Take a look at the following list and tell me if anything strikes you:
Viewing these, the Seven Cardinal Virtues, anything make an impression? Okay, now try the Seven Heavenly Virtues of:
Anything? What strikes me is that equality is not among them.
Scour great works, such as the Bible, and you won’t find much talk of equality — that is, unless you consider The Communist Manifesto a great work.
One thing about virtues — which are defined as “good moral habits” — is that their exercise doesn’t require the cooperation, or compulsion, of another person. I can cultivate prudence, temperance, courage and the other virtues in myself, and I can do it all by myself. So while a virtuous society is desirable, virtue can also be a purely personal goal. And this is one time when focusing on the self needn’t be selfish, for we should take the log out of our own eyes before worrying about the speck in our brother’s.
But equality is far different. Just as there can be no numerical equality without at least two numbers, there can be no human equality on an island with a population of one. And while you could increase patience through personal change, increasing equality necessitates societal change; it involves raising people up as much as they’re able — which requires their cooperation — and insofar as they’re unable, it involves bringing others down. This is where compulsion enters the equation. The point is that, unlike with virtues, increasing equality is always an endeavor of the collective.
Another quality of virtues is that, as Aristotle noted, their cultivation is necessary for a happy life. And lack of virtue in the collective can make life harder, such as when the government stifles just economic freedom (excessive regulation), suppresses truth (hate-speech laws) or imposes some other aspect of tyranny. We also want our survival needs fulfilled: enough food and water and a roof over our heads. And we’d like the opportunity to pursue proper pleasures and dreams and exercise our creative capacity. But is actual “equality” necessary for happiness?
A long time ago, in a “previous life,” I was an aspiring tennis player. I wanted to be the best. Alas, though, it just wasn’t in the cards — I didn’t have the talent of a Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal. Yet the cards also taught me something: being a famous athlete just isn’t that important, and it certainly isn’t necessary for happiness. And what would it say about me if my happiness (or what I fancy such) were dependent upon those more talented fellows being brought down to my level?
Using a more common example, consider income inequality. If Bill Gates had never made his billions, it not only wouldn’t have put one more cent in your pocket, society would be poorer because we wouldn’t have the jobs and productivity-enhancing products he created. Moreover, when the rich invest their money in stocks, companies are provided working capital. The rich may put it in banks, too, and banks aren’t just money warehouses; they provide loans to businesses. So both these activities facilitate economic growth and more job creation. Given this, what does it say about a person when he nonetheless wants the rich cut down to size? Well, it reminds me of Friedrich Nietzsche’s line in Thus Spake Zarathustra: “If there were Gods, how could I bear not to be a God? Consequently there are no Gods.” The class-warfare warrior may claim fellowship with the poor, but often something else lies deep in his heart: “If there are rich people, how can I bear to not be a rich person? Consequently, there must be no rich people.” Like Nietzsche, he is what he is; that his ire’s targets are greater or have more doesn’t make him less. Regardless, he’s only satisfied to be what he is if those who would have or be more don’t exist. This is because of one or both of two deadly sins: pride and envy. The cures for these, by the way, are the corresponding virtues of humility and kindness — not “equality.” Equality is the voodoo medicine of the vice-ridden man blind to virtue.
Be thankful equality isn’t necessary for happiness, too, because it is completely contrary to nature. Some species are more dominant than others; some unsuited to survival become extinct; and within species some members are bigger, stronger or faster than others. And animals have their dominance hierarchies; a silverback leads a gorilla troop, a wolf pack has an alpha male and female and chickens actually do have a pecking order.
People are no different. There are natural-born leaders and followers, alpha and beta personalities, and individuals have different gifts and capacities. The world had always recognized this, too. In fact, when young Therese of Lisieux was bothered by the idea that people would have different places even in Heaven, she was instructed to get her thimble and her father’s tumbler and fill them with water. She then was asked, “Which is more full?” Of course, secular modernists will criticize this as a Christian justification for prejudice and discrimination, but what does their world view imply?
The reality is that there’s a huge contradiction between belief in cosmic-accident evolution and belief in human equality. First, when even just one couple has a child, there are a whopping 3.1 billion possible combinations. Then there’s group variation. Do you really believe groups could have “evolved” isolated from one another for hundreds of thousands or even millions of years — subject to different environments, stresses and adaptive requirements —and wound up being the same in every respect? This is a mathematical impossibility and a brazenly unscientific notion. As G.K. Chesterton put it, if people “were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal.”
Whatever your belief about creation, group variation in physical being and capacities is apparent. A gynecologist once told me that black women didn’t suffer as frequently from descended uteruses because they have stronger abdominal walls. And Dr. Walter Williams tells us here and here:
Prostate cancer is nearly twice as common among black men as white men. Cervical cancer rates are five times higher among Vietnamese women in the U.S. than among white women. …Male geniuses outnumber female geniuses 7-to-1. …[D]uring the 1960s, the Chinese minority in Malaysia received more university degrees than the Malay majority — including 400 engineering degrees compared with four for the Malays, even though Malays dominate the country politically. …[Jews are] only two-tenths of 1 percent of the world’s population. Yet between 1901 and 2010, Jews were…22 percent of the world’s [Nobel Laureate winners].
And is the last statistic any surprise? Ashkenazi Jews have the highest I.Q. of any group.
Because this is an inherently unequal world, the actions of equality dogmatists such as today’s liberals can be understood as rebellion against nature. This also helps explain why they — from the French Revolutionaries to the communists to today’s liberals — practice tyranny. When your agenda is so contrary to nature and, more to the point, man’s nature, people will quite naturally act contrary to it. In fact, they will quite naturally be contrary to it. And since people can only be what they are, the agents of unnatural agendas will often say they are not to be. For no one likes having his plans spoiled, and these social engineers, enraged, will lash out at those not “good enough” to conform to the program. This of course is everyone, and killing fields are the ultimate result.
We’re not there yet, but the cultural killing field is all around us. We have government decrees stating that if groups perform differently on a test (e.g., a police exam), it is by definition “discriminatory”; and that students must be punished in racially proportional ways. We see quotas and affirmative action and lawsuits and destructive discrimination, as we tear ourselves apart fighting nature. And why? Among other things, if you believe all groups are equal in all ways, it follows that you’ll attribute different performance outcomes among them to discrimination.
One might now wonder why liberals don’t apply their diversity tenet “Embrace differences” to what really matters. After all, if you watch golf on TV, do you want to see “equality,” where everyone would have to be a duffer, or the best? Do you want “equality” in an art museum or ethereal beauty? Gifts displayed by others are to be relished, reveled in and revered. And the only thing preventing this is, again, those twin demons of envy and pride.
And what of equality dogma? It gave us the drab, cookie-cutter projects of communist Eastern Europe. It breeds ugliness and mediocrity.
Equality is not a virtue.
It is not a laudable goal.
It can never be a reality, as some will always be “more equal than others.”
And if anything deserving of the name civilization is to live, equality, as an aspiration, must die.
The Moral Liberal Associate Editor, Selwyn Duke, is a columnist, public speaker and Internet entrepreneur whose work has been published widely. He has been featured on the Rush Limbaugh Show, is a regular guest on The Michael Savage Show, and has a regular column in both the Christian Music Perspective Magazine and The New American magazine. Copyright © 2012 Selwyn Duke
The Moral Liberal highly recommends Dr. Cleon Skousen’s The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution