- Created on Monday, 21 February 2011 10:13
- Written by Gustavo A. Solimeo
An Ill-Disguised Dictatorship
Why do most people feel uncomfortable talking about equality?
Is it fear of being “different?” Fear of being ridiculed? Fear of rejection? Political correctness? Peer pressure?
No one admits it, but everyone is aware of an ill-disguised dictatorship of equality that creates uneasiness at the sole mention of this most hated “i-word”: Inequality. One of the main tenets of modern political mythology is precisely the myth of equality and people perceive that those who do not burn incense to this idol are demonized as ignorant and parochial hillbillies, retrograde medieval men adverse to the advancement of society, or enemies of democracy.
The root of this myth is a moral difficulty: the problem of accepting a superior – to acknowledge that there are those who are more intelligent, more talented, of a higher status, better educated, or richer....
“Humility is truth,” said Saint Teresa of Avila. To live this “truth” means we never deny the gifts in ourselves, but thank God for them. Conversely, we should never deny the gifts in others, especially if theirs are greater than our own.
Humility practiced in this way becomes a fundamental virtue for cordial social relations and harmonious life in society.
It is hard to keep the balance after Original Sin, since we live in an era of pride. Egalitarianism deeply pervades the modern mentality.
Everything Works in Favor of Equality
Thus, we face a situation which dominates, embodies and encompasses all: an Egalitarian Revolution. This is why in our days everything seems to favor equality.
We can see this equality manifested in many ways:
1. Equality in the World Around Us
Variety easily leads to inequality of status. Hence, variety in dress, housing, furniture, habits, and other fields is to be avoided as much as possible.
• Equality of clothing: there is no difference between men and women, old and young people, civilian and military, clergy and laity; between people living in the tropics and living in more temperate climates; those living in Asia, Africa or America: everybody wears the same blue jeans, T-shirt, and sneakers.
• Equality in architecture: The same ugly skyscrapers or boxlike buildings make New York, São Paulo, Algiers or Manila look alike.
• Equality in music and songs: The same howl, the same drumming, the same cacophony and dissonance disturbs equally Americans, Italians, Malaysians, Japanese and Africans.
• Equality in food: Fast food chains standardize eating habits leading to the eradication of traditional local cuisine.
2. Equality Between Sexes
An egalitarian person hates all inequalities, including distinguishing between the sexes or within the family:
• There is no recognition of any social, political, economical or other like distinction between men and women.
• Equality of roles and behavior between husband and wife, parents and children are promoted.
3. Equality Between People of Different Status, Position, Age
The logic of egalitarianism rejects differences between teachers and students, employers and employees, old and young people:
• Everybody is addressed by their given names or nicknames.
• Everybody is dealt with in the same way regardless of merit.
4. Equality in the Structure of Society
Egalitarianism in personal relationships leads to social egalitarianism:
• There is the suppression of classes, especially those perpetuated by heredity, and the uprooting of all aristocratic influences upon the leadership, culture and customs of society. There is the eradication of even the natural hierarchy that can be seen in the natural superiority of intellectual over manual work.
5. Equality in the Political Realm
The doctrine of the equality of man is easily transposed from the social realm to the political:
• No difference between the rulers and ruled (there are no “subjects”): Elimination or at least the lessening of the inequality between the rulers and the ruled. Power comes not from God but from the masses.
• Consequently, monarchy and aristocracy are to be proscribed as intrinsically evil regimes because they are anti-egalitarian. Only “democracy” is legitimate, just, and “evangelical” (i.e., according to the teachings of the Gospel).
6. Equality in the Economic Realm
Economic inequality inevitably leads to social and political inequality. Therefore:
• No private property: No one should own anything; everything should belong to the community (communism/socialism).
• No right to choose one’s profession: If each one chooses his/her profession freely, inequalities will be created since there will always be those who are more capable, dynamic or ambitious. Therefore, in an ideal egalitarian society one’s occupation is prescribed by the State.
7. Equality in the Ecclesiastical Realm
Egalitarianism points also to the abolition of all differences inside the Church:
• It holds that there be no priests above the faithful: Egalitarian people want the suppression of a priesthood endowed with the power of Orders, Magisterium, and government, or at least of a priesthood with hierarchical degrees.
