Monday, June 14, 2010

260 : on Equality

Libertarianism and economic liberalism represent minimalist positions in relation to distributive justice. Citing Locke, they both postulate an original right to freedom and property, thus arguing against redistribution and social rights and for the free market.

We should have the freedom to accumulate property as much as we want. And therefore there is an opposition between equality and freedom. The individual (natural) right to freedom can be limited only for the sake of foreign and domestic peace.

For this reason, libertarians consider maintaining public order the state's only legitimate duty. Correspondingly, they defend market freedoms and oppose the use of redistributive taxation schemes for the sake of social justice as equality.

This approach regards inequality as justified and normal. It is based on the natural right of freedom. Before the eighteenth century it was even assumed that human beings are unequal by nature — i.e., that there was a natural human hierarchy.

This postulate collapsed with the advent of the idea of natural right and its assumption of an equality of natural order among all human beings. For instance as the utilitarians formulated it: the greatest happiness for the greatest number.

But here begins the philosophical struggle. At least since the French Revolution, equality has served as one of the leading ideals of the body politic; in this respect, it is at present probably the most controversial of the great social ideals.

It is easy to say "All men should be equal!", but this is a very simplistic statement. To begin with, it doesn't mean "the same", for then all men should be identical. Neither does it mean "similar", for that is a concept of merely approximate correspondence.

‘Equality’ (or ‘equal’) signifies correspondence between a group of different objects, persons, processes or circumstances that have the same qualities in at least one respect, but not all respects.

Equality becomes a moral and political issue when used in a prescriptive way, when a norm or rule is applied. e.g. people ought to be equal before the law. And this gives us already a clue. Equality means still being different, but equal in at least one respect.

And here begins fundamental philosophical discourse, for now we have to ask the questions: In what respect(s) should men be equal and why in those respects? How do you measure equality?

For this reason, it helps to think of the idea of equality understood as an issue of social justice, not as a single principle, but as a complex group of principles forming the basic core of today's egalitarianism.

An egalitarian is someone who maintains that people ought to be treated as equals--as possessing equal fundamental worth and dignity and as equally morally considerable.

A sample nonegalitarian would be one who believes that people born into a higher social caste, or a favored race or ethnicity, or with an above-average stock of traits are just better of by nature. No moral reason to do anything about the differences.

However, this fundamental idea of equal respect for all persons and of the equal worth or equal dignity of all human beings is accepted as a minimal standard by all leading schools of modern Western political and moral culture. Any political theory abandoning this notion of equality will not be found plausible today.

And then the political philosophical debate starts on equality in what respect.
We can make list:
1, Equality of Opportunity: the opportunity to have access to certain things like education or all possible jobs

2. Equality of condition… If you study hard you will be supported, but we don't support losers, thus you loose your right to be treated as equal.

3. In modern societies with market economies, an egalitarian is generally thought to be one who supports equality of income and wealth (income being a flow, wealth a stock).

4. Equality in the opportunity for Welfare. All these points are very complex chapters of philosophical discourse.

And I can add, that many egalitarians regard the moral significance of choice and responsibility as one of the most important other values besides equality.

They hold that it is bad - unjust or unfair - for some to be worse off than others through no fault or choice of their own and therefore they strive to eliminate involuntary disadvantages for which the sufferer cannot be held responsible.

The principle of responsibility provides a central normative vantage point for deciding on what grounds one might justify which inequality. And I think that this is a good conclusion and a good starting point.

