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Equality Is Impossible: Part I
http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=2836 ^ | William M. Briggs

Posted on 08/30/2010 4:05:22 AM PDT by mattstat

There is a certain way that philosophers talk that make them sound, to outsiders, like they’re spouting nonsense. Take David Miller, for example. He writes on the subject of equality in Philosophy and Politics:

"Complex equality…recognizes a number of relevant dimensions along which individuals may be scored, but it does not insist that scores be equalized along any dimension in particular. Instead it claims that overall equality can be achieved by counterbalancing among the different dimensions. If the dimensions are independent, in the sense that there is no connections between how a person performs on one and how he performs on others, then relative gains in one direction can be set against relative losses in another."

A professional philosopher will know that Miller is merely summarizing the learned literature on “equality theory.” But a lay or uninformed reader will presuppose that the man has lost his mind. Do philosophers really say that equality—the sublimest of all goals—can be had if only we could look into each heart and weigh or score each dimension of desire, awarding to each what he wants in proportion to how these rewards fit in with what each other persons’ desires?

They do say so, but you must understand that in philosophy we often discuss situations that might happen, that are theoretically possible, no matter how unlikely they might be. For example, we can imagine a Star Trek-like transporter device, and then ask questions about what happens if such a machine existed, all the while acknowledging that building such a device is next to impossible. So Miller might be talking theoretically and therefore might not be as nuts as he sounds...

(Excerpt) Read more at wmbriggs.com ...


TOPICS: Politics
KEYWORDS: equality

1 posted on 08/30/2010 4:05:25 AM PDT by mattstat
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To: mattstat

One measure of a person’s character is how they answer the question, “If you could only have one, would you prefer equality or freedom?”


2 posted on 08/30/2010 4:27:53 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Obama. Chauncey Gardiner without the homburg.)
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To: muir_redwoods
"One measure of a person’s character is how they answer the question, “If you could only have one, would you prefer equality or freedom?”

That would be difficult as I have never heard a objective, comprehensive definition for either.

3 posted on 08/30/2010 4:46:30 AM PDT by circlecity
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To: mattstat

I am glad Mr. Briggs is a statistician to the stars and I am glad I am not a star. This may be a fine game of mental masturbation for a few but its practical application escapes me.

If he is telling the socialists/Marxists that equality is impossible he is wasting his time. They already know that. Their goal of equality is just a facade, a lure to the have-nots. They know the 80-20 rule will always prevail no matter how many times they shuffle the deck.

Otherwise, I don’t see the interest in his theory even as a game.


4 posted on 08/30/2010 4:52:40 AM PDT by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done needs to be done by the government)
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To: circlecity
"One measure of a person’s character is how they answer the question, “If you could only have one, would you prefer equality or freedom?”

Or security versus insecurity? Or certainty versus ambiguity?

That would be difficult as I have never heard a objective, comprehensive definition for either.

You are right in that there are many different flavors of each. One flavor would be - We are all equally free. That would satisfy both.

5 posted on 08/30/2010 4:58:56 AM PDT by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done needs to be done by the government)
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To: Mind-numbed Robot; circlecity
The Framers meant that all men are created equal IN AUTHORITY over their own lives. Law-breakers exclude themselves.
6 posted on 08/30/2010 5:11:14 AM PDT by Matchett-PI (BP was founder of Cap & Trade Lobby and is linked to John Podesta, The Apollo Alliance and Obama)
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To: Matchett-PI
The Framers meant that all men are created equal IN AUTHORITY over their own lives. Law-breakers exclude themselves.

Yes, and even lawbreakers were treated impartially in court.

Do you think that was the message in this thread and the purpose for posting it?

7 posted on 08/30/2010 5:25:11 AM PDT by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done needs to be done by the government)
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To: mattstat

Its not that the progressives want equality as an objective, they want equality as a tool to gain absolute god like power.


8 posted on 08/30/2010 5:32:36 AM PDT by Raycpa
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To: Raycpa
Right there you've got the key point. As Orwell said: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Progressives talk about equality, because they want to be overlords.

9 posted on 08/30/2010 5:37:31 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy
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To: mattstat

.


10 posted on 08/30/2010 6:09:11 AM PDT by sourcery (United We Stand, Divided We Fall: You have to give in order to get)
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To: Mind-numbed Robot; circlecity
"Yes, and even lawbreakers were treated impartially in court."

