More from our Equality series: Just a sketch today; a longer article on this topic is (I hope to God) forthcoming.
England is about to—it hurts to type this—Unleash Aspiration!
According to the Daily Mail:
Labour will declare war on the benefits of a middle class childhood today as Gordon Brown spells out the latest steps in the governmentâ€™s equality crusade.
Top lawyers, accountants, bankers and doctors will be ordered to draw up plans to make sure that their professions become less elitist â€“ so they employ fewer middle class children.
Professionals will be told that poor children must be helped into the top jobs, at the expense of those who have benefited from their personal connections or education.
Universities will also be told to give the benefit of the doubt to poorer pupils when they are offering places and gloss over poorer marks if the applicant attended less illustrious schools.
The official report shows that the overwhelming majority of senior judges, doctors, CEOs, and such forth folk have gone to good schools. But only about 1 in 15 of “ordinary” Englanders have.
This represents an intolerable inequality. A wrong which must be lefted!
Giving an edge to poor people, who suffer undeservedly says the Brit Prime Minister, will “unleash a wave of social mobility.” He didn’t say if this “mobility” was the lemmings over the cliff kind.
You will be an ass if you claim that I and other detractors of the “unleashing” plan desire that the poor remain poor or that membership in a lower class should bar entry into a higher class.
You will also err if you forget that causality is a double-headed arrow.
It is true—nobody disputes this—that some poor people if, given a (monetary) chance, will prosper and become non-poor. They too can join the guilty class who look upon the poor as if they needed benevolent guidance. It is not even close to being proven that more poor people will become non-poor because of government, and not personal, intervention.
It is also true that some people are poor because, for whatever reason, they are incapable. Further, this incapability is be a permanent feature of some humans. Not some class of humans: I mean individuals.
James Fitzjames Stephen:
To establish by law rights and duties which assume that people are equal when they are not is like trying to make clumsy feet look handsome by the help of tight boots.
A mistaken assumption in the “Unleasing” report is that membership in the lower or upper classes is permanent. To emphasize: this is false. Membership is generational to some extent, but it is anything but fixed. Your author started with the clothes on his back, an (earned) monthly paycheck in the mid three digits, a wife (who didn’t work or drive), a pair of tongs and a used iron (given as wedding gifts). He is now, via hard work and because he was lucky with his genes, able to drink the finest beers.
The Left Honourable Alan Milburn, MP, ex-owner of a “radical” bookstore, authored “Unleashing.” He wants to “ensure everyone has the chance to fulfil their potential”. But this is not a desirable goal, in general. The world would have been better off had Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, etc., had not fulfilled their potentials. Best would have been if they died poor, uneducated, miserable, and obscure and unheeded.
Milburn also wants everybody to have a job which “rewarding and fulfilling.” By which he means a “professional” job—the kind which are populated by those who are waited on, in the finest restaurants, by the “unprofessional.”
What always comes as a shock to Milburnites is that not everybody has the same idea of what a “rewarding and fulfilling” life is. Some people find bliss in hanging drywall, or in driving a truck, or being the assistant manager of a local grocery. Still more find happiness in their family.
And not every judge, CEO, doctor, and other “professional” is feeling fine. Many will die unfulfilled, unrewarded, and unloved.
It isn’t at all clear who is doing better off, especially in countries like England (and the USA) where being “poor” means having only two large screen TVs and eating too much (all obesity “education” programs I’ve seen are aimed at the poor and lower class; so are all the free food efforts).
Nobody is claiming money isn’t nice, but it sure as hell isn’t everything. The paradox is that the guilty rich are certain it is everything. They think everybody judges life by the same standards they do. The “availability bias”, I think it’s called.
What really knocks these characters is that many of us would be happiest if we were just left alone by every group that says it “cares” for us.
This wasn’t entirely coherent. Did I accidentally buy decaffeinated? So, more on this coming…