The Discussion

[13:22] herman Bergson: So much on Equality....
[13:23] Daruma Boa: *•.¸('*•.¸ ♥ ¸.•*´)¸
[13:23] Daruma Boa: .•*♥¨`•APPLAUSE!!!°•´¨` ♥.
[13:23] Daruma Boa: ¸.•*(¸.•*´ ♥ `*•.¸)`*•.¸
[13:23] Daruma Boa: Hey!
[13:23] herman Bergson: I hope you are not dazzling
[13:23] ZANICIA Chau: lol
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: :)
[13:23] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks..feel free...
[13:23] Lena Sigall: what do we do about the problem of unconscious biases?
[13:24] herman Bergson: everybody will get an equal chance....:)
[13:24] Kiki Walpanheim: all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others....
[13:24] herman Bergson: What about that, Lena...
[13:24] Lena Sigall: is it possible for people in a society to be equal when it seems that everyone holds biases they don't even realize they have?
[13:25] herman Bergson: First of all...people in a society are never equal...
[13:25] herman Bergson: only eaqual in some respect...
[13:25] Kiki Walpanheim: nods at herman,
[13:26] herman Bergson: The y are equal in certain rights….wellbeing for instance.
[13:26] herman Bergson: or equal in opportunities....
[13:26] Kiki Walpanheim: Lock was legal equality advocate, Marx was the opposite...both said that ppl were born equal....
[13:27] herman Bergson: equal in access to resources
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: regardless of the moral rhetoric, no human is naturally endowed equally.....nurturing only makes inequality further pronounced.....I wonder how Darwinian theory applies to moden equality
[13:28] herman Bergson: In fact modern social politics bypass Darwinian theory
[13:28] Lena Sigall: how so?
[13:28] ZANICIA Chau: so it should
[13:28] Bruce Mowbray: Is "equality" something that Plato would term "a noble lie"?
[13:28] herman Bergson: A Darwinian approach would be probably even more minimalistic than a libertarian one
[13:28] AristotleVon Doobie: in so doing, it becomes legitimate to take from one to make another 'equal'
[13:29] herman Bergson: equality is not a noble lie, Bruce
[13:29] AristotleVon Doobie: a foolish endeavor that only weakens human endurance
[13:30] herman Bergson: and again...equality doesnt mean identity...
[13:30] Kiki Walpanheim: I think the pro-choice in abortion is under the assumption that you can NOT take something from someone(the mother) just to make the other benefit(the feteus)
[13:30] herman Bergson: No Aristotle....I dont agree...
[13:30] Bruce Mowbray: The idea that all citizens have equal access to resources. . . That's TRUE?
[13:30] herman Bergson: The mentally handicapped has an equal right on a pleasant life as I have
[13:31] AristotleVon Doobie: hmmmm, on a moral basis I agree
[13:31] Abraxas Nagy: how to define pleasant tho
[13:32] Lena Sigall: there really isn't an equality of opportunity in our society.. for example, having rich parents gives one much greater opportunity (money for college, connections with successful and powerful people), than a kid born to a secretary
[13:32] Kiki Walpanheim: and these essential questions define what kind of relation we have with our society, in so many aspects...
[13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: one should feel the compassion to provide for these underprivilaged folks
[13:32] Lena Sigall: and those priviledged social circles are mostly in favor of white people
[13:32] herman Bergson: Let's keep it in a Maslow sense Abraxas...Food and shelter, safety, care...
[13:33] Abraxas Nagy: ah ok
[13:33] herman Bergson: Yes Lena...and there is the task of the political debate....
[13:33] AristotleVon Doobie: no one should be coerced to help
[13:33] herman Bergson: how to deal with these inequalities..
[13:33] herman Bergson: First of all you have to identify them as inequalities...
[13:33] herman Bergson: Libertarians dont for instance
[13:34] herman Bergson: That is the core business of the political process I would say
[13:34] Lena Sigall: you could say the system is fundamentally flawed,.. but how do you change it when most people want to get more and more for themselves, and to help their friends, .. and don't care a lot about people born into an underpriviledged situation. they don't want the competition anyway
[13:34] Bruce Mowbray: Maslow's self-actualization is more possible for some than for others . . . Lena's point.
[13:34] herman Bergson: Just a matter of order...Lena....
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: one should agree to assist certain segments of society when it means you standard of living will be negatively affected if you do no
[13:34] Lena Sigall: matter of order?
[13:35] herman Bergson: Plz have a quick look at the sign behind me... ^_^
[13:35] Lena Sigall: ok
[13:35] Lena Sigall: sorry, it was too long
[13:35] herman Bergson: np...
[13:35] AristotleVon Doobie: the key to closing the gap for inequality is through education
[13:35] herman Bergson: Yes to begin with Aristotle....
[13:36] Abraxas Nagy: exactly
[13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: not give folks a fish, teach them how to fish
[13:36] herman Bergson: so equal chances on getting the right education....
[13:36] Abraxas Nagy: free education for everybody
[13:36] Abraxas Nagy: it pays itself back