• Thus, they claim that there is no distinction between the celebrant and the “assembly” or “congregation.” Everyone “con-celebrates.”
8. Equality Among All Religions
An egalitarian person shakes with rage at the very idea that there may be a true religion:
• Actually, to claim that only one religion is true (the Catholic Church) to the exclusion of all others, amounts to affirming superiority, contradicting the “fundamental equality of men.”
• Likewise, in the name of the “dogma of equality,” secular states in the modern world place all religions on equal footing.
9. Equality of Souls
This true Cultural Psychological Warfare culminates in the total suffocation of all legitimate differences, complete standardization, and massification:
• Mass marketing and media standardize all souls, taking away their distinct features and unique lifestyle. As a result, the people (i.e. that great family of different but harmonious souls united by what is common to them) disappears, giving way to one, enormous, and empty mass with its collective and enslaved soul.
10. Equality Between Man and Other Living Beings
Stripped of his personality, man is reduced to just one among the many living beings, having no more rights than they do:
• Egalitarian environmentalism seeks to eliminate even the differences between men and other living things, in favor of an egalitarian consideration of the “dignity of all living beings.”
11. Equality Between Man and God
The last and absurdest form of egalitarianism, fruit of human pride, is the attempt to abolish the infinite inequality between God and man, that is, between the Creator and the creature:
• Pantheism, immanentism, and other esoteric forms of religion divinize man (e.g. the New Age movement).
• Atheism: Others, to avoid the absurdity of affirming that man is God, commit another absurdity of declaring that God does not exist. In essence, an atheist is an extremely egalitarian person.
The Egalitarian Revolution
Egalitarianism is not a spontaneous phenomenon but the result of a long process. It is the fruit of an Egalitarian Revolution.
Both modern and contemporary history are marked by the efforts of those who wish to eradicate all inequalities and impose an egalitarian society, an egalitarian culture, an egalitarian religion − in a word, an egalitarian Weltanschauung (a comprehensive view of the world and human life).
The origin of this Egalitarian Revolution was an explosion of pride and sensuality at the end of the Middle Ages. Since then, this egalitarian movement has been increasing in pace and radicalism.
Egalitarianism: Metaphysics and Religion of the Modern World
“Two notions conceived as metaphysical values express well the spirit of the Revolution: absolute equality, complete liberty.”
Pride leads to an egalitarian view of the world and human life. It leads to an egalitarian metaphysics.
This egalitarian metaphysics leads to the moral error that equates equality and justice. It holds that God Himself established a complete equality between men. This view generally prevails in the modern world.
Thus, egalitarianism has become the true metaphysics and unacknowledged religion of the modern world.
The Catholic Perspective
An Unequal and Hierarchical Universe
This egalitarian idea of the world is totally false.
Holy Scriptures, the Magisterium of the Church, sound philosophy and the teaching of the Church Doctors, all clearly state that proportional inequalities are good in themselves, and that God created an unequal and hierarchical universe. The whole universe is a symphony of inequalities, where each being represents a different note, and the whole order of things results in harmony.
In fact, the universe is one huge hierarchy with creatures ranging from the minerals − pure matter − to the angel − a purely spiritual being − with plants, animals and men inbetween.
Not only are the several kingdoms of creation unequal but inside each kingdom there is a great and proportional inequality.
Even in the inanimate world, in which there are less differences between the members, inequality is, nevertheless, very accentuated.
In the chemical world, for example, every element has its characteristic properties. There are even noble gases, which are so called because they do not mix with other gases. There are also noble metals, named so because they are more resistant than the others.
In the macrocosm of the stars and galaxies, there is also a great but harmonic inequality. Each system has satellites revolving around planets, which, in turn, move around stars. No two stars are the same, as Saint Paul the Apostle says: “Stella difert stella” – “Star differs from star” (1 Cor. 15:41).
In the vegetable kingdom, the inequality between the members increases in value because life brings a greater variety and therefore an inequality greater than that existing between minerals − inert matter.
Animals inequality is even greater because of their capability of movement.
And yet, having a spiritual soul, intelligence and free will, men are still more different one from the other.
