frame
Howdy Debater!
Sign In Register


Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Is it actually possible for a country to support both freedom and equality?

Is it possible for a country to support both freedom and equality?

I am of the opinion that freedom and equality are mutually exclusive. By nature, any attempts to enforce equality within a nation actively places restrictions on freedom and visa versa. For example if a business owner refuses to serve an individual, they are exercising their freedom to choose who they desire to serve, but by refusing to serve this individual, they have now created a situation where inequality is propagated because the individual who was refused service is no longer equal to his peers who still have access to service. On the flip side of this, If you create a law which forces the business to serve everyone equally, you have now infringed on the owner's freedom to choose who he wants to serve.

Another major problem can be observed in the very nature of what equality means. For an example, imagine two households with different incomes: one is very wealthy and lives in a huge mansion and the other is very poor and lives in a ghetto. Based on the differences in their incomes these two households are by no means equal. So how is this wage gap remedied so that both parties are on equal terms? If you were to give money to the poor household and bought them a mansion to live in they would be on equal terms with the wealthy household. But by giving only one of the households money, a new source of inequality is created, because if the system were truly equal, both households would be given equal amounts of money. In this respect, trying to create equality only propagates more inequality. The only way to create an equal system without transferring the burden of inequality is to restrict the freedoms of the individuals in a society. In this household example, that would be accomplished by creating a universal income which would restrict the individuals freedom to pursue wealth. 

TL;DR- Because of the directly contradictory natures of freedom and equality, and the inherent ambiguity of what it means to be "equal" I believe that it is impossible for a country to support both freedom and equality.

What are your thoughts? Is there a way that these two ideas can coexist within a society? I'm curious to see what suggestions people come up with to contradict this.
melsiislander507aarongmelanielustagsrWhyTrump

Comments

  • melsimelsi 13 Pts
    Yes, in my view they are two simile things. People want to be free which to me includes equility. It is some what like a portion of it. It is also some what like a part. Freedom is being completely free and an aspect would be equality.
  • @Reven851, really insightful debate.  I agree with you that there is balance between the two and in many ways equality is subjective. What seems as equality to some people is to just pay everyone the same salary based on hours worked. For others it will be based on performance. For many others it is based on supply on demand.

  • CYDdhartaCYDdharta 201 Pts
    It kinda depends on what you mean by equality.  Do you mean equality of opportunity, or equality of outcome?  There is a loss of freedom in either case, but the loss associated with equality of outcome is much greater than the loss of equality of opportunity. 
    Reven851Vaulk
  • Reven851Reven851 25 Pts
    @CYDdharta This is what I was referring to when I was talking about the ambiguous meaning of equality. Equality of opportunity is, in my opinion the best ideal "definition" of equality, but just giving everyone an equal opportunity does not mean that everyone will succeed. With reference to my household analogy If only two households were initially given equal opportunity to become wealthy, but one household becomes wealthy and the other poor, the equality of opportunity has been eliminated from future descendants of the households because of the difference in wealth. In this respect equality of opportunity is an idealistic definition of equality which cannot be achieved realistically without also employing equality of outcome to return the households to a neutral state necessary for equality of opportunity to occur.
  • CYDdhartaCYDdharta 201 Pts
    @Reven851 I disagree.  If the poor household has the same opportunity as both of the original households, then they have equality of opportunity.  By adding generations to the example, I believe you're conflating the two.
  • Reven851Reven851 25 Pts
    @CYDdharta But this, in essence, is an idealistic view of equality of opportunity. Let me refine my example and explain it in better detail: Two identical households are initially presented with the same opportunity to start a business. One household's business succeeds and they become wealthy, while the other household's business fails and they become poor. This is the essence of an equal opportunity system, the probability for success and failure was the same for both households. Now lets say that these same two households are presented the exact same opportunity several years later. While the opportunity has not changed, the probability of success versus failure has. The wealthy household, having succeeded in the past, now has a much much higher probability of success (its easy to pass a test when you already have the answers). But the poor household is now at a disadvantage, having failed the first time that the opportunity was presented, their odds for success have only slightly increased (they've eliminated a wrong answer, but still haven't found the correct one).

