It is no secret that Americans on the left and the right have sharp differences on a myriad of issues. Topics like illegal immigration, gun control, and the economy are significant areas over which the nation debates on a daily basis.
But the issues over which Americans argue derive from differences in a foundational component of political thought: the role of government. While the left favors a stronger government that is actively involved in the lives of its citizens, those on the right favor an approach that encourages self-determination and freedom from the state. These points of contention are most evident in addressing the issue of inequality.
The left believes it’s the government’s job to ensure that all citizens be entitled to a certain level of success that is provided by the state. This view is commonly referred to as “equality of outcome.” It is a scenario in which the government implements policies designed to make sure that everyone enjoys the same quality of life.
On the other hand, American conservatives do not believe that equality of outcome is realistic, or even desirable. They argue that the government’s duty is to ensure that everyone has the same level of opportunities to achieve success.
Why Equality of Outcome?
With the rise of democratic socialism in America, a new debate over the size and scope of government has come to the forefront. During the 2016 election, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, the Independent from Vermont running as a Democrat, preached the gospel of socialism to many who eagerly desire a country in which people receive “free” healthcare, education, and a mandatory living wage.
The policies espouse by leaders like Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the young democratic socialist from New York, are sold as programs that promote fairness. They claim these programs will create a more equal socioeconomic outcome for all.
Of course, both Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez, along with their devoted followers, struggle to explain how such a divine society could exist in the United States. In several television interviews, Ocasio-Cortez has responded to questions about paying for such programs with rambling, incoherent meanderings that have left journalists like CNN’s Jake Tapper mystified. But she isn’t the only one who has trouble explaining how democratic socialism could work in the United States. Even every day Americans who claim to support socialism don’t seem to understand it.
Equality of Poverty?
One of the most nonsensical arguments of the left is that the top 1% in the United States own most of the wealth. Those who espouse socialism express a deep resentment towards those who have amassed wealth over their lifetime; many believe that these individuals became wealthy by taking advantage of the poor.
In their minds, democratic socialists are champions of the downtrodden who have been oppressed by the wealthy class. These intrepid leftists view themselves as modern-day Robin Hoods, who wish to use the state to steal from the greedy elite and redistribute it to a grateful populace. But instead of wearing green tights, they are clothed in a veneer of compassion. Instead of wielding bows and swords, they seek to use the power of the state to reach their ultimate statist nirvana.
Unfortunately, true socialists are pushing for a government that would drive Americans into a society in which everyone is guaranteed an equality of poverty. In countries like Cuba and Venezuela, this experiment has revealed the inevitable result of pursuing such policies. Under the Soviet Union, Russian citizens were doomed to a life of scarcity.
In a piece for Pravda Report, Dmitry Sudakov explains the quality of life in the Soviet Union:
“Any food store in the Soviet Union was conspicuous for lines of people. People were lining up for hours to buy a piece of low-quality smelly meat like second-class pork ribs. Babushkas in those lines would always smell of mothballs, urine and old rags. Most had worn-out shoes and scary-looking metal teeth. Nowadays, people would pass such a meat counter by quickly trying not to breathe through the nose. Yet, during the Soviet times, there were long lines of people who were desperate to buy a piece.”
In Venezuela, the socialist policies of former President Hugo Chavez and current President Nicolas Maduro have caused widespread famine and violence. The country’s citizens live in squalor, struggling just to find their next meal. Maduro has essentially weaponized food, using the country’s starvation to remain in power.
By preventing individuals from amassing wealth, socialism prevents them from using their talents to build enterprises that can benefit their fellow citizens, which means that the nation becomes stagnant. Sure, they have equal outcomes, but any outcome that is guaranteed by the state is undesirable.
Equality of Outcome Is Tyranny
Another fatal flaw in state-sponsored equality is the fact that no system of government can ensure that inequality doesn’t exist. Under socialist and communist governments that strive to provide equality of outcome, citizens are still grouped into the haves and have-nots. In this type of government, there are two separate classes: those who rule, and those who are ruled. Those in the ruling class enjoy privileges that others don’t.
President Maduro and his cronies live in much better conditions than his citizens. He was recently criticized for eating at a fancy steakhouse on a visit to Turkey. While the left touts Cuba’s universal health care system, they frequently fail to mention the fact that the elite receives higher quality medical attention than the average person. These scenarios are not rare under governments that claim to ensure the same outcomes for each of their citizens.
Equality of Opportunity
The notion of equality of outcome is a pernicious myth that has pervaded the American left. It courses through the political bloodstream of the Democratic Party, and it informs each of their policy decisions.
They have succeeded in some respect in the minority communities they govern. In these areas, they push welfare and abortion, both policies that ensure everyone in these cities are equally destitute. In their so-called fight against racism, they promote hatred against whites and strive to make them inferior to everyone else.
In the end, the left’s policies are designed to bring about an Animal Farm utopia in which all humans are equal, but some are more equal than others. The ultimate objective is power. Those who are a part of the state will have the authority to control people’s lives while they sit in their ivory towers. If Americans want to remain free, they will reject the notion of equality of outcome. The inevitable result of such a system is nothing less than absolute tyranny.