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Encyclopedia > Egalitarianism

Egalitarianism (derived from the French word égal, meaning equal or level) is a political doctrine that holds that all people should be treated as equals from birth. Generally it applies to being held equal under the law, the church, and society at large. In actual practice, one may be considered an egalitarian in most areas listed above, even if not subscribing to equality in every possible area of individual difference. For example, one might support equal rights in race matters but not in gender issues, or vice versa.

Contents

Nonegalitarian view

A typical nonegalitarian view holds that egalitarianism is based primarily upon politically-correct foundations, and that egalitarian philosophies are sure to cause more harm than good to humankind. Anti-egalitarians theorize that because there are clear genetic differences within the population, egalitarianism -- albeit a pleasant way to view the world -- does not have any basis in scientific reality, and is therefore an ideological fallacy.[1]


Egalitarian individualism

Egalitarian Individualism is an idea espoused most by the stoics. It is the philosophy that each human being is equally worthy of human rights despite one's nation, ethnic group, or gender. This view also forms the basis of much of the eighteenth century philosopher Immanuel Kant's work. Kant states that human beings are equally due the right to be treated morally and ethically. Global regimes and humanitarian aid organizations all function off the idea that individuals, no matter what country or nation they are a part of, deserve to have human rights, and the protection of those human rights. All of these global regimes are heavily affected by the philosophy of Egalitarian Individualism. Stoicism is a school of philosophy commonly associated with such Greek philosophers as Zeno of Citium, Cleanthes, or Chrysippus and with such later Romans as Cicero, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus. ... “Kant” redirects here. ...


The Christian egalitarian view

See also: Christian Egalitarianism

Christian Egalitarianism (derived from the French word égal, meaning equal or level) is a recent adaptation of the historic moral doctrine of Egalitarianism, which holds that people should be treated as equals, in some respect. ...

Affirmative view

The Christian egalitarian view holds that the Bible teaches the fundamental equality of men and women of all racial and ethnic groups, all economic classes, and all age groups, based on the teachings and example of Jesus Christ and the overarching principles of scripture as articulated in Galatians 3:28 TNIV. While Bible passages are subject to various interpretations, Christian egalitarians believe that: Christian Egalitarianism (derived from the French word égal, meaning equal or level) is a recent adaptation of the historic moral doctrine of Egalitarianism, which holds that people should be treated as equals, in some respect. ...

  • there should be no gender distinction in roles of men and women in the function or leadership of the church, to include ordination of women, or in society in general
  • in marriage the wife and husband not only are created equal as female and male, but there is no biblically-prescribed hierarchy giving the husband any authority over the wife.

Ultimately, it holds that all human persons are equal in fundamental worth or moral status. A significant source of this trend of thought is the Christian notion that humankind were created in the living image of God (Imago Dei) and that God loves all human beings equally, regardless of their individual differences in gender, race, status, position, etc.[2] Illustrative of efforts to institutionalize this notion are these excerpts from an organizational Statement of Faith: The Image of God (often appearing in Latin as Imago Dei) is a concept and theological doctrine that asserts that human beings are created in Gods image and therefore have inherent value independent of their utility or function. ...

  • We believe in the equality and essential dignity of men and women of all ethnicities, ages, and classes. We recognize that all persons are made in the image of God and are to reflect that image in the community of believers, in the home, and in society.
  • We believe that men and women are to diligently develop and use their God-given gifts for the good of the home, church and society.[3]

Other applications of Egalitarianism

Egalitarianism is a philosophy of considerable variety or diversity in the many ways it has been applied in society. Other common forms of egalitarianism include economic egalitarianism (also known as material egalitarianism), moral egalitarianism, legal egalitarianism, luck egalitarianism, political egalitarianism, gender egalitarianism, racial equality, and opportunity egalitarianism. Economic egalitarianism is a term used to define a state of affairs in which the members of a society are of equal standing in terms of economic power or wealth. ... A moral is a one sentence remark made at the end of many childrens stories that expresses the intended meaning, or the moral message, of the tale. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Luck egalitarianism is a view about distributive justice espoused by a variety of egalitarian liberal and left-wing political philosophers. ... Political egalitarianism is a term used to define a state of affairs in which the members of a society are of equal standing in terms of political power or influence. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Equalism. ... This article needs cleanup. ... Asset-based egalitarianism is a form of egalitarianism which theorises that equality is possible by a redistribution of resources, usually in the form of a capital grant provided at the age of majority. ...


Moral and legal egalitarianism

The United States Declaration of Independence includes a kind of moral and legal egalitarianism. Because "all men are created equal," each person is to be treated equally under the law. However, not until much later did U.S. society extend these benefits to slaves, women and other groups. Over time, universal egalitarianism has won wide adherence and is a core component of modern civil rights policies. The United States Declaration of Independence was an act of the Second Continental Congress, adopted on July 4, 1776, which declared that the Thirteen Colonies were independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain. ... The quotation All men are created equal (sometimes modified to All people are created equal) is arguably the best-known phrase in any of Americas political documents, as the idea it expresses is generally considered the foundation of American democracy. ... Slave redirects here. ... Civil rights or positive rights are those legal rights retained by citizens and protected by the government. ...