    The nature of the opportunity has not changed at all since the first time it was offered, but now one household now has a clear advantage over the other. Can the opportunity still be considered equal? I would argue that it is not, the equality of opportunity has been eliminated due to the inequality of knowledge between the two households. The only way that equality of opportunity can be restored to the system is if equality of outcome is employed and the poor household is given the same knowledge gained by the wealthy household. Now both households are able equally as likely to succeed when presented with the opportunity.
  • VaulkVaulk 179 Pts
    edited May 17
    @Reven851, I disagree.  @CYDdharta has made an excellent point here and what I think we're missing is the "Cause" of the outcome.  You've stated that an opportunity cannot be considered equal if there exists an inequality of knowledge between your two households.  If I understand your example correctly, what we're really talking about here is choices. 

    Household A and Household B both were presented with equal opportunity to start a business.
    1. Household A succeeds.
    2. Household B fails.

    But why did A succeed and why did B fail?  The reasoning for the failure is critical in determining whether or not any subsequent opportunity can be considered an equal opportunity.  For example, if Household B failed at the initial business opportunity simply because they didn't research, plan accordingly or prepare sufficiently to run a business then I'm afraid that Household B is solely responsible, liable and accountable. 

    There's also another half of this example that must be taken into consideration before judging whether or not there exists an inequality in opportunity.  Example: If Household A succeeded because they manipulated the system, took unfair advantages or managed to hinder Household B to gain an advantage...well then it's clear that the outcome would be the result of inequality of opportunity.  But if these Households truly were presented with absolute equal opportunity and Household A simply made better decisions and thus succeeded...then any subsequent success would be a direct result of the work that Household A put into the business to begin with.

    We all understand that there is no such thing as pure equality, we can strive for it but achieving true equality is virtually impossible due to the sheer number of uncontrollable variables.  So in our accepted form of equality of opportunity, In my opinion, it really boils down to cause and effect.  If we have the example that you presented above and the measurement of equality of opportunity was (As you said) "The same", then we cannot simply look at the outcome to determine whether or not inequality occurred along the way.  We have to look at the cause of the noticeable difference and recognize that poor decisions are not indicative of inequality. 


  • Reven851Reven851 25 Pts
    @Vaulk Ok let me state the situation in this manner: Firstly I am assuming that both households are a completely blank slate to eliminate all outside influencing factors. Both household A and B are initially identical in every way, neither household has any knowledge concerning the opportunity they will be presented with. The households are presented with an opportunity to start a business, success is determined based on a test with 100 different business models 1-100, only one of which will succeed. The system is one of equal opportunity: if neither household knows what a good/bad business model looks like, both households have a 1% chance of success. House A gets the correct model, and succeeds. House B gets the incorrect model and fails. The same households are given the same opportunity years later. While the opportunity has not changed, the probability of success versus failure has. House A knows the correct model, so they have a 100% chance of success. House B does not know the correct model, but can eliminate one of the wrong model, making their probability for success 1/99.

    In this scenario an inequality in the distribution of information was created by presenting an equal opportunity, in which success grants information which can be used to very substantially increase the probability of success in future opportunities. In this example one could potentially argue the continued failure of House B is technically the result of a "poor decision." But even so the circumstances revolving around the failure (poor decisions) of House B and success (good decisions) of house A were beyond their control. Inequality is becomes evidently propagated directly as a result of the outcome of the first "trial."
  • I don't believe they are mutually exclusive, especially when looking only through the lens of the state's power. I tend to prioritize individual freedoms, but it is not the individual who enforces equality of the law. The state still has, and must utilize, the ability to treat all people as equal under the law - the only way this is possible while still allowing for individual freedoms is to ensure equal opportunity above all else. In a truly free society all individuals are endowed with equal opportunities for life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness; this can pertain to a very wide range of rights, but does no include smaller individual restrictions such as being served at a restaurant.

    Economically, equal opportunity could indeed result in inequality, but that is no fault of the state or of freedom. The state could still treat a poor family as equal to a rich family under the law (or at least they should). Wealth inequality is not necessarily bad nor does it make those citizens fundamentally unequal in the eyes of the state. It is still necessary for a poor family to be EQUALLY FREE as a rich family so they have legally have equal opportunity to rise and attain wealth, in my opinion.

