Friday, 9 May 2008

Devolving Towards Equality

What if the current emphasis on equality throughout society, was undermining the very mechanism by which society progresses, or even functions?

Parents and Teachers

Under the supervision of parents, the children grow until they reach biological and legal adulthood, though not necessarily at the same time. Consider the teenage rebellion, when the social function of parenting has matured prior to the legal requirements. The breakaway of the teenagers may be regarded as the natural consequence of erosion of the demarcation between child and parent, as the former grows in status towards ‘equality’. With time the young adults may become parents themselves, and the older generation convert to grandparents; this renews the basis for a demarcation, with corresponding family reunification. It is equality therefore that is either the cause or at least a concomitant to the break-up of family.

With this idea in mind, it might be interesting to speculate the difference between strict and lax parenting. Strict parents may cause the delay of maturity and independence in their children, whereas lax parents might cause premature maturation, with the consequence of stunted childhood.

Now let us bring these ideas to bear when assessing the effects of schooling. Few would argue that parents and teachers would or should have the same function, but they do have similar responsibilities, therefore what goes for the parent to child demarcation, should go for the teacher to student boundary; in that we should expect a profound change in the maturation process dependant on the strictness or laxity of the schools. Indeed the schools can add many other sources of aberration, as they will impose social and political dimensions not usually found in the family environment. Do parents for example need to impose gender equality between brother and sister in the same way that schools do between boys and girls?

Since the mid-eighties, girls began doing better at A-levels than boys, and the average grade has consistently risen to the point that a top grade is the default minimum standard for university entry. Clearly the introduction of the feminist vision of ‘equality’ in schools has had a culturally significant effect: boys are admonished for their “laddish” behaviour, whilst girls are allowed to be girls; so that the former remains somewhat immature, whereas the latter rapidly lose their innocence, in accord with the strict and lax gender regimes respectively. I would say that it is a detriment to academic and social standards in general; and a crass betrayal of the aspirations of boys in particular, who have been sacrificed on the altar of feminism.


If the sexes were naturally equal, then why have they evolved differently within most species? The Equal Opportunities Commission has the slogan “Different but equal”; if they meant “equality of opportunity”, they should have stuck with that, but by adding the qualifying “different”, they have shown themselves to be conniving; wishing to run with the hare and run with the hounds. Forcing equality upon the disparate serves nobody equally; you end up both promoting parvenues and demoting the worthy. If on the other hand they meant ‘different’ biologically, but ‘equal’ in law, then I’m sure that people would be willing to agree. Alas the EOC has shown its true colours by turning a blind eye to female overpopulation in teaching jobs whilst complaining bitterly about the overpopulation of males in the computer sector, for example; and again blind to the legal differences between men and women, as witnessed in the asymmetric settlements in the divorce courts, and sex discrimination tribunals.

Gender dimorphism is a natural and spontaneous breaking of equality; the fact that it expresses itself down to the chromosome level of XX or XY, indicating primordial evolutionary benefits. So we can safely conclude that the existence of gender is a corollary to social inequality, otherwise we would be hermaphrodites with the corresponding parental redundancy and possible evolutionary stagnation.

Labour Efficiency

Division of labour is trumpeted as the great production enhancement, by simplifying the multiple tasks so that each worker optimises on one aspect of production in demarcation with their colleagues. The conveyor belt is the mechanical statement of symbiotic industry. Each worker may be legally equal, but their functions are deliberately unequal.

Is not the hunter gatherer analogue of our former selves another corollary to division of labour along generation and gender lines; the inequality being an optimization of social survival?


If we force the ideals of equality upon gender and labour efficiency, we may end up with systems resembling bee hives, ant hills, and termite mounds; all have a similar characteristic, in that they have devolved to a mutuality system whereby the individual has become completely subservient to the group; all for one, and one for all; natures little fascist states.

Within functional types, from worker, soldier, nurse, they are all virtual clones; and apart from the queens and drones, they are all sexless; the epitome of equality; an evolutionary dead end.


Most armies deploy a multitude of different types, from archers to cavalry, in past ages, to the modern armies of today which deploy separate land sea and air forces, which are further subdivided in equipment and roles. Historically the multitude of disparate forces aid to optimize the strategies and tactics at the disposal of a competent command. Of course there are examples of successful armies that used limited types, such as the Mongols, but with time, their enemies can conceive stratagems to defeat them owing to the limited options available to unitary types of combatants; and in the simplest case they can be emulated by their opponents, thus losing any special advantage.

It is therefore imperative to maintain diversity of capabilities, and to be able to change with adaptations to counter ones opponents. Equality would not only stymie strategic options for the group, it could add inertia to improvisation on the individual level; if everybody is a captain, who gives the order to charge, and who makes the tea?

