Equality of Opportunity
I don't believe in Equality of Opportunity and, most likely, neither do you. At least not in the way that Progressives have perverted this once noble idea.
According to the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Management, equal opportunity is defined as: "A standard of decision‐making, stipulating that all people be treated the same, except when distinctions can be explicitly justified," (emphasis added).
It is in making these distinctions to favor particular groups that Progressives distort the meaning of equality in any way they might choose. And they do! As it is now practiced, this poisonous idea is deeply damaging this greatest of nations and may lead to its destruction.
In this discussion I am not talking about Equality Under the Law. That is a proposition in which I firmly believe and Progressives do not. This form of equality is specified in our Constitution: Article 14, Section 1. It has also been adopted into the UN Charter in Article 7 with language drawn directly from U.S. jurisprudence: "All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law."
Such equality means that the Law doesn't play favorites. This is what is really meant when people talk about a level playing field and true equal opportunity. What most people want is a system that is not rigged against them. Instead, they want to be able to open up opportunities through their own efforts. That said, I recognize that, today, there is precious little Equality Under the Law in a society with affirmative action, class discriminations, and special privileges to unions, corporations, non governmental organizations, and government officials such as congressmen and senators. Equality Under the Law also means that government must not engage in social engineering.
What about Equality of Opportunity -- the darling of the Left? Why do I think that nice sounding expression, unlike its true reality, is pernicious nonsense? Let us start with good parenting. Do you have kids? If you do you will instantly understand what I am driving at. Any decent parent will do whatever can be done to give their children the best possible start in life. "Best possible start" means, of course, a competitive advantage -- not an equal opportunity. What form this advantage takes will depend on the parents' own experience and ability. It is true that good parents may fail in this, but the good intentions are there. This provides a practical experimental demonstration that good parents inherently do not believe in Equality of Opportunity.
Let's look at the alternative. There are parents who really don't care what happens to their kids. At most, these parents provide minimal food and shelter for their children. For the rest, they let their kids do what they want. Their kids respond accordingly and then we all have a problem.
Then, too, there is the fact that different people have different intelligences, talents and skills. Intelligence and native talent are something we are born with, we have no choice in the matter. And, some people are inherently bigger and stronger and swifter than others. There can be no Equality of Opportunity in these cases. And, wishing will not make it so. Neither will social engineering.
Skills, on the other hand, are mostly the result of our own dedication to developing our native talents. It would be nice if everyone had the opportunity, and inclination, to fully develop their talents. Maybe someday, but right now our society simply doesn't have the wealth needed to make that possible. And, our wealth is rapidly diminishing because of the policies of those who promote Equality of Opportunity.
If we step back from the feel good propaganda, we see that Equality of Opportunity doesn't mean what most people think it means. As a political proposition, what Equality of Opportunity really means is that everyone should be treated like the lowest common denominator. This means that parents should be made to give control of their children to the state (it takes a village), that no school should be better than the worst (no charter schools, no vouchers), that home schooling in any form should be outlawed (as it is in Germany), that no amount of effort should be differentially rewarded (participation awards only), that individual excellence and talent should be punished (no winners). It is of interest that Karl Marx was an advocate of just such a program.
"Hey, wait a minute," someone asks. "Don't you want the very best education and training for America's kids?" Of course I do. And, I want each of this nation's children to have every advantage possible -- including good and loving parents. However, I am not unrealistic enough to expect such an ideal world. For all of us, what is much more important than equal opportunity is finding those youngsters who have exceptional talent and providing the extra means for those kids to develop their talent. For the rest, it is to our benefit, as much as theirs, to at least expose all children to a good education and to try to help them find something they are good at and enjoy -- something which will be useful to society. In neither case is this equal opportunity. Parse the above and you will discover the need for custom tailored inequality of opportunity!
My reasons for the best preparation possible for our young are threefold: First, a well-educated populace generally is more peaceful and free than one that is not, and I like peace and freedom. Second, a society with people fulfilling their talents is much more entertaining and prosperous than the alternative. Third, like it or not, America is in competition with other nations. I want our nation to be preeminent. And so, I really don't want Equality of Opportunity in international competition. I want competitive advantage. Call me selfish if you like, but you probably feel the same, and for much the same reasons.
On this issue liberals and conservatives are not that far apart. Both want what is best for their children, and for themselves. Both liberals and conservatives advocate such custom-tailored educational programs. Liberals really don't believe in Equality of Opportunity. But Progressives do.
Progressive social engineers have something different in mind when they promote equal opportunity. The best I can figure, they are looking for equality of outcome. The program of Progressives is something like the oriental game of Go. In Go the stronger player is deliberately handicapped so that the weaker has an equal opportunity to win. No one is fooled, however. All know that with a fair board the talented player will always win. But Go is just an entertainment. Progressives want the Law to handicap the talented so that the mediocre have an equal opportunity to win. To them this is only fair. Make everyone the same (except, of course, for themselves) and there will be "social justice." Utopia will have arrived. Marxism, again. If Utopia is not possible, then let's at least have income redistribution to make the outcome fair and equal. The implication is, and modern history clearly shows, that Equality of Opportunity really means the suppression of excellence and endeavor, the decline of civilization, followed by descent into a Dark Age.
Now do you see why I don't believe in Equality of Opportunity? How about you?