The Great "Equal Opportunity" Trap
by John Spritzler
September 8, 2022
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Pundits such as the oh-so-liberal Robert Reich (as I discuss here) love to say, "Equal opportunity guaranteed for all, YES. Equal outcomes guaranteed for all, NO."
But conservatives who oppose all that is woke say exactly the same thing, namely that what's wrong with the woke idea is that it doesn't call for equal opportunity like it should but rather wrongly calls for equal outcomes. This short video is an example of such a conservative: https://youtube.com/shorts/78VmplNlwJQ?feature=share .
These pundits argue--correctly!--that the "equal outcomes guaranteed for all" notion is entitlement, that it's what the Left wrongly wants (as discussed at https://www.pdrboston.org/post/is-anything-the-right-of-all ), and that it leads to a free-loader friendly society that will stop producing wealth (why work if you get everything regardless, right?) and will eventually self-destruct.
These pundits say that even though equal OPPORTUNITY--not outcomes--guaranteed for all will result in great economic inequality, since it means an opportunity to get much richer than others (and hence result in political inequality, too, since money is power, but the pundits shy away from this obvious fact) it is far better than the only other choice, which is equal outcomes guaranteed for all, and only fools do not see this. These pundits are using a sophisticated propaganda device to support class inequality.
False Dichotomy Propaganda
These pundits are using a "false dichotomy" form of propaganda, in which it is asserted that one has only two choices: one horrible and the other less bad and hence the less bad choice is the only sensible one despite its flaws.
These pundits never--absolutely never!--talk about the third choice, the FAR BETTER egalitarian choice, which is the principle: "From each according to reasonable ability, to each according to need or reasonable desire with scarce things equitably rationed according to need."
This egalitarian principle is the OPPOSITE of free-loader-friendly, because it requires a person to contribute according to reasonable ability in order to have any right to enjoy the fruits of other people's labor. This principle also results in people producing/working as much as is reasonable. This principle is how most nuclear families operate, in which adults very willingly work harder and produce more than children. This principle made it possible for egalitarian people in about half of Spain in 1936-9 to produce more than the capitalist economy did before their revolution (as discussed in detail at https://www.pdrboston.org/egalitarianism-outproduces-capitali .)
These pundits, instead discussing the actual egalitarian principle, lie about what the egalitarian principle is; they say it is about making everybody identical in truly absurd ways (as discussed at https://www.pdrboston.org/what-equality-does-not-mean ).
Why the Pundits Censor the Egalitarian Principle
Why do these pundits never mention the egalitarian principle and only lie about what it is when they pretend to mention it? The reason is that these pundits are defending the status quo of class inequality (i.e., some--a few--rich, and some--most--poor, and the rich treating the have-nots like dirt to "keep them in their place"), arguing that as bad as it may be in some respects it is nonetheless far better than the ONLY ALTERNATIVE. These pundits know that the egalitarian principle means "no rich and no poor" and that this is an enormously popular idea among most people (as I discuss at https://www.pdrboston.org/most-people-are-egalitarians ) when it is based on the "From each according..." idea and NOT on the entitlement/Leftist idea that everything is the "right of all" (a.k.a. Equal Outcomes Guaranteed). The very last thing these pundits want to see happen is the emergence of a large movement inspired by and aiming to implement the egalitarian principle.