That's because the Framers saw to it that we are a nation of laws, not a nation of men. "The rule of law" undergirds the Constitution.

From my profile page - I'll let C.S. Lews explain:

"We and our rulers are of one kind only so long as we are subject to one law, but if there is no law of nature, the ethos of any society is the creation of its rulers, educators, and conditioners, and every creator stands outside his own creation.” ~ C.S. Lewis - The Abolition of Man

11 posted on 08/30/2010 6:12:47 AM PDT by Matchett-PI (BP was founder of Cap & Trade Lobby and is linked to John Podesta, The Apollo Alliance and Obama)
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To: circlecity; muir_redwoods
The Founders defined equality as people all being subject to the same set of laws, and freedom as being in a state where you can do as you please as long as you do not violate the laws. Compliance with this produces prosperity, as the productive are freed to produce according to their own judgment, and are motivated to do so by the prospect of keeping the fruits of their labor.

Marxists define equality as everybody having the same property and income regardless of ability, and freedom as everybody having (what they regard to be) "the necessities of life". To accomplish this, it is necessary to enslave the productive segment of the population for the benefit of the unproductive. This produces poverty, as the productive lose their incentive to produce.

12 posted on 08/30/2010 6:21:28 AM PDT by PapaBear3625 ("It is only when we've lost everything, that we are free to do anything" -- Fight Club)
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To: PapaBear3625

Well stated. Succint yet inclusive.


13 posted on 08/30/2010 9:42:33 AM PDT by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done needs to be done by the government)
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To: circlecity

it’s a subjective question measuring ones preference. We don’t need an objective definition.


14 posted on 08/30/2010 7:01:45 PM PDT by muir_redwoods (Obama. Chauncey Gardiner without the homburg.)
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To: muir_redwoods

Without an objective definition then what are you measuring? Preference for what?


15 posted on 08/30/2010 7:03:47 PM PDT by circlecity
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To: Mind-numbed Robot

Mind-numbed. Obviously, you are not a star, so it’s unlikely we’ll run into one another.

But, for fun, I can tell you that Marxists etc. do not know that equality is impossible. There is a large and growing literature on the subject. Obviously, the author I quoted was writing in that vein.

Which means, naturally, that there is work to be done to set these folks straight.


16 posted on 08/31/2010 4:09:46 AM PDT by mattstat
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To: circlecity
There is no objective definition for the word "love" yet most people can respond if asked for their response to the concept. I don't need an objective definition of freedom or equality since I am not measuring anything. I am gauging the reaction a person has to the preference they may hold to their understanding of the term; any other meaning beyond the subjective would be useless in this context.

We had a president once who quibbled over the definition of the word "is". It's not a good trait

17 posted on 08/31/2010 4:40:36 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Obama. Chauncey Gardiner without the homburg.)
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To: muir_redwoods
"I am gauging the reaction a person has to the preference they may hold to their understanding of the term; any other meaning beyond the subjective would be useless in this context."

As opposed to the incredible usefullness of "guaging the reaction someone has" to something with no objective meaning.

18 posted on 08/31/2010 4:48:17 AM PDT by circlecity
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To: circlecity
It tells me something. If you are still stuck, use dictionary.com and look up the words yourself.

There is nothing superior about an objective definition if one is interested in subjective reaction. There is nothing inferior about the subjective if that is the point of one's interest.

I know this is a bit complex so try reading it a few times to better understand it. I am interested in a persons gut level reaction to "freedom" versus "equality" as that person understands those words.

That tells me something about their character, information I have already gained about yours.

19 posted on 08/31/2010 5:35:12 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Obama. Chauncey Gardiner without the homburg.)
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To: muir_redwoods

I guess we all learn something. I too am fascinated by things. I am fascinated at how so many use sophistry to avoid the issue of objective meaning or rational conclusions. When everything is a rhorschak test then one is never wrong. Subjective reations to meaningless statements can mean whatever anyone wants them to mean. They are used to validate whatever preconceptions one has.


20 posted on 08/31/2010 5:43:01 AM PDT by circlecity
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To: circlecity
And leaping to the conclusion that when one is interested in one subjective reaction then one is never interested in the objective or rational in other cases is quite a leap of misplaced faith. Wouldn't you agree?

