ALS Topic 12 -
All men are not created equal, neither are all women
Focus questions for Adelaide Lunchtime
Seminar, 7 July 2018
questions below are not supposed to suggest biased answers. You
really can adopt any point of view your can suggest evidence for. Do
be prepared for others suggesting counter-evidence! Note: clearly
not all of these questions can be properly covered in a meetup, but
they give us a conscious choice about what to talk about while
making the background context clearer. It is up to the people who
come on the day to choose what aspects they would like to deal with.
1. Think of some instances where inequality
is actually good, and some where it is bad.
2. A society
aiming for fairness should recognize that everyone is NOT equal and
cannot be equal. Equal in what way? Without handicapping those with
special talent in some direction, the society should provide optimum
oportunities for each individual to achieve their best potential,
whatever that may be. If you agree, how can this be done?
The public ideology of United States is built on a pyramid of lies.
By beginning with the (obviously false) proposition that all men
(/women) are created equal, the rules of this society imply that
actual inequality after birth is the fault of those who are not
members of some elite, that those left behind are personally
negligent. Can you think of actual examples of where assuming that
every child starts equal creates bad outcomes.
profession of teaching is about bringing each student to his or her
best potential, whatever that may be. What does this craft really
have to do with 'completing' set text books and curriculums?
5. Australians often say proudly that Australia is "the land of a
fair go" where everyone has the opportunity of a good life. However,
status seeking is only approved in certain directions. Seeking
wealth, possessions and popularity is approved of. Seeking knowledge
and systematic thinking are often regarded with suspicion. So why
are some kinds of inequality (specialness) approved of while others
6. Teenagers desperately try to conform and be seen
as equals within their peer groups, yet at the same time are
vulnerable to advertising products (e.g. fashion items) which claim
to give them a unique personal edge in relationships such as the
mating game. Why does this contradiction exist?
everyone were actually equal in every way, wouldn't rationally
arranged marriages work better than hoping for love matches?
8. In most East Asian and South Asian cultures there is a very
strong, rarely questioned assumption that people in so-called white
collar occupations are superior to people in blue collar
occupations. Invasive ideologies like communism have had little
impact on this belief. One result is that getting servants is a
prime status ambition of many upwardly mobile Asian families
(Singapore is a clear example of this). How much do Anglo & European
Australians actually differ from Asian white collar / blue collar
ideals, and is this likely to affect long term cultural integration
9. There is now a very large body of research
showing that societies with the highest levels of income inequality
have much worse health outcomes, shorter life expectancy, more
crime, greater unhappiness (even among the privileged), greater
political instability ... and a whole catalogue of other negatives.
Given this reality, why is the drive to achieve status through
inequality so strong and politically popular?
10. If everyone
were really equal in every way, from personal attributes and
intelligence to wealth, to knowledge, to access to opportunity, ...
then surely the economy would collapse. This is because
people would refuse to do many jobs they see as undesirable;
b) a huge proportion of businesses are built around the market
ignorance, laziness, greed, poor choices, etc of customers;
c) a huge proportion of businesses are badly run and only survive
because of customer ignorance, laziness etc together with unfair
trading practices ;
d) every market is gamed. That is, some
players always have unfair advantages. On a perfectly level playing
field - an impossible proposition - the bulk of businesses would be
=> None of these conditions is likely to change
regardless of economic systems. So given that some kinds of
inequality are built-in, unavoidable and sometimes even desirable,
what kind of society and economic system is actually likely to work
best for most people?
1. articles at
legacy site: http://thormay.net