Major Movements of Opinion on EqualityJune 28, 2021
It is possible to divide the main ideas about equality into two: those that reveal the types of equality and those that are against equality, that is, those that argue that equality is not an ideal that can be realized in today’s political and social conditions.
According to Bryan Turner (1945-), who argues that equality is seen in four basic types: existential/essential equality, equality in opportunity, equality in conditions, and equality in results, existential/essential equality is a type of equality most commonly encountered in religions and moral traditions (Turner 2007). , p. 36). Although it seems to have lost its importance as a result of secularization (secularization) and natural law in the modern world, as a result of losing the moral framework of the debate about human nature, this acceptance has also been tried to be grounded in Marxist philosophical anthropology. According to this justification, man is, by his essence, a universally free being who gradually increases his dominance over nature, tends towards a more general interaction, autonomy, and consciousness, and shapes himself with his own actions in this direction (ibid.).
Existential/essential equality, which we encounter in religion and moral traditions, is based on the idea that humans are equal in terms of being universally free beings who gradually increase their dominance over nature, tend towards a more general interaction, autonomy, reaching consciousness, and shape themselves with their own actions in this direction, in Marxist human philosophy. tried to be based.
However, nowadays we do not come across those who advocate existential/essential equality very often. On the other hand, equality in modern thought mostly appears in the form of equality in opportunity and equality in conditions (ibid.). It is necessary that the rights such as the right to enter important social institutions, the right to benefit from quality education should be granted to everyone and they should be subject to generally accepted criteria such as hard work, success and talent. In this respect, equality in terms cannot be separated from equality of opportunity; however, equality in conditions also points out that in addition to equality of opportunity, it is necessary to ensure that the participants in the race start the race from the same point, that is, with equal economic and social conditions and without exaggeration: It is even claimed that equality in opportunity cannot be achieved without providing equality in conditions (Ay, p. .
Equality in terms and equality in opportunity are closely intertwined; Without the first, the second cannot be achieved. According to both equality understandings, accessing certain opportunities offered in society requires a race/competition. Therefore, there is a liberal-capitalist mentality on the basis of these equality understandings, which are the products of modern thought.
Equality in results, on the other hand, is based on ensuring equality in results by using legislative or other political instruments, regardless of the starting point and conditions, natural talent, etc. (ibid.). According to Turner, social programs that promote positive discrimination for underprivileged or disadvantaged groups such as women, children, and ethnic minorities aim to transform inequality in conditions into social equality (ibid.). The idea of equality in the results inspired socialist policy programs in terms of aiming to eliminate these features, but moreover, the inequalities specific to competition and market (ibid., p. 38).
However, there are also those who do not find equality tenable, argue that the realization of such an ideal is almost impossible in today’s conditions, and that the price of achieving equality will be the limitation of individual freedoms. We can summarize the arguments against equality as follows: 1. Different types of equality are often incompatible. For example, equality in opportunity and conditions may lead to inequality in results (ibid.). 2. A program to achieve social equality is far from practicable, because achieving fundamental equality in terms and outcomes may lead the state to adopt a political stance that will use means to compel society to return to a totalitarian structure. Thus, there is the danger of a kind of political despotism that will make talent, success and other characteristics of the individual secondary (ibid.). 3. Some forms of fundamentalist equality are not desirable because achieving equality may be incompatible with other desirable values. In fact, equality is incompatible with the ideal of personal freedom, that is, the ideal of equality and the ideal of personal freedom are mutually exclusive (ibid., p. 39).
Equality in the results aims to eliminate inequality by making use of tools such as legislation, positive discrimination social programs, and it is a source of inspiration for socialist politicians in terms of setting such a goal.
Liberal thought forms the axis of the arguments against equality. Liberals, on the one hand, argue that if the state intervenes for the realization of equality, political despotism will emerge, and on the other hand, the realization of equality will devalue individual freedoms by placing them in the background, and equality will be realized