The Instigator
Lookingatissues
Con (against)
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The Contender
ojcruz
Pro (for)
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Is equality a good objective

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/4/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 554 times Debate No: 71049
Debate Rounds (3)
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Lookingatissues

Con

Can there ever be equality of the human condition or equality of outcome between humans, I don't believe that its possible to achieve equality by government fiat/ Legislation, as every human being is different from every other individual and some are in-capable of reaching a level of equality with their fellow human being. This doesn't mean that those who can't reach the same level of equality with others are being treated unfairly by society, it only indicates that some humans by nature and fate, have limited capabilities. Abraham Lincoln wrote this about his thoughts on equality," You cannot bring prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot further brotherhood of men by inciting class hatred.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
ojcruz

Pro

Hi there. Very interesting topic. As I understand them your arguments are:

1) Government cannot provide equality due to the natural differences between people.

2) It is fair to treat people differently because some have limitations that others don't.

Let me know if I understood your points correctly.

The first issue in this argument is to properly assess what is meant with equality. Commonly, equality is not meant to be synonymous with sameness. This is to say that the physical differences between people are evident, but that their worth as living beings is equal. This is to say, we are equal in worth, not in physical capacity.

Your argument stems from the idea that physical capacity should correlate with each individual's worth. In such a sense, A person capable of many things is worth more and therefore not equal to one capable of only a few things. It follows from such a statement that capacity has intrinsic worth.

It does not.

The flaw in your argument is precisely the assumption of the intrinsic worth of capacity. It is perfectly common for people to dissagree as to the worth of one particular accomplishment. For instance, some may be swayed to believe that achieving the world record for the fastest one mile run is quite an acomplishment. Certainly, not many have the capacity to match that action. And yet, the argument could be made that all that person managed to accomplish was to run in circles for a brief period of time. Hardly an acomplishment when our perpective shifts.

Another example would be that of a doctor saving lives for many years. One could argue that that person failed repetedly throughout his life, as every single person he saved will eventually die some time. Some take great pride in learning many languages while others have no interest in it. Accomplishment is subjective and so too, the worth of a particular capability is subjective. Your worth would increase and decrease to some or others based on their perceptions of the effects of your capabilities.

From this point, it is sensible to understand that if something can be worthless to someone and priceless to the next, that worth is in fact subjective and as such, not intrinsic in any action or being. We are all intrinsically worth the same thing, which is nothing.

Our equality therefore, stems from these humble beginnings. We are not worth more than others because objectively, no one is worth anything.

Equality is the natural state of all existence.

Now specifically to your points

1) Government cannot provide equality.
Nor does it have to. Equality is intrinsic to existence. It need not be provided. it is in fact inescapable.

2) It is fair to treat others differently because some people are more capable than others
Fairness is a complicated concept. What is fair to some may not be so to others. Also, as I've already established, the worth of capabilities is subjective.

It would be reasonable to treat people differently in a practical physical way. Expecting a blind man to read a traditional print book would be difficult without brail (which is a special consideration). That said, that person's equality is untouched by the special considerations provided him because, once again, worth is subjective. As such, he might by my loving father, which also happens to be blind. Or I may be a photographer who finds his features useful for my art. The amount of ways in which a person can be capable and incapable are almost endless in variation. The worth of all parts of existence is the same. No objective worth. Equality is the natural state and so any treatment of others concerned with fairness must account for that.

Now a word on the benefits of setting equality as an objective.

Though worth is a subjective construct, it implies a fundamental equality that is key to understanding human endeavor.

Humanity seeks to thrive as a species and understanding the role that equality plays in relation to our efforts is vital. To explain.

Though it is true that some people will be at times more capable at certain endeavors than others, it is almost impossible to determine how one person might be useful to another. Think of a weak, decrepit person who inspires an artist which in turn inspires millions of people. Or a sickly grandmother who gives her affection and guidance to her granddaughter. Or a horrible criminal who's crime inspire someone else to become a great policeman.

Because forseeing every conceivable way in which one person might be capable of achieving something (Deliberately or not) that others may consider worthwhile is fundamentally an insurmountable task, the simplest course of action is then to provide everyone with environments in which they can thrive. Equality, therefore, is applied practically by offering access to basic needs satisfaction as a way of right. In so far as all of us can potentially affect others in some way, and because those effects can be positive and are unpredictable, we are potentailly equal and worth the same considerations. Equal opportunity to thrive. Equal access, not to the same exact resources, but to whatever resources allow each individual person to thrive.

