“We all end up in the same place”

harris

That’s what the presumptive Democrat President Kamala Harris wants for all of us (well, the Americans at least):

Actually, it’s not quite sure what she wants. Ms Harris starts by dissing “equality” (“everyone should get the same amount”), which is not cool, because “not everybody’s starting out from the same place” – i.e. there is inequality in society, so if you give $5,000 to someone who’s got $1,000 and someone who’s got $5,000 already, the former will continue to be $4,000 poorer than the latter (this also applies in less tangible ways to opportunities in life).

Instead, “it’s about giving people the resources and the support they need, so that everyone can be on equal footing and then compete on equal footing”. This is Kamala’s “equity”, or what most people would call the equality of opportunity. In other words, the same starting point. Using the example above, you give the person with $1,000 another $4,000 and nothing to the other, so that both now have $5,000 and you send them out into the world to lead their best lives (or in the video, you raise up the black dude so he too can grasp the rope and climb up like the white dude before him). This is laudable, but not surprisingly, more difficult in practice than in theory: how do you ensure that a son of a banker has the same chance of getting into Harvard as a son of a janitor?

It gets trickier, however, because the VP candidate now concludes that “equitable treatment means we all end up at the same place” – illustrated by the black and the white dude both standing on the top of the mountain, looking into the sunset. The problem is that’s quite simply not true – the equality of opportunity does not and cannot guarantee or ensure equal outcomes (“we all end up at the same place”) because everyone is inherently different on the account of their different nature and nurture (or genes and upbringing). People have different personalities and temperaments, different talents and abilities, different motivations and goals. This is the wonderful variety of human life, and no, it’s not “fair”, but neither has been any system designed to address this “problem”. A couch potato and Usain Bolt can both reach the finish line at the same time if you give the couch potato a 20-second jumpstart. But should they?

You can have equality of opportunity (“equity”) or you can have equality of outcome (“we all end up in the same place”) but you can’t have both.

If Kamala indeed wants us all to end up on the top of the mountain staring at the sun, she is a socialist, communist, Marxist, radical egalitarian – take your pick of your preferred term. It might be a noble sentiment but is also utopian, and every time it has been seriously tried in the past hundred years, people did not end up on the top of the mountain but on the bottom of a mass grave – or, at best, the back of a bread queue.

If, on the other hand, she believes that “equity” (equality of opportunity) on its own, naturally, will lead us there (equal outcomes), without any additional massive social engineering by the state, she might not be a communist – she is merely ignorant and doesn’t really understand what she’s talking about.

Kamala Harris – a communist or just ignorant. Either way, great qualifications for the post-Biden presidency.

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