The thing about equality is this, (its a conundrum!)

grahamg

Well-known Member
Quote

.........there is, (Dworkin writes), a trade-off between treating people equally and treating them “as equals.”

The complexities of egalitarianism are especially frustrating because inequalities are so easy to grasp. C.E.O.s, on average, make almost three hundred times what their employees make; billionaire donors shape our politics; automation favors owners over workers; urban economies grow while rural areas stagnate; the best health care goes to the richest. Across the political spectrum, we grieve the loss of what Alexis de Tocqueville called the “general equality of conditions,” which, with the grievous exception of slavery, once shaped American society. It’s not just about money. Tocqueville, writing in 1835, noted that our “ordinary practices of life” were egalitarian, too: we behaved as if there weren’t many differences among us. Today, there are “premiere” lines for popcorn at the movies and five tiers of Uber; we still struggle to address obvious inequalities of all kinds based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and other aspects of identity. Inequality is everywhere, and unignorable. We’ve diagnosed the disease. Why can’t we agree on a cure?

In January of 2015, Jeremy Waldron, a political philosopher at New York University’s School of Law, delivered a series of lectures at the University of Edinburgh on the fundamental nature of human equality. He began by provoking his audience. “Look around you,” he said, “and look at the differences between you.” The crowd included the old and the young, men and women, the beautiful and the ugly, the rich and the poor, the healthy and the infirm, the high-status and the low. In theory, Waldron said, the audience could contain “soldiers as well as civilians, fugitives and convicts as well as law-abiding citizens, homeless people as well as property owners”—even “bankrupts, infants, lunatics,” all with different legal rights.

In a book based on those lectures, “One Another’s Equals: The Basis of Human Equality,” Waldron points out that people are also marked by differences of skill, experience, creativity, and virtue. Given such consequential differences, he asks, in what sense are people “equal”? Waldron believes in our fundamental equality; as a philosopher, however, he wants to know why he believes in it.

According to the Declaration of Independence, it is “self-evident” that all men are created equal. But, from a certain perspective, it’s our inequality that’s self-evident.

Break

In Waldron’s view, (though), it’s not a binary choice; it’s possible to see people as equal and unequal simultaneously. A society can sort its members into various categories—lawful and criminal, brilliant and not—while also allowing some principle of basic equality to circumscribe its judgments and, in some contexts, override them. Egalitarians like Dworkin and Waldron call this principle “deep equality.” It’s because of deep equality that even those people who acquire additional, justified worth through their actions—heroes, senators, pop stars—can still be considered fundamentally no better than anyone else. By the same token, Waldron says, deep equality insures that even the most heinous murderer can be seen as a member of the human race, “with all the worth and status that this implies.”


https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/01/13/the-equality-conundrum
 

Murrmurr

Senior Member
At first I assumed you were quoting Andrea Dorkin. When I got to the reference to Waldron, I guessed it was Ronald Dorkin. Then I saw the link.

Basically the example concludes that people are equal in the eyes of law but not in condition, decision-making, and circumstance.

Why can’t we agree on a cure? (it asks)
 
They have equality down in Cuba, but with a dictator, so a left-wing economy and a right-wing government. It never had a chance to succeed, thanks to the severe trade embargos inflicted on them by the U.S.

Communist countries seem to always wind up with a dictator. Some countries elected communist leaders during the Cold War only to have them deposed by the U.S. and replaced by a capitalist dictator.

I can't think of a country in existence today with democracy and communism. There are several with a high degree of socialism along with democratically elected leaders that are thriving such as the Nordic countries. But they're fairly homogeneous countries and not overly religious, although their demographics are changing do to immigration from Middle Eastern countries.
 

Murrmurr

Senior Member
They have equality down in Cuba, but with a dictator, so a left-wing economy and a right-wing government. It never had a chance to succeed, thanks to the severe trade embargos inflicted on them by the U.S.

Communist countries seem to always wind up with a dictator. Some countries elected communist leaders during the Cold War only to have them deposed by the U.S. and replaced by a capitalist dictator.

