Kamala’s thoughtless equality-equity confusion

[T]here’s a big difference between equality and equity. Equality suggests [that] everyone should get the same amount. [But] not everybody’s starting out from the same place. So, if we’re all getting the same amount, but you started out back there … you’re still going to be far back behind me.  It’s about giving people the resources and the support they need, so that everyone can … compete on equal footing.  Equitable treatment means we all end up in the same place.

--Vice President Kamala Harris, Nov. 2, 2020

Many people found Kamala’s Harris’ statement that the United States should pursue both equality and equity troubling and confusing.  Whereas equality is understood to guarantee people equal opportunities, equity guarantees people equal outcomes.  Further, whereas treating people equally is a well-established American norm, equity is a socialist and/or Marxist ideal that guarantees people the same resources whether they worked for them or not: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”  That is, if John and Jim are both offered the equal opportunity to farm as many potatoes as they can, and John works 50 hours a week and produces 50 pounds of potatoes, and Jim only works 25 hours a week and produces 25 pounds of potatoes, equity would allot the same quantity of potatoes to Jim as to John, which is unfair because John worked twice as hard as Jim

This is why people often end up starving under socialism.  For it will not be long before John figures out that it makes no sense for him to work twice as hard as Jim.  Since John will get the same quantity of potatoes as Jim, who worked far less, John will soon cut back to 25 hours a week and produce only 25 pounds of potatoes like Jim. Welcome to socialist Venezuela!

However, there is another more basic point about Kamala’s confused endorsement of both equality and equity, namely, that the two ideas are inconsistent (cannot be true together).  Consider again the case of the more productive John and the less productive Jim.  If an equitable system guarantees Jim as many potatoes as John no matter how little he works, then in order to give Jim the same quantity of potatoes as John the government will have to take some of John’s potatoes to give to Jim, but that means treating John unequally and unjustly!  Further, since people naturally feel that they have a right to what they have labored to produce, equity will usually require taking some of John’s potatoes against his will.  This is why socialism and equity, which sound so nice in Sociology 101, often in the real world devolves into the use of government force against the people.  This is simply one instance of the general truth that so-called “social justice” is actually, in most cases, injustice.

The point is not difficult. One cannot consistently have both equality and equity because equity ultimately requires treating people unequally, that is, requires giving the same outcome to people who work hard as to people who work little or not at all.  One would think that even though Kamala received a J.D. from the University of California'a Hastings School of Law, the same law school from which her married lover Willie Brown had earlier received his J.D. (coincidence there), which part of the same University of California system that included both of her well-connected parents (another coincidence there), she would be able to grasp the point.  Equity and its sibling, socialism, may sound quite nice in the elite university classroom where careless talk has no consequences but it always works out rather less pleasantly in the real world. 

Indeed, Kamala’s remark that “you started out back there … far back behind me … and I started out over here” may be a revelatory Freudian slip.  For, in fact, Kamala did start out in a life of considerable privilege well ahead of most people (her India-born mother was a distinguished member of the University of California system as well as from the Tamil Brahmin class back in India, which is one of the most racist (against Africans) and oppressive systems in the world. Her father graduated from Berkeley and went on to become a full professor at the even more prestigious private university, Stanford).  In addition, Kamala benefited from a series of relationships with powerful men, Willie Brown (Mayor of San Francisco and state assembly speaker), Montel Williams (actor and well-known talk show host), and Doug Emhoff (USC Law School and Visiting Professor at Georgetown Law School). 

Indeed, Brown, while he was “dating” Harris, appointed her to the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and the California Medical Assistance Commission.  Similarly, Biden explicitly chose Kamala as his vice president, not because of her actual accomplishments but because of her skin color and gender. 

How lucky all this unearned privilege has been for her!  As a consequence, Kamala never had to worry about the real world and, therefore, never had to worry about accountability.  Recall that Kamala has bragged about locking up many black men for smoking weed but laughingly admitted she smoked weed herself.

Perhaps it was Kamala’s life of privilege that has exempted her from the need to think or speak coherently, leading, to take just a few examples, to her saying things that, frankly, do not sound like someone who earned a J.D. on merit.

It is time for us to do what we have been doing. And that time is every day. Every day it is time for us to agree that there are things and tools that are available to us to slow this thing [Covid pandemic] down.

--Kamala Harris, Jan. 13, 2022

We were … talking about the significance of the passage of time, right. The significance of the passage of time, so when you think about it there is great significance to passage of time.  There is such great significance to the passage of time when you think of a day in the life of our children.

      --Kamala Harris, March 22, 2022

We will work together, and continue to work together, to address these issues [climate crisis] …and to work together as we continue to work, operating from the new norms, rules, and agreements, that we will convene to work together ...We will work on this together,

                                                                           --Kamala Harris, May 15, 2022


Yes, of course, and it’s also time every day to do what people have been doing and that time is now to do to work together as we continue to work together to think about the passage of time because there is great significance for children to the passage of time.   In fact, it is long past time to say something significant rather than spew an embarrassing word-salad.  Needless to say, none of this has prevented the academic elites from grovelling to Kamala’s incoherence.

It does not seem too much to ask that America’s privileged elites, who sanctimoniously lecture the “basket of deplorables” and “semi-fascists” about their alleged moral deficiencies, take a look in the mirror and reflect on their own massive unearned privilege and arrogance, specifically, upon the fact that while they fill their bank accounts spewing plain nonsense and feel-good bumper stickers, the American people must, unlike themselves, live in the real world with the consequences of their absurd demagoguery and destructive policies

Image: Pixabay / Pixabay License

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