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KLAVAN: What Most People Don’t Understand About Inequality

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On Wednesday’s episode of “The Andrew Klavan Show,” Klavan discusses the nature of inequality, and how many people, regardless of political affiliation, don’t entirely grasp its societal implications. Video and partial transcript below:

Today I’m going to be talking about equality, which is the secret theme behind a lot of recent news stories. And equality is a state that exists exactly nowhere in nature except in the human mind. Equal means the same. There are no two things that are different from, but also the same, as one another. In fact, when you put it that way, you can see it’s a contradiction in terms. In fact, it’s complete nonsense.

Every creature, every object, every place, every idea is different from every other — and likely better or worse than every other, depending on what qualities you’re judging. Plus the pleasant idea that each may have its good and bad qualities, but all of them somehow are combined to bring them to some sort of state of equality, is simply a pleasant fantasy. A lion and a gazelle are both swift and beautiful. But if they engage in any overlong social interaction, only the lion is going to walk away in one piece. One is predator one is prey. There’s no equality in that. And yet the human mind is capable of imagining equality and insists on imposing it on a world where it simply doesn’t exist.

Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s no justice in life either, yet we seek for justice. There’s no fairness in life, but we believe in fairness. The human mind is the earthly source of every good and evil because it’s the only place on earth — as far as we know — where choice and self-consciousness and moral judgment exist. And you can’t have good and evil without those — we are made in the image of God, so we seek to humanize fallen nature as a way to bring it back in line with God’s nature. So we declare that all men are created equal. That’s a good thing. It means we recognize each individual person as equal to every other as a basic moral entity, who therefore should be treated equally by society at large. Each should have the same basic rights to life, liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness whether his name is Smedley or Jones, whether his skin is black or white, whether he short or tall, etc.

Beyond that, however — beyond that basic moral equality which is built into the essence of our individual humanity — equality is nonsense. And any attempt to impose it creates injustice and corruption. Men and women are not the same and therefore not equal — pretty and ugly people are not the same. Smart and stupid people, gay and straight people — and of course Tom Brady is better than everyone.

This creates some philosophical problems for conservatives. It means there may be some among us who, through no fault of their own, fall behind so badly that they need help from society at large. There may be some who don’t have the inequalities required to bust out of the bad circumstances in which they were born. Fake conservative tough-guy talk about [getting] off your butt and [pulling] yourself up by your bootstraps is just a conservative’s way of doing nothing when something actually needs to be done.

But for the Left, the fact that equality does not exist except as an individual moral essence, renders their entire philosophy nonsensical and corrupt. Equality is the heart of the leftist idea, and the more [that] leftists insist on it, the more corrupt and contradictory they become because they’re ignoring reality. And when you do that, you become oppressive to the strong — and you destroy the weak and the small and the poor. Equality is a lie, and it’s the truth that sets us free.

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