The above is not an obscure quote. Start reading right-wing books or media and people fall over themselves to include this Sowell quote. But then as a right-winger, I equally struggled to understand the leftwing position. The idea that you might be struggling to achieve equality as such instead of saying trying to maximize “equality of opportunity” or using equality as a very rough metric to try and find low hanging fruit for optimization (a community or student that could have their performance greatly increased for minimum outside effort). The idea that, NO they really do care about the raw number of women in boardrooms, they aren’t just using that as a proxy for say “are women underperforming in a way that might be easily fixable and result in greater Top Grumpy Cat I’m A Grumpy Old Lady If You Don’t Want A Sarcastic Answer Don’t Ask A Stupid Question Shirt economic output” was difficult to grasp.
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And the idea that, no, left-wingers were really trying to achieve some deep moral objective of equality, in which people weren’t only given a relatively good shot to do whatever they wanted, but would be and WOULD REMAIN, meaningfully morally and metaphysically equal…well that was terrifying. The Old Religious Conservatives and the until very recently still Religious Left fought like cats and dogs, but they fundamentally agreed that everybody (yes I know the complex history of race and gender relations, I’m talking like 1970-2000) was equal before God and Before the law. You could debate meaningfully how much we owed each-other in light of that, or how much we were “living up to” our ideals, but on a metaphysical level we were pretty much in agreement and that Top Grumpy Cat I’m A Grumpy Old Lady If You Don’t Want A Sarcastic Answer Don’t Ask A Stupid Question Shirt had a regulatory effect.
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Whereas in this year of our lord 2019 we have an increasingly post-religious right deciding that, “OK we need formal equality before the law, and an unjustified prejudice is a stupidity you inflict on yourself” but a fundamentally inegalitarian society that doesn’t pretend equality is anything more than what a good mother or judge has to feign, that would more to their liking. Whereas on the left we have established a post-religious and semi-complete secular moral system that has taken the concept of Equality before the Lord (and maybe final judgment) and is committed to realizing it on earth. Even though what is supposed to be equal when there is no Lord to render judgment and everybody has their own vastly different values and weighting of what makes a Top Grumpy Cat I’m A Grumpy Old Lady If You Don’t Want A Sarcastic Answer Don’t Ask A Stupid Question Shirt life dignified or worth living, is a mystery.