productive background (social and economic).

Not all Life is nurtured and supported, where some beings are being allocated resources excessive of their actual physical needs and requirements – and where others are being allocated resources deficient of their physical needs and requirements, inhibiting their ability to sustain themselves as Life.

The writer is concerned that the distribution of resources in order to achieve Equality will result in a form of ‘diminishment’ and ‘worsening’ of one’s situation – which is often what is meant within saying that ‘Equality can only be achieved through Inequality’ – where the ‘taking of resources’ which are or could have been ‘someone else’s’, is a form of violation of a person’s integrity and value which is seen as an unacceptable sacrifice. In terms of the ‘concern’ factor as a ‘fear of abuse’, it is suggested to read the following Justice and Human Rights Series blog: Day 228: False Dilemma: Abuse or be Abused – Social Justice and Human Rights - Part 6, which explains how the fear aspect can easily be eliminated once we understand how we are able to work together and yet eliminate abuse.

Again, because the writer is coming from a view on Equality as Sameness, any change/alteration made to be an ‘inequality’, and thus by virtue of it being an ‘act of inequality’, would invalidate the very end of Equality (meaning, it is unacceptable to achieve Equality if it has to be done through Inequality).

Here, we simply again recalibrate our definition of Inequality to that of Inequality in Respect to Life, where Inequalities are only relevant/matter in so far that they hamper and reduce one’s ability to Live a Life of Quality. As such, any movement and distribution of resources towards the insurance and security of a Life of Quality for All on Earth, cannot possibly be deemed to be an act of ‘inequality’ as one’s ability to Live a Life of Quality is not being diminished in any way whatsoever, but merely being extended to everyone else on the Planet as well. Any movement of resources which would result in a lack or diminishment in one’s ability to Live a Life of Quality would be in violation of one’s Right to Life and would have to be immediately rectified.

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