Friday, August 22, 2008

Equity vs. Equality


Is there some latent Americaphilia residing someplace in Left? You are implying that there is – perhaps some secret praise ready to burst out in America the Beautiful as soon as the magic question is voiced. Leftists don’t praise America. They are either glad they live in Europe or (if they live here) they wish they could move to Canada. Those who are glad they live in the U.S. and think the U.S. is superior to the EU are by definition on the Right.

I have implied that there were fewer “inequities” in the US than anyplace else in the world. You changed the word to “inequality” and stated that almost every other Western Nation was superior to the US. in reducing them. I noted the change in emphasis. Here in the U.S. we have more “equity,” more “fairness” than anyplace else. Everyone has a better chance at doing and achieving whatever he or she likes than anyplace else in the world.

In changing the term to “inequality” you moved back into the European realm. The Welfare state provides a better chance that everyone is going to get the “same” thing. In a recent article about Sweden we saw that this was clearly the Swedish dream and the writer of the article thought that Sweden had achieved it better than any other European nation. The Swedish state provided everyone the same things to the best of its ability. It was a Socialistic dream without the Stalinism. Now, years later we see that “equality” isn’t all it was cracked up to be if the Swedes can be said to be equally poorer than the inhabitants of the poorest American State.

By striving for equity rather than equality we in the U.S. have provided more, in an absolute sense, than the Swedes could provide by striving after equality. What good is equality if you are all equally poor – or equally at risk from invaders, crooks, vandals, murderers, etc?

But, some America-bashers and EU lovers used to love to say the EU is improving and America is deteriorating (but I haven’t heard that in the past couple of years). Even in that most sacred of realms “Racial Equality” America is now seen to be superior to the EU. Garton Ash noted that. The EU nations announced a belief in the principle of “Racial Equality” but when it got right down to living with Non-Europeans, the Europeans weren’t very good at it. Americans were much. We in America are used to integrating with our immigrants. You in Europe are not. We are good at it. You aren’t.

Lawrence Helm

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