I can't think of a country in existence today with democracy and communism. There are several with a high degree of socialism along with democratically elected leaders that are thriving such as the Nordic countries. But they're fairly homogeneous countries and not overly religious, although their demographics are changing do to immigration from Middle Eastern countries.
True, because communism isn't actually designed to have a leader. It's the collective ownership of property and organization of labor for the common good of all its members, and all members have equal say. For communism to work, the entire community must come to an agreement on all matters that effect the community as a whole.
 

grahamg

Well-known Member
Of course we see differences when we look around.
You are of course right, no one could seriously argue otherwise, though I will try to amuse you with an anecdote, conveniently bringing me to a related subject.
I once questioned my own ten year old daughter as to who amongst her and her school friends was "the prettiest"?
Her response was " We're the same", (and I was delighted with this, not because she demonstrated, pretty as she indeed was, she wasn't too vain about it, but mainly because I had tried to encourage her to relate to others well, and not put herself above them, "share well, and not be too selfish etc.").
Here I'm going to throw in my incendiary comment, one I'm prone to using on other sections of the forum,: " Those declaring themselves to be all for equality, whilst at the same time supporting a family law system based upon "the best interests of the child paramount principle", are actually proving themselves to be totally against equality, when it suits them, or their view of the world, such as their knowing, or some other outside agency knowing what is best for yours or my child, though they cannot love them as we do!
(have we touched on this elsewhere on the forum, or disagreed about it?).
 

grahamg

Well-known Member
At first I assumed you were quoting Andrea Dorkin. When I got to the reference to Waldron, I guessed it was Ronald Dorkin. Then I saw the link.
Basically the example concludes that people are equal in the eyes of law but not in condition, decision-making, and circumstance.
Why can’t we agree on a cure? (it asks)
When people assert on this forum "all people are equal", during whatever discussion it might be, not "all people are equal in the eyes of the law",(an uncontroversial concept, regardless of whether true in practise, where some assert " having more money to pay lawyers means they will win regardless of strength of evidence/argument or justice!).
(Btw I wasn't sure which Dworkin was being quoted in the article, but assumed it to be professor Richard Dworkins, as he's the only one I'm familiar with, or have seen on tv, but I've mixed him up with other having the same or a similar name before!)
 

Murrmurr

Senior Member
When people assert on this forum "all people are equal", during whatever discussion it might be, not "all people are equal in the eyes of the law",(an uncontroversial concept, regardless of whether true in practise, where some assert " having more money to pay lawyers means they will win regardless of strength of evidence/argument or justice!).
(Btw I wasn't sure which Dworkin was being quoted in the article, but assumed it to be professor Richard Dworkins, as he's the only one I'm familiar with, or have seen on tv, but I've mixed him up with other having the same or a similar name before!)
Right, which highlights the "equal in the eyes of law but not in condition, decision-making, and circumstance" bit.

Here's a link that might interest you:
https://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/-best-interest-of-the-child-what-does-it-mean-

While Family Court purports it's priority is best interest of the child, it's true aim (in my opinion, based on experience) is creating statistics that give the illusion of a certain type of success. In my case, successfully reuniting a family. At least here in the US, such statistics ensure state funding for programs and services for struggling families. Naturally, statistics don't provide a clear picture of the individuals involved, neither the parents nor the children, nor their specific struggle, for that matter.
 

Warrigal

SF VIP
In mathematics there are the concepts of equality, equivalence and congruity. In real life the concept of equality is similarly nuanced.

Sometimes "the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many", at other times "the needs of the many out weigh the needs of the one". The reference is from Tale of Two Cities and a couple of Star Trek Movies. In family law, the needs of the child outweigh the needs of the disputing parents. I have no problem with this as a principle. The actual practice is another matter but to me the principle is sound.
 

grahamg

Well-known Member
In mathematics there are the concepts of equality, equivalence and congruity. In real life the concept of equality is similarly nuanced.

