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De Tocqueville and Equality

EndarkenedRationalist
Posts: 14,201
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1/4/2014 12:35:18 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Was De Tocqueville correct about how people, in a blind search for equality, lose sight of other goals and concepts? Was he correct about equality being dangerous because it raises mediocrity as an acceptable standard and tears down brilliance (and misery) in society, as well as serving to enforce a rigid system of conformity?

Is equality really the great good we like to perceive it as?
Objectivity
Posts: 1,073
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1/4/2014 12:58:05 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/4/2014 12:35:18 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
Was De Tocqueville correct about how people, in a blind search for equality, lose sight of other goals and concepts? Was he correct about equality being dangerous because it raises mediocrity as an acceptable standard and tears down brilliance (and misery) in society, as well as serving to enforce a rigid system of conformity?

Is equality really the great good we like to perceive it as?

Equality in opportunity is a fair and reasonable standard. Anything else does promote mediocrity.
PureX
Posts: 1,533
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1/4/2014 1:30:18 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/4/2014 12:58:05 PM, Objectivity wrote:

Equality in opportunity is a fair and reasonable standard. Anything else does promote mediocrity.

I agree. It just makes sense that we would want to encourage the best of ourselves and each other, with the best being defined with an emphasis on our collective well being, while discouraging our lessor inclinations, as defined by selfishness and/or destructiveness.

Unfortunately, our current social-economic systems do very little of either, and tend to do just the opposite, in fact.
Tophatdoc
Posts: 534
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1/4/2014 9:31:50 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/4/2014 12:35:18 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
Was De Tocqueville correct about how people, in a blind search for equality, lose sight of other goals and concepts? Was he correct about equality being dangerous because it raises mediocrity as an acceptable standard and tears down brilliance (and misery) in society, as well as serving to enforce a rigid system of conformity?

Is equality really the great good we like to perceive it as?

De Tocqueville is a wise man. First time, I have read his name on this site.

Equality of opportunity should be desired. To promote equality of results is nothing short of a sanctimonious cant. I'm not too fond of the pseud-religious aurora when people discuss equality. They are usually talking about equality of results.
"Don't click on my profile. Don't send me friend requests. Don't read my debates. There are many interesting people on DDO. Find one of them. Go find someone exciting and loquacious. Go click on their profile. Go send them friend requests. Go read their debates. Leave me alone." -Tophatdoc
Objectivity
Posts: 1,073
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1/4/2014 9:45:27 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/4/2014 1:30:18 PM, PureX wrote:
At 1/4/2014 12:58:05 PM, Objectivity wrote:

Equality in opportunity is a fair and reasonable standard. Anything else does promote mediocrity.

I agree. It just makes sense that we would want to encourage the best of ourselves and each other, with the best being defined with an emphasis on our collective well being, while discouraging our lessor inclinations, as defined by selfishness and/or destructiveness.

Unfortunately, our current social-economic systems do very little of either, and tend to do just the opposite, in fact.

While I don't like disagreeing with people on particulars when they agree with me, I also don't want my statements to be misrepresented, persay, so I will say that we just have two different ideas of opportunity and what necessitates giving one opportunity if that is what you consider it to be.

I tend to think that opportunity is not given at the expense of others through monetary means but simply through human rights and allowing people to succeed solely based on their wits or physical strength, this is the best way to advance evolution and to create a strong nation and society.

I certainly could see how one could extend opportunity to monetary means and I respect this view, but I do not extend it to monetary means, only to individual human rights.
whatledge
Posts: 210
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1/5/2014 11:13:18 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/4/2014 12:35:18 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
Was De Tocqueville correct about how people, in a blind search for equality, lose sight of other goals and concepts? Was he correct about equality being dangerous because it raises mediocrity as an acceptable standard and tears down brilliance (and misery) in society, as well as serving to enforce a rigid system of conformity?

Is equality really the great good we like to perceive it as?

