The Necessity of Inequality

“Inequality is horrible,” many voices cry today. “We should end inequality!”

Well, do you use your right and left hands equally?

Or do you use one more than the other? Also, are you in the majority (another inequality!) of those who are right-handed?

“But, but,” splutters the egalitarian, “that’s not the kind of inequality to wipe out!”

Hmm, so you have...inequality in how inequality should be wiped out?

Men are equal in a few ways. All are created in God’s image; all inherit a fallen, sinful nature, and therefore are equally in need of salvation from sin. All of our souls will exist for eternity.

The destination after life on earth is not equal: the souls whom Christ saved will be in Heaven; those who rejected Him will be in Hell.

God gives all an equal right to life and liberty.

Besides these areas, there is not much equality.

God does not make us physically equal to one another: He makes one man with Down’s Syndrome, while He endows another with an IQ of Einstein. “And the LORD said unto [Moses], Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or the deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?” Exodus 4:11

Our talents, interests, personalities, environments, and so on, are all inequal. Inequality, thus, is everywhere.

We are supposed to believe that this is an evil that must be eradicated. The powers that create this narrative attach certain conditions to the term ‘inequality:’ lack of food, lack of clothing, lack of shelter, lack of knowledge. Therefore, hesitation about ‘stamping out inequality,’ will result in ad hominem insults and character assassination. “But don’t you care about starving children in Africa?!? You MONSTER!”

Yes, it’s true that “inequality” is one way to summarize the contrast between an orphan starving in the Sahara Desert and an obese Westerner slurping triple-dip ice cream cones with fudge sauce.

But inequality is also equally valid for describing millions sitting to watch two sports teams, the members of which make millions of dollars, tossing a ball back and forth across a field in the game known as the “Super Bowl.” (The name “Super Bowl” is inequality: shouldn’t all games be “Super,” or even “Bowls”?!?)

Regarding children starving, we are to call for ending “inequality,” but lack of food, not “inequality” per se is what is wrong with starvation. We could end the inequality by starving everyone. (For the record, snatching ice cream from the obese is not necessarily going to mean food reaches starving children’s mouths.)

Those who hop on the stamping-out-inequality bandwagon are either naive or unrealistic, unwilling to admit that we cannot make Stephen Hawking equal to Kim Kardashian. Or, they are selfish and opportunistic persons who use the unachievable goal of “ending inequality” as a pretext to get more money, power, and fame for themselves.

Even the naive and unrealistic ones are inconsistent: if they needed heart surgery, would they consider a janitor equally qualified to perform the procedure as a surgeon? Would they want to pay a janitor as much for cleaning as they would pay a surgeon for repairing a heart?

The anti-inequality bandwagon is driven by a few who, having seized power, steal wealth from anyone they can overcome (keeping most of the spoils themselves), and then distribute a little of what they’ve stolen to others, so to ensure their support for their robbery. Thus, any measures whose managers claim their purpose is ending “inequality” are inherently inequal, morally wrong, and ineffective.

In Wealth and Poverty, George Gilder pinpointed inescapable drawbacks in taking wealth from those with more and giving it to those with less:

[O]ne should also forget the idea of overcoming inequality by redistribution. Inequality may even grow at first as poverty declines. To lift the incomes of the poor, it will be necessary to increase the rates of investment, which in turn will tend to enlarge the wealth, if not the consumption, of the rich. The poor, as they move into the work force and acquire promotions, will raise their incomes by a greater percentage than the rich; but the upper classes will gain by greater absolute amounts, and the gap between the poor and the rich may grow. All such analyses are deceptive in the long run, however, because they imply a static economy in which the numbers of the rich and the middle class are not growing.

In addition, inequality may not be favored by the structure of a modern economy as it interacts with demographic change. When the division of labor becomes more complex and reined, jobs grow more specialized; and the increasingly specialized workers may win greater rents for their rare expertise, causing their incomes to rise relative to common labor. [...] Whatever the outcome of these developments, an effort to take income from the rich, thus diminishing their investment, and to give it to the poor, thus reducing their work incentives, is sure to cut American productivity, limit job opportunities, and perpetuate poverty.

There Is No Diversity Without Inequality

Inequality does not need to involve starvation, oppression, injustice, or cruelty. If everything and everyone were equal, what dullness that would be! Without inequality, there is no “better” or “worse.” One cannot better one’s life without the previous state being inequal to the latter state.

Without inequality, variety would disappear. There would be no quirks, no idiosyncrasies, no specialized talents, none of the countless and significant differences that make life vibrant and colorful.

The Scriptures mention and uphold spiritual inequalities and differences:

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.
—Romans 12:4 – 8 [emphasis added]

To end inequality among men, everyone’s life would have to end. For, even were it possible to ensure everyone had the same quantity of material possessions or monetary income, there would not be a way to ensure equal authority and power for everyone, or equal physical abilities.

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