Sometimes "the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many", at other times "the needs of the many out weigh the needs of the one". The reference is from Tale of Two Cities and a couple of Star Trek Movies. In family law, the needs of the child outweigh the needs of the disputing parents. I have no problem with this as a principle. The actual practice is another matter but to me the principle is sound.
Thank you for the clear explanation you've given here, (you'll notice I've given you a "well said" even though, as you will know I dont entirely agree with you, and your view is controversial, albeit in the eyes of a minority of observers/experts).
I will just mention "again" (again in the sense I'll have referred to "Gibson's English divorce law", 1935, before on the forum over the years), it was the case around the time of WWII, "the best interests of the child paramount principle" would have meant my ex would have had our daughter taken from her due to her infidelity, such was the prevailing attitude in England towards those women breaking up marriages for that reason, and the belief I guess, they would not instill the proper moral values in children.
Hence my view, in some circumstances, "the best interests of the child" can mean whatever anyone in authority wishes it to mean, or as Mnookin pointed out, "it is no less a question than the meaning of life"1
 

grahamg

Well-known Member
I was going to add my twopenn'orth, but as grahamg has once again brought the subject round to the issue of his own personal custody battle, I'll stay out of it.
You can tack back to whatever you wished to say!
In addition, "the personal custody battle" as you describe my posts above amounting to, involved virtualy no personal details, and in any event it all occurred so long ago as to be hardly worth anyone worrying or concerning themselves too much about, or about what motivates me, other than the desire I continue to express to see improvement in UK family law, and less children self harming, should the love and care of one of their parents assist in the reduction of this reportedly growing problem in younger and younger children here.
 
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Rosemarie

Well-known Member
Location
England
You can tack back to whatever you wished to say!
In addition, "the personal custody battle" as you describe my posts above amounting to, involve absolutely no personal details, and in any event it all occurred so long ago as to be hardly worth anyone worrying or concerning themselves too much about, or about what motivates me, other than the desire I continue to express to see improvement in UK family law, and less children self harming, should the love and care of one of their parents assist in the reduction of this reportedly growing problem in younger and younger children here.
I don't know how long ago this happened, but how is your daughter now? Has she grown into a happy, well-balanced young lady or is she a troubled person? Her present condition should tell you whether the custody verdict was the right one.

To return to the subject...equality. It is true that all men are born equal but they are not the same and they should not be treated as though they are. If all people were identical, there would be no problems but people vary enormously in intellect, talents etc. This is why our education system is flawed. We have a 'one size fits all' attitude, which doesn't allow each child to reach its full potential.
 

grahamg

Well-known Member
I don't know how long ago this happened, but how is your daughter now? Has she grown into a happy, well-balanced young lady or is she a troubled person? Her present condition should tell you whether the custody verdict was the right one.

To return to the subject...equality. It is true that all men are born equal but they are not the same and they should not be treated as though they are. If all people were identical, there would be no problems but people vary enormously in intellect, talents etc. This is why our education system is flawed. We have a 'one size fits all' attitude, which doesn't allow each child to reach its full potential.
If you wish to know anything more about my daughter, other than all the things I've posted on many threads previously then send a private message if you like, and I'll see what I can do, but I will give you one titbit - "she's a winner" by anyone's standards, in spite of my "ruining the first twelve years of her life", if you choose to believe that statement, and your view of right and wrong which I cant fully support, in line with the "children's best interests or no", as I agree with professor Akira Morita's views on the subject, who opposes yours I believe(?)

My feelings about "equality" in general, to move away from my daughter etc., is I'd rather be considered "unique" than anything else, though I accept being treated in a discriminatory way in law, as obviously women were for many centuries, and so many other groups too, is something I wouldn't have liked for myself. The law as it operates in this country may be proved to have many flaws, I do know this already, (- see my comment above about those who will still assert having more money to throw at lawyers is a kind of guarantee of success, "though it cant be the whole story I believe" or you can scrap the law/courts etc. and decide matters according to who has the most money!).
 
