Archives for posts with tag: Equal Opportunities

I recently shared this meme on my FB wall:


This is what happened next:
No two people are the same.“”That’s why I prefer equal opportunities instead of equality.
No two opportunities are the same. What you might consider an opportunity I might pass up. It’s a very diverse world we live in, a wide one in which hopefully everyone can be accommodated.

‘Can be’ or ‘will be’?

And who is the real looser here?

Let’s see what the broad picture looks like:

The world’s super-rich have taken advantage of lax tax rules to siphon off at least $21 trillion, and possibly as much as $32tn, from their home countries and hide it abroad – a sum larger than the entire American economy.”


education debt

And what’s wrong with that?!?
Everyone has the right to do what ever he wants with his money and why should anyone expect to be educated for free?!?

OK, let me put it differently.

Every society is like a big community, even if its members do not share an intimate knowledge of each-other.
At least theoretically an overwhelming majority of any nation share the same set of values and the same goal – the long term survival of both the population and the afore mentioned set of values.

Now please consider which society would be better at the game of survival:

One which would make it easier for as many of its members to develop as much of their individual potential as possible or one that would make it easier for a small number of its members to spirit away so much wealth that the rest would remain crippled?

One which would use the very concept of a ‘free market’ as broadly as possible – make sure that as many as possible of its members enjoy the widest possible autonomy – or one that would allow the ‘never as free as advertised’ market to degenerate into the ‘winner takes it all‘ situation we are bound to reach if we continue on our present course?

How could enough people afford to ‘wander around’ for long enough to find the opportunities that would fit them if they are saddled at birth with a huge burden – the ever burgeoning national debt?
Would enough people risk to take on any additional debt (in order to prepare themselves to make better use of the opportunities they might find) if too many of those opportunities, even if met diligently, do not pay enough to ‘eat’ AND pay back the debt?

How is a society going to survive, let alone thrive, if a lot of ‘opportunities’ (social needs) end up being ‘plugged’ by unfitting/under-skilled/’less than enthusiastic’ individuals? Or not at all?

On the ‘supply side’, what do you think of those who choose to dodge paying taxes?
On the ‘demand side’, what do you think of those who squander public money as if there is no tomorrow?

So what should we be talking about? Equality or Equal Breadth of Opportunity?
About the Bed of Procrustes or about a ‘Free Market’ where all participants are simultaneously autonomous and fully aware of their responsibility for their children’s future?

“Why did the woman cross the road?
Who cares what women do outside the kitchen?”

I was watching a BBC documentary about sexism and I heard the ‘joke’ I quoted above. (Sorry, I couldn’t find a link to that documentary, probably because they are still airing it, but I linked the quote to Yahoo answers because it seems that this one is quite popular)

The narrator had summed up quite convincingly the phenomenon: ‘every time when people not obviously biased against women laugh at sexist jokes the misogynists feel that their convictions are ‘right’ and this enhances the sexist side of their behavior’.

I understand this line of thinking and it is correct from the a psychological point of view. People seek validation from their peers, so each ‘public approval’ for one of their action enhances that particular streak of behavior. I’m afraid though that the real problem lies some place else.

A joke is supposed to be funny. That’s what makes it a joke and it’s up to us to determine what is funny or not.
I didn’t laugh at that joke not because it’s sexist but because, for me at least, it isn’t funny at all.

Some more jokes from Yahoo answers:

“What is the difference between a battery and a woman?
A battery has a positive side.”

So no ‘generic’ woman has ‘a positive side’!
OK, this leaves open the possibility for exceptions… a mother, a sister, maybe a wife… but still, I cannot wonder what kind of women has this guy met during his life? So hugely unpleasant yet passive enough as to feel no apprehension when stating publicly such a harsh position? I wouldn’t dare tell such a joke knowing that any one of my female friends would find out, including my wife. No, not because any of them would bodily hurt me or anything but because they would pointedly and purposefully react. Adequately. Well, in fact It wouldn’t cross my mind to use this joke otherwise than as an example but I believe you got the point…

“Why is the space between a woman’s breasts and her hips called a waist?
Because you could easily fit another pair of **** in there.”

Now this is a real good one. I don’t know for sure what those **** stand for but I’m afraid that the guy who came up with this joke would rather **** a bitch than a real woman. To each, his own…

If you don’t mind rather gross humor here is one for you:
“How do you make 5 pounds of fat look good?
Put a nipple on it.”

Excuse me if you are not and in both situations please consider the real case here: where is the sense of humor?

Maybe the last one will enlighten us.

” – If your wife keeps coming out of the kitchen to nag at you, what have you done wrong?
– Made her chain too long”.

