An Inegalitarian Case for Equality

I’m not an absolutist about equality. I do believe that in a variety of ways it is possible for one person to be unequal to, or we might even say superior to, another.

However, with that said, I am supportive of some of the kinds of progressive efforts toward greater equality.

The reason is, I believe inequalities should be meaningful and justifiable, rather than arbitrary and senseless. If a person of great virtue has more of wealth or honour than a less virtuous neighbour, on account of that virtue and in proportion to it, then I’m not so bothered. But if one person has more because of and in proportion to the wealth of parents or colour of skin, then we should be working to change that.

That’s not to say the change should be sudden or clumsy. It seems most likely to succeed if it is both surgical and patient, but tenacious.

And the more we can succeed in it, the more we will open the way for the best sorts of inequalities to appear, for the great to rise and for the vicious to face the true cost of their vices.

Often, people who believe in greatness and virtue and honour and power will protest against projects to flatten out society. Their error is that they fail to recognize the different sorts of inequality, and to recognize that bad inequalities are a barrier to the best inequalities.

If they could recognize that error, then we might find common cause across the ideological aisle a little more often.

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