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grahamg

Well-known Member
They have equality down in Cuba, but with a dictator, so a left-wing economy and a right-wing government. It never had a chance to succeed, thanks to the severe trade embargos inflicted on them by the U.S.
Communist countries seem to always wind up with a dictator. Some countries elected communist leaders during the Cold War only to have them deposed by the U.S. and replaced by a capitalist dictator.
I can't think of a country in existence today with democracy and communism. There are several with a high degree of socialism along with democratically elected leaders that are thriving such as the Nordic countries. But they're fairly homogeneous countries and not overly religious, although their demographics are changing do to immigration from Middle Eastern countries.
Your post reminded me of this radio programme I heard (or was repeated) recently on Larry Adler, the musician who became very famous playing the mouth organ, who died in 2001, and here is an extract to show the connection to your post:
"Then the House of Un-American Activities reared its grotesque head and almost destroyed him. He was suspected of being a communist and was not prepared to satisfy the curiosity of an America cannibalising itself on cold war hysteria. "I wouldn't tell them whether I was or not. I simply wouldn't answer their question."

The rumours were enough to stop him working. He says it was a terrible time. "Two actor friends of mine committed suicide. They couldn't work, and they couldn't stand not being able to work." America's most powerful journalist, Walter Wynchell, told him he would rehabilitate him if only he would give him a couple of names of communist sympathisers. "He said he would have devoted three columns to putting me back to work. He could have remade my career. But if I had given way to that I would have been no good as a person. To betray people is a sin."

He stops and smiles. "I had a great sympathy with the communist party, so see if you can guess why I didn't join it?" Because no one could tie him down to a party line? He looks disappointed that the answer is so obvious."
 

grahamg

Well-known Member
Maybe, but the link you provided didn't quite definitively dismiss the reports to the extent you have done I have to point out, ("We could find no evidence" is not, "There is no evidence").
Women did of course swear or give an oath of obedience to their husbands in marriage ceremonies up to fairly recent times, (my then wife laughingly signed up too!), so there is supporting evidence in that form isn't there, plus I've a link for you to "the surrendered wife club" of more recent times.

Here is the exact wording found on the link you provided:

"We could find no evidence in internet searches or archived news databases that support the claim that women used to "beg" for their husbands forgiveness during the holidays. The image has been shared online for years, with the Christmas tradition description being attached to it later on.

Previous postings of the image contain different explanations as to what’s going on in the photo. A reverse-image search showed that it was widely circulated on various websites in 2014 with captions that simply said "women begging men" (with no mention of Christmas, marital relationships, or forgiveness)."

Surrendered wife club"
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-37861459

Quote:

The six principles of being a 'Surrendered Wife'​

  • Relinquishes inappropriate control of her husband
  • Respects her husband's thinking
  • Receives his gifts graciously and expresses gratitude for him
  • Expresses what she wants without trying to control him
  • Relies on him to handle household finances
  • Focuses on her own self-care and fulfilment
Source: Laura Doyle, author of The Surrendered Wife
 

grahamg

Well-known Member
Here is another conundrum, one I might fairly ask my daughter as an experienced doctor, with a particular interest in childhood development, both as a mother, and professionally to some extent, (producing a paper on the importance of birthweight in babies early in her career).

"What would she say to her five to ten year old self, (were such a thing possible), when straight after telling her father how much she hated me, and how horrible I was etc., she then quickly interjected, "Keep coming daddy"?

My response was always: "Of course I will", but what would those interested in whatever they or some other expert thinks is the best interests of the child do in those circumstances, be they a father being castigated and then told to keep coming, or what would they advise the five to ten year old girl to do, given as you know the contact with the father was terminated when she reached the age of twelve anyway?

Whatever responses I get, whatever anyone thinks, no one can be absolutely sure whether my daughter cutting me off sooner would have made her life happier, (even though she went on to state I ruined the first twelve years of her life as you know), and what about the stammer, would that still be with her, who knows the answer to that one.

