…unless you’re willing to reopen the slave markets.
Let me explain. The dogma of human equality is one of the great sacred cows of modern society. But like many other terms that are used regularly (‘racism’, ‘bigotry’, and ‘fascism’ spring to mind), there is no set or useful definition of ‘human equality’ most of the time. Instead it’s a vague concept used as a bludgeon against hierarchies disliked by the one using the term, and generally against any concept of traditional order.
One may point out that different people have different heights, weights, talents, levels of strength, levels of intelligence, and behavioral patterns, among other things. And usually, this fact will be acknowledged without much of a fight. A retreat will then be made to some other definition of equality. But they are all untenable, or at least meaningless, and I am going to attempt to demonstrate that here.
The typical answer is that all people have equal value or are equally important. This sounds very nice. But what does it mean? What is the ‘value’ of a human being? Quantifiable value, as opposed to ‘values’ like honor or justice (which are a whole different sort of thing), is mostly an economic concept. How does one measure the ‘value’ of a human being?
Well, typically, the way one determines the value of a thing is by market action. That is to say, one sells it and sees how much he can get. However, civilised people have generally given up the slave trade at this point. Nevertheless, in those places where slavery does exist, every individual is certainly not worth the same amount of money. And this is not an illustration I think many egalitarians would be comfortable with. So we must search for our definition of human equality elsewhere.
Economic ‘value’ doesn’t really apply to humans, for the most part. Economic value, after all, is subjective; I may value a new laptop more than the $1300 I pay for it, but for the computer store, it’s just the opposite. Only the market creates a ‘true’, ‘objective’ measure of economic value. Other measures are either subjective (my individual valuation) or completely artificial. Thus it’s rather silly to talk about ‘equal’ human value.
The Christian typically retreats to a definition of value such as this one: ‘God loves everyone equally’. (Materialists dont define it at all; generally, they just label you ‘backward’ or a ‘bigot’ and burn you at the stake).
I personally doubt this is true. ‘Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated’, and all that. But even if it is, so what? This tells us absolutely nothing about equality in any sense applicable to our own lives, especially in the political realm. God may love the retarded child with an IQ of 70 just as much as He loves George Washington. That does not mean they are equally fit to steer the ship of state.
And this applies to men and women, for instance. ‘God loves women just as much as He loves men.’ OK, sure, I guess; whatever. That tells us nothing about whether they should be allowed to vote. It tells us nothing about whether either sex should be given total freedom in courtship. It tells us nothing about how men and women should relate once married. In other words, in every social and political sense it tells us nothing of any value whatsoever.
This kind of ‘value’ (a measurement of divine love) is meaningless.
If we then retreat from the economic notion of equality, where do we have left to go? Can we say ‘all people are equally important’?
Well, we can, but then the question is: important to whom? All people are not equally important to me. All people are not equally important to the survival of the nation. And all people are not equally important to history. All people may be equally important to God (though I tend to doubt it), but so what? We’re back to the ‘Divine love’ explanation of equality.
‘Equality’ is a nonsense.