True equality would mean a mathematical equality, eg we would all be clones of one another, not just in terms of DNA but all the derivatives of nurture and environment. Seemingly impossible and not very desirable. It would be possible for robots or programs, but it would be giving up everything it means to be human and an individual.

That said, equality in human rights/opportunity, as others have pointed out, is of course something desirable.

I also do not think mediocrity is necessarily dangerous, even as an accepted standard, though I don't think anyone should ever be forced into mediocrity by society.
PureX
Posts: 1,533
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1/7/2014 12:39:49 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 11:13:18 PM, whatledge wrote:

I also do not think mediocrity is necessarily dangerous, even as an accepted standard, though I don't think anyone should ever be forced into mediocrity by society.

"Mediocrity" is inevitable. But it's just a place on a scale. Ultimately, no one is exactly "mediocre", though most of us are something similar to it.
whatledge
Posts: 210
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1/7/2014 2:05:01 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/7/2014 12:39:49 PM, PureX wrote:
At 1/5/2014 11:13:18 PM, whatledge wrote:

I also do not think mediocrity is necessarily dangerous, even as an accepted standard, though I don't think anyone should ever be forced into mediocrity by society.

"Mediocrity" is inevitable. But it's just a place on a scale. Ultimately, no one is exactly "mediocre", though most of us are something similar to it.

What do you mean when you say that mediocrity is inevitable? Especially when "ultimately no one is exactly mediocre?" Seems rather contradictory.
Wocambs
Posts: 1,505
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1/13/2014 3:56:50 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/4/2014 12:35:18 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
Was De Tocqueville correct about how people, in a blind search for equality, lose sight of other goals and concepts? Was he correct about equality being dangerous because it raises mediocrity as an acceptable standard and tears down brilliance (and misery) in society, as well as serving to enforce a rigid system of conformity?

Is equality really the great good we like to perceive it as?

In order for all people to be free, all people must be equal. The 'equality' of 'enforced mediocrity' is a hierarchy whereby those who are 'not mediocre' are subjugated into 'mediocrity' and hence cannot be a system of equality.
EndarkenedRationalist
Posts: 14,201
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1/13/2014 10:30:11 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 3:56:50 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 1/4/2014 12:35:18 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
Was De Tocqueville correct about how people, in a blind search for equality, lose sight of other goals and concepts? Was he correct about equality being dangerous because it raises mediocrity as an acceptable standard and tears down brilliance (and misery) in society, as well as serving to enforce a rigid system of conformity?

Is equality really the great good we like to perceive it as?

In order for all people to be free, all people must be equal. The 'equality' of 'enforced mediocrity' is a hierarchy whereby those who are 'not mediocre' are subjugated into 'mediocrity' and hence cannot be a system of equality.

The mediocrity is enforced by the people in De Tocqueville' view. The people are masters of social conformity and, when everybody is equal, brilliance stands out. The people therefore move to eliminate brilliance.
Wocambs
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1/14/2014 8:56:13 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/13/2014 10:30:11 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
At 1/13/2014 3:56:50 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 1/4/2014 12:35:18 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
Was De Tocqueville correct about how people, in a blind search for equality, lose sight of other goals and concepts? Was he correct about equality being dangerous because it raises mediocrity as an acceptable standard and tears down brilliance (and misery) in society, as well as serving to enforce a rigid system of conformity?

Is equality really the great good we like to perceive it as?

In order for all people to be free, all people must be equal. The 'equality' of 'enforced mediocrity' is a hierarchy whereby those who are 'not mediocre' are subjugated into 'mediocrity' and hence cannot be a system of equality.

The mediocrity is enforced by the people in De Tocqueville' view. The people are masters of social conformity and, when everybody is equal, brilliance stands out. The people therefore move to eliminate brilliance.

I would suggest that this is an equivocation fallacy. 'Equal' clearly refers to equal political freedom, whereas De Tocqueville uses another definition of equal, 'uniform / identical', in order to, presumably, attack libertarian ideas of equality. Unless De Tocqueville is making the, frankly absurd, argument that in a free society brilliance would be stamped out by intense social pressure.