A few weeks ago I sent out a column about the biggest threat to our country being the Culture of Victimization. And the response to that column was gratifying. So this column, which discusses the difference between the concepts of “Equality” and “Equity,” is a follow-up to that one. As I expect everyone knows, the history of our country, from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution through Martin Luther King and down to today’s Thomas Sowell and others, is based upon equality, or equal opportunity, for everyone under the law. That means that everyone should have an equal opportunity to get a good education, roll up their sleeves, work hard, play by the rules and live a good life. (I fully agree that this opportunity has been materially stifled by unequal educational opportunities, and this column has addressed the remedy for that problem by stressing programs of School Choice.) But to some people now the concept of Equality simply means “mere non-discrimination” which, in turn, provides camouflage for so-called white supremacy, patriarchy and oppression. So instead those people primarily focus upon what they call “social justice,” “diversity and inclusion” and “culturally responsive teaching.” But the prime focus of all of those concepts is Victimization. “It couldn’t possibly be my fault that I am on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder, so it must be the fault of others” is their belief. So their answer is to take away from the more wealthy and provide reparations to those who have been oppressed – or at least whose ancestors were oppressed.

The problem is that this approach simply doesn’t work. In fact, once we go down this road, no one will ever be able to pay enough reparations to make the recipients satisfied. As I often say, I was in the Peace Corps: I care about people. And what we need are equal opportunities for all, and programs that encourage people to improve themselves. (I personally would, as I have written in these columns before, also institute a Safety Net but, contrary to today’s welfare system, it would always include incentives for self-improvement.) So Equality works, and Equity does not. There is a difference, and we will continue to be in trouble until everyone in our country understands that difference and continues to employ the concept of Equality.

Thought for the week: Who would have thought that one day we’d be smoking weed at a family gathering, but the illegal part would be the family gathering?

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.) Superior Court of Orange County, California 2012 Libertarian Candidate for Vice President

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