Vice-presidential contender Kamala Harris tweeted on Nov. 1 a short video explaining her views on equality versus equity. In doing so, the California Democrat expelled illusions that she would bring any measure of political moderation to the White House, if she and Joe Biden were to prevail in the election. When a politician suggests that he or she intends to force “equity” upon the nation, individual freedoms are in peril. After all, neither equality nor equity can be achieved without regulating a society so strictly that authoritarianism is the inevitable and only outcome.
What point was Harris making in her video? She argues that equity, rather than equality, is what she strives to achieve. Equality, she says, is not the desired goal, since it means that everyone gets the same. When people are starting out from different economic levels, giving everyone the same resources and opportunities means that those who started at a higher level will end up better off than those below them on the economic ladder.
That seems logical. Harris is not wrong about this. She suggests that equity is the more desirable goal because equity entails giving each person the resources and opportunities they need in order to attain equality with those who were ahead of them.
As Karl Marx put it: “From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.”
The Myth of Common Ownership
Before we even begin to dissect the danger of Harris’ message, though, there is a more fundamentally disturbing element to her philosophy. The entire concept implies that it is the government’s job – and right – to determine the distribution of resources. In reality, of course, the government owns nothing and produces nothing.
The ultimate irony of communism – and, make no mistake, communism is what Harris is pushing here – is that it claims to create a society in which the people have common ownership of everything. The truth is, conservatives and libertarians believe that everything belongs to the people, not to the government. Communism is nothing more than a confidence trick: It pretends that the state takes ownership of everything – a process known as nationalization – and, therefore, the people own everything equally since the state is run by the people.
In truth, people living under a communist regime own nothing. The state is their landlord, their bank, their grocery store, their teacher, and their judge. The state determines what and how much the people are allowed to have. The idea that this is common ownership is laughable.
As the respective economic and political development of Venezuela and China has shown, socialist regimes – communist regimes, if you will, since there is no difference between the two, once all pretenses at democracy are removed – have only two possible futures: Either they fail utterly, as Venezuela did, or they transition to fascism, as has been the case with China.
When the Government Fears Free Will
What Harris and her ilk fear is free will. The human condition does not exist in immutable form. It is subject to a myriad of variables. If one were to transport 100 human beings to a deserted island and provide each of them with the same resources, they will not all thrive to the same degree. Some will naturally be more focused and driven than others. Some will be smarter than others, or stronger. While some remain healthy, others will fall ill or succumb to injury. Most will choose to conduct themselves according to whatever rules and laws are imposed, while others will choose to bend or exploit those laws, and others will flat-out ignore them.
Even among those who choose to live outside the law, outcomes will be different: The smart ones will prosper and become successful – albeit at the expense of their victims – while some of them who are less clever will be discovered and punished, forever flitting from freedom to incarceration, which will negatively affect their chances of success. Some of these hypothetical islanders will be unable to properly function without a solid eight hours’ sleep every night. Others will be able to operate with just four, or five, or six hours’ rest – and, therefore, will in many cases be more productive.
The concept of equity, then, is nonsense. It discounts human nature and individuality. There will always be those who thrive and prosper, just as there will always be those who struggle and fail, no matter how much help they are afforded.
Under the Heel of the State
The only way to guarantee a constant state of equity is to eliminate free will and give whatever governing body exists the authority to constantly monitor every individual – forever adjusting the amount of assistance or resources to which he or she has access and taking from those who move too far ahead of the herd or providing extra help to those who fall behind.
How does this government provide the stragglers with additional resources, since it owns nothing and produces nothing? By taking from those who worked harder or smarter and moved ahead.
This is what Harris, in her cheery little cartoon video, is proposing. As Liberty Nation’s Mark Angelides pointed out by quoting Bertram Gross: “The next wave of fascists will not come with cattle cars and concentration camps, but they’ll come with a smiley face and maybe a TV show.”
Read more from Graham J. Noble.