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A LIBERTARIAN'S TAKE ON EQUAL OUTCOME VERSUS EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

By SpikeTalon 1 year ago

The goal of equal outcome- To make sure all individuals are financially equal regardless of one's occupation in life.

The goal of equal opportunity- To provide everyone with the same chance(s) regardless of ethnic or social background.

Politics these days are loaded with controversial talking points. The gun control debate, abortion rights for women, and marriage equality are a few issues that come to mind as being controversial and stirring up emotions. The equal outcome versus equal opportunity debate is no different, with each political side claiming they have the absolute solution to the problem.

The equal outcome scenario kind of reminds me of the science fiction story Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, in which detailed a future where everyone was made equal and the word achievement would have been considered a curse word. On the surface that sounds just fine, but there are some serious concerns with such a concept, namely the discrimination that would go along with giving advantages to certain individuals that would otherwise lack specific qualifications. For example, overlooking a qualified male for a certain job in favor of a less qualified female, just for the sake of diversity and inclusivity. The problem there is, it is not possible to beat inequality if it requires that otherwise qualified individuals are denied opportunities in the process.

The universe itself does not produce equal outcomes for equal actions, and life can be truly cruel for some lifeforms at the lower end of the food chain. With this in mind and plenty of evidence to back that up, there are far too many of my fellow human beings who wish to believe otherwise, that maybe just maybe if we add a few more rules and apply some more taxes on the right individuals, that would somehow make everyone equal. It is also a well known fact that human beings are not all equal in intelligence and skills, which need to be taken into consideration too. Although most could improve upon certain skills and abilities, there will always be constrainments due to differences in natural gifts. If the desire is to achieve social progress (in particular where the least well off are concerned), then we need to think up ways to put to effective use the knowledge and skills of all people.

The trouble with the diversity/inclusivity movement these days is said diversity is solely focused on racial and social diversity, and not diversity of intellect and thought as it should be. For a truly prosperous society, academic excellence should be the primary goal. Those who favor diversity appear to not see any conflict between diversity and achievement/excellence. It is too often assumed that the more diversity the better the performance, and there is no solid evidence to back up such. Decades of affirmative action have not resolved the imbalances in outcomes, and there is no indication of change coming anytime soon with more of the same.

Equality before the law should not be confused with equal outcomes. Equality where the laws are concerned means everyone has equal rights (for example free speech, religious expression etc), and by enforcing equal rights for all equal opportunity could be established. Some argue that being we all are supposed to be considered equal under the law, that means all outcomes must be equal as well, and that's simply not accurate.

The Founders envisioned an America where all the citizens had equal opportunity in their pursuit of their ideal life. They created both an economic and political system that allowed all to have a fair shot at success through hard work and perseverance. However, such a system based on individual merit would mean that there will be inequality in outcomes, as we live in a free society some will naturally succeed more than others. Knowing this, any claim(s) that inequalities are an apparent sign of an injustice would be misguided.

Another concern with the concept of wealth redistribution is that such has the tendency to create oligarchs. Even when all the citizens are kept equally poor, those in positions of power will use their authority to ensure they get ahead, keeping the luxuries they deprived others of for themselves. Cuba is a good example, fairly good healthcare services are available for the wealthy, while the rest more often than not struggle to acquire basic necessities. Closer to home, one need only look at some of the major US cities like Los Angeles or Chicago which are under progressive Democrat control, and the high percentage of poverty in such cities. Try as they (the progressives) may, but time and time again their policies have only produced more poverty and a need for more citizens to go on Government assistance programs. Contrast that with the ideology of equal opportunity that conservatives and libertarians advocate for. The concept of equal opportunity acknowledges and accepts the reality that life itself is not fair. Alongside natural born rights and advancing technology, society can flourish and the economy can stay strong when all the citizens have the power to make their own choices. A few years back Jordan Peterson had a good video on YouTube titled Why Equality of Outcome is an Impossible Goal and Terrible Idea, here is the link for anyone who might be interested in checking it out-

In conclusion:

While it's a noble notion to want fairness and equality, life itself is not designed to be fair, each human being has his/her own unique strengths and weaknesses and set of skills. When everyone gets an opportunity to pursue either success or failure, society as a whole will ultimately benefit as there will be plenty of those who seek to invent and innovate thus improving all of our lives. Bigger Government is not the longterm solution, nor is using Government powers to force all the citizens into being financially and socially equal. We do not want to live in a Harrison Bergeron world.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of this website or its members.