At the top of Creation are the angels—pure spiritual beings—endowed with a more potent intelligence and a stronger will. Being the most perfect of all creatures, inequality among them is bigger than in any other kingdom of the universe. Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), following Sacred Scriptures, as well as the Fathers of the Church as well as other ecclesiastical writers, teaches that the angels are separated in three orders or hierarchies; each one in turn divided into three choirs:
1st − Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones;
2nd − Dominations, Virtues, and Powers;
3rd − Principalities, Archangels, and Angels.
Thus, there are nine angelic choirs arranged according to an hierarchical wisdom. Inside each choir, the inequality is so immense that there are no two angels of the same species. Each angel is the only one of its kind.
Five Reasons Why God Created All Things With Inequality
Could God have created a world without inequality?
No. Inequality is not the result of a capricious choice or arbitrary impulse, unthinkable in God.
As Saint Thomas explains, there are profoundly wise reasons why God created all things with inequality. Here we will follow his basic reasoning.
1. The Universe: a Mirror Image of Its Creator
Every craftsman needs to have before him a model [an exemplary cause]. This can come from outside (e.g. a person, object or landscape) or be internally conceived in the mind (e.g. a combination of colors, shapes, sounds, etc.).
Now, before Creation, there was nothing. Therefore, God had no model from which to inspire Himself for the work of Creation. So the Divine Creator had necessarily to take Himself as model.
Given the general principle whereby the effect resembles its cause and, more precisely, a work resembles its author, we must conclude that Creation resembles the Creator.
However, since God is infinite, no created being, however excellent, would be able to reflect adequately by itself, the infinite perfections of God; for no creature can have a full resemblance of God, but only a partial one.
Therefore, there had to exist many creatures and not only many but also necessarily unequal. Hence, the more species that are created, the greater the reflection we will have of God’s perfection.
Consequently, inequality in Creation is necessary for the universe to be a mirror image of its Creator.
2. The Perfection of the Universe Demands Different Degrees of Perfection
The Angelic Doctor also teaches that Divine Wisdom established a distinction among things to enhance perfection in the universe so that each being reflects some degree or aspect of divine perfection.
For this reason, creatures are ordered according to degrees: in the hierarchical ladder of Creation, there are no sudden or disproportionate inequalities. For God has “ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight” (“Omnia in mensura et numero et pondere” – Wis. 11:21). Inequalities always occur in small degrees. Inequality grows as beings become more perfect. The more perfect the being, the greater the inequality. The less perfect the being, the smaller the inequality.
Thus, composite bodies are more perfect than simple elements; plants are more perfect than minerals; animals are more perfect than plants; and men are more perfect than other animals. The angels, pure spiritual creatures, are more perfect than men. And in each of these genres, some species are more perfect than others.
Therefore, inequality is a good because the universe would not be perfect if it reflected only one degree of perfection.
3. Variety In Creation Manifests the Power of the Creator
An artist is as great as his creative power. Thus, for example, to sculpt twenty statues of Julius Caesar in the same position reveals less creative power than sculpting twenty statues of Julius Caesar in different positions. An even greater creativity would be shown if an artist were to sculpt twenty statues of very different people.
Therefore, the greater the inequality in created works, the more they manifest the creative power of their author.
Thus, inequality in Creation is necessary to make manifest the power of the Creator. And the more perfect the Creation, the more the power of God manifests itself by creating different beings.
4. The Order of the Universe Reflects God’s Wisdom
Saint Thomas highlights that every intelligent being acts orderly. Now then, God is infinitely intelligent. Therefore, God does everything with immense order. That is why the Apostle says, “Things that come from God are orderly” (“Quae a Deo sunt, ordinata sunt” – Rom. 13:1).
If God made everything with order, He made everything with inequality because only unequal things can be ordered (one cannot put 15 pennies minted on the same date in order).
The degree of order reflects the degree of the ordering intelligence. (Thus, a not-very-intelligent person orders books on a shelf according to their size and color, whereas one with a normal intelligence orders them by subject, or author, etc.)
The order of the universe is an image of God’s infinite intelligence, that is, His infinite wisdom.
Therefore, inequality is a good because, through order, it makes the universe mirror the wisdom of God.
