Poverty in western civilization has become a padded cell for the mind. America’s practices of capitalism and free enterprise have allowed for the greatest exposition of equal opportunity. Technology and education have never been as accessible as they are today. To ask, “Why didn’t equality happen faster?” is an unfair question. Time is a sensitive element of nature, and robbing anyone of the experience of “learning-with-time” cheapens the worth of that knowledge gained. Giving one the same chance to either fail or succeed is the greatest opportunity America has achieved throughout her history.
For many on the left, equality of outcome is valued more than experience of learning from failure. The existence of failure is unacceptable for leftists. Standards and rules are perceived as discriminatory, insurmountable hurdles. The inability to meet specific, challenging goals is seen as an injustice. The fiscal and societal costs, as well as the risk of lowering standards are rarely evaluated. For example, secondary education institutions are expected to assess diversity of origin over levels of achievement. SAT and ACT scores have been subject to man-made fairness procedures. A Princeton University study, published in 2004, revealed that minorities were receiving an average of 200+ bonus points on their score, just for identifying their ethnicity. Other ethnic groups were deducted points for the same action. The University had hoped to see a dramatic increase in minorities graduating, but the result was nearly static.
Such enforcements of affirmative action are not justice. A merit earned has far more integrity than a favor frantically given. The book of Proverbs asserts, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”
As ideal or seemingly utopian as society could be with zero inequality, that type of structure is unachievable. America dealt with this during its colonial infancy. Colonists experimented with communal ethics and were nearly eliminated by those ethics’ certain failure. The Jamestown, Virginia settlement was reduced by food shortages, disease, and cannibalism that resulted from dwindling community farming. Some of the same occurrences can be observed today. Most recently, Venezuela’s implementation of socialist and communist means of production has completely bankrupted the country. Citizens are hunting dogs in order to eat. Surrounding countries have opened their borders in order for Venezuelans to have access to basic goods, food, and healthcare.
Economic and moral fairness is simply never equal. It never has been. Humanity is too greatly individually diverse in order for everyone to be idyllically equal. The United States’ aim was to give the opportunity for the individual to pursue the level of achievement they were willing to muster without the violation of someone else’s opportunity to do the same. Socialism, communism, and hybrids thereof diminish that opportunity. Karl Marx believed, “From each according to his ability to each according to his need(s).” This is neither moral, nor just. However, the left continues to believe that because they recognize a disparity, they are morally superior enough to correct it themselves. To put it simply, they play God, and fail miserably.
The character Salieri, in 1984’s Amadeus, encounters Mozart’s work and loathes him for his undeniable superior gift. Salieri has status and wealth, but it is not enough. Finally fed up with God’s distribution of talent, he vows to God, “From now, we are enemies… You and I. Because You choose for Your instrument a boastful, lustful, smutty, infantile boy, and give me for reward only to recognize the incarnation. Because You are unjust, unfair, unkind, I will block You, I swear it. I will hinder and harm Your creature as far as I am able. I will ruin Your incarnation.” The left makes the same claims about the wealthy without hesitation or proof. Money, talent, or ethnic origin does not make one evil. Insisting that someone is evil without evidence is to forcibly silence them, and that is what is evil.
Even when given the most free and equal circumstances, it is impossible to predict a level of effort one will exert. One cannot make someone obtain something they do not want for themselves. In the movie, Good Will Hunting, the character Will is a savant with a rebellious streak. He is given the opportunity to greatly succeed without actual merit, and arrogantly blows it for amusement. His best friend, Chuckie, doesn’t understand why he didn’t take it, and tells him, “No. No, no no, no. [Forget] you, you don’t owe it to yourself man, you owe it to me. ‘Cuz tomorrow I’m gonna wake up and I’ll be 50, and I’ll still be doin’ this [stuff]. And that’s all right. That’s fine. I mean, you’re sittin’ on a winnin’ lottery ticket… It’d be an insult to us if you’re still here in 20 years. Hangin’ around here is a […] waste of your time.” (Expletives deleted.)
America’s equal opportunity is based on a free market which is dependent upon voluntary transactions between consenting parties. As long as there is minimal government interference, the results are potentially limitless. Once a government decides they can seize from one in order to aid others who chose to earn less, they have participated in a third-party implementation of immorality.
By: Rosemary Dewar