How to Cure Your Liberalism (Part II): The Irrationality of Egalitarianism

Egalitarianism must be rejected.

As a teacher, I have to pass judgment on my students in the form of grades. The students who take care of their responsibilities, act like mature adults, put effort into their work, produce stellar results, and exceed my standards are rewarded with the best scores. Not only do they get good grades, but they naturally incur my respect in the form of extra responsibilities, like relaying messages to their peers and leading class discussions. I’m also more inclined to go out of my way to help these students with favors like letters of recommendation.

The students who fail to achieve what my top scorers do get lower scores and are less often asked to take leadership roles. In fact, the additional opportunities they tend to encounter are make-up assignments and extra credit work. These opportunities are offered solely to prevent them from failing, not to assist them in catching up to their more successful peers.

This system mimics life to a T. If you work hard, impress others, and take care of your responsibilities, you’re likely to wind up in a favorable situation. If you don’t, the odds go way down.

Has any rational person ever objected to a teacher running a classroom in this manner?

Now, for reason and comedy’s sake, let’s suppose a teacher adopted an egalitarian style of authority over a class:

Two days before high school graduation, Bernie ashamedly shuffled into his teacher’s office and squeaked, “Teacher?”

“Yes, Bernie?” his teacher replied.

“Teacher, I only have a 64 average. There’s no way I’ll be able to get into a good college with scores this low.”

“Oh, Bernie, I’m so sorry! Whatever can I do?”

“Well, Milton has a 94 average.”

“A 94?!?! That cretin! That selfish, greedy monster!” the teacher grumbled. “How can one student have so much while another student has so little?”

Bernie rested his hand gently on the infuriated teacher’s shoulder. “Wait, teacher!” he said, “If you give me 15 of Milton’s points, we’ll have equality! And I’ll be able to get into a good school!”

The teach was delighted. “Oh, Bernie! How clever you are! I’ll find that bully to make sure he pays his fair share at once!”

The teacher led Bernie down the hall and into the library where Milton was quietly reviewing his chemistry notes. “Milton!” she shouted, “Bernie and I have had enough of your point-hoarding! We demand your surrender of 15 points to be redistributed to young Bernie at once!”

Stunned and confused, Milton replied, “But teacher, I worked really hard for my points!”

“Stop your whining, you privileged fiend!” the teacher scolded, her index finger at his brow.

“But teacher, Bernie never does his work! He spends all his free time watching television. And he’s very disruptive in class.”

“Racist!” Bernie protested.

The teacher inhaled a powerful gasp that pulled several books from the shelves onto the library floor.

“What!?” Milton cried, perplexed.

“Milton! I will not tolerate racism in my classroom!” the teacher sternly proclaimed. “Why do you hate poor students, Milton? Why must everyone suffer for your own personal gains?”

“Teacher, if Bernie wanted a higher score, he should have worked harder and made better decisions.”

“Ow! My feelings!” Bernie cried.

The second gasp produced by the teacher was of such tremendous force that a pigeon was caught in its vortex and sucked  into her throat. The teacher fell to the floor choking for air. Milton leapt to the teacher’s aide and confidently began administering CPR, a skill he had learned at an after school workshop the year before. After clearing his teacher’s breathing passage, he coaxed the limp pigeon back to life and returned the critter outside.

“How dare you!” the teacher resumed.

“But, teacher!” pleaded Milton.

“I’ve had enough of your self-interested ways! It’s time you paid your fair share! And I’m through asking!” The teacher revealed a pistol and pointed it at Milton’s forehead.

“Teacher, wait!” Bernie interjected. “There’s no need for violence! We can do this the democratically! Let’s vote!”

The teacher’s smiled delightedly. “Bernie, you clever boy! A vote it is! I vote in favor of equality!”

“Me too!” Bernie concurred.

“Well, that settles it!” The teacher raised the pistol. “Milton, your points.”

Egalitarian policies would be silly and ridiculous in a classroom. Why then do we consider them a viable means of operating society? Instead of rewarding the most productive members of society, egalitarianism penalizes those who do well via taxation. Those who choose not to contribute are compensated with public assistance. The valedictorian owes, and the class clown collects.

However, the super-rich to no bear the brunt of the burden. They’ll manage even with exponential tax rates and will manage to get in bed with government. The beneficiaries are obviously not the dregs of society. They get free food, water, shelter, and spending money for nothing. However, their children are heartbreakingly born into a cyclical hell of dependence that is nearly impossible to break free from. They are forced to accept whatever the authorities decide to give them like slaves.

Aside from those born into the welfare trap, the people hurt the most are the genuinely needy and the working class. Those of us who are unfortunately born with severe handicaps or suffer great tragedies are less likely to receive charitable assistance in a welfare state. Those rich enough to donate are already obligated to pay their “fair share”. Furthermore, those who become dependent at no fault of their own have to share the welfare pot with those who choose dependency.

Also negatively affected are middle class folks who may have elected to balance their desire for financial security with the other endeavors offered by life like education, travel, having children, or helping people in need. Instead of being able to continue what they, as individuals, deem to be a reasonable lifestyle, they are forced to sacrifice whatever bite the government takes out of their asses.

In the end, egalitarian systems punish success and reward failure. They undermine the potential for charity and sharing and hinder any practical safety nets for the legitimately needy. Additionally, collectivist societies are completely dependent upon the threat of violence; people pay taxes to avoid jail. It’s bad means, and bad ends.

Capitalism is the complete opposite, and it’s the best system there is. In a capitalist world, those who work the hardest and make the best decisions generally reap the most benefits or at least avoid being poor. If they’ve yet to acquire what they desire, they are free to work harder to get ahead. And while people are free to choose not to work, there is no free meal ticket offered to them at the expense of others when the chickens come home to roost.

If you think about it, capitalism is basically forced altruism. How do you succeed in a free market world? You provide services and goods that improve the lives of others. You satisfy people, make them happy, and get paid for it. Those means and those ends sound a lot better than forced equality to me.



Leave a Reply