Divisive Whims

Why do some people have better food, better housing, better neighborhoods, better education, better healthcare, better livelihoods, better entertainment, more political influence, and better treatment under the law?

Ideas create the justification for such disparities — ideas such as worth and division. Simply: disparities exist because ideas that promote disparity are prominent in society.

It’s not that some people are truly deserving and worth more than others, since worth is subjective and changes with era and fashion. Even the boundaries that divide groups vary by period and culture.

Intangible ideas shape the tangible world. So to expunge disparity, society would adopt egalitarian and unifying ideas — because what stratifies society is not scarcity or value, but ideas.

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7 thoughts on “Divisive Whims

  1. Some of the disparities may seem like disparity but are simply choices. Not everyone wants to live in a soulless, affluent neighborhood in the suburbs. Not everyone want to work in an 80 hour a week job for a company that sells widgets. Maybe if we looked in people’s souls and character, we’d find just commonality.

    • I’d agree that equality should not mean uniformity — and I’d agree that people have a common core. But I’d say that equality means equal opportunity — if society is structured in a way that prevents a segment from satisfying their particular tastes, while other segments in society are free to do so, then there is inequality.

      Also, sometimes things break — historically, we can see this is true of society — so it’s not always best to justify the way things are. Sometimes we do need to accept life exactly as it is, but not always. Solving problems is a positive thing, so sometimes we need to accept things as “broken” and fix them. Would you agree?

      • Yes definitely. But I’m also wary of imposing my own values on someone else, no matter how sure I am that my value is universal.

        In other words, sometimes these things are not so black and white and it can be hard to know the difference sometime.

        That being said, I”m pretty B/W about food, shelter, education and healthcare. That’s pretty broad but I think those are universal rights and yet I know there’s grey area there too.

      • Historically, the struggle for equality seems to be a constant within society. For instance: slavery, education, voting, discrimination, unions, marriage, healthcare. In other words, no matter the era or subject-matter, people want fairness.

        So, in regards to equality, I’m not sure a grey area exists — either everyone is considered equal and provided equal opportunities — or they’re labeled as lesser, segregated, and restricted from particular avenues. Perhaps these grey areas may be more a symptom of unfamiliarity than true ambiguity?

      • Equality and fairness are not the same thing.

        And to the degree that we have a tendency to treat others as lesser, segregated etc then YES I think that’s wrong. However, not all apparent discrepancies are due to this – sometimes they’re due to personal choice.

        Now I’m going to get political here – As an American, of course i believe in freedom and democracy. But for us to impose those beliefs on other cultures I think is wrong even if we think it’s what everyone should have. We don’t know what’s right for another culture, just as we would resist them trying to impose their religious or political beliefs on us. We do, in fact, resist any attempts to do so. Instead, we need to try to understand and respect each others beliefs, especially if we don’t understand them. We don’t have to agree, just be respectful.

        If that’s the MO then there wouldn’t be lesser, or segregated. See what I mean?

      • I tend to think of equality and fairness as synonymous in a societal context. And by default, I would tend to limit societal discussions to our own — since that’s what we know best.

        As far as the existence of grey areas, I’m concerned that a belief in grey areas may promote inequality. In other words, “they’re not treated lesser, that’s their choice if they want to live under those conditions”. But if opportunities are limited (compared to other segments of society), how is it a choice? Shouldn’t society treat everyone as equally valued members — otherwise, how is fairness possible?

        So within our own society, I think there’s less of a danger in over-promoting equality/fairness than under-promoting it. Would you agree?

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