[13:36] herman Bergson: Bu tthen you still have the group of people that are less gifted....
[13:36] herman Bergson: do they become our pariahs?
[13:36] Kiki Walpanheim: i dont think it is easy
[13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: education is a necessity for a healthy and prosperous society
[13:36] Kiki Walpanheim: unless free education is limited to some ppl only
[13:36] Abraxas Nagy: mmmm
[13:37] Abraxas Nagy: exactly Ari
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:37] Lena Sigall: well, rich people can afford better education than people who rely on public schools
[13:37] herman Bergson: Yes politics should do something about that
[13:37] Kiki Walpanheim: but anyway...the idea is ...right...because prosperity never was achieved by a simple redistribution of wealth...but
[13:37] Kiki Walpanheim: but instead
[13:38] Kiki Walpanheim: it was because of education, innovation,
[13:38] Kiki Walpanheim: etc
[13:38] herman Bergson: No Kiki
[13:38] herman Bergson: True
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: it has to start with parents, children must to talk to read and self eduvcate from the womb
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: must be taught*
[13:39] Lena Sigall: how to change the problem through politics when corporations largely control politicians?
[13:39] Kiki Walpanheim: and a good system to protect that too
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: tooo many folks depend on 'big brother' to educate their kids
[13:39] Abraxas Nagy: very true
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: ahh, the policital/industrial complex
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: corporations need the lower class for their labor
[13:40] herman Bergson: Well we are all part of the we have to fight the system...that is th epolitical process...
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: they do not wish them to be educated or enlightened
[13:40] Abraxas Nagy: not for long anymore
[13:41] Lena Sigall: lots of people in America don't even understand how Congress works lol
[13:41] Abraxas Nagy: robotics will take care of that
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: youare right Lean, it is by design
[13:41] herman Bergson: That was the same as in 1850...the cooperations didnt the laborers to unite into syndicates....
[13:41] herman Bergson: Yet it happened...and they improved theuir position
[13:42] herman Bergson: Social changes go slow...but they happen....
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: take the list of Texas approved school books
[13:42] herman Bergson: Like women had no right to vote even...!
[13:42] herman Bergson: Nor to education..
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: that was before 'globalization' herman
[13:43] herman Bergson: Germany has a woman as chancellor
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL, we have Sarah Palin
[13:43] herman Bergson: We even had to endure Magret Thatcher ^_^
[13:43] Daruma Boa: __--^--^--__
[13:43] Daruma Boa: ( @ @ )
[13:43] Daruma Boa: ______ oOOo-(_)-oOOo ___
[13:43] Daruma Boa: _____________Oooo._____
[13:43] Daruma Boa: .oooO ( ) _____
[13:43] Daruma Boa: ( ) ) /
[13:43] Daruma Boa: \ ( ( _ /
[13:43] Daruma Boa: \ _ ) !!! O M G !!!
[13:43] Abraxas Nagy: ╔╗╔═╦╗
[13:43] Abraxas Nagy: ║╚╣║║╚╗
[13:43] Abraxas Nagy: ╚═╩═╩═╝
[13:43] Abraxas Nagy: the iron lady
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: hha
[13:44] herman Bergson: So...changes took almost a hundred years...but things changed
[13:44] AristotleVon Doobie: class struggle is nothing only continues in new disguise
[13:44] bergfrau Apfelbaum: :-(( i must off, but beautifully that emergency all acres alike men! see u thursday :-) ty herman! bye bye girls&boys
[13:44] herman Bergson: The position of the woman in Europe..her equal chances have increased
[13:44] Kiki Walpanheim: and there are different ways to accumulate wealth...either thru diligent work, or thru abusing political power....
[13:45] Daruma Boa: bye bergfrau
[13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: bye bergfrau
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: bye bergfrau
[13:45] Abraxas Nagy: c ya berg
[13:45] herman Bergson: The human being is no saint.....
[13:45] Lena Sigall: it's true we should do something about inequality,.. but so many people are unmotivated
[13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: ahhh, tht human nature thing again
[13:46] herman Bergson: yes is human nature...
[13:46] Bruce Mowbray: Not even all saints are equal.
[13:46] Kiki Walpanheim: sometimes the inequality is by no means achieved thru free market...but thru the corrupted system...
[13:46] herman Bergson: Bruce some are sainter
[13:46] Daruma Boa: *GIGGLES* :)~~~~
[13:46] AristotleVon Doobie: even the most violent of revolutions have not altered it
[13:46] herman Bergson: Oh yes Kiki......tons of examples....
[13:47] Kiki Walpanheim: so the inquality itself is not the key
[13:47] Kiki Walpanheim: the reason why that occurred is the key...
[13:47] herman Bergson: Not human nature Aristotle...but social organization of a society they really have
[13:48] herman Bergson: At least speaking for Europe....people have more equally opportunities in participating in society
