Is equality for all realistic or logical?
Debate Rounds (3)
Hello! I accept this debate and will gladly debate it with you.
"Equality can be defined as : the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities."
Fair enough definition. I will not assume either equality of opportunity or outcome until you clarify. I will provide these definitions. You are free to contest them!
Equality of opportunity: the state of having equal chance and opportunity to succeed, such that all humans worth and status is determined by their own effort and personal choices alone.
Equality of outcome: the state of receiving equal benefits, status, rights and opportunities regardless of work or personal choices.
"This sounds like a perfect society for people who are all the exact same person, but as we all know we live in a world full of people of different beliefs and ideologies, some good, some bad, some irrelevant. As a species we even have different anatomies which give one gender the upper hand over the other. For example I would never compare a man equal to a woman when it comes to the ability to naturally breast feed a child, nor would I compare woman equal to a man in the ability to naturally grow 6 feet."
Complete equality. be it of opportunity or outcome, does not necessarily translate to complete sameness in all aspects. Regardless of sex, race, gender, or personality, we are, however, fundamentally the same and as such deserve the same rights, status and opportunities. To deny someone such rights, status and opportunities because of anatomy or differences which do not detract from their humanity is simply unjust. No-one is necessarily saying that women or men are the same; obviously, one has breasts and the other is taller, as you pointed out. Egalitarians, of whom I consider myself one, do not wish to eliminate these differences. We seek to provide them with equal status, rights and opportunities regardless of those differences.
"It's just factual that on average( and if not absolutely) equal is not natural. We have been a species mostly ruled by elite for almost all of recorded history. Pharaohs, judges, kings, presidents. Leadership is something that is absolutely necessary to keep humankind going."
And what about before recorded history? I'm not to pretend that prehistory was a utopia--it wasn't, by far--but to state that because of ten thousand years when despots and elites have asserted their rule and perpetuated it, not because of their natural merit, but rather because their position allows them to reinforce their rule, that humans are by nature hierarchical and dominant over others, is to ignore the much longer human prehistory in which there were no formal rulers. Yes, it wasn't completely egalitarian--gender roles and such dominated--however, rule was not enforced in a caste-like system.
Furthermore, even in recorded history there are examples of egalitarian, elite-less societies. Mostly formed as anarchist and socialist experiments, yes, but nonetheless examples of an equality-for-all society. I refer you to revolutionary Catalonia and Aragon, as well as the Free Territory of Ukraine, the Paris Commune, and most recently, Rojava (Western Kurdistan). These societies functioned well and "logically" until defeated by outside forces, whilst Rojava is still ongoing.
Furthermore, to assert that because something is not natural, it is not logical is a non-sequitur. Money and currency is a man-made, non-natural thing; and yet is completely logical. Taking such logic to the extreme produces an extreme, reactionary Luddism against all forms of technology.
"The idea of equality for all is toxic in the sense that if we're to adopt this idea, then what motivation would there be to work any harder than the person doing the least amount of work. It's just natural that if I see someone being rewarded for hard work that I should strive to be rewarded as well."
It is tempting to assume you are referring to equality of outcome here, but earlier I swore not to assume either way. In any case, people are motivated by much more than simply material gain; they are also motivated by a feeling of purpose, autonomy, self-improvement and contribution. Consider why some take time out of their day to learn to play and to play instruments. It is a clear form of work, yet they do not receive material reward for it. In fact, they may experience a net material loss if they are required to pay for their instrumental lessons. So, why do they do it? Ask one; they'll say "It's fun!" or "I want to improve myself!".
The same reasoning can apply to labor as a whole. People feel productive when they do work. Without work, we feel stagnant and lacking in purpose. For many, work and leisure are very, very blurry.
Never mind the potential implications of an economy where all menial, degrading labor is automated. Such an economy, would provide our basic needs so we can seek personal fulfillment.
I look forward to my opponent's response.
You also mentioned a society in which incredibly educated hard working people will build machines for people who will not work at all and seek personal pleasure their whole lives. This I see as neither realistic or by any means fair. I refuse to see how this will build a society of equal loving people. I just see a society of people who will have to work to make others who don't work happy. If I was one of those workers would I be considered equal as the ones who do nothing? Is there no benefit or reward for my work to set me apart from the non workers? Why on earth would anyone work then?
On the point you made of other societies who have been "elite less" I would have to strongly disagree. I'll pick the radical socialist Paris commune as an example. The commune had appointed leaders who made decisions for the people. The people of Paris were subjected to searches and seizures by the National Guard and members of the radical parties. Hardly equal. They even adopted laws like: "Every execution of a prisoner of war or of a partisan of the government of the Commune of Paris will be immediately followed by the execution of a triple number of hostages held by virtue of article four." That is not equal thinking. Also their whole revolution lasted only 2 months.
I'll take that as an equality-of-outcome, since that seems to be the direction this is heading. I'm not a communist, but I'll approach this as if I were.
