A Mental Fish Trap

What Happens When the We Conflate Equality with Sameness

Just because media and academia lean to the left, politically, it doesn’t mean the left’s worldview is right, especially when much of the left has grounded its thinking in self-delusion. For some time now, the progressive left has been spinning a mental “fish trap”, for lack of a better phrase, that Western societies appear unable to escape from, namely the conflation of equality with sameness. This goes one step further than demanding equality of outcome. It presupposes equality of ability.

There’s a serious and possibly fatal consequence attached to this, at first sight, linguistic purism of sameness vs. equality. A judge must treat people equally before his court of law because he is neither God nor omniscient.

Treating people equally means the judge applies the same logic to different persons, though still allowing for different outcomes. For example, we’ve judged different job applications by the same assessment rules, but without discriminating candidates based on other, irrelevant attributes, such as race or religion.

By treating people as if they are the same, we set aside rational logic and demand identical outcomes, because we presuppose equal abilities. This happens when we award any random job applicant with a similar high-paying job as the organization’s CEO, without assessing the candidate’s competencies. It means we regard any difference in outcome to be discrimination, which is nonsense. Yet, that’s exactly what the progressive left wants people to believe.

We can observe this conflation of equality and sameness on a daily basis. Men and women are now expected to earn the exact same wages for similar jobs because anything else would be discrimination. Then why do some men still make more than other men? How can there still be wage differences among women? Some social justice activists silence such questions by calling everything sexist.

The demand for equal outcomes over equal treatment has led to a culture that awards every loser a gold medal. The political left wants us to treat everyone the same, rather than applying the same logic to everyone equally. At the same time, the threat of being branded a bigot for not giving people what they feel they’re entitled to has pervaded society to the point of debilitation.

After Hillary Clinton suffered many, long coughing fits, after she suffered at least one seizure recorded on camera, after she refused to hold a press conference for an unprecedented 280 days while running for presidency, and after she literally collapsed in front of the 9/11 memorial on the attacks’ anniversary, after fainting and being shuttled off in a Scooby van, the media subsequently called for both candidates to release their medical records.

That makes no sense. Why should all citizens be ordered to make a run for the doctor whenever one of us catches pneumonia? While we all expect the same high-quality care from our doctors regardless of who we are— which is what equal treatment is about — we also only expect to be treated for what is really wrong with us, regardless of how different our neighbor’s condition is.

Most importantly, those who oppose treating all people the same do not automatically oppose treating people equally. Hence, it’s not racist to oppose illegal immigration, since equal treatment is reserved for legal citizens. It’s not xenophobic to fight black crime. It’s not sexist to pay women their worth. And it’s not Islamophobic to defend Western values.

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