Broadly egalitarian philosophies

At a cultural level, egalitarian theories have developed in sophistication and acceptance during the past two hundred years. Among the notable broadly egalitarian philosophies are Socialism, Communism, Anarchism, and Human Rights, which promote economic, political, and legal egalitarianism, respectively. Several egalitarian ideas enjoy wide support among intellectuals and in the general populations of many countries. Whether any of these ideas have been significantly implemented in practice, however, remains a controversial question. For instance, some argue that modern representative democracy is a realization of political egalitarianism, while others believe that, in reality, most political power still resides in the hands of a ruling class, rather than in the hands of the people. Socialism refers to a broad array of ideologies and movements which aim to improve society through collective and egalitarian action; and to a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community. ... Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization based on common ownership of the means of production. ... Anarchism is a political philosophy or group of philosophies and attitudes centered on rejection of any form of compulsory authority[1] and government[2] (cf. ... Human rights are rights which some hold to be inalienable and belonging to all humans. ... Economic egalitarianism is a term used to define a state of affairs in which the members of a society are of equal standing in terms of economic power or wealth. ... Political egalitarianism is a term used to define a state of affairs in which the members of a society are of equal standing in terms of political power or influence. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... An intellectual is a person who uses his or her intellect to study, reflect, and speculate on a variety of different ideas. ... Representative democracy is a form of democracy founded on the exercise of popular sovereignty by the peoples representatives. ... The term ruling class refers to the social class of a given society that decides upon and sets that societys political policy. ...


Communism, Marxism

Different kinds of egalitarianism can sometimes conflict, while in other situations they may be indispensable to each other. For instance, communism is an egalitarian doctrine, according to which everyone is supposed to enjoy material equality[citation needed]. However, because material inequality is pervasive in the current international economy, something must be done to remove it. Since those who enjoy the greatest material wealth are not likely to wish to part with it, some form of coercive mechanism must exist in the transition period before communism. But if the coercive powers of redistribution are vested in some people and not in others, a conflict of interest will take place, and inequalities of political power would emerge. History has shown, in the former Soviet Union for instance, that people who are granted coercive redistributive powers often abuse them. Indeed, those with political power were known to redistribute vastly unequal shares of material resources to themselves, thereby completely confounding the justification for their unequal political status. Therefore, most Marxists now agree that communism can only be achieved if the coercive powers of redistribution needed during the transitional period are vested in a democratic body whose powers are limited by various checks and balances, in order to prevent abuse. In other words, they argue that political egalitarianism is indispensable to material egalitarianism. Meanwhile, other defenders of material egalitarianism have rejected Marxist communism in favor of such views as libertarian socialism or anarchism, which do not necessarily advocate the transitional use of the state as a means of redistribution. Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization based on common ownership of the means of production. ... Doctrine, from Latin doctrina, (compare doctor), means a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system. ... A conflict of interest is a situation in which someone in a position of trust, such as a lawyer, a politician, or an executive or director of a corporation, has competing professional or personal interests. ... Marxism takes its name from the praxis (the synthesis of philosophy and political action) of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. ... Democracy describes a number of related forms of government. ... The doctrine and practice of dispersing political power and creating mutual accountability between political entities such as the courts, the president or prime minister, the legislature, and the citizens. ... Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that aim to create a society without political, economic or social hierarchies - a society in which all violent or coercive institutions would be dissolved, and in their place every person would have free, equal access to tools of information and production, or... Anarchism is a political philosophy or group of philosophies and attitudes centered on rejection of any form of compulsory authority[1] and government[2] (cf. ...


See also

This entry is related to, but not included in the Political ideologies series or one of its sub-series. Other related articles can be found at the Politics Portal.

Political Ideologies Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      An ideology is an organized collection of ideas. ... The quotation All men are created equal (sometimes modified to All people are created equal) is arguably the best-known phrase in any of Americas political documents, as the idea it expresses is generally considered the foundation of American democracy. ... Deep ecology is a recent branch of ecological philosophy (ecosophy) that considers humankind as an integral part of its environment. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Equal opportunity is a descriptive term for an approach intended to provide a certain social environment in which ensure people are not excluded from the activities of society, such as education, employment, or health care, on the basis of immutable traits. ... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... Liberalism is an ideology, philosophical view, and political tradition which holds that liberty is the primary political value. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Social equality is a social state of affairs in which certain different people have the same status in a certain respect, minimally at least in voting rights, freedom of speech and assembly, and property rights. ... Socialism refers to a broad array of ideologies and movements which aim to improve society through collective and egalitarian action; and to a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community. ... Tall poppy syndrome (TPS) is a pejorative term used in Australia and New Zealand to describe what is seen as a levelling social attitude. ... This article is about discrimination in the social science context. ...

References

  1. ^ Egalitarianism: Politically Correct, Scientifically Wrong. Retrieved on 2007–08–12.
  2. ^ Arneson, Richard (2002–08–16). Egalitarianism. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2003 Edition). Retrieved on 2007–02–10.
  3. ^ Statement of Faith. Christians for Biblical Equality. Retrieved on 2007–02–10.
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Egalitarianism

  Results from FactBites:
 
Egalitarianism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (675 words)
Meanwhile, other defenders of material egalitarianism have rejected Marxist communism in favor of such views as libertarian socialism, which does not advocate the transitional use of the state as a means of redistribution.
Libertarianism can be understood as radical political egalitarianism, according to which everyone is equal (or nearly equal) in coercive political power, because no one has any (or those who have it have little and are strictly limited in their use of it).
Almost all theories of egalitarianism aim at equality within human societies, or at least confine themselves to human beings in general as the relevant group among whom equality should prevail.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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