Equality Used to be Enough. No Longer

By Ray Cardello for June 6, 2021 Season 1 / Post 141

Equality was an idea that this country and everyone who believed in her aspired to achieve. Regardless of race, creed, color, or socioeconomic situation, the belief was that everyone had the same opportunity to achieve their dreams. This belief is the Equality that we all enjoyed. In addition to being the basis of a solid citizenry, it is the foundation of our capitalistic society. Everyone has the same opportunity to strive for success as they envision it. Some will make it, and some will not. But they all had a shot. This is Equality.

That philosophy is no longer adequate. Now people want a guarantee of equal success. Opportunity entails far too much effort and risk for some. They want a sure thing at the end of the rainbow. It doesn’t matter that the other guy or gal put in the effort or work to achieve success. They want the pot of gold too. Talk about a way to stifle the desire to excel. Why spend hours in a library studying for finals if you can hit the beach, do nothing, and get the same reward. This is an example of what Equity is and how it is so different from Equality. Everyone achieves the same level of success in life despite their efforts. This is Equity.

Think of all of the risk-takers throughout time. If they lived in today’s Equity world, why would they have put it all on the line? Sit back, relax, and you get the same prize. Isn’t that the theory behind participation awards? There are no winners, no losers, just participants. Sorry, but I am too competitive for that world.

I have made mistakes and had setbacks in life like so many others. I started two small businesses, worked my tail off, and they failed. I do not regret a minute of my journey. I took a chance, and it didn’t work out—nobody’s fault except mine. Bad timing, wrong plan, lousy execution….it doesn’t matter. I took the chance is what mattered.

To eliminate the option of taking a risk because there is no benefit to do so is simply wrong. We need to compete, if not against others, then to challenge ourselves. If the rewards are the same regardless of the effort, then what is to gain? What is the purpose? None. That is ludicrous.

Let’s put this in perspective. What is the incentive for inventors and engineers to spend hours in the lab working on the next great invention? If none, then why make the sacrifice studying long hours and putting in the effort to solve the issue at hand? Why would Bill Gates or Steve Jobs have invented their respective operating systems? There is none. So if we take away the incentive and take away the motivation to excel, what is the reward for the efforts? None. When the reward for effort is removed, the game is over. There is no game.

Equity in life is like Medicare for all. What is the motivation for scientists to work endlessly to search for cures for diseases if there is no benefit to the person who worked tirelessly to uncover the cure? There is none. Finish first in your class, Great. Finish Last in your class, great. If you are all guaranteed the same for your efforts, what difference does it make?. What is the purpose? None. Everybody graduates and everybody shares the top spot.

If we are going to solve the unknown challenges that lie ahead, we need competition to prepare people who will be ready for the test. The people who believe that we need to lower standards, eliminate grades, have multiple Valedictoreans or none at all need to be silenced. This is not a debate that is good for society or our future. The idea of Equity needs to be squelched and the belief of Equality needs to be reborn.

We are individuals. No two of us are identical but we all have the same opportunity to be the best we can be. That is the Equality we should celebrate. That is the best we should ask for.

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