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Liberal Arguments for Equality are Not Persuasive; Egalitarian Arguments Are

by John Spritzler

April 4, 2018

Liberals argue for equality in ways that are guaranteed to be unpersuasive to large segments of the population who would support egalitarian equality. I will illustrate this in the case of health care, reparations, and solutions to address past racial discrimination in jobs and school admissions. I hope that you will see from these examples that the way to gain massive support for making our society more equal--in all respects--is not the liberal approach but rather the egalitarian one.

Health Care

Liberal Health Care Equality

Liberals say that health care is the right of all. This is the basis for the liberal argument that society should provide universal health care for all, regardless of whether a person can afford to pay for it.

Libertarians, such as Senator Rand Paul, argue (see here and here) that the liberal argument (that health care is the right of all) implies that health care providers (doctors, nurses, hospital orderlies, etc.) must be slaves. Why? Because it means that any person who wants health care can demand, as his or her right, that health care providers labor to provide that health care whether they want to or not; and that's the very definition of slavery: being forced work for somebody against one's will.

When liberals encounter this argument, it drives them crazy mad! What actually infuriates them, however, is that they have no persuasive principled rebuttal, and they know it.

Egalitarian Health Care Equality

The egalitarian argument, in contrast to the liberal one, demolishes the libertarian defense of inequality in health care (i.e., the libertarian notion that only people rich enough to afford it should receive quality health care.) The egalitarian argument for equality in health care goes like this:

Society should be based on mutual agreements (among everyone, including health care providers and others) to share socially produced wealth (i.e., products and services created by the economy, including health care) on the morally just basis of, "From each according to reasonable ability, to each according to need or reasonable desire with scarce things equitably rationed according to need." [FAQ: Why & How to have NO RICH AND NO POOR is a good place to learn more about egalitarianism.]

Note that the egalitarian argument is NOT that health care is a right of all; the egalitarian argument is that health care providers should agree to provide health care to those who have contributed reasonably according to ability in society, and in return health care providers should be able to take from the economy what they need or reasonably desire. (The word "reasonably" means just that: the reasonable contribution for some people, such as children or people physically or mentally incapable of contributing, or retired people, etc., is zero; and doing things like going to school or caring for a child, etc., count as a reasonable contribution.)

How could a libertarian respond to this egalitarian argument? The libertarian could--if he/she were a decent person--agree with it. Otherwise the libertarian would have to say that he/she did not like the idea of society being based on this kind of mutual agreement among people; in making this argument he/she would look like a jerk, not a morally just person. One thing is for sure, the libertarian "That's slavery" argument would be seen by everybody as totally irrelevant because mutual agreements have nothing to do with slavery. (I discuss this more here.)

To the many people who are trying to make up their mind about which side makes the most sense, the libertarians come across as the ones with a solid principled moral position. If liberals, however, advocated egalitarianism instead of their confused liberalism, then they would be far MORE persuasive than their libertarian opponents.


Liberals in the United States argue that there should be material (money, typically) reparations given to Native Americans and the descendants of people who were slaves. The liberal argument is that these people suffer in many various ways today from the injustices inflicted on their ancestors in the past, and only material reparations can at least partially compensate for this. So far, so good; this is a sound argument. But when the liberals advocate any kind of specific reparations policy they run into the problem that many people (including libertarians) make a persuasive case that the specific reparations policy is morally unjust.

Liberal Reparations

The problem for the liberals is this. The only kind of reparations they can conceive of is some version of taking wealth from one group of Americans and giving it to the Americans deemed deserving of reparations. Every single detail in such a policy is open to the accusation that it is morally unjust.

First of all, there is the question of who should receive the repartions. What if one person has a larger percentage of his/her ancestors who were slaves or Native Americans than another person; should the amount of reparations be based on some kind of "blood" calculation, and if so, what is the "just" formula? What if a person cannot prove his/her ancestry? Oh boy! This is recipe for bitter fighting among people all of whom think they're morally right and anybody who disagrees with them is morally wrong.