To answer your opening question.

Not only can there be equality, in reality, there can never be anything else.

And as to the Quote
Lincoln is not proposing fundamental inequality. He is stating that diminishing the cicumstances of those who are well is not the right way to appease those who are not. The point implied is not to weaken strong men, but to strenghten the weak. He believes the weak can become strong. Your quote does not help your argument.
Debate Round No. 1
Lookingatissues

Con

The question," s equality a good objective..." The word "equality," and what is meant when someone uses the expression is subjective and the words significance is different when used to define different objectives. The word Equality when used by a cleric means the equality of each being as a human, Equality when used in reference to individuals in a court of law means another. A human's worth can be evaluated based on whatever the value is of the substances of the human body if harvested.
The value of anything is the rarity of a particular thing , a mineral a talent for example, that's exceptional.
Equality between individuals when artificially granted or demanded by government doesn't, by governments action, make everyone equal or cause equality to exist between individuals as only environment and nature determines the level of equality between humans.
You stated," our argument stems from the idea that physical capacity should correlate with each individual's worth. In such a sense, A person capable of many things is worth more and therefore not equal to one capable of only a few things. It follows from such a statement that capacity has intrinsic worth.
The value of each individual to society is easily demonstrated as it is every day in the real world, for example, if a individual has a skill or a degree in a specialized field, needed by a company would that company if it attempted to hire someone for a position offer the same pay to the person who hadn't the same qualifications as the individual with the degree in a specialized field or skill, we all know the answer to this question.
So these individuals are both equal as humans but not in capabilities and qualifications, society recognizes the difference and is willing to pay for that difference. Would you, in suggesting equality is the goal and should be accepted by all. would you be perfectly happy and be confident in allowing the janitor working at the hospital to preform surgery on you or would you discriminate and recognize the fact that equality between individuals doesn't apply here.
You Stated," Fairness is a complicated concept. What is fair to some may not be so to others. Also, as I've already established, the worth of capabilities is subjective.
Who then is to be the arbitrator of what is fair, humans who are in position of arbitrators of "fairness," suffer the same frailties that all human being have as having particular interests and prejudices that would effect their vision of what "fairness" is. The issue of "equality," isn't altruistic as it would on the surface first might appear to be by those who parade and tout their deep concern for their fellow man, but in many instances is purely politically motivated. Why are the liberal and intellectual elite so invested in pushing the concept of Equality, it is a method used by them to instigate unrest among America's citizens by appearing to sympathize and point out that they are victims of an unjust society.
Robert H. Bork in his book," SLOUCHING TOWARDS GOMORROW," wrote, " We have become what Charles J. Sykes called a nation of victims. The list of victim groups-minorities, women, homosexuals, the disabled, the obese, the young, the old-is virtually endless..." Equality is just another convenient tool of those who wish to disrupt America' government and cause hostility between America's citizens and were quick to put the issue out there to stir up animosity and disrupt and tear down our society.
ojcruz

Pro

Your grammar makes your argument hard to read at times.

You start your argument by stating:
The word "equality," and what is meant when someone uses the expression is subjective and the words significance is different when used to define different objectives.

This is precisely my point. Equality is a broad term used in many different ways. As such, and since neither your opening argument nor your debate's title define or limit the interpretation of the word equality, my burden in this respect should be to prove that any one interpretation of the term can be a good objective.

To that task, I proposed the idea that because there is subjectivity in all cases of judgements of equality, and that because all objects can represent, at some point, no value to someone, then the intrinsic value of people is not real (To a fish living deep in the ocean, the worth of people is non existent because it doesn't know of our existence nor does it require it for survival). If intrinsic value does not exist, then all human beings (all things really) are equal in their lack of intrinsic worth.

In such a scenario, equality of all things is unequivocally true. All things are objectively and intrinsically worth nothing and only other's subjective desires render value to them by attributing usefulness. Since nothing is useful to everything at all times, nothing can have intrinsic value (Only subjective "contextual value"). This establishes a fundamental, true, objective equality that exists prior to all valuation judgements. From there, reason dictates that any system based on reality must account for this fundamental fact.

I believe that the argument can be made that systems of interaction generally benefit from being grounded on truth. Whatever our endeavors and desires might be, constructing a proper sense of truth is fundamental to producing systems that succeed at producing desired results. Accounting for intrinsic equality of worth in society, therefore, is fundamental to producing expected and desired results.

