To strive for equality means to aim for equality of opportunity. To strive for equity means to aim for equality of outcome.
How many people in the general population know this important difference between the words “equality” and “equity”? I’d venture a guess that many do not know anything about this topic, period. I know that I myself had no idea the word “equity” existed as a concept in the social sciences until I was an adult.
Our ignorance of these terms as a society is very dangerous in the climate we are in. Right now, we have feminists, communists, racial activists, and various other sorts of social justice warriors running the show on our college campuses. These ideas, which were even recently mostly bandied about on Tumblr, have now become a vital part of liberal arts education. And whether we as a society wish to admit it or not, higher education in America – particularly the liberal arts and social sciences – has become a recruitment outfit for the radical left.
Now, I will not attempt to delve to deeply into the Marxist attitudes in colleges in this article, but I do think that this one concept of equality versus equity is a vital underpinning to the leftist culture we are now living in.
Take this image:
I remember seeing this image five or six years ago on tumblr, and at first glance, I thought that it actually seemed to make a fair point. I believe most people lean towards wanting everything to be “fair”, including those on the right. Of course, it’s not inherently a bad thing to give certain people “extra” help in certain situations. A man receiving funding from a testicular cancer charity does not mean that I am being disadvantaged in any way.
It didn’t take me long, even in my dumb younger days, to realize how horrifying this image, and the concept behind it, would be in the world of law and governance.
You would turn America into a communist hellhole.
If you decide that equality of outcome is the goal, that is really the only government arrangement that would align with that belief. It’s funny to me how many people do not call themselves communists, but still agree with the basic idea that equality of outcome would be better than equality of opportunity.
And I include myself in this. Several years ago, when I first took the famed Political Compass test, I answered “agree” to the question of whether or not “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was fundamentally a good idea.
It is a good thing to want to help everyone reach their potential. It is a good thing to give people extra help that they need, because people are individuals, and everyone needs different help with different things.
It is a terrible, catastrophically bad thing to use the government to do this.
Take the transgender bathroom issue, which I wrote about last week.
In this bizarre reality of equity-based legislation, we are now impeding on the rights of the vast majority to benefit a tiny minority. This, I believe, is the inevitable conclusion of legislating based on equity.
Because guess what? Everyday Feminism is right. Well, sort of. Most of that article is a bunch of nonsense, but this part, I strongly agree with:
“Since everyone is different and we embrace these differences as unique, we must also redefine our basic expectations for fairness and success as contingent upon those individual differences.”
In a social justice “utopian” society, some rights can be taken away from you for the sake of equity. They always phrase it as giving extra help (which I have no issue with on an individual basis), when in reality, it often looks like cutting down some people to move everyone closer to the mean.
For some people, success will be a top-level job at a bank and yearly vacations to a private island. For others, success will be a nine to five and just enough money for two kids, a wife, and an eight year old car.
The same applies to the trans bathroom issue. For some people, because they have a medical condition called gender dysphoria, they’re going to have to be inconvenienced when using the washroom. For others, this will mean using a bathroom that’s readily available with no confusion.
This does not mean we live in an unequal society. It means just the opposite – that in the United States, the Constitution lays out the Rights which apply to all Americans.
It doesn’t get much more equal than that. It’s a beautiful thing, and something we must fight for whenever we see those who wish to impede on the rights of some for the “greater good” of others.
When you hear someone asking for greater equality, press them on it.
Often, you’ll find it was equity they wanted all along.