April 25, 2017

I Learned Today that I am Not an Egalitarian

Because I do believe we should be rewarded for our individual talents and accomplishments.

I am a big fan of Farnam Street which is a blog written by Shane Parish. As a result of reading Shane’s blog, I have become a huge fan of Charlie Munger.

As a result of becoming a huge fan of Charlie Munger, I have decided that I am going to read more, and per Shane Parish, go to sleep being a little smarter than I was when I woke up.

Today I discovered that I am not an Egalitarian, and in the process, learned what being an egalitarian is.

What is an Egalitarian?

The definition of egalitarian is largely dependent on your point of view. If you are viewing things from a political standpoint, than egalitarianism means you believe everyone should be treated as equals, and given the same basic rights.

If that were all it meant, I would argue that I am egalitarian.

But then, because I am reading more, I started to read “A Theory of Justice” by John Rawls. I will admit, much of what I am reading is a bit over my head given the lack of a peer group or professor I could use to bounce questions off of.

That said, the internet makes it easier to fill in the gaps of my own knowledge and comprehension. One of the things I always look for is the other side of the spectrum.

Social Justice

Rawls suppostion begins with the idea that if people were stripped away of their bias, or bias inducing variables, that they would all agree on a division of equity as the most fair and just means to ensure each as an equal shot at a quality life.

I don’t fully appreciate Rawl’s entire body of work, but I think, after not only giving this some of my own thought, and reading some of the criticism of Rawl’s thinking, I can say, Rawls underestimates the nature of a lazy person. 

According to Rawls, if I am reading him correctly, individuals should not be allowed to prosper because of their own talents or hard work. His intention is to suggest that “wealth” should be redistributed no matter the case.

In particular, his contention is that talent, whether derived from hard work or from good genes is largely a matter of luck and good fortune and thus, creates a social injustice to those who have not had such luck.

I think this is nonsense from a practical point of view because it eliminates the reality of people, or at least appears to shove it aside in favor of an intellectual utopia.


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