The “Equality” Creed – a Devious Agenda

2013-09-26 11:55

South Africa’s politicians love to decry “inequality” as a sin against humanity and blame 350 years of subjugation under colonialism and apartheid as its cause. Their remedy for this is “restitution” or the promotion of what they mystically refer to as social justice in order to address the injustices implicit in those systems.

Oddly, no one has seen fit to challenge the “inequality” vision – but it is dead wrong.

In fact the occupation and conquest of far off lands as happened under colonialism and apartheid resulted from human inequality. They were bye products - not its causes.

The origins of human inequality are prehistoric and have their roots in mankind’s wonder lust and predatory instincts. It is widely accepted that a small band of homo sapiens (probably a few hundred) exited the continent of Africa between 70000 and 100000 years ago - a miniscule interval for Man on the planet, but a long time back as far as we are concerned.

This early migration laid the foundations for much of mankind’s inequality with the diaspora split up into groups that ultimately occupied the globe; first Europe, then Asia and ultimately, the Americas. The new settlers got there at very different times, with the most recently populated region thought to be South America some 12000 years ago.

Modern DNA technology links these migrations to the handful of strains leaving Africa.

The obvious question is - how did these groups come to evolve differently and at such variable rates? Much has been written on the topic, but consensus is that those straying afar had to confront climatic rigours and physical conditions unknown in Africa, and adapt. In fact, they did this so successfully that their numbers grew way beyond Africa’s rate of population growth.

Then in time Out-of-Africa man went on to do other new things.

He found ways to domesticate animals and cultivate crops, which in turn reconfigured lifestyles, social hierarchies and re-established societal priorities. These changes promoted a more sedentary and increasingly cerebral lifestyle as surplus food had to be managed, more time became available to figure things out and new political and leadership paradigms emerged.

Amongst other diversions Man developed metallurgy, which revolutionized his capabilities and made him a formidable foe and predator. The historical anthropologist Jared Diamond refers to these advantages as his use of “guns” and the processing of “steel” in his book of similar name (Guns, Germs and Steel). One such example demonstrates the gulf between those empowered with acquired technologies versus those not.

When the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro encountered the Inca King Atahuallpa at Cajamarca in 1532, he vanquished the most advanced Western civilization of the time with a rag tag band of a few hundred horsemen brandishing firearms and swords. Fired by religious chauvinism and a license to kill and plunder with one hand on the Holy Bible, subjugation was rapid.

Cajamarca has been repeated many times.

The plight of Native North Americans and Australian Aborigines serve as further examples of the indigenous vanquished - as do our Battles of Blood River and Rorkes Drift. Technological superiority in the hands of those advancing in conquest invariably trumped those defending their turf.

Equality was, therefore never on the table.

Mankind’s hardwired urge to overcome those who were weaker, less organised or technologically less prepared, opened up the modern world and established today’s global order through conquest and cultural assimilation.

(I do wonder in passing how accessible the trappings of western life – from hot and cold running water, to automobiles, air travel, TV and the internet plus all manner of things so prized by South Africa’s politically connected nouveau riche - might have taken to emerge in the absence of “350 years of subjugation”?

No causal nexus seems yet to have dawned on the beneficiaries, which brings us to the notion of egalitarianism - the conceptual antithesis of inequality.)

The equality of outcomes extolled in socialism and egalitarianism do not take account of the origins of inequality that we have discussed. Neither has it occurred to those who favour affirmative action, “BEE” and the manipulation of standards in education, sport selection or academia for example - for their preferred criteria are not merit but the creation of a preconceived, scripted society.

It seems to me that the only way to surmount the issue of inequality - a legitimate and pressing concern - is to establish world class state education so that everyone has a crack at realising his or her potential. But such a solution is itself bedevilled by the paralysing dogma underpinning the false notion of "equality"– for why should teachers devoid of merit and a work ethic be censured and replaced by those who can - and unquestionably would - do a better job?

Answer - because the die has already been cast. The main criterion for appointing politicians, beneficiaries of BEE deals and heads of government departments is in recognition of their "loyalty" - with merit an optional and all too rare nicety.

So why should the teaching profession be different?

We have come full circle.

In a society where resources are still sufficient to compensate for the waste of talent and squandered opportunities, no improvement is yet in sight.

Ultimately though, as a result of worsening economic conditions, burgeoning unemployment and a crumbling tax base, it will be the people themselves who save us from the deceit of “equality” and re-establish the sovereignty of the individual.

That will be a special day.

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