Home Will-O'-the-Wisp of a Wanton Age

The will-o'-the-wisp called "equality" has been the subject of fervent debate and the objective of political movements for many centuries now, despite an oft overlooked little detail: equality does not exist. From which philosophical perspective could one posit its existence, without accosting a reduction to the absurd by conveniently ignoring the necessary conditions of the system in which one is working, or excusing oneself from that system entirely to employ an embarrassingly weak form of inductive reasoning. Consider a phenomenalist's approach: we are all fundamentally human in our experience; therefore, within the shared realm of humanity we are equal. Of course, we cannot say anything of the quality of our experience, because this would presuppose that objectivity is something approachable. Given the interrelation between this question and the limitless positions held among ethicists and metaphysicians, philosophers great and small, let us instead turn to an indirect method of invalidating both equality and inequality all at once: let us ask instead, what sort of political system necessitates equality?

Polity is inextricably associated with economy. The latter is a reification of an abstract concept, to which we readily relegate the task of regulating personal and social welfare to this aforementioned arbitrarily fluctuating abstraction. The modern political systems of the West champion individual rights, borne upon the momentum of humanistic values popularized by the leaders of the Renaissance movement. It was here that man was deified, granted limitless opportunity in life as he was recast as a tabula rasa; no longer bound to the chain of causality, traditional metaphysics was perverted for the sake of consoling those dealt a more burdensome lot in life. Where once aspirations where oriented towards becoming the "eternal man", the current shifted to glorify man as an atomistic individual, a self-made mover without bound, a ghost of a god. While this ideal has yet to be realized even by our increasingly liberal standards, the false concept of equality has left us with no dearth of adverse repercussions.

So it is, that a political system entrenched in the pursuit of potentially unchecked economic growth will create terms such as "equality" and "universal human rights", to euphemize the fluid stratification of a social hierarchy based on the unit of the individual—all at the expense of community, culture, and environment. Theoretically, they say, we can all live like kings. Reality indicates otherwise, what with the bolstering of such a weak foundation with circumlocutory institutions that do their part to sustain not just an unsustainable economy, but an unsustainable population, direction, and worldview. What we will soon find is that money and its exchange should not—and cannot—bind a community, neither should mere necessity. Togetherness ought to be something rare and celebrated, building rich oral traditions and folk mysticism, in which there is no place for even the question of equality and the resultant abominations of a society driven by economic associations.

August 7, 2006

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