Key Term Two – Egalitarianism

Egalitarianism – A belief in the quality of all people, especially in political, social, or economic life, as well as an active promotion of this belief.

New York city is sometimes referred to as a near-Egalitarian society, for those who are ignorant to the meaning of the word. On the surface, it seems as if New York would be the perfect place for this belief to take place. There is the upstanding conviction that there is quality to all people that anyone can succeed in New York if they work towards their dreams, and that social status is a thing of the past. The Statue of Liberty calls out to anyone passing near, saying “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. Our streets are made of gold. It is the land of opportunity.

Is it truly possible to be an Egalitarian society? There are so many factors that call upon creating this perfect structure. Economically, egalitarianism is a controversial phrase. It can sometimes mean equality of opportunity, which dictates that the government should not discriminate against citizens, or hider opportunities for them to prosper. Secondly, it could mean equality of outcome, where the government promotes equal prosperity for all of its citizens. This borders dangerously on “communism” a word that makes enough people shrink back from the thought of an egalitarian perspective. Communism is wrong. Egalitarianism is, too. In politics, the meanings are a little more hazy. It could represent equality of “persons in right”, or natural rights. These do not rely on any laws, or governments, or belief systems. They are universal and inalienable. Does New York really lend itself to this? With unequal pay and homeless people on the streets, with stifled creativity and sprawl, and a certain hardness to people who have lived in New York a long time, the thoughts of the “land of opportunity” are merely a myth perpetuated by people that dream of an egalitarian society, and view New York as its keeper.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. jwclegg
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 19:06:43

    When you say “Communism is wrong” are you speaking for yourself or for the average (and presumably ill-informed) citizen?

    Reply

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