5. The Harmony of the Universe Demands Proportional Inequality
God established a Creation which is a cosmos (that is, an “orderly or harmonious system”), and not a chaos (in Greek mythology, “the initial, shapeless state of the universe”). For that reason, He established that all its various parts be ordered among themselves rather than being alien or heterogeneous in relation to one another. They form an ensemble in which there is harmony.
If God had created absolutely equal beings, they could not be ordered and thus there would be no harmony in the universe.
Distinction among created beings has the same effect as harmonious combinations of bass and treble, silences and sounds in music or shadows and colors in a painting.
The beauty of the rainbow is possible only through the harmonious inequality of its colors; and this harmony makes the rainbow more beautiful as a whole than in each color taken separately. Likewise, proportional inequality among musical notes is what makes music and gives it its beauty.
This is true of all beings, from shapeless sands to the most complex organisms, including man, all the way to the angelic world.
St. Thomas explains that on creating each thing, God said it was good; but looking at the ensemble of created things He said it was “very good,” that is, excellent (Gen. 1:31).
The harmony of the ensemble gives the universe a goodness and beauty superior to those of each individual being. Contrast and gradation among beings enable one to form a closer idea of God’s perfections.
Therefore, inequality in Creation is a good because it makes harmony possible in the universe.
Equality and Inequality among Men
1. Man: A Summary of Creation, A True “Microcosm” (A World In Miniature)
The observation that inequality exists in all the domains of Creation leads us to deduce that it must also exist among humans. It would be against the aesthetics of the universe and against the wisdom of God, if this universal law did not apply also to mankind. This is all the more true considering that man is a synthesis of all creation, or, in the words of Pope Pius XI, “a true ‘microcosm,’ as the ancients said, a world in miniature, with a value far surpassing that of the vast inanimate cosmos.”
Indeed, the human being participates in all three kingdoms of the material creation: from inert mineral to the plant (that is alive but not sentient), to the animal (that has awareness but not reason). Above and beyond, he is also endowed with the faculty of thought or reason and with a free will. In other words, he has a spiritual soul. Hence, he participates in the world of the immaterial or spiritual creation.
Since man is definitely a “true microcosm,” synthesizing in himself the whole creation, both material and immaterial, how could inequality exist in all realms of creation and not exist between men?
2. Inequality Also Exists Among Men
Human beings are actually different from the tip of their toes to the summit of their souls.
Each individual has unique fingerprints which do not change with time. Even identical twins (who share the same DNA) do not have identical fingerprints. Scientists estimate that the chances of two individuals with the same fingerprint are 1 in 64 billion.
Differences in intelligence, temperament, talent, mentality, and so forth, are even greater than physical inequalities.
Saint Thomas explains that this diversity in characteristics is what conveys a more perfect image of God. Considered as a whole, much more than individually, men form a beautiful mosaic reflecting the perfections of their Creator.
3. Essential Equality−Accidental Inequality
However, the fact that inequality exists does not mean that inequality among men should be absolute.
a. Essential Equality
In spite of all these inequalities, there is a fundamental equality among men: “[H]aving inherited the same nature, are called to the same most high dignity of the sons of God, and that, as one and the same end is set before all, each one is to be judged by the same law and will receive punishment or reward according to his deserts.”
Thus, men are fundamentally equal because they have the same origin, nature, and end.
i. Equality of origin: all men were created by the same God to His image and likeness.
ii. Equality of nature: all men have the same nature, a physical and mortal body and a spiritual and immortal soul, redeemed by Our Lord Jesus Christ.
iii. Equality of destiny: all are equally subject to death; all have been called to deserve Heaven, just as all must fear Hell.
b. Accidental Inequality
Along with this essential equality there are, however, accidental inequalities, that is to say, those which come from accidents.
What are “accidents?”
Plainly speaking, we can say that accidents are properties existing in a thing that are not necessary for that thing to be what it is. An accident is something “added” to a thing, not part of its essence. In this sense, accident is opposed to substance: substance is absolute and necessary for a thing to be what it is, whereas an accident is relative and contingent.