What I do know is the evidence available on this thread as to how gleefully some see the exclusion of a parent/father as being a good thing, even though they've never met any of those involved, and even if they had why should they presume to know, (or any expert presume to know), the inner workings of our relationships with our children, where there are no suggestions of abuse, and to repeat the point again, there were never any accusations of abuse levelled at anyone in my daughter's case, by any of the warring parties.

Conundrum aint it, she might not have turned out as she has had I taken umbrage at being told I was hated, then she might feel I should have fought harder to stay in her life, or get around her mother, and take being dictated to by her mother as to whether my daughter could have a short holiday with me.

There's the question (dear daughter, or dear anyone else), what would you say to the child saying "they hated their nonresident parent but you must keep coming anyway", (blissfully unaware as she was of the contradictions, or appeared to be)?

BTW: Anyone interested, I will send by private message a photo I found on a social media platform of my daughter, her husband, her stepsisters and her mother, to see what you make of it, (probably not fair to post it here though).
 
I don't believe "equality" in 21st century legal terms means a=b, b=c, and c=a. Yes, people are going to come from all striations of society. But, the dream is that they will all be treated humanely, and held the same, before the law. Bare in mind, we are humans, and if there is a glimmer of a way that we could err, we will find that way.
 

grahamg

Well-known Member
I don't believe "equality" in 21st century legal terms means a=b, b=c, and c=a. Yes, people are going to come from all striations of society. But, the dream is that they will all be treated humanely, and held the same, before the law. Bare in mind, we are humans, and if there is a glimmer of a way that we could err, we will find that way.
I'm glad you've posted as you have above, because you have opened up the discussion as to what exactly is meant by those using the word "equality", (and in the detour the discussion took at my instigation, "What is meant by the term, the best interests of the child paramount principle", and whether such a term or concept is benign, people believing those in authority might know better in all circumstances than at least one parent, what is best for their child?).

I think we all accept on this thread children are not "born equal", if by born equal we mean born the same in terms of talent, strength of character, intelligence and so on, and yet when so many people state blandly "All children are born equal" they appear at least to be asserting "sameness" in my view, so to say the least, the term leads to confusion, (maybe by design?).

There are many logical fallacies as we know, so here is a link to a site where we can try to pick out those being used on this thread:
https://thebestschools.org/magazine/15-logical-fallacies-know/

"Equivocation happens when a word, phrase, or sentence is used deliberately to confuse, deceive, or mislead by sounding like it’s saying one thing but actually saying something else. Equivocation comes from the roots “equal” and “voice” and refers to two-voices; a single word can “say” two different things. Another word for this is ambiguity.

When it’s poetic or comical, we call it a “play on words.” But when it’s done in a political speech, an ethics debate, or in an economics report, for example, and it’s done to make the audience think you’re saying something you’re not, that’s when it becomes a fallacy. Sometimes, this is not a “fallacy” per se, but just a miscommunication. The equivocation fallacy, however, has a tone of deception instead of just a simple misunderstanding. Often this deception shows up in the form of euphemisms, replacing unpleasant words with “nicer” terminology. For example, a euphemism might be replacing “lying” with the phrase “ creative license, ” or replacing my “criminal background” with my “youthful indiscretions,” or replacing “fired from my job” with “taking early retirement.” When these replacement words are used to mislead people they become an equivocation fallacy."
 

grahamg

Well-known Member
To return to the subject...equality. It is true that all men are born equal but they are not the same and they should not be treated as though they are. If all people were identical, there would be no problems but people vary enormously in intellect, talents etc. This is why our education system is flawed. We have a 'one size fits all' attitude, which doesn't allow each child to reach its full potential.
If people are not born equal, (as we all seem to acknowledge), and you suggest should not be treated equally, (at least so far as schooling goes), then the off asserted phrase, "All men/women are equal", starts to look pretty meaningless doesn't it.
There is selection in schools though, if only by the wealth of their parents allowing so many children to be sent to exclusive and very expensive schools, (most of our UK prime ministers gaining advantage via this route, of either political persuasion).
 


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