Jul 29, 2005

In defense of elitism

If and when I spout off about equality of opportunity, I don't mean anything so horrific as this. I just mean that--all things being equal--me, John Roberts and President Red Lips all have a shot at becoming, say president of the United States. Of course, all things are not equal: I didn't go to Harvard Law School, so there's little likelihood of my becoming a Supreme Court Justice. My lips aren't (quite) as big as Geena Davis', so I'll probably never play a president on TV.

Leave it to Theodore Dalrymple to to look beneath the rhetoric and examine what the words really mean. And this bit struck me particularly:
The arguments against equality of outcome have been more or less accepted. Not only is such equality impossible in practice – human nature will always subvert it – but it conflicts with the demand for justice, at least if justice has anything to do with the reward of individual conduct. Incidentally, I am always astonished by the way people always suppose that, if there were any justice in the world, they would be better rather than worse off. To the contrary, many should thank their lucky stars that there is no justice in the world: for otherwise they would die in prolonged agony.
I am extremely thankful that I was lucky enough to be born in this time and place. And not eating dirt in North Korea, for example. Or getting raped and killed in Darfur.

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