EGALITARIANISM IS NOT UTOPIA!
Egalitarianism is NOT about creating a utopia; it is not about creating a perfect society in which all problems have disappeared and all people are happy saints.
Egalitarianism is about creating a society in which the people who want class inequality (a small minority today!) are no longer in power and the people who do not want class inequality (the vast majority today!) are in power.
Egalitarian societies still have serious problems to deal with. An egalitarian society is, however, a whole lot better than any society based on class inequality, such as our present one.
And no, an egalitarian society is NOT a society in which goods and services are free to anybody no matter what; it is NOT freeloader-friendly and it is not the freeloaders' paradise that some crazy Marxists advocate with their "free access" slogan. It is, however, a society in which most people will be motivated to do useful work.
First of all, contrary to what some people mistakenly believe, egalitarianism is NOT based on the premise that ALL people want an egalitarian society. It is based on the premise that most people do, and that the majority can prevail over (by force, if necessary!) the minority who oppose egalitarian values to make society be shaped by the egalitarian values of the majority: equality (no rich and no poor equality), fairness and mutual aid.
In an egalitarian society people with egalitarian values have gained the upper hand and have the real power in society, but this doesn't mean they are perfect people. There will still be problems stemming from the fact that people are not saints. There will still be individuals sometimes doing nasty things to other people. Selfishness will not disappear. There will still be crime and criminals to deal with. There will be, as Dostoyevsky brilliantly wrote in Notes From the Underground*, irrationality and perverseness because people will be essentially the same in the future as they are today.
The difference is this. In a society based on class inequality there is official approval for some people to have extreme power to dominate others and to act in extreme opposition to the Golden Rule. In contrast, an egalitarian society is based on principles that promote rather than impede egalitarians' ability to oppose any individual or group of people attempting to gain the power to dominate and oppress others or act in flagrant opposition to the Golden Rule.
It's not utopia. But egalitarianism is much better, and worth fighting for.
ANOTHER REASON WHY UTOPIA IS NOT THE EGALITARIAN GOAL
There is something actually undesirable about utopia, if utopia is taken to mean a society in which there are no problems and everything is perfectly suitable to human happiness.
Humans thrive on dealing with challenges, important and even life-threatening challenges. We rise to the challenge, with all sorts of skills, both mental and physical. Absent such challenges there is good reason to suspect that humans would atrophy and become something that, today, we would be horrified to become. Consider, for example, that astronauts after a long period of time in weightlessness become more fragile because their bones, in the absence of having to resist the force of gravity, begin to weaken.
Egalitarian societies will confront serious challenges.
Humans are, for example, at war...with microbes, and this will not end with the attainment of egalitarianism.
Egalitarian societies, like those of the past, will confront catastrophic threats to the entire earth (such as being struck by a comet like the one that caused the mass extinction of dinosaurs and many other life forms in the past, or the earth becoming unlivable due to some other natural event) that could end the existence of the human race and other life forms. How will we respond to these threats? Who knows? That is the challenge!
Like any society, an egalitarian society will face the challenge of obtaining sufficient energy for what it needs and desires. How will it do that? Who knows? That is a big challenge!
As individuals, each person in an egalitarian society will face the challenge of finding a way to survive. He or she will need to figure out how to obtain the things needed to survive (and the things desired to survive well); this entails either producing things to barter or finding a satisfactory way to gain membership in good standing in the sharing economy by contributing in some way to it reasonably according to ability.
On a less dramatic note, it is not likely that humans, whether in an egalitarian society or not, will ever be un-challenged by the threat of boredom (or meaninglessness, if one prefers). We will always be challenged to defeat boredom/meaninglessness with means that we cannot even imagine today, not to mention the means that we already use such as sports, music, theater, literature, dance, all kinds of art and crafts, pure scientific and mathematical research, spiritual seeking of one sort or another, and so on.
Egalitarianism, unlike utopia, will not eliminate the challenges that humans need in order to thrive and develop our amazing potential.
* “In short, one may say anything about the history of the world--anything that might enter the most disordered imagination. The only thing one can't say is that it's rational. The very word sticks in one's throat. And, indeed, this is the odd thing that is continually happening: there are continually turning up in life moral and rational persons, sages and lovers of humanity who make it their object to live all their lives as morally and rationally as possible, to be, so to speak, a light to their neighbours simply in order to show them that it is possible to live morally and rationally in this world.
"And yet we all know that those very people sooner or later have been false to themselves, playing some queer trick, often a most unseemly one. Now I ask you: what can be expected of man since he is a being endowed with strange qualities? Shower upon him every earthly blessing, drown him in a sea of happiness, so that nothing but bubbles of bliss can be seen on the surface; give him economic prosperity, such that he should have nothing else to do but sleep, eat cakes and busy himself with the continuation of his species, and even then out of sheer ingratitude, sheer spite, man would play you some nasty trick. He would even risk his cakes and would deliberately desire the most fatal rubbish, the most uneconomical absurdity, simply to introduce into all this positive good sense his fatal fantastic element. It is just his fantastic dreams, his vulgar folly that he will desire to retain, simply in order to prove to himself--as though that were so necessary--that men still are men and not the keys of a piano, which the laws of nature threaten to control so completely that soon one will be able to desire nothing but by the calendar.
"And that is not all: even if man really were nothing but a piano-key, even if this were proved to him by natural science and mathematics, even then he would not become reasonable, but would purposely do something perverse out of simple ingratitude, simply to gain his point. And if he does not find means he will contrive destruction and chaos, will contrive sufferings of all sorts, only to gain his point! He will launch a curse upon the world, and as only man can curse (it is his privilege, the primary distinction between him and other animals), may be by his curse alone he will attain his object--that is, convince himself that he is a man and not a piano-key!
"If you say that all this, too, can be calculated and tabulated--chaos and darkness and curses, so that the mere possibility of calculating it all beforehand would stop it all, and reason would reassert itself, then man would purposely go mad in order to be rid of reason and gain his point! I believe in it, I answer for it, for the whole work of man really seems to consist in nothing but proving to himself every minute that he is a man and not a piano-key! It may be at the cost of his skin, it may be by cannibalism! And this being so, can one help being tempted to rejoice that it has not yet come off, and that desire still depends on something we don't know?”
— Works of Fyodor Dostoevsky. Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov, The Gambler, The Devils, Poor Folk, Notes from the Underground, The Adolescent & more (mobi) by Fyodor Dostoevsky
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