Saturday, October 24, 2009

Equality is a Chimera

George Jonas: "Equality" and other Fairy Tails

Boy, is George Jonas going to be in trouble with all the hopey-changers out there. I like that. Read it here at National Post in the Full Comment Blog section.

So, in his first paragraph, he says, "Equality is a chimera." For those who don't or didn't remember of ever really know what a chimera is, the sentence doesn't mean much. Well, count me in for not knowing. There are 2 definitions of chimera that fit his point. First, a chimera from Greek mythology was "an imaginary monster composed of incongruous parts". That works, but so does a second definition. The second one is "an illusion of fabrication of the mind." That works too, maybe better.

Mr. Jonas, never at a loss for words gets to the meat of his hypothesis here:
Halfway between Equality Day in the United States (Aug. 26) and Equality Day in Canada (Apr. 17) is a perfect day to write about equality. The concept itself is a halfway state, inherently unstable, like a coin standing on its edge before morphing into heads or tails.

Designated by the U.S. Congress in 1971, Equality Day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, the day in 1920 on which American women were given the vote. The bill celebrating it half a century later was shepherded through the legislature by Rep. Bella Abzug, an early leader of feminism’s second wave in America.

Canada’s Equality Day marks the equality provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms coming into force in 1985, three years after the Charter itself. Section 15 is a thoroughly modern document, with its second subsection cancelling the first, with barely a pause for breath. What Section 15 (1) giveth, Section 15 (2) taketh away. Subsection (1) explains that we’re all equal, and subsection (2) explains why some of us are more equal than others.
His point on Section 15 of the CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS is based on the law as it stands:

15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

Mr. Jonas says that equality is "a human ideal and a legal fiction," and that the world's natural condition is in fact "hierarchy." He has this to say:

Human beings advance ideals of equality to deconstruct current social, ideological or biological hierarchies. Those at the bottom of some existing hierarchical structure perceive their position as unjust, and by extension come to view hierarchy itself as unjust and maybe even unnatural. Rather than seeking a position of dominance in the structure as it exists, they wish to replace it with a structure of equality.
The wish is often genuine. While the underdog’s quest for equality may mask a desire for dominance, honesty is probably common in the early stages. People who think of themselves as disenfranchised or marginalized may not seek to disenfranchise or marginalize others. It’s only when their revolution succeeds that they almost invariably end up doing so.

As he says, elite groups surface in any system or revolution against that system. We can knowing point fingers at communist states, but then Mr. Jonas goes on:

But a coercive society need not be communist. Any state religion will do, even multicultural eco-feminism. “Human rights” empower elites to rule as readily as “divine rights” used to empower feudal princes.

In fully developed statist societies, secular or theocratic, the elite decide how their fellow citizens shall live — in some instances, for how long. They stream people into jobs and locations; tell them what to say, read, write and think; what to eat and how much; when and how to defend themselves — sometimes even whom to marry or divorce. In many areas of life the baronial powers of modern elites exceed the powers of medieval liege lords over their serfs.

After any kind of revolution, the deck chairs are rearranged and life goes on as normal, with new players ruling. But, of course, look at the side of the ship you are on. See the name Titanic over there. It is only a matter of time until this regime falters, or is dethroned.

His conclusion is of course telling:

Revolutions can do anything, except do away with hierarchies. Like the feminists of our day, revolutionaries may begin with slogans of equality, but inevitably continue with slogans of empowerment. Patriarchy is dead, long live matriarchy. Equality is but a brief scenic route between the two.

So, what does that say for revolution here in Canada, or how about the one that many of us are challenging today. Let's take the HRCs/HRTs. Please take our HRCs. Somebody somewhere, please.

As my father used to say: If the shoe fits, wear it. Worth thinking about.

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