Equality

There are some who say too much has been sacrificed in the name of human equality. Others say too little. I will point out to both sides that all humans are currently, and have always been, totally equal. Allow me to explain.

First a few questions: is it always better to have more money, rather than less? Consider that many lottery winners regret winning the jackpot. We must conclude that gaining money is not always beneficial.

Is it always better to be healthier, rather than sicker? Surely there we can agree! What do you say though to a patient with terminal cancer, in great pain? Ending their treatment would make them sicker. Yet many would defend that choice.

Is it always better to have higher status than to have lower status, say in a company hierarchy? Well it depends if you enjoy being stressed. I would guess that mid-level employees are much less stressed out than the C-suite.

Is there anything that is always good, or always bad? I leave that question to the reader. For our purposes, it is sufficient to conclude that what is often considered a blessing, may in fact be a curse, and vice versa.

Which brings us back to equality. Who can say that the CEO is better off in every respect than the janitor? Or that the janitor is better off in every respect than the CEO? Is it really possible to compare one life, in its totality, with another? And if you can’t compare two lives, how can you reach any other conclusion than that they are equal?

If we adopt the contrary position, that two given lives are unequal, mustn’t we say that one life is better, and the other worse? Are we so confident in our judgment? Remember, there is nothing that forces us to weigh money more than family, or career less than spiritual fulfillment. How we weight each feature of our lives depends on our personal preferences. And as we observed before, even if one person surpasses another on every metric, we have no guarantee that more is better than less.

It is a self-evident truth, that all people are created equal, live equal, and die equal. For what gives us the right to say otherwise?

Written on May 25, 2020