Friends and Enemies

Recall how many times you have been placed in an environment of strangers, such as the first days of school, a new job, or maybe a package holiday. Under these uncertain conditions we tend to gravitate towards those we feel are most like ourselves, if we socialise at all that is. Then recall how often the first choices cool off, as we become more accustomed to all the company in due course. We may be searching for those who have complementary characteristics to ourselves rather than identical traits, even so called identical twins will break parity by one being more dominant in the relationship; pecking order is seen in most social animal groups, humans are no exception. If we naturally aspired to equality why do we bother to look good, why do we compete? People are generally fussy, playing hard to get would be incongruent with equality, but in the natural world it is an attractive challenge.

Cliques typically are composed of captains and lieutenants, with each a foil to the other, whilst maintaining their special intra-dependency, the captains win their assertions and dominance, as the lieutenants gain acceptance and belonging, though each tests the boundaries of the other. The interplay can seem quite aggressive to an outsider of the clique, but I would maintain that the clique becomes unstable, or stale, only when the captains and lieutenants lose their demarcation through equality. This entire adherence to the group, complete with mock battles, may be for the mutual strength of all within the clique; if it were not for the contingency to threats from without, in times of peace and harmony, who would need friends?


The problem with imposing equality is that it drags all uniqueness and diversity of the aspirations of individuals within a society, towards an artificial norm; the worthy are demoted in order to make room for the promotion of parvenues. Only the stupid are allowed to be encouraged, the smart ones will be at odds with the orthodoxy until they conform; since there would be no point to aspire beyond normality as this will deviate from ‘equality’. The evolutionary aspects of society risk becoming stagnant or even devolve to a base orthodoxy. Equality is essentially fascism by the mediocracy, the bounding of individual dreams and aspirations to the norm.

Equality isn’t the ideal, freedom is the ideal; with freedom for all individuals, regardless of sex, creed, race, or merit; the only laws we would need are self defence, and the ‘silver rule’: do not impose on others that which you would not have imposed on yourself. The freedom implied by inequality allows the optimization of industry and strategy, it is the driving force for the most favourable mate selection; it allows us to be generous to the less fortunate, rather than being shackled to their misfortune; it allows me to be me, and you to be you.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Democratic Fascism

Karl Popper wrote: You can choose whatever name you like for the two types of government. I personally call the type of government which can be removed without violence "democracy", and the other "tyranny".

In a free state, any individual can vote according to their choice. But what mechanisms, if any, exist to stop a democracy devolving into the tyranny of a fascist state?

During elections, people are subjected to by the rhetoric of parties, individuals, or the media, to choose one way or another. It is not inconceivable for a majority to be persuaded towards a single party, as happened with Blair’s New Labour. When a sweeping majority occurs, there is usually a combination of motivations, typically the unpopularity of one party in conjunction with the perceived ‘changed for the better’ of the remaining party; we could call this the collapse of the opposition, which leaves an effective one party state by default.

There is no inherent reason for a people to avoid voting for fascism; after all, Hitler was voted for with sufficient number to cause the incumbent parties to form a coalition. In times of fear or threat, real or perceived, the people’s politics may coalesce to form a strong unified body of like spirit, whereby they yield their individual aspects from easier times in a Procrustean manner, to fit that of the common ‘greater good’. This after all is the purpose of the party politic, to present a winning unification at the expense of the individual.

Fear is the clue, during happier times people are more inclined to be cussed, to maintain their individuality when unthreatened in rude health. The notion of forming gangs and cliques are for those that feel insecure, or worse, for those who want to amplify their impositions upon others, by wielding the chorus. Notice how the clique will invariably revolve around central characters, who will maintain coalescence by finding victims to target; usually the loners, whose independence threatens to up-stage the clique captains; the lieutenants of the clique meanwhile, get an object lesson in the consequence of straying from the fold.

Fascism then, is the greater coalescence of the clique mentality, including captains and lieutenants; it is an extreme socially synchronized reaction of democracy, when the group feels threatened and allows itself, quite democratically, to be herded to a conforming mass. The greater the coalition, the greater the Procrustean compromises, and the consequent simplification of ideals; the only difference between the small town clique and the fascist state is that the state attacks ideas rather than mere individuals. The individual in turn devolves to a non-entity, becoming either friend or foe of the orthodoxy, which itself is sustained by the bigotry of the utopians, on behalf of the greater good.

“If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.” [Karl Popper]

When we compromise our individual principles to gain even a moments safety, or relent from agreeing to differ, but defer in order to agree, then we are prone to comply with our own subjugation by that tyranny and fascism that begs our vote.