” Essentially, I believe that it would be unwise to simply brush off the point that a world safeguarded to the point where no one falls, is also potentially a world where no one rises.” – I guess this only sentence envelopes the whole post in a nut-shell for lack of better words. We’ve often have discussed about mine and your ideas of an egalitarian society and my position has always been that only an egalitarian society is not possible but at the same time it is not a good idea for two reasons;
1) This also brings us to the issue of who is to be the arbiter warranted with upholding the principles of an egalitarian system. The judiciary? The policymakers? And does this then bestow on these individuals a set of authority (i.e. power and privilege) that thereby creates a disparity which in itself violates the very premise of a truly egalitarian model? – I couldn’t have said it better myself and …
2) In an egalitarian society, where everyone is equal, inevitably comes a moment where there’s no progress because there’s no need nor drive for moving forward as everyone gets the same for the same amount of work or contribution to such a society.
The drive for any society has always been disparity. The poor and middle class, looks up at the apex and wants to achieve what the rich have achieved by all means necessary. Thus this brings a drive for invention and betterment by means of rivalry. If we are all equal, treated the same, having what everyone else has and lacking nothing, than what is the point of striving for more? Thus an egalitarian “regime” soon becomes obsolete and falls onto itself like a house of cards.
Originally posted on The AntiNietzsche:
Genuine self-scrutiny is a personal virtue that is much easier preached than practiced. Usually the furthest most of us are willing to go is a relativistic acknowledgment that differing opinions exist to our own and that, all things considering, we would be willing to change our minds if these alternative viewpoints were to persuade us sufficiently. But, in my opinion, this sort of tacit relativism isn’t much in the way of self-scrutiny. To self-scrutinize is to actively challenge the values and ideals we hold dear to our person–to dare to shake the foundation holding up our most cherished beliefs, so to speak, and test if the structure on which we house our beliefs is sturdy enough to withstand a direct attack. In contrast, the aforementioned acknowledgment that differing (and potentially equally valid) views exist to our own is a very passive stance, as it strictly relies on an external source to come along and challenge our own position(s), with no actual self-scrutiny being involved in the process.
Up to this point, this very post can be rightfully characterized amongst the passive variant; i.e. it’s me (an external source) attempting to challenge you to question the manner by which you view the world around you. Although there are occasionally posts on this blog in which I sincerely try to adopt opposing stances to my own, the truth is that I do this primarily to better strengthen my own position by being able to effectively understand what I’m arguing against. This, too, is not self-scrutiny. And it would be dishonest to pretend otherwise. To truly self-scrutinize I would have to pick a position–a value, an ideal–by which I orientate my worldview around, and mercilessly strip it to its bone. The frustrating part of such a mental exercise is the inevitability of having to rely on generalizations of my own opinions in order to be able to paraphrase them thoroughly enough, without getting trapped in a game over meaningless semantics. The important thing to remember is that the points I will be arguing over (largely with myself) in this post are admittedly stripped of their nuances regarding obvious exceptions and impracticalities, so as not to lose focus of the underlying principles that are being addressed. Consider this a disclaimer for the more pedantic-minded amongst my readers (you know who you are).
First, it would be helpful if I stated a value by which I orientate my worldview around, prior to trying to poke holes into it. Above most else, as long as I can remember I have always valued the egalitarian approach to most facets of human interaction. I truly do believe that the most effective and just and fair means for society to function is for its sociopolitical and judiciary elements to strive for as equitable an approach to administering its societal role as possible. In this view, I also recognized that this can more realistically be considered an ideal for society to endeavor towards than an all-encompassing absolute–nonetheless, I still see it as a valuable ideal for modern society to be striving towards. Additionally, I should clarify that I do not necessarily claim this personal value of mine to be derived from anything higher than my own personal preferences to how I think society ought to be. Yes, it is subjective, as it is subject to my desires and interests, however I would argue that this is true of just about any alternative/opposing viewpoint that may be brought up. Furthermore, the merits and benefits I believe to be implicit in my personal preference of an egalitarian society (though admittedly subjective) are (in my opinion) independently verifiable outside of just my own internal desires. In short, I value egalitarianism on account that, because I have no just and tangible means by which to sift through who merits to occupy which position in the social hierarchy we all live in, I consider it important that (if nothing else, at least on the basic application of our political and judicial proceedings), we hold all members of society to an equal standard. Moreover, not that it matters to determining the validity of the egalitarian viewpoint, but I’m convinced that the majority of the people reading this will have little trouble agreeing with the benefits of such a worldview (though probably more in principle, while leaving room on disagreement on the most practical means by which to apply said principle in the social framework).