For example, take hair color: hair remains hair regardless of whether it is red, black, blond or white. The shape of a stone: a stone will always be a stone regardless of whether it is round or square, smooth or jagged (a rough diamond is as much a diamond as a polished diamond). Water temperature: water will be water regardless of whether it is hot, cold, or in a solid, liquid or gaseous state (ice and vapor are still water).
A chair can be made of wood, metal or plastic. The material used to make a chair is accidental to its being a “chair.”
Men were all created by God to His image and likeness, but each must reflect one (or more) of the divine perfections in a particular way. Thus, each person contributes something to form a more perfect image of God. In this sense, every man is unique; and the image of God would be less perfect if he did not exist. Therefore, everyone has a particular value and a special dignity even if he is the last man in the social scale.
Given that all men share the same nature this special reflection of the Divine image is provided by the accidents.
4. Equal Natural Rights−Unequal Accidental Rights
Men’s equal nature generates equal natural rights for all.
Their inequality in certain accidents produces unequal accidental rights.
In other words, the rights that come from the simple fact that we are men make them equal for all. These include: the right to life, honor, sufficient living conditions; the right to work, own property, have a family, and especially to know and practice the true Religion. Inequalities that violate these rights are contrary to the order of Providence.
However, inequalities arising from accidents such as virtue, talent, family, tradition, and so on, are just, and according to the order of the universe.
Obviously, not all accidents generate rights.
Some accidents are, so to speak, “peripheral” and do not give origin to rights. Other accidents, by contrast, are more relevant and thus become a source of rights.
Accidents like being tall or short, fat or thin, blond or dark-haired do not add anything important to a man. So they do not constitute a source of rights.
On the contrary, being a father, the head of a family, is also an accident. However, no one can deny that such an accident (paternity) gives a man rights both over his children and vis-à-vis society, which unmarried people do not have (e.g. tax exemption or tax breaks in some countries). Fatherhood adds to a man’s condition something that makes him worthy of greater respect and consideration, in that he has become, as it were, a “partner” in God’s work of creation by begetting new life. In addition, parental authority participates in Divine authority. Therefore, the “paternity” accident gives parents a right to be obeyed by their children and be respected by society.
Similarly, government officials (whatever the form of government may be—monarchy, aristocracy or democracy), as well as teachers, employers and all those invested with lawful authority, participate in Divine authority and are therefore entitled to be obeyed and honored accordingly.
5. Similarity, Not Equality
As a result of equality of nature and inequality of accidents, men are similar, not equal. In effect, when two things share the same nature but have different accidents we say they are similar, not equal. For example, in geometry, figures that are the same shape (nature) but not necessarily the same size (an accident) are called similar figures.
Equality and Inequality in Society
1. Human Society as a Whole, An Image of God
Accidental inequalities among individuals give rise to inequality in social conditions.
Indeed, social life requires the existence of a great variety with highly diverse functions, which in turn requires a diversity of natural aptitudes, skills or abilities. Now then, diversity of conditions is the main reason why men engage in various functions, applying their respective abilities. Hence it is normal for people with a higher social status to address the more important issues, for which they are better prepared; and for those in lesser stations to deal with things that are closer to them.
Not everyone can be noble, otherwise who would plow the fields? If all were farmers, who would defend society? If all were in the military, who would look after commerce? And so on.
According to Church doctrine, Christian society must be formed by proportionately unequal classes that attain their own good and the common good through mutual and harmonious cooperation. Thus, not only each man considered individually, but society as a whole, should be an image of God.
Incidentally, this is another evil consequence of abortion: destroying in the womb millions of people who otherwise would contribute, with their unique characteristics, to build a more perfect image of the Creator (making abortion a sin against the First Commandment, not only against the Fifth).
2. Talents and Inequalities in God’s Plan for Society
Inequalities are consistent with God’s plan for society. He created humans as social beings and established that they receive from one another what they need, be it material or spiritual; and also that those endowed with particular talents share them with those in need.
Indeed, at birth man is not equipped with all he needs to maintain and develop his physical and spiritual life. Furthermore, being limited, he does not have all the resources needed to expand fully his personality. Now then, talents are not distributed equally: there are differences in age, physical capacity, intellectual or moral aptitudes, as well as differences in the distribution of wealth. Through life in society, some benefit from the talents of others, in a process of mutual enrichment.