I’m sure you all have heard about the three Ks – In German it’s Kitchen, Children, Church (Kueche, Kinder, Kirche). This expression was coined over a century ago by either Kaiser Wilhelm II or his wife Augusta while trying to belittle the feminist movement that was making inroads into the classic German Weltanschaung.
More than 100 years ago?!? Shouldn’t we get over it?!?
Meanwhile the situation has changed dramatically enough for me to ask you how come the guy in the last joke has a wife in the first place? Or maybe that couple is happy, she with the length of that chain and he with her nagging?

Now seriously, are we not all born by women? Educated, in the first few years at least, predominantly by women? So how come so many men are still finding jokes like that to be funny while so many women accept this situation?

One possible explanation may be that we are experiencing a reaction to ‘feminism’.
I’ve heard, and read, a considerable number of explanations about what it is and why it is named like that.
I must confess that while I agree with many of its goals I’m extremely unhappy about its name.

I think ‘suffragettes’ was, in those times, a far better denomination. It stated clearly what goal they had in mind – voting rights for women – and ‘disbanded’ as soon as they got what they had in mind.
But ‘feminism’?
What is their goal?
To establish that women are different from men?
OK, we already know that, don’t we?

Oh, equal rights? With whom? With men?!?

With which ones of the wide range of men? Men don’t have equal rights either… only in theory maybe, but in theory women have already been recognized (by men, OK?!?) as full fledged citizens. Well, there still is that small but nagging problem of being the masters of their own body (Roe vs Wade) but other than that there is no legal difference between being a man and a women. Not in the civilized world anyway.
So why are we still enjoying the presence of so many, and vocal, feminist activists of both genders instead of them joining ranks with the rest of the human rights activists?

Maybe because the entire human rights movement has reached a dead end?

Women want to be equal with men while men want to be equal among themselves and all pretend it’s their (constitutional) right.

In what sense can a woman be equal with a man? Or a man with another? Have you ever seen two absolutely equal eggs? Or, funnier even, can somebody pretend that egg yolk is equal to egg white?

Oh, the yolk is useless without the white (except for when you want to make mayonnaise) and the white is useless without the yolk (except for when you want to bake meringues) so no sensible person would ever dream of trying to determine which comes first… as we do with people… women come first when it comes to passing through a door and last when we are talking about promotions…

But who to change all this if not us?
We, men, should acknowledge that women are just as important as us, and just as wise, even if they cannot hunt as well as we do, while women should understand that their quest for ‘equality’ doesn’t make much sense.

What we really need is equal opportunity to develop our potential, regardless of gender. If a woman is denied promotion based on her gender and a less capable man is promoted in her place the real looser is the entire organization and its stakeholders. Shortly that woman would move over to another company if she is really good.
The same rationale is valid for the rest of us.
If a child, no matter how gifted, doesn’t get the right education to fit his potential, he might loose some. But the society at large looses big.
Even if the child is less than average he might become, properly educated, a self sufficient person. If not, chances are he’ll become either a ‘welfare benefits receiver’ or a ‘repeat offender’.
We all agree that an average person has more opportunities to become a respected member of the society if he receives more education, right? I’m going to presume we are talking now about proper education, the kind that benefits the recipient, not the ‘teacher’…
If we are considering really gifted individuals  then the situation is even clearer. What if Edison, or Marie Sklodowska Curie, couldn’t have learned what they did or experiment the way they used to? And now, that we are talking about Edison, do you know where Tesla came from? Croatia? Have you ever heard of that place before? (It’s in Europe, east of Italy).
I’m sure you already know where Poland lies, the place where Marie Curie came from, but I wonder if you know that she was educated in an underground university because higher education for women was forbidden at that time in her country by Czarist Russia, the imperial power who controlled Poland in those times.
Really bright people have a habit of being able to make it more or less on their own but also of looking for greener pastures. Not necessarily because they are greedier than the rest of us but because they need more resources in order to put their ideas into practice.

I’ll leave you to do the final reckoning.

Some additional reading about how men and women complement each-other in most unusual ways and how heavily this depends both on social habits and individual choice:
– Islamic women fighting for what they consider to be freedom (and I fully agree with them):
– Islamic women fighting to preserve ‘traditional values’ (To what end?!?, I constantly ask myself but I cannot find an answer)
– What women have to experience in places where their freedom is less than it should be: and
– Not only women can play the role of men. The opposite is not only possible but also sanctioned by some societies:
– For some historical perspective: and
– Even what we call ‘values’ depend heavily upon the social developments that are taking place:

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