Unemotional Egalitarianism

Society is addicted to scapegoating. It provides easy answers and easy targets without the cumbersome business of personal responsibility.

Making oneself look like a victim is effective if one wants sympathy (whose physical manifestation is money) and it makes the scapegoat look worse if you can pull off a brilliant exegesis.

In a fundamentally ego-driven society, in which people are taught since birth that they deserve everything they want, but also that they should be kind to others, one then naturally wants to be the one to whom people are kind, but without having to sacrifice an ounce of comfort. If you can guilt people into giving you what you want, why not?

Today's egalitarianism is built on this kind of configuration. You look out for victims first, because they're the first priority. So what does everyone do? Try to play the part of the biggest victim. The people who whine the most get the most sympathy.

Soon, laws get changed, the definition of corruption widens (along with rape and violence) and pretty soon, interest groups have flooded the market of narratives with a series of special demands imposed on people who would have otherswise left them alone. No one says no to free, but if there's a mechanism to free, you can be sure it is going to be exploited at every turn possible.

Today's egalitarianism requires a villain which has been doing all the oppressing, otherwise, it is feared that no one will believe the victim. New villains are always needed to satisfy this demand. Villains are the surplus created by our secular need for charity, which is devoid of any transcendant element.

Today, there might be more people than ever identifying themselves as The Other in order to better qualify as victims, but this only leads to a destructive, resentful kind of charity.

What we need, rather, is a sense of charity in which the fundamental initial engagement with The Other is one where an almost alchemical ethical transformation signifies them as Neighbor.

A neighbor is someone close at hand. It is hard to ignore the need of the neighbor when it is so easy to meet it, and when it is more likely going to be reciprocated in some form in the future.

This may all sound like an updated yet still sentimental take on charity, but on the contrary, I would argue that it gets closer to principle. Emotional appeals are not needed for true egalitarianism and are, in fact, harmful to it, for an irrational excitation is always needed in order to move people to the point of action. Again, this is usually accomplished through identifying an endless chain of transgressors and their victims.

The type of society I envision, rather, is one where people don't spend excess energy trying to determine who deserves charity, but rather, one in which charity is a rational, automatic function of maintaining order. The abundance of energy born from this cultural turn would then shift our concerns to the opposite end of the pole: We would then begin asking ourselves how to better help those who helped us without a moment's hesitation in kind.