Equality of Possibilities
It is often said that in a democratic society every individual should have rights and possibilities that are equal to the rights and possibilities all the other people have. But what does it actually mean and in what sense is it supposed to be brought into life?
According to the position of leftish thinkers, this principle presupposes the government’s intrusion into people’s life – if there is no such intrusion, the equality isn’t supported. In their opinion, this concept means that every person should have equal possibility irrespective of all the other aspects of his and others’ lives. He may come from any kind of family, receive any education, but still be eligible for the same things that a person who came from a completely different background and was brought up in a completely different way is.
But is it logical? As the experience suggests us – no. We all know very well that people are not equal in the sense that lies as a cornerstone of this belief. Even immediately after birth people already differ. Some are mentally or physically deficient – the others are not. Some grow up to become healthy and beautiful – the others grow up to become sick and plain, and their personal choices have nothing to do with it. The longer they live, the greater the gap between the members of different social groups is.
But the idea I mentioned above kind of presupposes that a factory worker who can barely read and write should be eligible for the same job, living, and payment conditions as, for example, the man who has made a project and built the factory he works for. We don’t speak about justice; we speak about logic, and, after all, is justice supposed to be illogical?
What kind of equality there may be between these two people? They are not equal physically, they are not equal intellectually, the worker cannot replace the owner, but can be replaced by any other worker, for he doesn’t bring anything individual in his work. What is equal about them?
They are the same only in one sense, as it was, for example, pointed out in the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. They are equal in what concerns the law. If any of them commits a crime, he will be as guilty of it as the other would be in the same circumstances. And only in this sense.