Equality is not itself a value. Equal injustices are equally as unjust as solo ones are.
Equality doesn’t add to a good state, nor does it, per se, ameliorate a bad one. This is true, moreover, regarding what nature delivers to the individual, what he creates and produces, and what he obtains in whatever fashion from others, as [Ayn] Rand succinctly illustrates.
Inequality, in *certain* contexts [emphasis added], is a symptom of injustice, and it is solely through that role that equality has earned its huge reputation and rhetorical power to suggest something good and valuable. Equality under the law is one sign that injustices, regarding those laws, are not taking place. (It is only one sign, and it misses systematic injustices.) It is only in those same contexts, for the same reason, that inequality can be termed undesirable.
Egalitarianism drops the proper context of the term and ignores its being a negative characteristic (it means that certain injustices are not occurring) and makes it into an icon for justice and individual rights.
Objectivists oppose it as being a false and pernicious ideal, for the above reasons and because its implementation constitutes unending injustices, and is a major premise behind policies that offend and reduce individual rights.
Both in logic and in practice, the term is worthless for any genuinely philanthropic goal.
There are two types of equality frequently discussed in policy debates. The first, generally advocated by the political Right, is equality under the law. The second, generally advocated by the political Left, is equality of outcome. The first is compatible with liberty. The second is not.
No two things in existence are equal; not a leaf, not a tree. No two people are equal in capability, in intelligence, in skill, in talent. No two people can be forced to be equal in achievement…
Equality of outcome is impossible unless government forces it to be so. In a truly free society, a society that values liberty, only equality under the law is possible.
Only equality under the law is desirable.
In the Manifesto I quoted something I heard some years ago: What government does for anyone, it must do for everyone, or it should do for no one. That is equality under the law; that is one of the fundamental principles of a society that values liberty above all things.
Here in the 21st century United States we’ve long since lost that fundamental principle. We need to get it back. Our current crop of Presidential candidates are quick to complain about inequality of wealth and income, never once admitting that it is an inescapable fact of the human condition – and even in governments that make egalitarianism their goal, there is still just such inequality, from the palaces of the Roman Emperors to the dachas of the Soviet elites.
That’s the direction pols like Bernie Sanders would take us. Is it too late? Have we gone too far down this dark road?