Ergill wrote:You yourself buy into the "equality of outcome" canard,
And you appear to buy into the "I can casually dismiss what I disagree with as a canard" canard.
Ergill wrote:and you've used "Harrison Bergeron" in the past to underline the point. But that can go both ways.
A lot of things can go both ways. Proverbs, for example, are reversible. "Clothes make the man," but "don't judge a book by it's cover." "Look before you leap," but remember "he who hesitates is lost." "Nothing ventured nothing gained," but... ..."better safe than sorry."
Proverbial advice is useful as a corrective when grounded in a context. What does the situation need?
Is the prevailing vice that of recklessness? Then tell the kids "to look before they leap." Is the prevailing vice that of paralyzing timidity? Then advise people that "you miss 100% of shots you don't take." And if the prevailing vice is increasingly that of socialistic uptopian equity policing motivated by disgust with our latest gilded age and the creeping idea that there really is no free will (thus undermining cultural belief in the very idea of desert), then the corrective just might be a book that tells you to stand up straight, tell the truth, and get your crap together or perhaps a parabolic story about a dystopic future where the asymptote of an unquestioned value-premise is taken to its logical conclusion.
Besides this, we can also ask, on occasion, which point of view is the better "cultural default" even if things can "go both ways." Are cultures generally better off when we presume, in the absence of a determinative context that calls forth a particular corrective, "X" or "Y"? In some cases we can say, "Go with X until Y proves otherwise." Some of these presumptions are very strong and admit of few exceptions and perhaps none at all (e.g., buy low/sell high, don't torture people for the fun of it) which give us objective, if not absolute, rules.
There's nothing to stop someone from throwing "Barrison Hergeron"
back at "equality of opportunity" and mocking the hypothetical, forcible leveling of opportunities at everyone's birth rather than at everyone's maturity. Which works well enough as a fictional counter-punch to a fictional punch, but ends up underlining the weaknesses of these fictions in the first place.
The American founders did not imagine some absolute equality of opportunity which would amount to some great leveling guarantee of outcomes (e.g., controlling perfectly for nature and nurture such that everyone is equally assured an even chance of success which would, in turn, produce statistical results reflecting parity in all things). The "pursuit of happiness" is not the achievement of it. The government owes you the right to try to make yourself happy, but that's it. Equality of opportunity is the right for all of us to try, in our own way, insofar as our attempts do not unreasonably limit the liberties of others without ourselves being unreasonably limited by others.
Diversity depends on difference and difference, by necessity, involves certain disadvantages. Thems the breaks. What makes one unique, what makes one interesting, a person in the living breathing sense of the word, is the contingency of nature and nurture that shuffled the deck to produce you as you are. You might lament your horrible parents, but were it not for their lack of better judgment, you might not have been conceived at all. If you get dealt a bad hand, the odds are against you. Equality of opportunity never meant reshuffling the deck and redealing until you get an initial hand you like. Rather, it was about surveying the most typical hands (macrostates), both good and bad, that people had to play in society and making sure that it was still in everyone's rational interest to place a bet on something (a trade, a vocation, just a job to get by) so as to be minimally happy in life (chickens in pots). Equal opportunity doesn't mean that you're guaranteed to beat a pair of aces at the poker table. It just means that whatever arbitrary hand you are dealt (by your genetic shuffling and environmental location) in life, you still have enough of a chance to beat the other person's pair on the flop, turn, or river.
On the other hand, there are indeed people on the other side of the aisle who dream the dream of perfect equality of outcome (drop the needle on John Lennon's "Imagine") and do so with the understanding of this as a moral mandate.
Here, for example, is Michael Sandel on John Rawls in his book Justice,
Michael Sandel wrote:If Rawls is right, even a free market operating in a society with equal educational opportunities does not produce a just distribution of income and wealth. The reason: “Distributive shares are decided by the outcome of the natural lottery; and this outcome is arbitrary from a moral perspective. There is no more reason to permit the distribution of income and wealth to be settled by the distribution of natural assets than by historical and social fortune.”