It is realistic to treat them equal as a whole and recognize that where they are deficient in one area they have the potential of greatness in others. We are all equally human, and regardless of our talents and skills, we deserve to be treated as equally human. The primary focus in a truly egalitarian society would be on one's humanity and effort, rather than one's skills as such. The child has the potential for greatness in his musical ability. If he and his musical ability is neglected and not encouraged, then he could possibly not acheive this greatness--that which may otherwise make him the next Elton John.
"You also mentioned a society in which incredibly educated hard working people will build machines for people who will not work at all and seek personal pleasure their whole lives. This I see as neither realistic or by any means fair. I refuse to see how this will build a society of equal loving people. I just see a society of people who will have to work to make others who don't work happy. If I was one of those workers would I be considered equal as the ones who do nothing? Is there no benefit or reward for my work to set me apart from the non workers? Why on earth would anyone work then?"
I did not mention such a society where there is one class which dictates the others. Although, if you replace "build machines" with "make money" that's a good descriptor of our current society--employees work for their employers. I suggested a society where technology has reached the point where it can build itself, a singularity of sorts, and then the entirety of humanity's basic needs are satisfied, allowing them to focus on improving themselves and their skills.
I never said that any (human) underclass would build those machines--the machines themselves become the lower class you describe, and humans become the upper class.
As I said, however, what you said is an accurate way to describe our modern society; how many CEOs and businessmen do you see putting actual labor and effort in? They hire other people to do the work for them in their company, and only pay the workers a small fraction of what they make, enough to get the issue of money off their minds. So, why do people work today? Because they have no other choice. They don't have enough funds to start their own company and become the CEOs and businessmen, so they have to rely on getting less money from their employers than the work they put in.
"On the point you made of other societies who have been "elite less" I would have to strongly disagree. I'll pick the radical socialist Paris commune as an example. The commune had appointed leaders who made decisions for the people. The people of Paris were subjected to searches and seizures by the National Guard and members of the radical parties. Hardly equal. They even adopted laws like: "Every execution of a prisoner of war or of a partisan of the government of the Commune of Paris will be immediately followed by the execution of a triple number of hostages held by virtue of article four." That is not equal thinking. Also their whole revolution lasted only 2 months."
Perhaps the Paris Commune wasn't quite the best example, but what of the others? By all accounts, they were, and in Rojava's case, are leaderless and direct-democratic. Even within the Paris Commune the leaders were immediately recallable at any time if the populace didn't like them. The two examples you provided are examples not of hierarchy, but authoritarianism. Both are bad things, but this argument is about equality vs hierarchy. The revolt was crushed by the Third Republic after two months, it did not fall apart internally, so it is not an argument for or against equality.
Thank you for your argument, I completely agree we are all entitled to human rights, as we do have in this society right now. How do you decide who's actually good at something by putting them in a position because of who they are as a person or because of their effort? It would be even worse to encourage people to do things in this way. That would be like putting a murderer in the army and justifying it as logical because he's good at killing people and he puts a lot of effort into it and because that's who he is as a human. That kind of thinking makes sense on paper but in practice it's madness, which is why it never has really lasted too long with a great population. There is potential for greatness in all, but if your not good at the piano and it's quite apparent and its been a few years, I might suggest a guitar, even if that person is convinced they will be the next Beethoven, it would waste years of their life that they could have spent on something they would have enjoyed if not more than the thing they thought they were good at. Sometimes we don't actually know what's best for ourselves and guidance and leadership can be extremely helpful. Children should never be neglected, and to neglect guiding a child or adult to a life possibly more enjoyable for them is perfect normal and acceptable in a free society. Even if we're not good at something we can do it for ever, but it's unreasonable to assume that we should be treated equal in terms of reward and payment for doing it.
"I did not mention such a society where there is one class which dictates the others. Although, if you replace "build machines" with "make money" that's a good descriptor of our current society--employees work for their employers. I suggested a society where technology has reached the point where it can build itself, a singularity of sorts, and then the entirety of humanity's basic needs are satisfied, allowing them to focus on improving themselves and their skills.
Who will dictate who will build the technology? Or where it will be built, or where they will get their resources from? Do they vote? If so, can votes be vetoed? Who dictates who can veto votes? This will lead to the exact same structure we have now, but most likely a more divided one, and instead of elites who are trying to make money, you'll have elites who just want power over people and social issues. The chances of that society even reaching that technology would be null had it not been for major corporations started by the capitalist elite of the last 400 years or so. Which is why it's completely alright to think you might get privilege or reward for working hard and standing out from people who are not as efficient, driven, or talented as you, because it's how we've been living for so long as a majority of people. We have not however lived with the assistance of automated super robots who can build themselves and do everything for us. How smart would this technology be? Enough to know that we are useless without it? With reliance comes control and the super intelligent A.I type robots would pick up on that awfully quick as technology developed. We would become slaves or pets at best. If the robots are feeding and taking care of us than how are we in the higher class? We would be house cats essentially. I feel sorry for the man or woman who holds themselves in the same regard as a common cat or dog.
