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The Dark Side of Human Equality

Everyone should suffer just as much as me!

by
Theodore Dalrymple

Bio

November 13, 2013 - 10:00 am
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It has long been my opinion that all notions of human equality, other than that of formal equality before the law, are destructive of human intelligence and sensibility. My opinion was confirmed recently when I read an editorial in the Lancet, one of the two most important general medical journals in the world.

The title of the editorial was “Equity in Child Survival.” I could have written the editorial myself from the title alone, so utterly predictable was its drift:

Although Indonesia has reduced child mortality by 40% during the past decade, data from 2007 show that children in rural areas were almost 60% more likely to die than those living in urban ones, while those in the poorest 20% were more than twice as likely to die as those in the richest 20%, and girls were 20% more likely to die than boys.

Note here that even if inequality were the same as inequity, there is nothing in these figures to show that inequity had increased in Indonesia during the decade, or to show that it had not actually decreased; and if equity in this sense were an important goal in itself, it would matter little whether the health of the poorest improved, or the health of the richest deteriorated.

In a country the size and complexity of Indonesia, with hundreds of inhabited islands, some of them very remote, it is hardly surprising that there should be quite wide geographical variations in health, wealth and productivity. It is no more inequitable that there should be these variations than that the French should have so much better health than the Americans, or for that matter than the Bangladeshis.

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Top Rated Comments   
If the Left really favored improving the lot of the poor rather than looting the rich in the name of "equality," they would promote free markets, capitalism, lower taxes, less regulation and free trade. Those are the things that tend to make countries and ALL the people in them better off. But the Left is obsessed with the fact that some people are rich and favor redistribution from the producers to the non-producers so that everyone can be more "equal." This leads to an economy with high unemployment/low labor participation, with far too many people dependent upon government handouts for their sustenance. Ultimately, we all end up worse off.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Charity is one thing, and Americans are, reportedly, better at it than any other people in the world.

But REQUIRING the healthy to pay for the sick through a scheme that purports to be about health but is really about redistribution ? That will only work to diminish natural, private charitable giving, as every so called big government program distorts and compromises natural systems.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have known many leftists, and became very clear over the years that many of them were upset far less by the fact that some people were poor than that other people were rich: Let high be brought low. If this were to make everyone worse off that would be okay. And what's even better, they would be in charge.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (29)
All Comments   (29)
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Howdy Mr. Dalyrimple
On the current course of DemBamaCare, they WILL have lesser health.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The socialist ideal of equality is to make everybody equally poor and miserable, except of course for the nomenclatura, who get protected under any socialist gov.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Some elect Obama.

Some leave Omelas.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This view of things is not new at all. Wise people have been warning against it since we were first told not to covet our neighbour's house, wife or ox. No, it's not new at all.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Envy is ugly.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If the Left really favored improving the lot of the poor rather than looting the rich in the name of "equality," they would promote free markets, capitalism, lower taxes, less regulation and free trade. Those are the things that tend to make countries and ALL the people in them better off. But the Left is obsessed with the fact that some people are rich and favor redistribution from the producers to the non-producers so that everyone can be more "equal." This leads to an economy with high unemployment/low labor participation, with far too many people dependent upon government handouts for their sustenance. Ultimately, we all end up worse off.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yeah, if.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The French call this "Nostalgia for the mud".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Everyone should suffer just as much as me!"

Should be "Everyone should suffer just as much as I!"

as the first person pronoun at the end of the sentence is an elision for "as much as I do"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, Walter, we all just suffered with you. I like my copy of "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves" too.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The obsession with good looks is part of the same socialistic need to enforce equality despite the work of nature and one's gene pool.
In the 1960s a new ism was born, lookism, the premise of which was that something had to be done about the unfairness in the fact that some people were better looking than others. Being too beautiful became an actual hindrance in some areas. Models and actresses who before wouldn't have been considered beautiful were celebrated and a huge campaign that included magazine articles, tv commercials and print ads stressed that everyone was beautiful "in their own way". An open hostility to the classically beautiful was encouraged.
Skip forward a decade or two and it seems that a change had occurred in regard to what is considered beautiful. A more classic beauty was available to many through plastic surgery and so a re-evaluation of lookism took place. Now it was acceptable to be beautiful again as long as everyone looked the same.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So now we're pushing plastic surgery onto children ?

What's next, breast implants for 10 year olds ?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2504195/Bullied-children-resorting-plastic-surgery.html

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yikes! I hope the people in charge of Obamacare don't hear about this.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"I read an editorial in the Lancet, one of the two most important general medical journals in the world."

Remember when the Left bent Lancet editor published the skewed and inaccurate Johns Hopkins study"grossly exaggerating the number of civilian deaths in iraq ?

From weather to food to practically any topic you can think of, "fairness" is the cover for our newest breed of social engineers.

Here's a recent stunner for the books. Jonathan Gruber, M.I.T. economist and architect of Obamacare apparently thinks a healthy person (he actually says "genetic lottery winner") should pay more in the name of leveling the playing field.

http://www.redstate.com/alanjoelny/2013/11/15/are-you-a-genetic-lottery-winner/

Get Jonathan some mental healthcare...stat !


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't think that Gruber's view is crazy.

The vast majority of people would have no problem making it easier for people born with disabilities, transferring some income to the blind, the retarded, the insane. So, blind people get extra tax deductions. Retarded people get more costly special ed and income support.

The idea that none of us know whether or for how long we will be healthy is closely related to this idea.

The whole point of insurance is that it cushions shocks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Implicit in Jonathan Gruber's position is that it is somehow "unfair" of you that you didn't inherit a gene for cancer.

Now that's sick.

In fact, the two chief architects of the philosophical underpinnings of Obamacare, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel and Jonathan Gruber are desperately ill with the dis-ease of modern liberalism.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The whole point of insurance is that it cushions shocks."

When I was growing up, the whole point of insurance was for catastrophic events, not ever used for your average "hangnail, I've got a fever" visits to the doctor.

It worked extremely well as something to be used for only rare and very occasional occurrences. Our family was not wealthy but could easily pay out of pocket for our run of the mill "healthcare".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Charity is one thing, and Americans are, reportedly, better at it than any other people in the world.

But REQUIRING the healthy to pay for the sick through a scheme that purports to be about health but is really about redistribution ? That will only work to diminish natural, private charitable giving, as every so called big government program distorts and compromises natural systems.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If you're "unfortunate" they'll give you the shirt right off someone else's back.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sam Donaldson once said of Ronald Reagan something like, "He'd give a homeless man the shirt off his back. Then he'd go into the Oval Office in his t-shirt and veto legislation funding homeless programs." That's right, because the shirt was his but the legislation was not his money.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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