Next there is the question of who should pay the reparations (be taxed for it, I suppose). Should everybody who isn't deemed deserving of receiving the reparations pay them? Can you imagine the self-righteous arguments against this idea coming from people who immigrated to the United States long after the injustices were committed for which reparations are designed to compensate? For that matter, think about how unfair it would seem to Americans--especially poor working class Americans--who are the descendants of poor whites who never owned slaves, if they were taxed to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves. Likewise, how would Americans whose ancestors had nothing to do with the genocide of Native Americans feel about the morality of making them pay reparations to Native Americans?

Next there is the question about whether a poor person should be taxed to pay reparations to rich person. Certainly there are individuals who are Native American or who are the descendant of slaves (or a slave) who are much wealthier today than plenty of the Americans who would be taxed to pay for reparations. It's not hard to imagine the fairly persuasive moral arguments that would be raised against what would be in effect a reverse Robin Hood tax!

Of course some liberals might try to avoid the above dilemmas by saying that only the rich should be taxed to pay for reparations. There are two versions of this plan that are logically conceivable. 1) Tax the rich enough to make the reparations truly meaningful in magnitude or 2) tax the rich so little that the amount of reparations would be meaningless--symbolic only.

The first version would--realistically--require a revolution because the rich won't give up THAT much of their wealth otherwise; but liberals never advocate revolution. Furthermore, if the liberals did advocate a revolution to "take money from the rich to give to Native Americans and descendants of slaves" it would fail to succeed because it would fail to have sufficient support from the hundreds of millions of Americans that is required to make a revolution; it would be a revolution whose purpose did not address the pressing grievances of most ordinary Americans at all.

The second version would be--rightfully!--condemned as morally unjust to the people deserving reparations.

This is why, when liberals advocate reparations, they meet with so much resistance.

Egalitarian Reparations

Egalitarian revolution aims to make society have no rich and no poor. At the risk of repeating myself, it aims to make society be one that is

based on mutual agreements (among everyone, including health care providers and others) to share socially produced wealth (i.e., products and services created by the economy, including health care) on the morally just basis of, "From each according to reasonable ability, to each according to need or reasonable desire with scarce things equitably rationed according to need." [FAQ: Why & How to have NO RICH AND NO POOR is a good place to learn more about egalitarianism.]

Unlike any reparations plan that liberals ever advance, egalitarian revolution accomplishes true reparations on a huge scale! Those individuals who are poor because of the lingering effects of past injustices would gain enormously--more than with any reparations plan that the liberals could ever dream of advocating, never mind winning. And yet poor people benefiting from egalitarian reparations would not have to prove anything at all about their ancestry.

At the same time, everybody who contributed reasonably to the economy would be able to take for free from the economy what they needed or reasonably desired or have equal status with others to receive scarce things equibably rationed according to need. The only people who would feel that this is morally unjust are the small number of people who think they deserve to be richer than others.

Nobody's ancestors--be they slaves or slave owners or neither, nor Native Americans or not--would be cited as the reason for why they were, or were not, taxed; so all the bitter arguments related to such liberal notions about who should be taxed would become irrelevant. (There are no taxes at all in an egalitarian society, and no money either.)

Yes, this requires a revolution, but it is a revolution for a goal that has (already!) the support of more than 80% of ordinary Americans, which is why it can indeed succeed. (Here's a video showing that most ordinary Americans want an egalitarian revolution. When I asked people at a pro-Trump rally they felt the same way the people in this video do.)

Affirmative Action & "White Privilege"

Liberals want racial equality. Fine. But the way liberals argue for racial equality actually helps the ruling class maintain racial inequality as well as class inequality with its divide-and-rule strategy of fomenting mistrust and resentment between working class whites and black/Hispanic/Native American minorities. Here's how.

An Egalitarian Solution to Inequality

As I describe in my article, "We Need THIS, Not Affirmative Action," (it's a short article and you need to read it to understand what follows) there was an egalitarian way that the harmful effects of past racial discrimination in hiring could have been eliminated that would have been widely, even enthusiastically, supported by not only racial minorities but by white working class people as well. It would have produced increased solidarity between white and non-white working class people. It would have been in the spirit of egalitarianism--of equality.

