Coming to our third point on Liberalism, we begin to get to one of the most contentious and probably most difficult points, which Liberals across the spectrum have to deal with. Equality. Over time equality has been a mind field of different groups from sections of the ideological left and right wings trying to either justify or argue what is and isn’t Equality. And while this argument could have its own book written on the topic, for this, we are going to look at Equality in its most simplistic form.
Equality itself traditionally is divided into two camps. From classical Liberals, the idea of Equality of opportunity, where people should be given Equality of chances and their success is derived from their own skill or work. From left: Equality of outcome where the outcome of chances should be equal dependent on need. These two discords have dominated political thought for a number of years, but often as we have seen before, both fatally have missed the true purpose of Equality.
Today we live in a world where Equality has become a huge topic. It becomes so huge that it becomes a powerful force in measuring people and outlook. Equality itself has become a social measurement. What I mean by this is that we look at Equality as a series of fulfillments. It’s used as a measurement to deem whether people or structures are Equal, but while this is a very useful tool as a way to measure its progress, only measuring end goals rather than dealing with Equality. Equality, like most ways, needs to deal with through education and opportunity, which in reality comes from an investment of wealth. (This aspires to my later view on the state that the education budget should be larger than the military one) but I digress.
The simple problem today is that people or society today or even organisations today would rather “look equal” rather than “being equal”. They would rather try to create equality in their institutions or at least act like they have “solved equality” by fixing a number or by hiring X. But this is the big secret to inequalities. Most inequality is hidden. It’s not something you can fix by hiring X or changing Y. It’s a system of interactions between people that fail at times to challenge narratives and stereotypes, which allows for racism, sexism and discrimination to breed even with the movement of specific people to positions that don’t go through equal channels. If anything, it creates resentment and causes people to become less progressive.
In the true progression isn’t the sounding moment of reaching 50% women in boards or parliament. Its the series of silent victories of the end of the wolf whistle culture, the end of people mistreating people based on race or religion, its the silent change and development of society in which we look back on and go “wow, we have progressed” that is the equality that we need to inspire to.
And while this isn’t absolute in any way, as rational thinking on Liberalism should stop discrimination, especially in the public arena, it is a more effective way of defeating all inequalities.