    In short, true liberty always precedes equality; in a truly free society, there would be equality of opportunity, which is the purest form of equality there is.
    joecavalry
  • i would also like to thank you for posing such an interesting question!! Should be a really great debate 
    islander507joecavalryReven851
  • CYDdhartaCYDdharta 201 Pts
    @Reven851 I believe something else you're missing is that there is an equal opportunity for failure.  While one household may be successful for a time, there is always the chance, in fact the likelihood, that it will fail.  In order for them to continue to succeed, they need to keep making successful business decisions the way they did to start; at least until they become too big to fail, but that's a different conversation.
    joecavalryislander507
  • joecavalryjoecavalry 145 Pts
    I agree with @cydharta . Anybody can fail but also succeed and that is an important thing to remember in democracy, freedom and equality. Everyone has common or same opportunities, but only some will put effort into it and succeed. This could also be what makes Demcracy good as well as creating financial and social classes.
    islander507melanielustagsr
  • Reven851Reven851 25 Pts
    @CYDdharta If you read my response to Vaulk you can see that this is not always true. While initially both Houses start with an equal probability for success and failure, succeeding in the initial opportunity makes it so that the subsequent likelihood for success and failure has become unequal for the houses. 
  • Reven851Reven851 25 Pts
    edited May 17
    @joecavalry Yes, but many would argue that any hierarchical system is, by nature, unequal (such as a collectivist view). But lets ignore that for now and return to the class system.

    So lets say that you have a militaristic society ruled by a warrior class. The society is divided between the wealthy elite and the poor (there can be infinitely many divisions but I will stick with two for simplicity). Warriors will be selected from either class (poor or wealthy) on the basis of a competitive examination in military prowess. All are eligible to apply for a superior position and applications are judged fairly on their merits. It is a perfect system of equal opportunity where everyone is free to do as they please and success and failure is based on the choices and effort of the individual. 

    First I will ask you if you agree that this is, in fact, a system of equal opportunity before I continue with my argument.

    *edit: Additionally, if you look at my response to Vaulk, you can see how the system of equal opportunity can fail even when amount of effort put forth by both parties is exactly identical.
  • Reven851Reven851 25 Pts
    edited May 17
    @melanielust Yeah, so far I've been having a lot of fun.
    Let me try to address your first comment.

    If we assume that equality of opportunity is, in fact the purest form of equality (some worldviews would disagree with this such as collectivism), Then yes, in the eyes of the STATE ITSELF the society is viewed truly equal.But the SOCIAL inequality is not eliminated from the system. If one of the wealthy people publishes a book on how to become successful in the system created by the state, but only gives it out to wealthy children (he has the freedom to do so, after all) then there is no longer equal opportunity because those born into a higher social standing are given an advantage in the system and have access to opportunities unavailable to the poor.

    Additionally, if the state treats EVERY individual equally poor or rich, this can become detrimental in certain situations. For example the state, since It sees all individuals as equal, places a 20% income tax across all households regardless of wealth. Now wealthy families will be paying more money than the poor, but because they still have significantly more funds, their quality of life remains relatively unaffected. 20% of $100000 still leaves them with $80000. But poor families, on the other hand, are significantly more impacted by this. 20% of $1000 is only $800. If it costs $1000 to pay rent and food for each household, the rent is easily paid by the wealthy, while the poor cannot. Without housing and food, the poor family will inevitably die off, including their children who had not yet been able to be given the opportunity for wealth (assuming that the opportunity for wealth is something like how well you do in schooling where you don't finish until you're 18).

    *edit: Sorry if my response time becomes delayed, I'm involved with 3 different discussions now so things are getting hectic.
    WhyTrump
  • CYDdhartaCYDdharta 201 Pts
    @Reven851 I still don't agree.  One house is a success, one house is a failure.  The only house that is affected by a future failure is the house that's a success; the house that's a failure has nothing more to lose.
  • WhyTrumpWhyTrump 138 PtsPremium Member
    Premium Member
    @Reven851, it is a fascinating debate. Thank you for coming up with this idea and argument.  I didn't have this perspective before your debate, and I agree with your argument. I am persuaded.
    WhyTrump - a good question
  • In that case, then no, a country can not successfully facilitate social equality and freedom. But the limits of the government and the tendencies of the governed, as a society, can conflict to create that inequality, even if the government successfully mandates equality under the law. In that sense, the freedom that precedes equality can be carried out as well. And now the general society is still unequal, economically, perhaps socially too, so what of that?

    In a free, and even in a socially equal society, there is going to be economic inequality. It is one of the core tenets of capitalism that there are some wealthy and some poor people; that is arguably necessary in order for the poor to have a standard they wish to achieve. There can never really be full social equality either; some people are going to be racist and want to discriminate against others. While the government should ensure protection for targeted groups, it should not restrict the freedoms racist people are entitled to either - freedom of thought, freedom of expression, etcetera, as long as their bigotry does not infringe upon the natural freedoms of others.

