Being brought up during the cold war in the U.S., I’ve heard everything about equality. At first, it sounded good and made sense. Now, I can see otherwise. The ‘modern equality’ is certainly not what it started out as. It has been distorted, warped, and all sorts of other motives have been placed in its name that it has become a useless name. Oftentimes, it is a term used by some people for personal benefit, gain, and profit.
Originally, equality was a legal term referring to a specific situation. All it meant is that all the people will be treated by the same legal standpoint. The common man will be treated like the nobility and clergy and receive the same privelages. No favoritism. No scapegoating. No needless condemnation. No false imprisonement. These, really, are basic human principles seen all over the world. There’s really nothing ‘revolutionary’ about it, in actuality.
But, as time went on, it changed from the original intention. Its use by the law opened doors to its use or, rather, abuse. People began to find that it could be used to further their ’cause’. It became, in a sense, a ‘means to an end’, a new ‘weapon in the legal arsenal’.
This was so effectual and ‘got agendas done’ that, as time went on, it began to be used beyond its legal perspective that, by the time of the 1970’s, it began to meant that EVERYTHING must be equal. It began to applied to practically every aspect of life: how I speak to people, the words I use, how I treat people, who I hire, how I look at people, how I expect other people to be, and so on. In other words, it began to intrude into everyday life and the association with other people. Because of this, it has disrupted human society. It has created what can be described as the “Legally Equal Society”. In this type of society, the legal point of view determines social behavour. It dictates right and wrong and how things should be done. In so doing, it has made social association somewhat ‘inhuman’ and artificial. Social relations are no longer on human terms, or traditional terms, or cultural terms, or religious terms, but the ‘inhuman’ legal terms that fit the legal point of view and mentality. This has had devastating effects in my opinion.
It has created an attitude of apprehension and fear. How many times have I spoken to people who are “scared to say something or even talk to someone for fear of being sued”? You can lose your job if someone doesn’t like what you say or do, and even get sued.
It has created an attitude of a willingness to condemn and criticize by some people (the people who benefit by it). In other words, its created a situation where some people will use the ‘law’ to get their way and as a power tool. I’ve known people whose whole attitude in life is that they will ‘sue’ if things don’t go the way they want (I have always jokingly called these people the “sewers”).
This condition has created a feeling of resentment, lack of respect, and distrust in society. It hangs over us like a cloud. In reality, it has had devastating effects on respect in our society. How many times have I heard people say that they don’t know whats right or wrong anymore or talk with contempt about the law? To me, this seems commonplace nowadays. Is it any wonder?
It has created a condition where society does not follow human principles. This means that society is not ‘human’. I’ve seen many people ‘bewildered’ by the statement of the legal system and its laws. Many of us don’t know what the law means anymore. Most of its principles are so abstract and specific that only a person trained in it can even understand it.
It has created all these weird attitudes and points of views. This point of view has created whole philosophies of paranoia and fear that run rampant in our society. Since we are all ‘equal’ its a crime to note differences between people. We’ve all become a blurr. To make some distinctions can get you sued. We allow people in certain professions, for example, that really shouldn’t be there because, legally, they are ‘equal’. We allow ‘minorities’ and other people who normally don’t go into some professions special privelage, pushing out the people who are actually qualified (I know that from personal experience). In reality, the ‘new equality’ is nothing but a ‘new inequality’. It just justifies its inequality in an ‘acceptable’ way.
All in all, it has been so effective that it has been abused and misused to death that it has created a warped system and society. These are not the intents or purpose of the idea of ‘equality’. It was never intended to be used this way or interpreted this way. It’s another example of a ‘good idea gone wrong’.
Not only that, the fact is that though people can be ‘equal’ in the abstract legal way, they are not equal as human beings. There are all sorts of gradations and variations of people. Not everyone is the same as the other. Some people are good at this, some are good at that, and so on. Different people also have different characters and traits. This makes it so that some require more than others. Some require different treatment than others. In actuality, most of us are treated according to our character and quality as human beings. What this means is that there is no equality in people as human beings. We cannot all be treated the same. To say that is ridiculous. To treat people equally would mean that we are treating people ‘out of context’. In a sense, we are living a lie (I always jokingly say we are “treating a cat like a dog”). Because of this, we are not treating people according to who they are. This creates for an ‘unhuman’ situation. In actuality, that situation degrades the human person.
But to say that people are not ‘equal as human beings’ is not a degradation, nor is it an insult, nor is it an undermining. I can hear people saying that. In actuality, it is an acknowledgement of our humanity for the variations in humanity is a trait of humanity. In that sense, it is a compliment. This states, then, that human beings are not ‘equal’, nor should they be treated as such. Therefore, in a human society, people cannot be treated as ‘equals’ as that idea, in actuality, is undermining to our humanity as human beings. It also does not fit into the reality of life. This makes it so that the idea of equality in everything and in everyday life is actually the degradation, an insult, an undermining. As I said above, its ‘unhuman’.
My general feelings is that there should not be an ‘equality’ in everyday life, social relations, or in the law. To me, this is a bad and erronous perspective, as it denies are basic differences as human beings. What we need, really, is a “fairness” more than an equality, in my opinion. A ‘spirit of fairness’ will go further than any equality will.
The problem is that equality is easier to manage and apply than fairness is. It’s easier to fit into abstract legal concepts. It’s also easier to ‘criminalize’ too. Fairness requires more ‘sense’ and judgement, which usually does not work well with the legal situation. Not only that, fairness can vary much with judgement. That is to say, it is not a science and its often not often a black and white sort of a situation. All these make fairness more difficult to implement than the legal idea of ‘equality’.
Overall, though, it seems that all ‘equality’ has created is a new form of ‘inequality’. In my opinion, it hasn’t really helped that much. It’s like the former inequality still exists, its just changed form and has switched to another group of people. In addition, it has created a mechanism of abuse that is used quite extensively by many people today. This has made it so that, in many ways, the abuse of ‘equality’ is by far more abused and misused now than centuries ago.