All men are not created unequal
November 14, 2012 § 5 Comments
I’ve written plenty of polemics over the years against various problematic notions of political freedom and equality. Lets suppose that you are one of the five people who think there may be something to my ravings.
It is important to pause for a moment and consider the reactionary process before leaping in with both feet. Generally speaking, when an ideological paradigm (sorry for using the “p” word) breaks, the response is reactionary. One problem with reactionary responses to revealed untruth is that they tend to involve the same mistakes that were a problem to begin with.
For example postmodernism is a reactionary response against positivist modernity. A postmodern is basically a modern rationalist who has realized that logical completeness is impossible: that, very loosely speaking, modern math and science are incapable of answering all questions, or even of answering the most important questions. His reactionary response is to discount objective truth itself: he replaces one irrationality with an even more irrational one. Proph deploys the useful term “configural antimodernism” to refer to this kind of selective and ultimately self-defeating reaction against the pretty lies of modernity.
I could multiply examples; but the key here is that when pretty lies are exposed it is important not to replace them with other pretty lies. This brings us to the point.
Equality is a pretty lie because it pretends to assert commensurability with respect to incommensurable things. When we give up on the idea of equality though it is tempting to replace it with the idea of inequality. This is a mistake. Like its yin equality, the yang inequality carries with it a connotation of commensurability: two things which are unequal are quantitatively comparable along some axis, and one is greater than the other along that axis. So to conclude that (in a comparison of incommensurables) inequality is the case from the fact that equality is false is to make the same mistake that got us here in the first place.