We are in this world almost daily deluged with calls for equality. It all sounds so good, and everyone seems to want it. But there’s only one problem with it.
We are not, any of us, really equal.
This is not to say that we are not political equals. Yet even that phrase leaves a bit of uncertainty: we are only equal because my vote should count as much as yours. That doesn’t strike us as equality. It strikes us as justice.
In the same manner, as we have employed this tactic when talking about freedom, education, peace, and so forth, so too do we find that we must apply it to any calls for equality. We need to ask what the supporters of equality really mean. Because any absolute and final equality of circumstances must actually be something which applies only in very, very few cases. Take equal pay for equal work, for example. Notice that we are asking a question whose answer only applies to very strict and definite circumstances. A woman cancer doctor, 50 years old, with 20 years of practice, who graduated from the same schools with the same grades as a complimentary male cancer specialist in the same place of work, and with the same proficiency of work, should get the same pay. No rational mind would argue otherwise. But the case is so limited that only one answer is truly right anyway.
As to the other facet of the argument, well, calls for equality must ring hollow because, again, we are not equal. A brain surgeon isn’t equal to a plumber, no matter how much more we want the latter when the faucet breaks or the basement floods, and no matter which is male or female. As a matter of decency, we should not automatically look well on the surgeon nor ill on the plumber. But yet again, that’s a point about justice, not equality.
We could refine the case further, but we trust the point is made. When we are demanding equality we are often (if not in fact always) demanding justice. We are asking that we be treated rightly and properly in light of the circumstances which surround us. We are not asking for equality. We are asking for justice.
So, and we are sure many people may have grown tired of us asking yet we must, when you demand equality, do you really want that? If so, how? Why? For we need to remember that the only sure way to make folks equal is downward, to the where no one is above the lowest common denominator.
That the average person means equality in the sense of true justice we don’t doubt. Still, it is when we use terms wrongly that we have the greatest troubles. It is then when the radical fringe of any given group may take the day. Yet when we clarify our thoughts, when we strive to end misunderstanding by calling things what they are, then, indeed, justice wins out. Isn’t that what we really want?