The Liberal Solution to Inequality

But instead, liberals supported the ruling class's Affirmative Action plan that, while purporting to be about ending racial discrimination, was actually DESIGNED to foment mistrust and resentment between the races, by making many white working class people believe that now whites were being discriminated against and that anti-racism was really just code for anti-white. Liberals played a vital role in helping the ruling class use Affirmative Action for this divide-and-rule strategy. Liberals did this by accusing any white person of being a racist if he/she expressed the idea that hiring and school admission criteria should the SAME for people regardless of their race--the very same idea that the Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for!

Liberals could have avoided being used this way if they had adopted the egalitarian approach spelled out in my (previously mentioned) article "We Need THIS, Not Affirmative Action". Liberals thought the ruling class was working to end racial discrimination with Affirmative Action, but they should have opened their eyes and seen that the ruling class was actually simply replacing the old Jim Crow with the New Jim Crow of racist prison incarceration.

Liberals Don't Understand Why the Phrase "White Privilege" has Replaced the phrase "Racial Discrimination"

Similarly, liberals have jumped on the ruling class's new bandwagon that has replaced the very good phrase, "racial discrimination [against minorities]" with the deliberately misleading and dangerously divisive phrase of "white privilege." I discuss in detail why the phrase "white privilege" is misleading and dangerous (it is designed to destroy solidarity between white and minority working class people) in my article, "Is It a 'Privilege' Not to be Discriminated Against?" (Again, this is a short article that you need to read or else you won't understand what follows.) And I show here (in detail again) that the reason the phrase "white privilege" has replaced the phrase "racial discrimination" is because the ruling class (Big Money, including the Ford and Rockefeller foundations) PAID to make it happen, big time.

Why do liberals get so easily USED by the ruling class to help implement its divide-and-rule strategies? The answer is that libeals don't know how to advocate for equality in a way that is persuasive, in a way that creates solidarity instead of undermining it. The problem stems from the fact that liberals don't grasp that among ordinary people An Injury to One is an Injury to All. (If you don't understand why this is so, please read my article about it here.)

Egalitarians envision a world with no rich and no poor, a world that is MUCH BETTER for all races of ordinary people than the world is presently--a world that we can have only if we create solidarity among all races of working class people, solidarity that policies such as Affirmative Action and phrases such as "white privilege" are designed to undermine. Liberals, in contrast, have no such vision. Liberals accept our present class inequality--which oppresses ALL races of ordinary people--as a permanent fact of nature. Liberals never question that some billionaires will always have the real power in society because they never question that our society will always be one in which money is power, in which the economy is based on buying and selling instead of "From each according to reasonable ability, to each according to need or reasonable desire," and in which everybody will compete (ideally on a "level playing field") to see who will be a rich winner and who will be a poor loser.

Because liberals never question that society should be based on this competition--each individual person against the other, each race against the other, each gender against the other, each town or city against the other, each nation against the other (with our schools needing therefore, according to the liberals, to "prepare our children to compete in the global economy")--liberals perceive any policy that benefits one race of working class people as necessarily being at the expense of--harming--the other race(s) of working class people. This is why liberals really do believe that anti-racism means being anti-white.

This is why some liberals a few years ago decided it would be a good idea to physically attack white working class people--just because they were white--in the name of anti-racism: they did this by blocking the mainly white commuters (including an ambulance with a patient inside) on I-93 driving to work in Boston. (See newpaper reports of this here and here.) To the great pleasure, no doubt, of the ruling class, these liberal activists sent a message to white working class people that is exactly the same Big Lie that the ruling class has always, since the days of chattel slavery, told white working class people, namely that ordinary whites BENEFIT from racial discrimination against racial minorities. What would the ruling class do without such liberals?

Other Issues

If one thinks carefully about other similar issues relating to making our society more equal, one will find that the egalitarian approach is persuasive and the other (liberal) approaches are not. Give it some thought, and you will see.




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