Moreover, these differences encourage and often oblige people to practice generosity, kindness and other virtues.
Once more, we see here yet another evil of abortion: it deprives society of millions of people with unique talents, who, according to God’s plan, had been called to contribute to the general welfare and happiness of other individuals.
The Fallacy of Egalitarianism
The revolutionary (liberal or socialist) “solution” to excessive and disproportionate inequality, is to establish complete equality, abolishing the social scale.
Equality: the Lowest Common Denominator
As is evident, complete equality can only be achieved by lowering the level or imposing the lowest common denominator. It always makes thing equal by going down, never by going up. This is because upward movement requires more effort, more talent, more abilities, more dynamism, or even more ambition. Conversely, downward movement can be obtained by the mere effect of gravity, without requiring any greater effort than to let oneself go.
Experience shows that when many people ascend socially, not all reach the top. Many stop at various stages of the process. Thus, this upward movement generates inequalities. These inequalities, far from being detrimental to social progress, are very fruitful: as everyone goes up, albeit in varying degrees, all society rises. In fact, if there is a scale with a range of gradual and proportional degrees, those who are in the lower steps see the possibility of ascending to a higher position through successive intermediate degrees. Thus, only social inequality allows social progress: the more steps there are in a societal scale, the easier it is to progress and ascend socially.
Medieval Christian civilization, respecting the inequalities created by God, created an hierarchical society with gradual and proportional inequalities, facilitating mobility and the rise in social progress.
Modern civilization, as far as it promotes the ideal of total equality, rejects the betterment of individuals, because it makes them equal.
But what is that equality all about? It is a purely arithmetical equality that leads to radical, absolute and unlimited individualism; an individualism where only numbers are seen as worthwhile and quality is disregarded.
We become mere statistics or numbers like our social security numbers.
When this happens, the State crushes the person. Thus, egalitarianism leads to total State control of the individual and a complete destruction of society.
Inequality, a Law of Nature
1. Inequality, a law of nature: Inequality is a law of nature. God made everything with inequality. In all realms of creation there is inequality.
2. The inequality grows with the perfection of being: The more perfect a being is, the greater is the inequality. The less perfect, the less is the inequality. The smallest inequalities exist between the stones—pure matter. The highest, among the angels—pure spirit.
3. No abrupt or disproportionate inequalities: In the hierarchical ladder of creation there are no abrupt or disproportionate inequalities. The inequalities are always gradual and in small degrees.
4. Reasons of Wisdom for inequality: There are reasons of Wisdom why God created all things with inequality.
5. Similarity, not equality: Equal in nature, different in the accidents, men are similar, not equal.
6. Equal nature, equal natural rights: From the natural equality of men emerges the natural rights equal for all.
7. Accidental inequalities, accidental unequal rights: From the inequality of some accidents are derived accidental unequal rights.
8. Equality, the lowest common denominator: Seeking to impose the greatest possible equality between men is to want that they do not develop, but decay. Equality can only be achieved by lowering the level.
9. Only social inequality allows social progress: The more steps there are in a societal scale, the easier it is to progress and ascend socially.
10. The revolutionary “solution”—the State crushes the individual: The revolutionary (liberal or socialist) “solution” to the problem of a society with excessive and disproportionate inequality is to establish total equality, i.e., to remove the social scale. When this is done, the State crushes the individual.
11. Medieval Christian civilization—respect for the inequalities made by God: The medieval Christian civilization, sanctioning the inequalities made by God, created an hierarchical society with proportional inequalities, facilitating mobility, ascension and social progress.
12. Modern civilization—equality leads to decay: Modern civilization, in the measure that it promotes as ideal total equality, rejects the individuals’ improvement, because it makes them equal. This explains why the current egalitarian society is decadent.
To Hate Inequality is to Hate God
To want equality as a supreme value is to want that which is contrary to God.
In fact, God, in creating the universe, ordered it hierarchically, so that in its proportional inequality His image would be better reflected. The best expression of the likeness of God in the universe is given by unlimited inequality.
Thus, to hate inequality in the universe is to hate the expression of the likeness of God. To hate the likeness to God is to hate God Himself.