The only thing we have to fear…

I wish I could recall whether it was a meme or a social media post, but it made an interesting argument that the strife in our political life is caused by fear, and that both sides play the game. To a significant extent, I would agree with that assessment.

Yet it also caused me to take a look at my own life. To me, fear is perhaps overdoing a natural response to a particular situation. It’s like some people have a fear of going to the dentist – it’s not my favorite task on the semi-annual to-do list but I look at it more with apprehension than fear. I don’t break out in a cold sweat when I walk through my dentist’s door, even though I know my mouth may be a little sore for awhile as they catch those spots brushing missed for most of six months.

Unfortunately, some members of our society have shifted a lot of things we dislike onto their list of things we supposedly fear, and of course it has profound political ramifications.

Take the whole “white privilege” concept for example, which is often extended to other attributes held by the majority of people. Many people have projected one’s apprehension of dealing with people who are different than them or exhibit behavior they find offensive into a fear of an entire race or class of people. So people of a certain class or belief that those projecting do not like become naturally racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. when nothing could be further from the truth. Those of us who believe that Jesus Christ is our personal Savior have a phrase for this: “Love the sinner, not the sin.” Sometimes we have to exhibit tough love, and that advice or correction may not be what the recipient wants to hear – particularly in this participation trophy world.

And then we have the idea of equity. I’ve seen this illustration in a number of forms, but proponents of the idea like to use it.

What no one ever asks is how the short kid got the extra box. Illustration credit: Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire.

It’s a perfect illustration of a Marxist concept: equality of outcome.

Unfortunately, that can’t be guaranteed so obviously somebody had to come along and give the extra box to the littlest child. I would posit that if the tallest were a Christ-following child, he would have voluntarily shored up the littlest one by being charitable and giving him the extra box. That’s a method which has worked pretty well over the years, particularly in this nation which is perhaps the most giving of all nations.

However, there are some (although not necessarily including those who created and distributed the illustration for free, aside from asking for the credit which I provided) who believe that the tall kid should be forced to give up his box, even if he would rather take in the enhanced view, in the interest of “fairness.” (Then again, if he really wanted a modest goal to strive for he would scrape together the money for a ticket and watch from the stands.)

Moreover, there’s a group among the equity kids who further believe that not only should the tall kid give up his box, but he should be banned from the park entirely because he’s tall and thus has the privilege of height. They believe it’s perfectly acceptable to discriminate against tall kids because they have taken advantage of that asset all along at the expense of the shorter ones.

If that sounds ridiculous to you, well, I have given you a thumbnail of the logical extension of the whole equality vs. equity argument. And it’s one based on the fear (and blame) of the Other rather than taking advantage of those God-given talents you have. To use this example, the short boy may actually have the work ethic and drive to become the batboy and not only watch the game but hang with the players. (Or, if he’s really talented, just become the next Jose Altuve, all 5′-6″ of him.)

Certainly people make bad decisions (which can be called sins) all the time, and occasionally they make choices which have real consequences: drop out of school, have unprotected sex, get behind the wheel of a car after killing a six-pack, and so on and so forth. Many of these can be overcome, and people can thrive despite their effects.

But no one can guarantee that they will, and among us we will always have those who made poor choices and are continuing to pay the price. Because of human nature, the best we can do create the equality of opportunity, and while we have some work to do on achieving that goal, we’re a lot closer to doing so than many think.

If you ask me, my biggest fear is that we are going to throw out a system that’s worked fairly well for over 200 years for a method that hasn’t succeeded yet in over 100 years of trying and goes against human nature, since people don’t like to be forced to do anything. Sadly, people do and say things against their own self-interest all the time and that’s what I think these equity kids are doing because chances are they’re not going to be the ones who are more equal than others, to borrow from George Orwell.

It’s why I drop by here from time to time to share those thoughts and beliefs I believe are important for success for all of us. If you take them with a grain of salt, that’s fine because I’m not afraid to admit I’m not the be-all and end-all on any subject, up to and including religion and government. (Baseball, maybe.)

But I believe fear needs to be consigned to its true definition and this whole irrationality of equity needs to be countered with showing the benefits of equality. We can’t counter inequality with a different inequality, no matter what the hustlers might say. They forget that two wrongs do not make a right.