EQUALITY is a concept that is synonymous with democracy.
In fact, it underpins the whole idea of democracy.
The notion of equality stipulates the state of having the same rights, social status and opportunity.
Equality is entrenched as a constitutional right which makes it a fundamental aspect of our society.
It is also the foundation upon which certain ideologies emanate.
That is precisely where it becomes problematic.
Ideologies can be dangerous.
When the ideologue believes that his notion of how a society should be organised is superior to other forms of societal organisational structure, he will go to the extreme to see that outcome materialise.
Ideologues are very certain of themselves.
When there is uncertainty, the ideologue sweeps in to fill that void with certainty.
His/her purported idea should rightfully prevail.
Ideologues are very dangerous when they are supported by pliable individuals that lack constructive and critical thinking but are mad at how society treats them.
One movement that is driven by equality is feminism.
Feminism is predicated on the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.
This is right and just in a democratic society and our constitution provides for that.
However, it should be noted that this constitutional right provides for “equality of opportunity” as opposed to “equality of outcome”.
Equality of opportunity is the notion that society should organise itself in a manner that provides equal opportunity for all to participate.
This should occur naturally and not by way of social engineering.
For instance, it is fallacious to think that just because a few women perform relatively well in what is traditionally regarded as the role of men, all women will inevitably perform well.
This does not justify a legislative enactment promulgating that 40 per cent of women should hold managerial positions.
You cannot transform women into men through legislative will.
That is equality of outcome; forcing a state of organisation through artificial means rather than through natural selection.
If women are to succeed (and there is nothing wrong with that) they have to do so in an environment that is not altered to their specific advantage.
Another notion that is based on equality is equality of economic opportunity.
Proponents of this idea believe that everyone is roughly equal and there is a job for everyone as long as the government trains them.
They believe that no matter how technical or complicated a job is, everyone should have the equal opportunity to participate in that job and, therefore, benefit from its economic incentives.
In their view, the fact that only the intellectually competent occupy the top of the economic pyramid is a travesty.
Practically speaking, not everyone is intellectually competent to perform highly technical roles.
The problem with equality in this sense is that it provides an avenue for the incompetent to assert that he should be at the top of the hierarchy with the competent.
The notion of equality places no burden upon the incompetent to prove that he belongs at the helm of society.
The only qualifying trait, for the incompetent, is that he is human, hence, it is innately so that he must enjoy the same status as the competent.
This idea is destructive for the society as it provides no value for societal advancement.
The hierarchy of competence allows the intellectuals to advance by adding value to the society.
If there is no avenue for them to advance, what then is the point of their intellectual prowess?
They will not have the incentive, nor the motivation, to utilise their intellectual gifts.
This is precisely why the Soviet’s version of communism (as opposed to the Chinese version) was a failure.
The society did not provide the socioeconomic condition for innovation to thrive.
The point of this elucidation is to make apparent the point that advocating for equality may not always bring about the best outcome for society.
Like all other rights, it has to be exercised responsibly.