Harbinger of Determinism, Jerry Coyne (who will NOT be persuaded of compatibilism no matter how hard Dan Dennett tries), makes an interesting statement in a YouTube talk,
Coyne-operated-pop-determinist wrote:Republicans spurred view called the "just world belief" which is that people deserve what they get if you're poor you deserve it we're not going to help you up with your bootstraps because you know you made the choice to be poor.
I won't saddle you with the rest of his talk (which is basically just a rehash of Sam Harris), but the flip-side to the "just world belief" is his world without any agency -- the unjust world belief -- no matter what happens, you're a victim. You deserve neither praise nor blame; you're not a locus of action. Consequently, why people should be benefited materially or conferred the dignity or rights either individually in the aggregate is a total mystery!
Sean Carroll once argued (in compatibilist terms) that free will is a real as baseball
https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/bl ... -baseball/
and this is all the agency (if the majority of working philosophers, who just so happen to be compatibilists, are correct) one needs. And with this sense of free choice, we can offer free choices to citizens that do not come with guarantees, only the right to engage in the pursuit.
On the other hand, equality of outcome types are, by natural tendency, utilitarians. They are not great respecters of rights. Your liberties don't matter. What matters are your unearned privilege points that were handed to you by birth (wealth, IQ, race, gender) that must be flattened out by all means necessary to satisfy the great utility equation. Outcomes-centered folk don't tend to worry about the means so much. The smarter ones, like Rawls, will tolerate inequality as a necessary evil, so long as it benefits the least advantaged members of society. The dumber ones, who are much more common these days, want the asymptote and so deserve the lesson of the parable.
It is not surprising that one who is "rotten with perfection," obsessed with an absolute, will think to strawman the opposition as an absolute (perfection debating perfection, rife with the reversibility of "go the other way" that attends it). The debate between libertarian free willers and hard determinists, for example, is not interesting (no matter how much Harris and Coyne and the faceless horde of pop-neuroscientists love beating the dead horse of libertarian freedom) and neither is the retort from doe-eyed utopians that perfect opportunity (as in equal probabilistic chance at a given outcome for everyone) under free choice is a myth.
Ergill wrote:There is no clearly delineated "axiom" of either of these equalities shared across the left or the right, and neither side intends to pursue anything approaching these reductios.
Reductios abound these days. This is because people are pissed off. Rightly so. The super wealthy are sucking more and more out of the economy. We are indeed getting screwed. We do NOT have equality of opportunity or outcome. Millennials keep getting blamed for destroying industries, but we're not talking about the massive student loan debt and the barista / Walmart jobs that await them after college. And so we're polarizing, drifting from Occupy to Tea Party, Antifa to Proud Boy, Soy-Boy to Trumptard. Oh, the reductios we can see today. Pinhead emerges from nowhere with the indentitarian puzzle box of victimage (left and right), "I have so many reductios to show you...". Seriously, if you want reductios this is "a long road that ain't got no end."
I stand by Freedom of Choice as the superior default mode and a superior corrective to our present context. Choice is agentic. It is empowering. It's why Peterson is selling books. It ain't a canard. It's the canary in the coal mine. Constitutional rights are under threat because of the perception that rights = criminal (especially "alt-right") empowerment -- But people can say mean things and make bombs and hide drugs and kidnapped children!
Sure, there are limits in some contexts. Yes, some dumbasses will argue blindly for bootstraps and no safety nets, but those in the so-called IDW are largely left-leaning and believe in social safety nets. Moreover, I take particular issue with the agentic framing of global warming (10 things YOU can do to stop global warming - Uh, no. How about the 100 companies that emit 71% of global emissions do something instead of blaming people who have little to no choice in participating in the energy grid). Overall, however, solutions to problems do require agents and not victims. It requires a horizon of choice.