On the Company Pay Argument you propose:
"The value of each individual to society is easily demonstrated as it is every day in the real world, for example, if a individual has a skill or a degree in a specialized field, needed by a company would that company if it attempted to hire someone for a position offer the same pay to the person who hadn't the same qualifications as the individual with the degree in a specialized field or skill, we all know the answer to this question.

So these individuals are both equal as humans..."

Subjective valuation of worth as represented by pay is not indicative of actual worth. Companies often offer less money to people perceived to be less capable but which in fact would be perfectly suited for the job. For instance, women were generally considered lesser employees and paid less to preform tasks that physically required no more effort from a woman than they did of a man (Think any desk job ever). This did not mean that the woman was necessarily underperforming, only that she was, because of gender bias, being undervalued. Or are you implying that women could never do as good a job as men at anything?

The reasons why a company might offer more money to one person over another can have to do with many different factors, including some as simple as a person asking to be paid more while the other hasn't asked. I lesser qualified person can be more convincing when being interviewed and hence get the company to offer more. A more qualified but timid candidate might sell himself short and ask for less than he deserves. So to answer your question. Would a company pay more money to more qualified candidates? Of course everyone knows the answer to that question. The answer is maybe!

Also, I will now direct your attention to your own admission that "these individuals are both equal as humans". You argued in your opening statement that:

"Can there ever be equality of the human condition or equality of outcome between humans, I don't believe that its possible to achieve equality by government fiat/ Legislation, as every human being is different from every other individual and some are in-capable of reaching a level of equality with their fellow human being. This doesn't mean that those who can't reach the same level of equality with others are being treated unfairly by society, it only indicates that some humans by nature and fate, have limited capabilities."

Here you say equality is unattainable and that it is not unfair to treat people better or worse because they cannot be considered equal. You contradict yourself.

On your Janitor/Surgeon example:
I am by no means suggesting that I would let a Janitor preform surgery on me, only that the janitor's intrinsic worth is equal to that of the surgeon. For instance, though surgeons are generally thought of in higher social standing than janitors, the case could be made that maintenance of public hygiene is of the utmost importance as it relates directly to our health and requires constant care and effort whereas I have never once in my entire life required surgery. To me, janitors have been regularly and constantly invaluable throughout my life while every single surgeon in the world has been of no use to me at any time. Their capacities, though different, do not carry intrinsic worth. A janitor is not less than a surgeon when what you need is clean a toilet. They are equally worth nothing until you either need a clean bathroom or surgery. They are equal.

On Fairness you say:
"humans who are in position of arbitrators of "fairness," suffer the same frailties that all human being have as having particular interests and prejudices that would effect their vision of what "fairness" is."

I agree. Which is why it is important to recognize the subjectivity of value judgements. Because it is reasonable for everyone to value themselves and their loved ones more than strangers, no judgement can be trusted over another. Everyone's sense of fairness is EQUALLY biased. Recognizing this equality is fundamental to the proper functioning of society and to it's continued improvement.

You say:
Equality, it is a method used by them to instigate unrest among America's citizens by appearing to sympathize and point out that they are victims of an unjust society.

You provide no fact based argument for this. You are stating an unfounded opinion.

Maybe some are, in fact, victims. There are real, visible injustices within our economic model. One would be the inheritance of wealth. You can be born rich or you can be born poor (or anywhere in the economic spectrum really). You do not earn you place in line at birth. You are stuck with whatever you get. You can be a very capable individual and be born poor. You can be useless and be born rich. One could even argue that your birth and the financial implications of it (as well as the parents you happen to get) greatly determine, or at least play a significant factor, on wether you will be a surgeon or a janitor for instance. This, because our current system gives access to better resources (such as better education) to people with money (or, in most cases concerning education, people with parents who have money). Society, as it stands in America, can indeed be thought to be unjust because of birth privileges.

You say:
"Equality is just another convenient tool of those who wish to disrupt America' government and cause hostility between America's citizens and were quick to put the issue out there to stir up animosity and disrupt and tear down our society."

How exactly does treating everyone equally "cause hostility between America's citizens." Doesn't inequality create civil unrest? (Think slavery or Boston Tea Party 1773)

If we were both hungry and we had two apples and I argued that I should be able to eat one and half of the other because I'm a surgeon and you are a janitor, would that create more or less hostility than if we both ate one apple?
Debate Round No. 2
Lookingatissues

Con

Lookingatissues forfeited this round.
ojcruz

Pro

My opponent has forfeited. My argument still stands.
Debate Round No. 3
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