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Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:53 pm    Post subject: Egalitarian Reply with quote

For some reason I remembered the word egalitarianism. I guess perhaps due to spirited debates about Liberalism in YRIHF and with the defeat of Republicans, I keep feeling that I don't yet have the right words to define myself. The moment I say yes or get roped into someone calling me an "-ist" or part of an "-ism" I get a queasy feeling in my stomach, sort of like signing a high interest rate loan for something I really didn't need. A feeling of what have I done...

Egalitarianism also brings to mind anti-egalitarianism which used to be hurled around like Male Chauvanist Pig and Establishment in the 60s and 70s.

Here's a definition (I am trying to avoid WikiPedia these's just too easy):

Egalitarianism is a trend of thought in political philosophy. An egalitarian favors equality of some sort: People should get the same, or be treated the same, or be treated as equals, in some respect. Egalitarian doctrines tend to express the idea that all human persons are equal in fundamental worth or moral status.

Wow! That solves a lot of problems.

The concept of equal or equality is fascinating to me. The sacred separate, but equal idea never made sense to me, mathematically. What did distance have to do with equality. Does one orange on one tree, and one orange on another not add up to two oranges? I guess if one tree has more fertilizer, than they are not equal...or perhaps they are not equivalent...yet equal as a category, numerically, when adding. Yet, segregation was evil...evil because it didn't allow people have the right to was forced segregation.

Then also there's the original statement about egalitarian economics, Luke 3:11...the man with two coats gives the man with none a coat. To me, this is the essence of daily living as a Christian and yet is practiced by almost no one! But think about it, if we went through a daily dividing ritual where we say, hey, I have two cars, he has none, I give him a car...and then keep repeating it. Maybe it would break down at the point of hey, I have two healthy lungs, but it would be an interesting simulation to model.

Of course the Golden Rule, love thy neighbor as thyself sets up an equivalence. You are the same as others so treat them like yourself. Imagine this as a simulation propagating across 6 billion nodes in a giant Markov chain. He treats me like this, then I treat her like this, then...tit for tat in a good way!

The Declaration of Independence, which may also be called the Declaration of Equivalence states that all men are created equal. What an amazing statement to be put in a document which was basically telling King George that we were defaulting on our back taxes and there was nothing he could do about it. Where did that statement come from? And really, what does it mean..."created" equal. It leaves open possibilities for Liberal Nuturist philosophy (but then the elites create oppression) to Conservative Bell Curvers (equal in rights, but not in IQ)

So the interesting thing is to switch to a truly egalitarian society. We can still be "competitive" but think of our daily business dealings more like a local soccer game. Players fight, run, compete for points, yet at the end of the day, go to the bar and buy each other drinks.
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Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Declaration holds those truths "to be self-evident." The first of them is "that all men are created equal." The phrases are familiar enough from civics class.

What's less familiar is the realization that, insofar as any one thing might be said to define this country, it's those six words. They were quite literally revolutionary in 1776. In some ways, they remain revolutionary today, so much so that we still have a hard time defining exactly what "equal" means.
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