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10 comments

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0

There are some things I think a society should fund commonly ( like healthcare in my option). We already invest as a social group in primary education. We socialistic ally invest in roads etc. but there needs to be some “competition and motivation “ to achieve more than the minimum. It’s a BALANCE thing - DUALITIES. NON-ABRAHAMIC philosophy makes this much clearer.

I get what you're saying, but that doesn't mean we need said competition in the form of Government, let's encourage competition in the private sector. While certain things such as infrastructure are taxpayer funded, that doesn't mean everyone is okay with such. Regarding healthcare, I'm a Type 1 Diabetic which means a chronic condition that can get rather expensive to maintain, yet I'm against the Government getting involved in healthcare. At least with private insurance if you are not satisfied with the service you receive you can seek out a competitor. I dare not contemplate the decisions the Government could make for individuals (or more likely force them into said decisions more or less) if they had absolute control of healthcare. The ACA was a disaster, while pre-existing conditions was covered they failed to put caps on what the insurances could charge. Reform the current system, maybe impose caps on hospital services and medications, but I'm not for absolute Government control of such though.

@SpikeTalon
I’m not totally against private. I think pharmaceuticals should not get exclusive protection, u should be able to buy from wherever u want.

Protectionism is not free enterprise

@SocialDarwin I can agree on that, no exclusive protections for anyone, and the Pharmaceutical companies already make plenty of profits.

1

Not only is equality of outcome impossible, people don't really value it like they say they do.

That's true.

0

I am reminded of a story called Mouseland, written by a fella named Clarence Gillis from Nova Scotia and spoken in the legislature of the HOC by a man named Tommy Douglas. You truly need to watch or listen to the story, I'll post a link. And even back then as the industrial revolution began, progressed and flourished did those words ring so loud and clear and still do today.

Equality, a strange word that people think fits them when it doesn't. You got your education because you wanted to learn and people taught you. Your rich because someone lent you money to make more money and prosper.

It is when you circum to the sins of life your view and world changes and no you are not meant to take advantage of nor give away recklessly.

1

I like to bring that old supreme court ruling they live so much back to them. "Separate is inherently unequal." Equality of outcome is the dystopia in A Wrinkle in Time that the children rescue their father from.

1

There are of course problems that equal opportunity will not address. Some significant percent of the population is intellectually or emotionally unable to care for themselves. If charity is the answer to this problem it would take decades to build the networks necessary to replace welfare. Reform has to be slow, deliberate and flexible.

"It would take decades to build the networks necessary to replace welfare." By what metric?

@Janus819

By the metric that it has taken decades to become as dystopian as it has become.

@wolfhnd Yet government is extremely inefficient. Around here, road repairs take literally about a hundred times longer than parking lots at private businesses.

0

The equal outcome objective does not include justice for individual people.

1

Excellent piece. Behavior dictates outcomes.

Thank you, and that it does.

1

When an innovator makes some sweeping changes in an established industry, the rewards are huge. Then the innovation is brought to the rest of the world, because everyone really wants the improvements it brings, for example Amazon's online business, or the Tesla electric cars. Other countries can try to demand that they must give away their advantages and share their expertise, to give everyone 'equality of outcomes'. But that's obviously nonsense, and it could not work in International trade. It's the same inside a country, one cannot demand the fruits of someone's labor by saying they were reaped through the inequalities in the system. With equality of opportunity, we are striving to avoid such problems, for example with laws against insider trading or other legal ways. But a meritocracy is the best way to improve everyone's lot, not a socialist system

Well said.

1

Equality of outcome is destroying a meritocracy based on merit and replacing it with a kleptocracy based on hustling. philosophically its like judging the meal you had last night on the consistency of the stool you pushed out in the morning.

Kleptocracy is a good way of describing it, stealing from those who are otherwise qualified to give to those who most likely are less qualified.

0

Bigger government or smaller government has nothing to do with equality between people

The Government itself doesn't have anything to do directly with such, at least it shouldn't anyway, but the Government does enter into the equation when laws like affirmative action are put into place (mostly at state level government there).

@SpikeTalon Like I said... size doesn't matter...
Even a dictatorship could do what you espouse.

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