Monday, 25 August 2014

Why Lovers of Tyranny Are Against Inequality

(From the archives - March 10th, 2002)

Amid the propaganda, with which our rivals the lovers of tyranny bombard us, a constant theme is their hatred of what they call inequality. We are supposed to believe that this inequality is morally wrong. That it is increasing, and has been since the Industrial Revolution. (Which, some of them say, caused it in the first place). That, if we do not accept their draconian policies, their high and ever-increasing taxes, their violations of our freedom, this inequality will continue to increase until… well, until exactly what is not completely clear.

But our rivals’ screams of “inequality” are nothing new. For, back in the 17th century, John Locke observed: “I cannot be supposed to understand all sorts of equality; age or virtue may give men a just precedency; excellency of parts and merit may place others above the common level.” It is not hard to guess what kind of arguments he was opposing.

There are good grounds for saying that in one sense, we are indeed all equal. In the same paragraph, Locke says what he means by equality. “That equal right which every man hath, to his natural freedom, without being subjected to the will or authority of any other man.” Meaning, that no-one has any right to rule over others against their wills. Right on, John!

Our rivals try to give the impression that they are following in this liberal tradition. They would have us believe that something they call inequality is wrong in principle. They would have us believe that governments should use laws, and force if necessary, to reduce or even eliminate this inequality.

Yet even some of our rivals might admit that, if their goal really was to enforce absolute equality on everyone, it would be unattainable, not to mention utterly ridiculous. How, for example, do you make someone six feet six tall equal to someone of five feet five? How do you make sure that no-one has a chance to have a second child, until everyone has had the opportunity to have one? Besides which, the policies, which supposedly implement this equality, would need to be enforced. And this would require a class of men (and women) to be the enforcers. Which would lead to perhaps the ultimate inequality – where those with guns have legal licence to use them against those without.

So, what inequalities do our rivals really complain about? When we ask this question, we begin to see that they are extremely selective about the kinds of inequality they attack.

Our rivals do not complain, for example, about social inequality. If A has hundreds of friends, and B only a few, that is fine by them. They do not object to inequality in physical size and strength. They do not object to inequality in how often individuals get the chance to have sex. Nor do they mind reproductive inequality. If C has four children, and D none, they see nothing wrong in that. Indeed, they want to aggravate the inequality, by forcing poor D to pay taxes for the benefit of C and C’s children.

Still less do they mind political inequality. They see nothing wrong in Tony Blair and its cronies having the political clout to make a bad law called IR35, specifically designed to ruin the careers of tens of thousands of honest, productive one-man IT consultants, including me. They do not demand that I and my fellow-victims should have an equal opportunity to ruin the careers of Blair and its minions in return. Far from it. Instead, those that cry out against inequality actively demand more political inequality, more taxes, more bureaucracy, more harming of innocent people whose only "crime" is being better than average at earning an honest living.

Nor do our rivals object to the fact that they have constant access to the mainstream mass media, through which they trumpet their shrieks of “inequality.” Whereas, without such access, the cries of “injustice” from the victims of their schemes can reach only a very few.

Our rivals’ claim to be against inequality in the broad sense has no substance. What, then, can it be that they are really against? To answer this, we must look more closely at the kinds of inequality they actually do complain about. Mainly, they are two – the educational and the economic.

Education is a large subject, on which I can only touch here. But it is clear that our rivals do not like people to develop their minds to their utmost. Decades of socialist educational policies in Britain have resulted in a rash of “bog-standard comprehensives,” which even Blair has seen fit to condemn. In the USA, the situation is even worse. Since the early 1970s, scores in the Scholastic Aptitude Test have been steadily declining. So much so, that in 1994-5 education chiefs re-jigged the system, to make the tests easier and to make the results look less bad than they are. The effect of our rivals trying to impose their ideal of educational equality seems to have been no better than to dumb people down.

In economics, our rivals have had their way almost without interruption for the best part of a century. They have created a climate of hatred against the economically productive. They swamp entrepreneurs and their businesses under torrents of taxes and regulations. And, under their guise of lessening economic inequality, they treat us honest working people, who develop our skills to our utmost, like no more than slaves, pack-animals or objects, to be exploited and taxed out of existence. They have not yet found a way to stop us developing our talents, but they are doing what for them is the next best thing – stopping us reaping the rewards we deserve.

No, our rivals’ real target is not inequality. Their real target is success. They have created a climate in which, as expressed by a well-known football manager, “People don’t like success.”

Our rivals hate success. And yet, they hate some kinds of success less than others. They do not object to people getting rich through winning the Lottery. They do not seem to mind political success gained through fraudulently buying Paul’s vote with money stolen from Peter. No, the success they really hate is that success which has been earned through the free development of an individual’s natural talents. They hate those who have succeeded in distinguishing themselves from the herd. And, most of all, they hate success when it has been gained through years or even decades of honest effort.

Why do they do these things to us? It is not hard to see. Their real agenda is simply that they want to haul good people down. They want to force us down towards, and in the end right down to, their own level. They don’t want people to learn too much, particularly those near the top of the class, who are the most likely to start asking awkward questions. And they hate honest, productive, independent, successful people – because we are productive, because we are honest, because we are independent, because we are successful. They hate us precisely because we have earned what we have earned through our own merits.

It is plain that the waffle about equality and inequality is no more than a smoke-screen. For our rivals do not respect our equality – our equal right to our natural freedom. They do not respect our right to live our lives in our own way, subject only to the rule of law and justice. Far from wanting to end or even to lessen political inequality, they actively seek more political inequality, so their kind can rule over us as with a rod of iron. They want to subordinate us to the "authority” of the likes of Blair and its cronies, just as their predecessors subjected Germans to the whims of Hitler, Russians to the whims of Stalin, Chinese to the whims of Mao.

But smoke-screens cannot last for ever. Sooner or later, people will tumble to what our rivals are doing. And it is our job, the job of the lovers of freedom, to hasten that tumbling.

Here is one way, in which we lovers of freedom can publicly distinguish ourselves from our rivals, the lovers of tyranny. Let us oppose our rivals’ hauling down of good people. Instead, let us concentrate on raising standards for all human beings. Let us aim to lead out the creativity for good, which is there, even if latent, in every human being. Let us try to help our fellow good people to grow their talents, and to use them for more good.

In education, let us do what we can to help individuals develop themselves to the highest standards they are capable of. At the same time, using technology such as CDs and the Internet, we can distribute education at a fraction of the cost of the conventional product.

In economics, let us make plain the simple truths, which everyone knows deep down. That earned success is commendable. That there is no nobler human activity than creating wealth by honestly providing goods or services, which others are voluntarily willing to pay for. That people who put in great efforts, and develop their productivity and skills, deserve to be rewarded instead of reviled, cherished instead of censured. Let us create a climate in which people have the incentive to put as much into the economy as they can, and can fully enjoy their earned rewards. That climate, of course, is a totally laissez-faire economy, an unbridled economy of human happiness, prosperity and progress.

Our rivals are horrified by even the mention of the prospect of a laissez-faire world. For, shorn of their unearned privileges and influence, they will have to earn an honest living in the free market like everyone else. Stripped of political power, they will no longer be able to violate our natural freedom. They will no longer be able to damage innocent people’s lives with impunity. And they will be brought to justice for their crimes.

Now that’s equality – real equality, John Locke’s kind of equality. Let’s get some of that.

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