The inability to understand the importance of both the objective and rational as well as the subjective and irrational in human beings leaves one as ill-equipt as the one-legged man in the foot race.

21 posted on 08/31/2010 5:56:57 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Obama. Chauncey Gardiner without the homburg.)
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To: muir_redwoods
"And leaping to the conclusion that when one is interested in one subjective reaction then one is never interested in the objective or rational in other cases is quite a leap of misplaced faith. Wouldn't you agree?"

If I look at it subjectively I sure can because then I can agree with anything and be right. It is the major benefit of attaching importance to the meaningless.

22 posted on 08/31/2010 6:07:32 AM PDT by circlecity
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To: circlecity
If the subjective is meaningless to you I hope for the sake of any potential partner that you have never been in love. I hope you have never felt the swell of patriotism because that confusion might be too much to bear and please never read poetry or listen to music; the subjective responses might again hurt your rational mind.

To claim the subjective is meaningless is very, very irrational and quite illogical.

23 posted on 08/31/2010 6:53:29 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Obama. Chauncey Gardiner without the homburg.)
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To: mattstat
Mind-numbed. Obviously, you are not a star, so it’s unlikely we’ll run into one another.

I am a star in my own sky. If you are inhabiting a different sky you are probably not going to see me.

But, for fun, I can tell you that Marxists etc. do not know that equality is impossible. There is a large and growing literature on the subject.

If so, The Marxists must be writing that literature. I base my opinion on reading about Communists Goals, a list of 45 goals written by the KGB in the USSR outlining their intentions in destroying the USA, and about the Frankfurt School outlining the development of and implementation of their strategy for accomplishing those goals, Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals which suggests tactics for the accomplishment of those goals. They are following those tactics to a tee. It is not a plan for equality. It is a plan for power.

Key concepts are that the Marxists must disguise their intentions in order to implement policies which will accomplish them. That means they must lie and lying is a key to what they do. Lying is recommended by them. In that vein Alinsky taught that the issue (health care, global warming, illegal immigration, etc.) was never the true issue. The issues were just fronts for their true goal which was always power.

I also learned a lot by reading David Horowitz's books, his newsletters and websites. Mark Levin's book Liberty and Tyranny is also instructive.

For Marxists the goal is continuous revolution. That means the eternal destruction of the status quo. The battle is never won. Yet, the hypocrisy is evident. There are two kinds of Marxists - the movers and shakers, the power seekers, who know the truth about what they are doing, and what Lenin called the "Useful Idiots", those who actually believe what the leaders were spouting. Was there equality of the leaders and the followers? Obviously not! It was never intended to be. Equality was a Big Lie.

The Communist Manifesto itself envisioned, or at least proposed, that the "workers", the masses, would revolt and overthrow those in control. It was supposed to be a revolution of the have-nots against the haves. It never happened despite the continuing agitation by Marxists activists. The Marxists concluded that equality must be imposed since it wasn't desired by the masses. That in itself indicates that equality was not their goal. You cannot impose equality without the inequality of those imposing it and those on which it is imposed.

The goal of the Marxist was power! In order to exercise power successfully they needed a docile populace. The siren's song was the promise of equality. Their efforts to impose this "equality" on a docile society were often brutal and deadly. Millions were murdered and even more were enslaved. Does that sound like they wanted equality?

Does that sound to you like they really believed in equality? I guess it all depends on what the meaning of is is.

24 posted on 08/31/2010 7:43:26 AM PDT by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done needs to be done by the government)
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To: Mind-numbed Robot; All
Interesting discussion. Not a word regarding truth, facts, and intended goals.

We are in a world of hurt and we all seem passive, weak, and unperturbed. Not a logical or effective response to the destruction of our laws, Constitution, life styles, economy, immigration flood gates, and dozens of other distractions. NASA is essentially a Muslim cultural center, Our borders are being evaporated, and the money is losing value daily, the drilling of our oil is blocked on every front, International Law and One World government is absorbing us bit by bit and we set and have theoretical discussions as to the meaning of what is is. We have lost our moral character and the values that made America great and live in a world of 10,000 distractions constantly. MOO

God help us in our day, Father nothing is too hard for you, come to the aid of America, and bind the forces of evil abounding in our land, in Jesus name, amen.

25 posted on 08/31/2010 8:17:37 AM PDT by geologist (The only answer to the troubles of this life is Jesus. A decision we all must make.)
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