Thursday, November 25, 2004

Respect, not equality

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
This famous line from the US Declaration of Independence is completely fallacious. The concept is not just lacking ‘self-evidence,’ but actually exists in opposition to evidence. Humans are not genetically equal, they are not treated equally, nor are they raised in equivalent environments. Consequently, people do not end up ‘equal.’ People have different abilities: a result of differing innate inclinations and practice/exposure to various situations.

Everyone should be treated with respect, but they should not be treated equally.

Some may think this merely semantic pedantry, but if words are meant to communicate thoughts, they should be as accurate as possible. To perpetuate a blatantly false notion does not help the world; indeed it undermines the actual intent of those who would propose equality.

In the interest of lucidity, imagine an elementary school classroom. There are children with levels of ability in the categories of reading, spelling, science, mathematics, geography, arts, gym… etc. It is highly unlikely a student would have equal abilities with another student. Even more improbable is the idea that all the 20+ students would be equal to each other. More plausibly, children enter school with different levels of abilities compared to their peers. This situation would indicate that some child is better at some thing than some other child, but is also likely worse on some other measure. This is why teachers (should!) try to focus on different aspects of learning for different children, so proficiency can be gained in areas where it lacks.

The utility gained by having a useful description of humanity will be far greater than that of an antiquated notion based on false premises. Respect and compassion, not equality.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The idea regarding your posts around equality seems to be ignoring the basic statement that all opinions are equal in the sense that they can all be respected as opinions in and of themsleves! some opinions are "more informed than others". soem opinions are more thoroughly thought out than others but isn't a humanistic idea to assume and orovide equal RESPECT to everyone and each person's opinion. who are you, or anuyone else to decide which opinions are worthy, as it seems your statements would lead to some grading body to determine which opinions are worth and which are not.

I do not agree with a recist opinion or a right-wing, Bible-belt American ideology bu I realize that I will not get very far in my chances of chnaging his/her opinions/outlook/stereotypes if I do no respect him/her and where the opinions may come from.

Just something to think about as to put your opinions out there...

5:12 PM  

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