    I think I simply slightly misunderstood the question :-) @Reven851
  • Reven851Reven851 25 Pts
    @CYDdharta True, but this is besides the point. The point is that having a continual system of equal opportunity is impossible. Random factors outside of each houses control mean that any opportunity which has more than one outcome can only result in future inequality. The only 2 possible ways that the inequality in the two houses can be made irrelevant Is through:
    A- Giving the house that failed the same knowledge gained by the successful house (tell them the correct answer). This, however, has created a society dependent on equality of outcome.
    B- Removing the burden of freedom from the situation. By having a 3rd party (such as the government) eliminate 99 of the 100 choices, both houses once again have an equal chance for success and failure. While the society is technically not "dependent" on manually balancing the outcome of the opportunity AFTER the opportunity has occurred, the same end result means equality of outcome.

    Therefore in summation: to achieve true equality within a system, freedom must be removed from the equation.
  • Reven851Reven851 25 Pts
    @melanielust Prescisely. It is important to recognize that in any given system, you cannot employ both freedom and total equality to their fullest extent so from this perspective, the answer to my question would be "no". This does not mean that a system which values both equality and freedom CANNOT exist, but only that they cannot be realized to their true and pure form, the answer to my question then would be "yes*" (*some terms and conditions apply).
    As a society it is important to recognize which ideal is valued more, because the more freedom you have, the less equality there is (and visa versa).

    In conclusion, a society which values freedom above all appears as Individualistic Capitalism, and a society which values equality above all appears as Collectivist Marxism/Communism. 
    melanielust
  • CYDdhartaCYDdharta 201 Pts
    @Reven851 ; Your government approach assumes that the government can actually determine which one of the hundred choices is best.  A cursory examination of any government's inefficiency, and often ineffectiveness, will illustrate the fallacy.  The only way a government could operate as you suggest is for them to pick one of the hundred choices and penalize all the rest, which will usually include the one choice that is actually successful.  Not only is there no freedom, the system would be tremendously inefficient and unwieldy. 
  • Reven851Reven851 25 Pts
    @CYDdharta Once again, you are dodging the issue at hand: we are talking about creating an equal system. If there is only one possible answer, whether it is right or wrong becomes completely irrelevant in the interest of EQUALITY because both parties fail or succeed equally. Neither has an advantage over the other. There is no disputing that such a government would be unruly, which is why it is incredibly hard to correctly organize a Marxist/Communist government. That does not mean that it is impossible.

  • CYDdhartaCYDdharta 201 Pts
    @Reven851 If you want to make a system of institutionalized failure, you could make most of the inhabitants share the misery equally.  Even in that system, some people would be more equal than others.  Decisions still need to be made, which requires decision-makers.  Decision-makers will always be a class above common people, the non-decision makers.  The only way to make a truly equal system is to build The Matrix.
  • Reven851Reven851 25 Pts
    CYDdharta said:
    some people would be more equal than others.
    Lol, Animal Farm much.

     It would not exclusively be a system of institutionalized failure exclusively, because there is still a chance for success. Therefore it would be a system of universally shared success and failure.

    CYDdharta said:
     The only way to make a truly equal system is to build The Matrix.
    So basically you're saying that freedom and equality cannot coexist? Alternatively you are proving that a system of total equality in any modern context is impossible. Either way you are proving my argument to be true.
  • VaulkVaulk 179 Pts
    edited May 18
    @Reven851 ,

    Reven851 said:
    @Vaulk Ok let me state the situation in this manner: Firstly I am assuming that both households are a completely blank slate to eliminate all outside influencing factors. Both household A and B are initially identical in every way, neither household has any knowledge concerning the opportunity they will be presented with. The households are presented with an opportunity to start a business, success is determined based on a test with 100 different business models 1-100, only one of which will succeed. The system is one of equal opportunity: if neither household knows what a good/bad business model looks like, both households have a 1% chance of success. House A gets the correct model, and succeeds. House B gets the incorrect model and fails. The same households are given the same opportunity years later. While the opportunity has not changed, the probability of success versus failure has. House A knows the correct model, so they have a 100% chance of success. House B does not know the correct model, but can eliminate one of the wrong model, making their probability for success 1/99.

    In this scenario an inequality in the distribution of information was created by presenting an equal opportunity, in which success grants information which can be used to very substantially increase the probability of success in future opportunities. In this example one could potentially argue the continued failure of House B is technically the result of a "poor decision." But even so the circumstances revolving around the failure (poor decisions) of House B and success (good decisions) of house A were beyond their control. Inequality is becomes evidently propagated directly as a result of the outcome of the first "trial."