I disagree that CEOS do not work. Especially from my own experience, I see my owner on an almost weekly basis, he owns 2 truck stops, as well as some other franchises in the same area. We are even having new pumps put in at one of those truck stops and not only is he overseeing, because he worked hard and learned when he was younger he was able to put his knowledge of construction to use as that was a previous profession of his and he is able to help hands on with the 6 man crew he hired. I haven't seen polls of every CEOs work ethic in the west so I can't really speak on how much actual work they do for their companies. I think of course they have a choice. Whether it's to not work at all, or to start their own business. You could even move to different places in the world if your are accepted there. To say you do not have a choice will deny you the mentality of having a choice, and therefore you are a victim and furthermore helpless because your mind refuses to see that you actually have choice hope and chance.
What of the others you ask? Well I'll use Rojava as an example of a completely unstable, unfair place that could be equated to our modern western societies in terms of elite, but far more unreasonable and invasive on social issues. The biggest city Qamislo has more delegates just because it's bigger, that's fair but thats not equality for all. A man is tried before a women's council on issues like domestic violence because it is labeled a woman's issue by society. How is that remotely equal? Not to mention it's blatantly sexist. There are also two co-presidents who are elected by the people just like here, the title president in itself is elite. Even if your throw a "co-" in front of it. The constitution is not even 3 years old yet, so to say this society has even been truly tested yet would be false. It's hard to even say where Rojava is, if your Syrian you would say it's in Syria, if your a Kurd you would say it's in Kurdistan. That is not a sign of a stable economy, not to mention the heck of a time their going to have trying to build relationships with their Arab neighbours. Also they are at war with ISIS currently and have to share a militia, again not stable.
In closing I would like to point out the moral and social divide that "equality for all" thinking will cause on our already divided world. The world of equality for all ( with or without reason) would be a world where sociopaths and criminals will be part of everyday decision making for every single community/district. (More than we already have). Everyone will decide on things just to better themselves individually. This will surely lead to strife and spite, how could it not? If we all tried to suit our lives to our own specific needs and wants while holding the mentality that we are all equal but without reward or status than we will continue to act in whatever manner we please forever without striving to do anything at all. It would be a miserable world of want. We earned things, then we were entitled to things, next we will just want things. That seems to be the cycle of our western world. I believe that people of all classes should be treated equally as humans of course, but I stand by my belief that class structured society without heavy corruption is far more efficient for the advancement of our species as a whole than the radical consciousness shift that we should just sit around and make important decisions on things we might not have a clue about. I'd rather obey an emperor than an emperor with no clothes. Thank you for the debate :)
You may suggest the guitar, but it ultimately comes to them to listen to you. If they listen to you and turn out to be better at guitar than piano, fantastic. If they stay on the piano and "waste their life", than fundamentally that's their choice. You cannot force people to be saved from themselves. If you wish to talk about reward, then allow people to accept their choices, the consequences and rewards as a measure of self-responsibility.
Yes, the issue of robots would be put up to a public vote around a neighbourhood, in an extremely decentralized direct democracy, likely by consensus voting, where instead of asking "do you want this?" we ask "do you feel like your opinion has been adequately heard, listened to, and incorporated within balance of other's opinions?", so no-one feels alienated from the decision making process.
Having the artificial "intelligence" to recreate itself and perform the menial labor is not the same as being sentient. Isaac Asimov's three laws of robotics would apply here. Furthermore, if you go by that logic, how was a slaver higher than a slave? A master higher than a servant? This would be a society in which humans are all masters over themselves.
My point about CEOs is, I admit, irrelevant to this debate. We can have a debate about Capitalism some other time.
All the delegates of Rojava only hold the power to enact foreign policy decisions, for the most part. The rest is decided on a decentralized, direct democratic basis. Furthermore, the amount of delegates for larger areas being increased is necessary for an egalitarian direct democratic society, for then a person from a large city's vote will count the same as one's from a small city.
The "sitting around and making important decisions on something we know nothing about" is the point of a direct democracy. It is to allow people to learn from their mistakes and accept individual responsibility rather than placing it on their representatives and the powers-that-be. People acting in their own self interest is much more prevalent in a hierarchical society than it is in an egalitarian one, as people would learn to accept that what affects others can eventually affect them.
The focus of earning, entitlement and want would shift from material "things" to working towards your own greatness, and fulfilling your life as a human instead of as an eating, drinking, washing machine.
Thank you for this debate! You brought up some really good points. May the best win!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Gondun 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: You were both civil and didn't drop rounds, so conduct is tied. S&G goes to Pro because his arguments seemed more grammatically coherent. Pro's arguments were more convincing because they stayed more on real world examples and scenarios instead of abstracted and hypothetical ones. Nobody cited a source, so that's a tie.
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