[13:48] herman Bergson: Not discriminated on race, religion or gender
[13:49] ZANICIA Chau: on the surface
[13:49] herman Bergson: You can tell a lot of bad stories about this world...
[13:49] AristotleVon Doobie: I agree, Europe is much further down the road, but hey have yet tobe reduced to third world status by global corporations
[13:49] herman Bergson: But things change nevertheless.....
[13:50] Bruce Mowbray: In a global culture... are folks from northern Europe at an advantage -- i.e., "more" equal than those from other nations?
[13:51] AristotleVon Doobie: we are all responsible either through commission or ommission for our present inequality
[13:51] herman Bergson: It is not a matter of more equal Bruce....
[13:51] Kiki Walpanheim: when things can not be perfect, maybe to acknowledge the existence of imperfection itself is just good
[13:51] Bruce Mowbray: I meant the term like Orwell's pigs: some pigs are more equal than others.
[13:51] herman Bergson: it is the about what a society has to offer to its citizens regarding their well being and opportunities , their freedom
[13:52] Kiki Walpanheim: well that is one of their commandments...some animals are more equal than others...
[13:52] Kiki Walpanheim: that is the amendment made as their system evolved long after being established
[13:52] Bruce Mowbray: yes, that's what I meant, Kiki.
[13:53] Bruce Mowbray: Because I live in a very RURAL area, I cannot get a FAST internet connection - and that make me "less equal" to most of you.
[13:53] herman Bergson: We are also a socio-biological system.....just like a colony of apes....with the same primitive drives....
[13:53] herman Bergson: Need for status in the group...selfishness...greed
[13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: :) amen
[13:53] herman Bergson: it
[13:53] Zinzi Serevi: lol
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: :)
[13:54] Daruma Boa: thats true
[13:54] herman Bergson: The problem with a philosophical discussion on one specific subject is that we overloook the whole context we are in
[13:54] AristotleVon Doobie: but it is the gift of humanity, our cerebral cortex has to balance and control those ancinet urges
[13:54] herman Bergson: equality is just one meatball in the soup
[13:55] Kiki Walpanheim: and often they make the regard to equality as the morals, the social construction, the creed...
[13:56] herman Bergson: If you read the article in the Stanford encyclopedia on egalitarism....and on Equality....
[13:56] Kiki Walpanheim: oh....i will look up
[13:56] herman Bergson: It is almost enough to go crazy on many arguments....on evry detail...
[13:57] herman Bergson: Impossible to discuss here but amazing to read...
[13:57] Kiki Walpanheim: maybe acknowledging its disputes and put it to argument itself is good
[13:57] herman Bergson: That is the whole point of the philosophical approach Kiki
[13:57] AristotleVon Doobie: one could ponder continuously on how to make society more humane
[13:58] Kiki Walpanheim: that is why i love philosophy
[13:58] Bruce Mowbray agrees.
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: ah interesting for sure :)
[13:58] herman Bergson: Yes Aristotle...and that is what we do
[13:58] AristotleVon Doobie: :)
[13:58] herman Bergson: I hope that you all had an equal chance to participate in teh discussion ^_^
[13:59] herman Bergson: May I thank you for your participation...
[13:59] ZANICIA Chau: lol
[13:59] Abraxas Nagy: thank YOU professor
[13:59] Daruma Boa: *•.¸('*•.¸ ♥ ¸.•*´)¸
[13:59] Daruma Boa: .•*♥¨`•APPLAUSE!!!°•´¨` ♥.
[13:59] Daruma Boa: ¸.•*(¸.•*´ ♥ `*•.¸)`*•.¸
[13:59] Daruma Boa: Hey!
[13:59] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ^_^
[13:59] Zinzi Serevi: thanks prof
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: yest another interesting subject
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: :)
[13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: Thank you, Professor
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: nice
[13:59] Jozen Ocello: sorry it's my first time here and i've been rather quiet... enjoyed the discussion lots though
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: nice
[13:59] Jozen Ocello: will come again :)
[13:59] Kiki Walpanheim: Thank you professor.....the topics are always the ones I seriously care about
[13:59] Daruma Boa: thxs a lot herman
[13:59] Kiki Walpanheim: and thank you all
[13:59] Lena Sigall: thanks herman
[13:59] Abraxas Nagy: oops
[13:59] Jozen Ocello: thank you professor
[13:59] Lena Sigall: bye everyone
[14:00] Bruce Mowbray: Welcome aboard, Jozen.
[14:00] herman Bergson: That is OK Jozen
[14:00] Sartre Placebo: thx, very much
[14:00] Jozen Ocello: thanks Bruce :)
[14:00] ZANICIA Chau: ty professor
[14:00] Daruma Boa: see you next week
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: aaa cu
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: :)
[14:00] AristotleVon Doobie: another wonderful lecture, Herman...much to think about
[14:00] AristotleVon Doobie: goodbye all
[14:00] Jozen Ocello: ty Professor for the interesting lecture
[14:00] Zinzi Serevi: bye bye all
[14:00] Abraxas Nagy: see you all nexttime friends :D
[14:00] Bruce Mowbray: G'night, all!

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