    This is getting interesting and a great debate so far, I've been slacking on keeping up here.  So let's get to the meat and potatoes.  The key phrasing I'm going to focus on here is that "Poor decisions" while being a technicality, cannot be ignored as the proximate cause for the subsequent inequality in opportunity.  You've presented some amazing points that make great arguments from a mathematical standpoint however, I don't think your arguments can be applied reasonably within our society. 

    Yes, it's undeniable that at some point in this scenario there will be an inequality of opportunity depending on multiple variables however, inequality of opportunity should not be measured past the fundamental stage.  My argument for this is as such: The initial equality of opportunity can be established in our scenario however, after A and B succeed and fail respectively...subsequent success and failure is no longer a matter of equality of opportunity, instead it's a matter of actions and consequences.  The system we installed to ensure equality of opportunity is not responsible for the outcome of A's success nor is it responsible for B's failure and therefor cannot be held accountable or liable for either.  In short, A and B's results were purely consequences of their own actions.  Granted the equality of opportunity was a factor but in this case was not the cause.  By suggesting that the system be re-worked due to a supposed inequality of opportunity created by A and B's outcomes...well that's the problem.  The system did not create the outcome, A and B did. 

    Essentially my argument comes from a point of thought that in order to achieve equality, you must at some point step back and allow natural forces to work.  There truly is no such thing as pure equality, such an idea is a dream at best but if we're allowed to contextualize equality then anyone could see that it's not really about creating an absolute but more about achieving a standard that's acceptable to a degree.
  • Reven851Reven851 25 Pts
    @Vaulk A good rebuttal, but with one major draw back: Who gets to decide what that acceptable standard is?

    Additionally, what if the houses have children? Wanting their offspring to succeed, both houses would give them their knowledge of the test. These new entities were not given a "choice" to be born into a poor house or wealthy house but they are now impacted by the choices of their ancestors. While the initial opportunity was equal for houses A and B, the opportunity for houses A2 and B2 are not.
  • VaulkVaulk 179 Pts
    edited May 20
    @Reven851,

    When it comes to who decides what an acceptable standard for equality is, I believe we have to go with what society has accepted or "Status quo".  You can't have an honest discussion about equality without having an honest discussion about the fact that it's not possible for two things to be completely and totally equal.  Understanding that pure equality cannot be achieved, we need to move to an area of discussion that includes the understanding that we're talking about an acceptable standard of equality, not true equality.

    In this discussion, in this example, I believe that the initial provision of equality of opportunity is sufficient and acceptable for A and B.  The decisions that A and B have made are the proximate cause for the resulting inequality of opportunity and therefor are individual constructs belonging to the Households respectively.  Being that the Households are solely responsible for the creation of the inequality in opportunity I don't find it logical to deduce any fault in the system that provided them with the initial equal opportunity. 

    Another way to view this paradigm is from the opposite side.  Let's say that the system included a fault measure, a sub-system that would identify the faults of the individual households and adjust the outcome of their actions respectively so that both households would arrive at an equal result.  This would mean that if A made good choices and B did not then one of two corrections would have to be made:

    1.  Household A's success and subsequent achievements would need to be systematically reduced to match the level of failure of Household B. 

    2.  Household B's failure and subsequent lack of benefits would need to be systematically overlooked and Household B would need to be rewarded to match the success of Household A despite B's substandard performance.

    In either of these corrections, there exists a fundamental flaw.  If you apply either correction then this indicates that there is no set standard for success...nor is there one for failure.  This system would essentially kill competition and therefor capitalism, free trade, human rights, justice...ect...ect.  The suggested system above would create inequalities on such a grand scale that "Opportunity" as an issue...would be forgotten in the wake of all the other areas this system would destroy.
  • LogicLogic 213 Pts
    If insulting people based on what the color of their skin is, or how rich they are is freedom, I would rather have none of it. Depends on what you call 'Freedom'.
Sign In or Register to comment.

Back To Top

Debate Anything on DebateIsland.com

| The Best Online Debate Experience!
2017 DebateIsland.com, All rights reserved. DebateIsland.com | The Best Online Debate Experience! Debate topics you care about in a friendly and fun way. Come try us out now. We are totally free!

Contact us

customerservice@debateisland.com
Awesome Debates
Terms of Service

Get In Touch