Libertarianism, Equality, Fairness, and Discrimination
From the Libertarian Party Platform:
3.5 Rights and Discrimination We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant. Government should not deny or abridge any individual’s rights based on sex, wealth, race, color, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs.
Pretty self-explanatory, right? If you’re a bigot, you’re an idiot. This isn’t to say that you personally can’t be a bigot if you want to – that is so long as you’re not infringing on anyone else’s rights – so if you really insist on having your own private Whatever Supremacist meetings, enjoy them in the comforting knowledge that your rights allow absolute stupidity. The point of this platform plank is to state that no government entity can or should ever engage in discrimination of any kind; that is totally forbidden. I think we can all agree that this is an accurate and unobjectionable position, right? However, some people will mistakenly translate this into “we’re all equal.” They are wrong.
Equality is the single stupidest idea anyone ever came up with. We’re not all equal, and the notion of equality is nothing short of a catastrophe. And I realize that this statement might leave you saying something like:
There’s a tremendous difference between equal rights and equality. Everybody has the same rights, but I personally am tempted to vomit every time I hear some variation of “we’re all equal.” Even my most creative profanity fails to describe my level of hatred for that statement.
What is equality? I insist that it is the utter and systematic destruction of individuality for all parties concerned, masked as justice and virtue.
You have to be overreacting.
The concept of equality – please train yourself to inject a mental “and that’s not the same as equal rights” so I don’t have to keep typing it – is based on the ludicrous assumption that fairness is a beautiful thing that springs forth from this womb of moral righteousness that is Sameness. And while the concept of fairness is indeed directly related to the notion of equality, that’s nothing to celebrate. So I’m really sorry, Fairness, but there’s no trophy for having a bad mother.
Who the hell actually objects to fairness?
I know, right? Well, this is sort of a thinker. For starters, you have to realize that nothing is or can be fair. Sure, in the name of fairness there are ground rules for checkers and so forth to establish some sort of a level playing field, and we all shout “that’s not fair!” when somebody wrongs us when we’ve done nothing to earn their venom, but consider what “fairness” really means. It means that we’re either entitled to a particular outcome that we feel we deserve, or that someone got something they didn’t deserve and that just isn’t right – it needs to be “fixed.”
Considering this, it turns out that inherent in the idea of fairness is that somebody has to decide who has something that somebody else should have. Now when you’re talking about horse-collar tackles in football or using certain foreign words in Scrabble (“What the hell is ‘borscht?!’ How is that legal?!”), fairness is actually just a phrase to describe the concept of abiding by mutually agreed-upon rules. And, when you’re talking about somebody punching you in the face when you’ve done nothing wrong, unfairness is actually just a word you’re using as a way of describing a totally unjust infringement on your rights. But fairness – real fairness – is completely consumed by the idea that everyone is entitled to an equal outcome. Anything else, therefore, is unfair.
Ok, so let me get this straight. While we use “fairness” to mean different things, you’re saying the actual meaning of fairness is just an enforcement of equality?
Yeah, basically. And the kicker is that somebody has to decide what’s fair and what isn’t. Unlike rules everyone agrees to and rights that everyone already has, what fairness means is that some third party is going to decide who gets what, and why. Fairness is the arbitrary muscle behind equality. Fairness is a demand for absolute power to enforce a vision of “right.”
Ok, so fairness is based in the notion of equality, and fairness is about dividing up who gets what based on what somebody thinks is “right.” Where things start to break down is when you consider that no human being can ever be truly impartial when it comes to deciding fairness. Fairness is always influenced by a particular world view, which is why fairness today means racial quotas in college institutions (this is considered equality), taxing producers to support certain consumers’ wants (this is considered equality), and the entire concept of “social justice” (also known as “getting even,” and this is also trumpeted in the name of equality).
“There are too many white people in this classroom! Something is horribly wrong!”
“You own too many Mercedes! I demand tax-subsidized compensation for your success!”
“Remember slavery, asshole?! I deserve reparations!”
Ah, equality! Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie, because I am entitled. You’re in the wrong majority, you have too much (more than me), and your ancestors might have been in a group of really bad people. Fork it over. It’s…only…fair.
But some people really have too much!
Read this and get back to me. I’ve already covered it.
Oh, yeah. Well… you’re being unfair.
Ha. That’s a really poor choice of words.
What I mean is that equality isn’t just about fairness by way of redistribution. Equality is about ending discrimination, too.
Not quite. In fact, it’s about the exact opposite. All you’re doing with this notion of “fairness” is discriminating against one category of people to prop up another. How does that jive with what you call fair?
Consider the implications! If you’re confiscating wealth or rigging a system against certain people, how in God’s name can you seriously say that equality is about equality? What you’re saying is that we are not equal, and you’re proving it by demanding special treatment.
“Equality” and “fairness” are just as responsible for discrimination as abject bigotry. What’s the suggestion of equality/fairness by way of racial quotas? “Blacks just can’t make it on their own.” Penalizing others’ success? “Nobody – except me – deserves what they earn.” Social justice? “I’m going to get my revenge, because I’m a victim of something that somebody did somewhere, some time.” This is what people do, and this is what they call equal and fair. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Before you start coughing up blood and writing me anonymous death threats, let me repeat and semi-clarify: equal rights, which absolutely everyone has and deserves, has nothing to do with equality and fairness. Bigotry is nothing short of evil and disgusting, but you must realize that “equality” and “fairness” are just two insidious vehicles that serve to perpetuate it. I’ll leave you with the words of Barry Goldwater, who says it much better than I ever could:
Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed. Their mistaken course stems from false notions of equality, ladies and gentlemen. Equality, rightly understood, as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences. Wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.